Massively excited to be hosting the amazing GGAllanPartridge from Newcastle this week – punk goddesses with the actual best band name ever. Come see them at the Hope & Anchor on Wednesday 24 April, along with their geordie chums The Noise and the Naive, and the fab Ich bin Finn. In the meantime, we asked them 10 questions …
1.Who would you most like to cover one of your songs? Han: Abba. Dan: Genuinely, yeah. Or MIA.
2. If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play? Han: It was Bird, but then she joined and started playing keytar. Dan: If Bird ever couldn’t make it though, DeliaDerbyshire on analogue electronics would be nice, and maybe I could do a cute duet with CaptainBeefheart.
3. What was the last song you wrote, where were you when you came up with the idea, what inspired it, and how did it turn out? Han: ‘Hometown Boys’ is inspired by some pretty wretched shared experiences of dating guys in Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas who like the idea of being with a girl in a band but don’t much like the reality of us then not idolising their musicianship. It’s somewhere between jaunty post-punk and Cali surf rock. Dan. It’s a banger. I’m excited. Writing massive fun radge-pop about things that have made me miserable is one of my favourite things. Hometown Boys started as a concept about a week ago, when I was annoyed about summat and needed to just write a 2 minute shouty punk pastiche song for catharsis, I sorta daydreamed a bit of it on the bus and laid down a really bare demo. Now we all have that and are writing our own parts. It’s been so nice to work on it together and realise we have all these shared experiences of rotters telling us we don’t deserve to be in bands, or nicking our ideas and records.
4.Which was your favourite gig you’ve a) played and b) watched? Han: supporting Warm Drag at the Cluny in Newcastle. Everything went right, they’re beautiful people, the crowd loved it and we get to play with them again very soon. Dan: Yeah that was a real life affirmer. They’re cool as hell; I’ve loved VashiWindish since she was in K-Holes and Paul drums in the flippin’ Oh Sees. They had no obligation to hang with us plebs but they were more down to earth and friendly than most bands we meet! My favourite gig I’ve ever seen was the Cramps in Nottingham in 2003. It was unbelievable. I got some of Lux’s spit in my mouth, it changed me. They were everything I love in a live band; funny, sexy, menacing, wild, and powerful, and it came from a place of genuine love for their shtick, music, and each other. Soph: I go to a lot of gigs so I’ve enjoyed them all differently, local gigs are usually my fave, support your local music scene yo.
5. Recommend a record that you think our readers might not have heard of. Soph: The Julie Ruin album by KathleenHanna (ace DIY bedroom album and the reason I bought a drum machine) Dan: Thankyou Kathleen Hanna for brining Soph and her drumming into our lives! I choose Nature by Valet – dreamy stoner pop from 2015. I struggle to listen to ‘nice’ music but this is gorgeous.
6. What’s your best piece of advice for young musicians? Han: find what you love – not what’s popular or easy – and keep doing it. Listen and learn from those around you but ultimately follow your gut. Try not to be discouraged by negativity, for every neggy melt who puts you down, there’ll be five people lifting you up. Stick with them. Dan: Don’t spend ten years hiding behind other people in bands if you have your own ideas. Don’t wait to be told your ideas are good enough to deserve being heard. You have to be brave and just get out there. Pick the people you work with based on who they are as people more than how good they are at playing instruments. But also – put your mental and physical health first. Art and expression are so vital but doing band stuff can be stressful and at the end of it all, it’s just a band. Keep some perspective for the sake of your sanity. Soph: Tell boys to fuck off.
7. Your top 3 most beloved albums ever – go. Dan: This is an evil question. Off the top of my head… The Cramps – Off The Bone X Ray Spex – Germ free Adolescents, uhhh Sophie: The Slits – Cut
8. What are your musical goals? Han: To take up space, be weird and get Han’s Skips dance on Fortnite. Soph: To always have fun. Dan: I’m really eager to get Liv doing an obscene five minute sax solo. And I want us to see each other more so we can get some Shangri-Las harmonies perfected. We’ve got new songs getting bounced around all the time, plenty of gigs and festivals to play, a split 7 Inch in the works, along with a small UK tour and hopefully another EP in the bag before the year is up.
9. What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now?
Dan: Other bands – we aren’t your competition! Especially if you aren’t in the boy’s club too. We are working hard and keeping busy and having the best time and we always have one eye how we can be helping each other in the bigger picture, whether that’s to encourage and embolden other people and ourselves, or to start difficult conversations with promoters and venues to try and bring positive change. We don’t talk about it loads and it’s not massively present in our songs but we have a range of sexualities and disabilities in GG and those issues are important to us too. At the moment we mainly just share those issues with each other. This band has become so vital to all of us and at the moment we are just getting to grips with allowing ourselves room in our lives to experiment, perform, write, drink and shout like our male peers have enjoyed for years, but if we could ever extend that outwards into influence or action that would be amazing. We aren’t in this to get on the radio or whatever so it baffles us when other bands take us the wrong way because we’re a bit gobby, weird and flamboyant. We’re on your side and should be working together to get things moving. I think there’s some concern that most regular promoters will only dare put one female-dominated act on any bill and that we have to all compete to be that band. Let’s put our own gigs on if that’s the case! Soph: Soundguys: we know how to play our instruments and we know what we should sound like and we know that Dan’s laptop works fucking fine.
