Tag Archives: dolls

A WOMAN OF MANY BANDS: Jade Ellins in conversation

Interview by Tony Rounce, photos by Keira-Anee and  Neil Anderson

It may have been all quiet on the DOLLS front of late, but Jade Ellins has not been resting on her laurels.  Currently in two active bands, the duo’s charming, affable front woman took time out from her ever-busy schedule to tell our Tony all about herself, and to bring LW up to date with what she’s been up to recently…

I suppose the first question that everyone would like an answer to (myself included!) is what’s become of DOLLS?

Well it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster as Bel had to go back to Spain last year. However, we will be releasing our 2nd EP this year, hopefully in the spring. We recorded it with Margo Broom producing, and it’ll be coming out with the same team who released Pop The Bubble – I can’t wait! I’ve been writing too, and working really hard on new songs that I think are really strong and I’m so excited for people to hear them!

You’re still in two top notch bands that we know about, in Abjects and Big Sea Creature. Obviously BSC is an outgrowth of the late, lamented Long Teeth, but how did the hook up with Abjects come about?

I got a message from Kelly Chard of We Can Do It, saying that Abjects were looking for a bassist and would I be up for a jam – so I said yes! Then Noemi (Abjects) got in touch, we had a jam and that was it! I enjoy playing with the girls so much, and think their songs are fantastic!

How does being a part of a bigger band (as you are with BSC and Abjects) differ from being its lone frontsperson for you?

I generally feel a lot more relaxed at gigs if I’m not fronting, and I love supporting front people and getting to watch them on stage. I feel like when you front a band you give all your energy to the audience and it feels very personal, almost like a form of therapy. There is nothing quite like that feeling. With fronting though you feel the highs and lows of performing a lot more. I love doing a mix of both, as they are very different experiences.

What and who inspired you to aspire to a career as a musician originally?  Were your family musical/supportive/influential, for example? Did you see someone on TV and think ‘I Want To Be Them?’

Both my parents are musicians, so I was always encouraged to be musical from a young age. I started piano when I was 4 and could also hold a tune, so luckily I got my parents musical genes. I feel so fortunate that I get to earn a living out of music, as well as be creative and write my own music. Thanks Mum and Dad for pushing me to practice when really I just wanted to play Barbies all day!

Your favourite and most influential singles/albums are?

  1. Made in Japan – Deep Purple
  2. To bring you my love – PJ Harvey
  3. Push the sky away – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

And your favourite five most influential artists?

  1. Nick Cave
  2. PJ Harvey
  3. Bikini Kill
  4. Mitski
  5. Talking heads

First record you bought? And the most recent one?

First record I think was ABBA Gold and honestly I mainly listen to music on Spotify now. My partner Sam loves listening to records so I listen with him, lately we have been listening to ‘Be the cowboy’ by Mitski which I have been loving!

First band you saw? And your most recent one (that you’re not a member of, obviously…)

My first band was Bjorn Again, I loved ABBA when I was 6 (and still do!) and recently I saw Mango at their single launch, which was ace!

And your most memorable gig to date with any band you’ve been a member of?

Long Teeth’s final gig was a really wonderful evening for us, I honestly felt like I had to prepare emotionally for that gig for about two months. When I was there I was like right let’s do this! It brought me such happiness to be able to play those songs for people again and to remember our lovely Al. I also loved the DOLLS EP launch at Rough Trade. It was a Monday night at 6pm, and I thought ‘Oh it will be a small crowd’. I could’ve cried when I came on stage and saw it so full! (TR – having been present at the show I can happily confirm this to be true…)

You play guitar with DOLLS and bass in every other band I’ve seen you with. Which is your preference, and which came most naturally to you in the first place?

I started guitar lessons when I was five so I have been playing guitar for a really long time now. I started on double bass (I know I’m 5 ft 2 and I only got to play a half-size) then naturally moved onto bass guitar. I guess guitar will always be my first calling, but I love the discipline of bass and crafting functional parts. I also seem to get asked to play bass in bands way more than I do guitar. Bassists always seem to be the ones that are in demand.

As a songwriter, what part of writing comes easiest to you, lyrics or melody?  And how much input do you have to the creative input of a band like BSC, where you are not the main or sole songwriter?

I find coming up with the guitar riffs/chords the easiest. I write lyrics with Sam, and he always helps me come up with melodies. With bands like BSC and Long Teeth, Sam writes the core of most songs and we add to it. Sometimes I might heavily influence a song with a bass line but I’m also happy to support Sam’s ideas.

You’ve already played for and with some notable names outside of what we think of as the DIY music scene. Is there anyone special on your wish list that you’d like to add to your CV?