10. Give your top 5 contemporary bands/musicians Dan and Han: Duds! Wonky, class live, Northern, matching shirts, horn section. Get in. Dan: Cate Le Bon can’t do anything wrong, WarmDrag, MoonDuo and SnappedAnkles. All doing their own thing in slightly bizarre ways. Soph and Liv: BTS!
We fell head over heels in love with French Newcastle duo The Noise and the Naive when they first played a LOUD WOMEN gig in Autumn 2017, so we’re dead chuffed they’re playing for us again this week on Wednesday 24 April at the Hope & Anchor. To get to know this awesome twosome a bit better, we asked them 10 questions …
Who would you most like to cover one of your songs?
Red Army Choir would be interesting
2. If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play?
It would be a Kukeri – a creature covered in wild goat hair who scares away evil spirits in Bulgarian pagan rituals. They would play the Bass with their paws. If only it was true, it would be awesome.
3. What was the last song you wrote, where were you when you came up with the idea, what inspired it, and how did it turn out?
I just wrote a song with a f*cked-up time signature because it
was funny with the title of the song “My Feelings Are Complicated”. I played it
to Anne, she hated it, the song is dead. It would have made us so famous.
4. Which was your favourite gig you’ve a) played and b) watched?
We played last week an acoustic showcase for Record Store Day, and it was so interesting to have to re-think our music with no drums / fuzz / screams.
was a short set.
5. Recommend a record that you think our readers might not have heard of.
Thrilled to be hosting the mighty Tuffragettes this Saturday at London’s Hope & Anchor – along with Olivia Awbrey, The Plan and The Other Ones! We got to know Frankie Tuffragette a bit better with our 10 question interview …
1.Who would you most like to cover one of your songs? I’d love Rickie Lee Jones to do a cool acoustic rework of ‘Double’
2. If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play? I would love love the bassist who played on PaulSimon’s ‘Graceland’ LP
3. What was the last song you wrote, where were you when you came up with the idea, what inspired it, and how did it turn out? The last song I wrote was for a Frankie Tuffragettes LP coming out on April 20th. It was the title track for the record called “Hi” – i wanted to write a really soaring, honest and vulnerable introduction to my record so I could really connect with who’s listening and introduce what I think is my best ever collection of songs. I was in my bedroom and it turned out beautifully!
4. Which was your favourite gig you’ve a) played and b) watched? My favourite gig I’ve played was at a night we put on at the end of 2018 called Nightmare Before Cis-mas. All my friends were there, and the rest of the audience was so down-to-earth? We really lifted each other up and I left feeling so calm. My favourite gig I watched may have been Pixies at Field Day 2011. Their energy is unparalleled.
5. Recommend a record that you think our readers might not have heard of. I would absolutely recommend ‘Teaser & The Firecat” by CatStevens. It’s breathtakingly perfect.
6. What’s your best piece of advice for young musicians? Don’t worry, be happy! Literally learn to not give a fuck about anything except your love of making music and the joy of being on-stage.
7. Your top 3 most beloved albums ever – go.
“In The Airoplane Over The Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel
“The Queen Is Dead” by The Smiths
“Cupid Deluxe” by Blood Orange OR Weezer’s “Blue” album OR The Drums self-titled album (that last one coulda been sooooo many though)
8. What are your musical goals? To be a remembered part of the queer punk canon
9. What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now? We want revolution dyke style now!!!!!
10. Give your top 5 contemporary bands/musicians. ● Xoey 5.0 – The best songwriter on the London queer music circuit right now ● ScreamingToenail – anti-colonial grungy militant queer punx from London ● SuggestedFriends – virtuoso queer pop rock babes from London ● Tami T – ingenious queer trans grrrl altpop from Stockholm ● Makthaverskan – perfect sad dreamy pop and post-punk from Gothenburg
Catch Tuffragettes live this Saturday 13 April at the Hope & Anchor!
If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play? I think right now I’d want Tig Notaro telling jokes between each song. I’d love to have her as a hype-person.
Who would you most like to cover one of your songs? Patti Smith or Kim Deal.
What was the last song you wrote, where were you when you came up with the idea, what inspired it, and how did it turn out?
I’m currently working on a new song about romanticism and how it fails people. It was inspired by archaic ideas of relationships and how that pressure keeps people from letting themselves be messy and honest in getting to know each other. I have a hard time writing about love and relationships, but I’ve been thinking about it more recently. Of course I’m just hiding personal experiences in the format of writing about someone else. I chose to write about Robert Frost getting wrapped up in himself and the pressure of individualism and romanticism rather than just choosing a path and walking it. I think it’s turning out okay.
Which was your favourite gig you’ve a) played and b) watched?
My violinist Margaret and I played a duo set together in Bolton, UK last year and the vibe of the all-ages and everything was really fun and intimate – the audience was super warm and it just felt good. With my band, we played a show at Turn, Turn, Turn in Portland last year and it was the first time playing our new material out to a full audience after months of rehearsing in a garage – that was really rewarding!! Favorite gig watched recently: My friend Emily Overstreet in Portland plays in a bunch of projects and her solo songwriting is stunning – catchy, minimalist and a little ambient. She played a show at Mississippi Studios in Portland a couple months ago and I cried the whole time.
Recommend a record that you think our readers might not have heard of.
Definitely check out Elly Swope from Portland. Her album “It Feels the Same Everytime” is great. Also my friend and drummer in my band, Dan Klee, is about to drop his album “Portraits” and that’ll be on the internet somewhere. 🙂
What’s your best piece of advice for young musicians?
Ha! I feel like I’m a young musician. Still learning a lot every day. Although after 10 years I’m getting the hang of something. If you’re just starting out I would say: make music with people who make you feel good, and the rest will fall into place. Doubt is normal, and fucking up is encouraged every once in a while.
Your top 3 most beloved albums ever – go.
Ah. I have to say #1 is still Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen – I’ll never tire of the cinematic masterpiece that it is; #2 is Last Splash by The Breeders; and #3 is Chris T-T’s Capital.
What are your musical goals?
To make music with people who share the same love of camaraderie and craft. And longevity. I’d like to be making music when I’m 80!
What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now?
We are finishing up our debut full-length, recorded half in my hometown Portland, OR and London, UK. Not exactly sure when it will be released, but hopefully late 2019 or early 2020. And we’ll be doing a proper tour for it in the US and UK – so look out for that!
Give your top 5 contemporary bands/musicians.
1 – Courtney Barnett – she nails the balance between working really hard and not giving afuck, and I’m always blown away by her honesty onstage.
2 – Anna Tivel – she’s a songwriter from Portland who weaves worlds into her albums through lyrics and melody and I love everything she puts out.
3 – Dan Klee – he’s a rock songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/lyricist in Portland and he makes these arena rock masterpieces from his bedroom – definitely worth checking out (and i’m biased, because he drums with me, haha)
The Franklys are our favourite Anglo-Swedish garage-rock band, and we’re super-excited for the launch of their brand new EP ‘Framed’, out April 5th – check out the awesome video for lead single ‘Not Guilty’ and pre-order your copy here. The band tell us that “lyrically, the record takes a look at the current state of the world’s affairs, whether that be on a small scale, such as in ‘Small Town, Small Talk’, or on much wider reaching issues. For example, ‘Mayday’ takes a swipe at the massive mess of the Brexit vote and its subsequent fallout. The songs deal with an increasing obsession with gossip, news and a lack of empathy fuelled by portrayals of unobtainable perfection found on some social media.”
Their distinctive, driving pop-rock sound wins them instant superfans, so we asked them for a sneaky peek in their gig arsenal … We talked tech specs with guitarist Fanny Broberg and bassist Zoë Biggs.
Fanny: My main guitar is a semi acoustic vintage Höfner Verythin 1965. I play it live at every show and use it to record most of our songs. The tone is distinctive and has a great feel and vibe to it. With its big body it is ridiculously oversized on me as I’m very short but it’s super light and has a thin neck so it’s very comfortable to play. A lot of songs have been written on this one! Hollow body guitars can often feedback quite a bit so my mate Kev from the repair shop Stairway to Kevin filled in the hollow parts with foam and that did the trick beautifully. It was in mint condish when I purchased it but is now looking a bit worn and rugged as I flail about quite a bit onstage. In a way I feel bad that it kept so well for so long until I got my hands on it, but a guitar is meant to be played and every scratch gives it more character I reckon.
My go-to amp is Fender Blues Jr and is the best gig amp in my opinion. Sometimes when you need to borrow someone else’s amp and have to do a quick linecheck I find those amps with loads of knobs too annoying to work with, and all I really need is a clean channel anyway so the Blues Jr is perfect with just a few basic knobs. It’s also fairly light and small enough for me to carry to gigs. I crank up the master to 12 and use the volume button to adjust volume to get the cleanest sound out of the amp and use pedals for effects.