I would like to support Nick Cave and the Pixies, please!

Has there ever been a time in your life when you have considered an alternate career path?

Yes! Being a musician is tough and not always the most stable of careers. But it’s the only thing I really love doing so I keep on going.

What do you do when you’re not being Jade the professional musician (assuming you have time to do anything else…)

I watch a lot of films and TV, if I’m honest. Characters I see in shows inspire a lot of my songs. I also make an effort to be social, as I feel like when you are writing and working from home you can become bit of a hermit and slowly become more and more uninspired.

Do you think it’s getting any easier for women in music, now that there are more bands out there comprised predominantly and/or exclusively of women/womxn?  Both at the DIY level and in general?

I think at a DIY level definitely. There are so many female fronted nights in the UK, which I think is brilliant. I think at a professional/mainstream level it has definitely got better, but there is still some work to do. I can think of some incredible female singers, but when it comes to instrumentalists I can struggle. I find there are very few female guitarists I can show my young female students for inspiration. I’m hoping this will change soon.

Any closing advice for those who aspire to the life of a singer/writer/musician?

I think my main thing is don’t become too complacent. It’s very easy to get a tiny bit of success and think ‘woo I made it!’  and then become big headed and very quickly realise the success isn’t growing as quickly as you think. Being hard-working and polite is also so important!

Long Teeth: Last ever show @ The Shacklewell Arms, 18 Nov 2019

Live review by Tony Rounce. Photos by Keira-Anee Photography.

A wonderful career: the final curtain for one of the finest bands of the past few years …

Once upon a time there were two men and a woman who made a truly joyful musical noise in the studio and on stage. Their fan base was expanding with every show they played, and their future potential was looking limitless.

Then all of a sudden, three became two.  The drummer got very sick, very suddenly, and died at just 30 years of age.  The others missed their friend and colleague greatly. Rather than looking for a permanent replacement, they decided to close the door on that particular chapter of their musical careers, and find new projects to challenge that limitless future potential.

Thus it was that Jade Ellins and Sam Asbury – plus a trio of percussive pals – gave their friend and colleague Alessandro ‘Al’ Salzano a truly memorable ‘going away party’ at Long Teeth’s last ever gig at Dalston’s Shacklewell Arms (with excellent support slots from Gold Baby and Mango that need to be acknowledged, but I hope neither band will feel slighted if that’s all I do here).

It was cold outside, but the venue was filled with a near capacity crowd displaying warmth and appreciation for a top musician – and, according to those who knew him as a friend as well as a drummer, a totally top bloke as well.  If you never got the chance to see LT, let me offer you these musical comparisons: think early Talking Heads with a side order of Gang Of Four and/or their female counterparts the Delta Five. If you caught any of those bands in their pomp you would recognise LT as being kindred spirits, with Sam’s pithy, perceptive lyrics and his urgent delivery thereof being complemented by jagged and all-powerful guitar work – underpinned in a thunderous manner by Jade’s rock solid bass playing and crucial vocal contributions.  If you have ever seen Jade fronting the currently-on-extended-hiatus DOLLS you will be well aware of her own extraordinary abilities as a guitarist and vocalist, and she carries herself as a bassist in a similarly dominant manner.

With the assistance of not one but three of their chums occupying Al’s drum stool at various points, they performed 11 songs in an ecstatically received 40+ minute set with the exhilaration of a band that was just starting out, rather than one that was saying goodbye.

And what of those songs?  Well, the other purpose of the evening was to launch a limited edition, beautifully packaged vinyl mini-album containing 8 tracks that comprise almost their complete discography. Four of those songs had previously appeared on their 2017 ‘Canned Laughter’ CD EP, while four were new and had been completed with Al shortly before he passed away.  It was and is a worthy project that I hope everyone in the Shacklewell purchased at least one copy of, as all profits made on the sales are going to the North London Hospice.

The magnificent ‘Canned Laughter’ and ‘Nice Guys’ got the loud part of set underway in earnest after Jade brought things in calmly with ‘Walk In The Water’. After a brief dialogue from Sam about the purpose of the evening three of the LP’s new tracks got their final public airing, the fantastic and lyrically wry ‘Never Wanted A Job’ particularly stressing what we are going to miss.