Pedal wise I have a pretty standard set up. I use Boss Distortion DS-1 on absolutely all songs and I love it. For some reason it has a reputation for being a shit pedal for teenagers but that is so wrong. It sounds awesome with my guitar and amp and I can’t tell you how many guitar geeks have complimented on my tone and asked what I use and get surprised for not using a ‘fancy’ pedal. The reason why they ask is because all my pedals have been painted red to match my guitar so unless you check closely you wouldn’t know what’s on the board. Except for the DigiTech Whammy pitch shifter which is already red of course!
On my board is also DigiTech Digital Reverb, Boss Chromatic Tuner, Electro-Harmonix Micro Pog, TC Electronic Flashback which I use for delay (and loop for home practice) as well as Electro-Harmonix Memory Toy for slapback. My favourite pedal of all time though is Electro-Harmonix Big Muff which I use for solos and whenever the songs need a fuzz boost.
Also on the photo is my dog Lucia.
Zoë: My bass set up is a Höfner Ignition Club Bass, EHX bass metaphors pedal, EHX Nano Bass Big Muff Pi pedal, and Ashdown Rootmaster 2×10″ 500W combo amplifier.
The Höfner club bass is my ideal bass; great deep tone, reliable and doesn’t break your shoulders or the bank.
I invested in the EHX bass metaphors pedal last year and for me it’s an all in one dream. It serves as a compressor and distortion pedal, while also having a DI. The Nano Bass Big Muff Pi comes with me when I want to boost the distortion level even more.
The Ashdown RootMaster 500W 2×10″ amp is a proper workhorse and has served me well. Super powerful combo, and compact enough that you can move it around fairly easily. Lightweight for a bass amp at 17kg! Lots of options with both passive and active inputs, 5 band EQ control, shape control, compressor and sub harmonics control.
When recording I use my club bass, Höfner Verythin HCT or a Fender P bass.
I don’t have a dog in my pictures, which is upsetting on so many levels.
It might sound tricky to be a band in one of the most musically active cities in the US but socially conscious dance-y punk group Pleasure Venom seem to be enjoying the ride.
I caught up with singer AudreyCampbell and asked her a few questions about the band, the music and how 360°music videos are the future.
First off, for those not already familiar with your music, who are Pleasure Venom?
I like to call Pleasure Venom a 5-piece experimental punk project based in Austin, TX. I’m Audrey Campbell, I sing and write the lyrics. Current lineup has Fern Rojas on bass. Thomas Valles on Drums. Brendan Morris and Scott Riegel both on guitar. A collaboration, collective and solo project focused on myself collaborating with other musicians. It’s all about the collaboration and we play with a revolving door even though I wish every lineup will last forever. PV is like a train that just keeps on jugging. The collaboration with this lineup is just so great. I get really excited to play and write with them for sure.
How is it to be a working band in as a vibrant of a music community as Austin, Texas, (sometimes referred to as the Live Music Capital of The World)?
Everyone you meet is basically in a band or has played music before so that’s probably different than most cities. There’s so many great bands making very interesting music that it really pushes and inspires us to work as hard as they do or harder. It can be competitive but we stand out and not just because “oh we have a black front woman” but because I can’t think of a band in town that sounds like us.
Sometimes it feels we are too loud for the garage rock scene then too dance-y for the heavier noise punk rock hardcore scene so I’ve felt a bit isolated in the past. It just became really important to stick to my vision of the band because I felt some woman or little black girl, I don’t know, somewhere would be into it. Now I’m here talking with you, a music blog in Iceland. Like this is really wild for me and the band.
How do you feel musicians and artists are using their voices responsibly today?
I think it’s really important to be honest. So if politics is generally not an interest of yours it’ll feel contrived if you force it trying to be a “woke” person. Just be honest. I really try not to overthink when I write. I have my notebooks on notebooks of poems and lyrics but I also try to just be avail to what kind of a day I’m having, or news, events etc.
The music industry doesn’t seem to want to address much. All the popular artists, particularly in popular music, feel like they are just rich kids that are disconnected. I question why half of them got a deal because it seems so bad. The who you know thing just irks me because that’s probably the only excuse for it not talent. If you’re rich and talented, dope, but it doesn’t feel that way per the radio.
I basically just don’t listen to alot of it. There’s really good pop and hip hop and rock music, etc you just have to hunt for it unfortunately. None of its dead. But yes, I wish there were more artist that are more vocal because I do feel it’s a responsibility. We are late for another Beyonce “Formation” global moment I think. For me it’s like word vomit, like I can’t help myself but that just me. I can only speak for myself.
Has your music been political since day one?
Definitely not. I just write about my experience. That’s all I can do. It’s been interesting venturing into music videos because I don’t think anyone thought we were doing anything political until there were visuals. Music videos like “Seize” or “Deth” are undeniably our takes on black or poc, queer lives and how there’s definitely room for progress.
It’s unfortunate we have the alt right and white supremacists in the US up to the white house that feel the killing of black life, queer life, female reproductive rights etc is a non issue. It’s really important for me to say it is thru the music. Or someway thru my filmmaking address the things I find hard to say or problematic. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be as direct as even saying it like you as a person living your life the way you do as you see fit can be a form of protest. That’s incredibly inspiring to me.
How do you feel people are receiving your more political music these days?
So far it’s fine. No death threats yet! I don’t scare easily though. Overall I think because the songs are dancey, hopefully there’s a more even if it’s a tough issue we are addressing, hopefully there’s a “let’s dance about it” vibe. Or so I hope. Our shows have been these mosh-y lovefest lately where folks aren’t afraid to dance which is great. It’s pretty cathartic especially when the news on TV or the internet can be so bleak and divisive. It’s the reason I need to do this. To exercise these feelings so when I look out into a crowd doing the same, it’s great!
What do you hope to achieve with your music?
To keep experimenting. To be honest even if it scares me. That’s really important to me. Folks, myself included, can smell bullshit a mile away.
Do you follow other conscious bands or musicians active today? Any protest musicians out there you want to shout out to?
Blxptn is an ATX based band and are really great and very vocal about issues I care about or feel like aren’t spoken about enough. Overall I just listen to music I like not like oh this is politically conscious so I like it or vice versa. I honestly am into a lot of classical but from punk to hip hop it’s literally about the way it moves me.
The music video for These Days, off of the last EP, is brilliant. Can you tell us a bit about it?
Thank you!! Well I directed this one (as well as “Seize” and current single Deth””) and got the opportunity to shoot in 360 as well. When I wrote the song I was coming out of some really dark shit but I was also falling in love and I think I kinda wanted to translate that into visuals. I really like how multilayered the song is so I wanted to kind of play that up. The traditional cut I really wanted to focus on the visuals. We towed a car to the outskirts of Leander which is quite a bit out of Austin. It was May last year and so hot even at night and I’m dancing on this car and trying to look calm in the heaviest fur coat and the band in suits. It was an experience for sure. Plus having to hop off the car to direct. It was grueling and we shot into my birthday til 4 am.
For the 360 shoot, I really wanted to focus on the band and loved the idea of being able to watch whichever member you like the most, however long you wanted to. You can look up at the sky or look at the ground that’s covered with a bed of roses. It’s up to you. 360 is definitely the future of music videos. It’s incredibly immersive as experiencing music should be. It’s the natural next step as far music and film.
You’re new EP dropped on the 24th of November 2018. Can you tell us a bit about the creative process this time around? What has changed since the last EP?
The revolving door. We have new members on this EP. It’s the first time writing and going in the studio with Scott Medmier, Fern Rojas and Brendan Morris. They are all so talented. Fern has a background in classical music and can play the cello so that’s featured on this EP. Scott plays some piano. There was a time when that kind of stuff scared me but I’ve been leaning into like if it makes me nervous it’s probably right or at least interesting or new.
We are just way more open now I think. I’m not as afraid to take more chances. Thomas Valles, drummer, is the only other original member and it’s been like 4 or 5 years playing with him and I’m just blown away by how good he’s gotten over the years from when we first played together. So overall being the OGs of the band, we feel tighter and more practiced than ever and the new members are so inspiring, great songwriters too that I really want to bring them quality interesting lyrics and vocals to match the music they bring.
A song like “Untitled” I’m really pushing my vocals and I had to learn how to sing that chorus line: “Lying to your face” that way. So it’s learning and just a true collaboration. We are writing more this month so hopefully a new EP isn’t too far away because it’s just so fun to write with this lineup. I love you dudes!!!
What are some of the issues you confront on the new album?
Can only speak for myself. Probably the most devastating thing I kind of came out and survived a hell of a year that I wasn’t sure how things were going to end up or if I was going to be ok. It’s a quasi celebration or middle finger in the air to all the BS that may have tried to get me or us down. I just really wanted this record to sound like it was going to explode if that makes sense. I think we all wanted it to.
It’s easily the biggest and loudest we’ve ever sounded. My “give a shit” meter is at its lowest ever I think. I jus wanted to own what I’ve learned the years of playing live and recording so this is where we are at now. I’m ok…I think.
What about activities outside the music? Do you partake in any activism in your free time?
Music takes up pretty much all my time outside of the day job. But for that reason, I try to stay active by doing benefits or turning shows into benefits. We did one recently and it was really great. At the moment I try to focus locally and make sure whatever benefit or non profit I work with proceeds are going directly to folks that need it. Not like being sat on or a percentage of bs. That’s like really important to me.
I’m also in a Stereolab cover band called The Groop that’s awesome and challenging in its own right because it couldn’t be more polar opposite of what I do in Pleasure Venom. From pushing my vocals literally against the wall to trying to sing soft and low and channel my best french girl. It’s honestly so much fun to be honest. But it’s a really left brain/ right brain thing being in both of these projects.
We all have other projects as well. Our bassist Fern is in a band called Sheverb. Thomas Valles also plays in Caleb De Casper. Scott Riegal has a new band called Friday Boys and Brendan new project is Boom Gang. So we all are pretty busy music wise between Pleasure Venom and our various projects.
What else is on the horizon for the band?
Tour, tour, tour and I can’t wait. There’s some fun announcements happening that I’m not even allowed to talk about but want to very badly so I’m jus going to skip to next question. We also want to write a new EP soon as well. I’ll be directing another music video in March. So more singles from new EP to come soon.
Thank you very much for participating and for the music! Anything else you’d like to shout from the rooftops?
Hmm at the moment we are looking for a label or vinyl pressing company that may be interested in helping us reissue the latest Pleasure Venom EP to vinyl. The album art by Dawn Okoro alone just screams this should be made into vinyl.
Can’t wait to get on the road and if you’d like to follow, subscribe we are Pleasure Venom on all platforms (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc) Merch and album sales help us to tour at pleasurevenom.bandcamp.com
London-based Piney Gir originally hails from Kansas and has for many years been a prolific and prodigious musician, spanning various genres from electro to alt-country to folktronic to 60’s retro pop to krautrock. She is currently working on album number seven! LOUD WOMEN is proud as punch to be helping Piney throw a London launch party for her new single at Paper Dress Vintage on 19 Feb, along with Natalie Sharp (of Lone Taxidermist), Samantha Whates, and DJs Ruth Barnes and CheriAmour (The Other Woman Show/Soho Radio) will soundtrack the Suffragette City disco. In the meantime, we asked Piney 10 questions …
1. Who would you most like to cover one of your songs?
I’d love to hear what Janelle Monae would do with one of my songs. I love her fresh, original sound, she never does what’s expected, and so it would cool to hear what she’d do with it.
2. If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play?
That’s a tough question. I would have loved to collaborate with Prince or DavidBowie, both of which are pretty famed for being original and changing things up. I’d love to see what they would do to bend my perception or challenge the way I think about music. I would learn a lot from them and it’d be fun. However, they are not around so unless I conjure them up somehow with some kind of voodoo spell, maybe I’d choose to work with someone living, like Dangermouse because I love his production style, his music sounds like he’s having fun all the time. Ditto DaveFridmann sounds like he uses the studio like a playground and that would be really great!
3. What was the last song you wrote, where were you when you came up with the idea, what inspired it, and how did it turn out?
I’m working on this new track that doesn’t have a name yet, it sounds a bit like PlasticOnoBand, chorus is a bit ElliotSmith sounding, the melody has lots of chromatics, the palette so far sounds a bit like Psapp with vibraphone and sparse bassline moving around in fourths, there is tick-tocking percussion that sounds a sort of like the clock in FAO Schwartz (that’s the toy store where Tom Hanks dances on the giant floor piano in Big). Lyrics are about infinity and beyond, playful, hopeful, but the chromatic melody gives it a dark, bittersweet twist. It’s not done yet, so not sure how it will turn out or even if it will see the light of day, but I’m always writing.
4. Which was your favourite gig you’ve a) played and b) watched?
You are full of hard
a) I played a gig at Glastonbury on the Park Stage; the first year the Park Stage existed I played twice. I did the Saturday afternoon and it was great, really fun! But the unexpected gig on Sunday came about when Micah P Hinson broke his arm or leg or something? So I filled in for him. However, I didn’t know I was playing Glasto again on Sunday so I went a bit wild on Saturday night, my band agreed to the gig, but couldn’t find me. I had been out all night; I got ‘Glastonburied!’ They found me an hour before our set, I had to do hair, make up, warm up my voice, etc. and it was The Libertines secret gig right before me, meaning Kate Moss, Pete Doherty and all these hipster paparazzi people were watching my set from the side of the stage and there was an absolutely huge crowd there to see us. It was great fun, it took every ounce of concentration I had to get through that set the best way I could… so I didn’t realise that behind me EdHarcourt was giving my band poppers on stage and a naked man emerged from The Rabbit Hole (the small stage next to The Park Stage) wearing nothing but a rabbit head and he was hopping around behind me. Everyone I saw afterwards was like ‘how did you keep a straight face?’ but in all honesty I was so frazzled from my big Glastonbury night I was concentrating too hard to fully register what was going on. It was fun and rowdy and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it, apart from maybe getting a good night’s sleep!
b) I recently saw DavidByrne and it changed the way I think about live music it was so incredible. Firstly his band were not stationary, they were wearing marching band drums and wireless guitars, Bluetooth mics, etc, so they could march in formations and shapes and flow freely on and off stage, they played with the lighting and sets and it was just magical. The exciting set-up did not detract from the music, which was, if anything heightened by these layers that resulted in a pointillistic approach to music-making. It was inspiring and I was elated after seeing it. I also saw ChildishGambino in Bilbao at a festival and while the setting (the top of a mountain in the middle of summer in beautiful Spain) was stunning, it was wildly enhanced by Childish Gambino’s set, his stage presence was like that of a legend, I felt like I was seeing the new MarvinGaye or something! It was poignant, political, meaningful, funky and fun all the same time. I was in such awe! And last but not least, DollyParton, she’s my fave! I have seen her several times, every time I cry during Little Sparrow. Her Glastonbury set was brilliant, and I really enjoyed when she played the O2, she’s also such a hero because of what she gives back to her community. She’s also a tough cookie and a savvy businesswoman; I love her!
5. Recommend a record and a book that you think our readers might not have heard of.
I don’t presume to know more than anyone else about music and books but I can tell you my jam these days is old-school world music. I have been listening non-stop to a Spotify playlist I’ve made featuring Fadhili William, Eden Ahbez, Mulatu Astatke, Dixie Kwanka, Lord Kitchener (he always sounds so happy), Yma Sumac (her voice is insane it’s so good!), Joose Keskitalo etc. In fact here’s a link to the playlist if you want to hear it.
Books, let’s see, I am currently reading an anthology of American Indian Myths and Legends, I am part Native American so I’m enjoying delving into my history a bit. Also, these stories are mad! It’s really obvious that Native Americans smoked peyote and chowed down on magic mushrooms because these stories are a trip and a half; yet they are created to explain the mundane… like farming, animals, seasons and weather is all explained with these totally crazy stories. I highly recommend it as an alternative to fairy tales, great bedtime reading.
6. What’s your best piece of advice for young musicians?
Umm… just do it! Don’t doubt yourself, don’t second guess your creativity, follow your muse, listen to your heart. Do it for fun, and do it because you love it. Don’t do it to ‘make it’ or ‘get signed’ because it’s a rough road and can be really hard sometimes; sometimes people won’t get it, and that’s hard but it’s okay and will make you stronger. Do it because it’s who you are. If you gotta do it, you gotta… it’s just in you, right? Don’t give up.
7. Your top 3 most beloved albums ever – go.
It’s tough because there’s so much
music I love! But the albums I’m
choosing are old I guess these are tried and tested and have stood the test of
time, I have listened to these records so many times for so many years they are
a part of my lifeblood now. But there’s
shizzloads of wonderful new music that I’m obsessed with too! I guess these albums below are formative for
Paul Simon’s Graceland was one of the first secular albums my mom played in the car. I had a very sheltered upbringing and wasn’t exposed to pop or rock music really. The sounds from that album were bouncy like sunshine, but I knew what he was singing about was serious. I was just a kid and wasn’t fully grasping the importance of his links to South Africa and the double meanings to songs caught up with me later, but it was fun and got me bopping in the back seat.
Depeche Mode Music For The Masses was one of the first tapes I bought with my babysitting money from a bargain bin at the music store in the mall. It had probably been out for ages by the time I got it on sale, but it was new to me and sounded like future music to my sheltered, Midwestern ears. My friends at the time were listening to Journey and Boston, Kansas and Rush; it was like being in a time warp. Depeche Mode was dark and synthy and I had never heard anything like it. I listened to the song Stripped on that album over and over; I loved it and was also convinced that I was going to go to hell for listening to it.
3rd choice, I was really torn, as I wanted to choose a Beatles record as I am a bit obsessed with the Beatles (have been since the 90’s) but for a start, I would struggle to choose just one Beatles album (Revolver, Rubber Soul and White Album all being favourites) but I think Nirvana’s Nevermind actually shifted the way I listened to music. It was such a shake up from the shiny pop I’d grown accustomed to with mainstream ears. Madonna and MichaelJackson were mainstays of the roller rink but Nirvana conjured up that rebel inside and made me wanna learn how to smoke and drive around Kansas City with my speakers distorting from the sheer volume of it.
Honorouble mention goes to Bjork’s Homogenic, which scored many road trips across Kansas for me as a teenager and showed me how quirk and grandeur can live side by side in a song. I love this record and Bjork’s a bit of a legend. Ditto TheBreeders Last Splash, who showed me that girls can rock just as hard or even harder than boys can, but Breeders still have tuneful riffs and melodies, channelling riot grrl swagger with a pop sensibility that could rival PetSounds. It’s good to have role models like that! There’s a whole new stable of excellent female-fronted bands that I love and it seems easier than ever for women to get out there and rock out! I’m excited to be a part of that scene and The Breeders paved the way.
8. What are your musical goals?
I just wanna keep making music and I wanna keep doing my thing the best way that I know how. I actually was having a really hard time prior to writing this new album (You Are Here – it will come out later this year), lots of big life stuff went pear-shaped, I was made redundant from my day job (I worked as a music supervisor in advertising, which is a whole tangent story I won’t go into now, but I could probably write a Kill Your Friends style book about it) and on the same day my label dropped me (with a bluntly-worded email), what kind of hideous stars aligned that day? Friends then let me down, people close to me got cancer, another friend died, I had my own health stuff going on with hospital visits, blood tests, MRI scans, it was the lowest of the low… and it can be really damaging to put your heart out there in song form and to feel like it’s not connecting, it’s like Mercury was constantly in retrograde or something. It’s not that I’m after validation or fame; it’s more that as an artist my music feels incomplete if I don’t share it, like that’s the final part of the creativity equation. So I had resolved to just quit, to stop making music, I felt it was too painful to lay it all out on the line like that to have people treat it like something disposable. But the funny thing was, I couldn’t stop. Songs kept popping into my head and lyrics kept forcing their way out of my pen, I tried to ignore it, but it was pounding like a tell-tale heart, so I had to write this record, and it came out in its most organic form. I had a lot of fun making this record and now I’m just excited to share it and I’m not going to get hung up on if a music bizz person screws me over, or a record label boss is kind of douchey, maybe I’ve developed a thicker skin (a silver lining from all that bad stuff). This album is pure expression and comes from the heart, some of that pain is in there, and so is the optimism that comes with the pain, it’s whole and it’s human and I’m proud of it… if it does well, that would be great! But that’s not why I do it, I do it because it is simply ‘in me’ to do it, it’s who I am. So my goal is just to be able to keep on doing it. A nice team (a label, PR, plugger) would be living the dream, but I think most importantly I need to just work with lovely, likeminded people who appreciate and respect my vision.
9. What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now?
I am the luckiest girl in the world because I have such a sweet band and amazing, talented people I can call upon to sing with me, play with me, write songs with me, and generally have a laugh on the tour bus with. My band consists of my best friends. I’m 1000’s of miles away from home; so they really do feel like my band family. It’s like I have a bunch of crazy brothers and sisters. We have been lucky to find each other and we all have fun together.
10. Give your top 5 contemporary bands/musicians.
Okay, top 5 contemporary bands/musicians…
GazCoombes – I absolutely love him. Supergrass were great, but he has really evolved and developed his solo career in such an amazing way, it’s been fun to watch his music grow! His style has evolved from Here Come The Bombs to Matador to World’s Strongest Man, and I’m excited to see what he does next. I also think lyrically it’s great that he delivers what I see to be a feminist message with a masculine voice, speaking to all types of music fans and generally doing some good out there in the world. Wounded Egos has a lot to say!
GoatGirl – are so fun! We played Jools Holland with them (with Gaz Coombes, okay, I do sing BV’s with him!) anyway, when we met them, they were sweet and fun, and their music is artful and cool. I wanted to join their band, ya know! They seem to be doing it for all the right reasons. I am pleased to see how well they’ve done with their debut album and can’t wait to see what they do next.
Melody’s Echo Chamber isn’t super new (first album 2012) but they are still making new albums and I think it’s great. I love how chic and French she is, how cool it all sounds, they are also not afraid to mix it up with strange meters and time signatures and they use really great space-age sounding synths atop organic rock-tinged tunes, it’s a fusion I can get behind. They kinda remind me a bit of Stereolab, who I also love.
CateLeBon is amazing, I’d love to take guitar lessons with her, and I also think her Welsh accent sounds so cool; oddly a bit like Nico and the VelvetUnderground. He lyrics are quirky without being twee, they are twisted and knowing, the music has cool, laid back appeal and the riffs, by god her guitar riffs, they will haunt you once you’ve heard them. I also love her side project Drinks that she did with WhiteFence.
Willie J Healy – I super love him. He sings on my new album (you heard it here first folks, ‘cuase it’s not out yet!) he’s just such a sweetheart and he oozes so much talent. He’s always writing, creating and striving in a way that is very natural. His songs have this slacker rock vibe that makes me feel cool just listening to it, but the songs are quite technical, despite sounding slacker, they are seriously great! I think he sounds a bit like Pavement or more angular moments of DinosaurJunior, but Willie J is a lot more refined than your average slacker rock, he’s quite muso! Actually so are Pavement and Dinosaur Junior, so maybe the term ‘slacker rock’ is an oxy moron, ha!