‘URA Winner’ from ‘Canned Laughter’ paved the way for a couple of great numbers from the trio’s deep catalogue, their 2015 CD single ‘Famous Girls’ and the even earlier ‘Little Machine’, before the LP’s title track ‘White T-Shirt’ gave notice that the end was nigh – and that it was inevitably going to come with the mighty ‘Pangea’ which – in a truly magical moment towards the end of the song – featured all three of the drummers who had subbed for Al playing simultaneously in a Burundi like manner, while Sam riffed relentlessly from the audience and Jade screamed the chorus line “My Name Is Pangea, I’ve Had A Wonderful Career” like the lives of all present depended on her doing so. It seemed a somehow fitting way to end a final set by a band that really should have had a much longer ‘wonderful career’, had The Grim Reaper not decided otherwise.

It was an emotional night, but in a happy and positive way. A great send off for a great musician, and a great group.  I did suggest to Sam afterwards that they should make it an annual event, but he was adamant that we had all seen the last of Long Teeth and that there would be no repeat performance, ever.   He and Jade now have their relatively new project Big Sea Creatures, while just the night before I witnessed Jade’s great debut gig on bass with the excellent Abjects at the Windmill in Brixton.  DOLLS may be on hiatus, but that concept is not done and dusted either. The pair have plenty to occupy them going forwards.  Whatever the future brings they can look back on this part of their past with extreme pride – and an exit that concluded Long Teeth’s own career on the highest of highs.

Big Sea Creatures have upcoming gigs in December at the Hope & Anchor on the 4th and the Finsbury on the 9th.  Hopefully there will be more Abjects gigs to come soon, too…

If you were not there last night and would like to buy the ‘White T-Shirt’ album please find LT’s Facebook page and proceed accordingly!

DOLLS: Pop the Bubble – EP review

Review by Zoe Biggs

DOLLS (Bel and Jade)

London duo DOLLS are really spoiling us with their latest EP ‘Pop The Bubble’. Full of spikey garage rock riffs, and forceful drums, these are four infectiously catchy songs. Not content with this alone, there is also some vivid and vibrant artwork by Graham Humphreys awaiting you If you’re lucky enough to pick up one of the limited edition vinyl before they sell out.

Dolls launch right into things with opener ‘Sugar Free’, singer and guitarist Jade’s commanding vocals proclaiming that ‘Pop is dead’. Sharp guitars give way to a pounding beat by drummer and vocalist Bel, as both voices play off each other to form the instructive hook to ‘pop the bubble’ because ‘pop is dead’. The songs takes wry and raucous shots at modern day throwaway society and its superficial nature.

Dolls: Pop the Bubble

Next up is ‘Pink Bones’, allowing us a brief pause with a more subdued sound. Sweet vocals and dreamy guitars layered over understated drums spotlight Doll’s versatility.

The standout song on the EP for me is third track ‘Armchair Psychiatrist’. The quirky and catchy riff is just the tip of the iceberg. The lyrics and their delivery are the star players here. Prickly, somewhat sarcastic, providing an interesting insight into a internal monologue we could all relate to. A particular favourite line being: ‘Handshakes, I always get them wrong/ You were going for the hug now it’s half and half.’ Who hasn’t been in that situation?

Closing the EP, final track ‘Oh Harry!’ swaggers in with the confidence of early Hole. It saunters through with attitude and a blissed out garage-pop vibe until reaching a raucous and uplifting climax.

With this release, Dolls provide more than enough hooks, energy and quirks to leave you suitably intrigued and primed for their next release.

Socials:
facebook
musicglue
youtube

26 June: DOLLS / Peach Club / Wutip / I, Doris at the Camden Assembly

31882779_436666410116138_2631137299567476736_n

LOUD WOMEN is teaming up with our friends Wutip to bring you a special night at the Camden Assembly, Tuesday 26 June. Feat:
DOLLS
Peach Club
Wutip
I, Doris

PAY WHAT YOU WANT (Suggested: £6 waged, £4 unwaged)
(ALL PROFITS GO TO THE BANDS)

We’ll also be taking any and all donations for the Camden branch of Solace Women’s Aid, so please give what you can. For more info on their very important work, visit their website: http://solacewomensaid.org/

23472470_1687477677990299_2361963971191824920_n

LOUD WOMEN album launch

18

What a day, and what a night! Our LOUD WOMEN Volume One compilation album launch party was a massive success. Undeterred by a last-minute venue switch, 13 of our awesome CD contributors rocked the very awesome New River Studios, played to a (at times) full capacity crowd, and thoroughly launched what is looking set to be a hugely successful album.

Pre-sales and launch day sales of the album now mean that we just need to sell 4 more CDs to break even on the cost of manufacture, then after that all profits will be going to Women’s Aid!

If you missed out on the launch party, here’s a quick round-up of goings on …

Lilith Ai and her new band opened the show with a poppier new sound. It’s Lilith’s stunning vocals that still makes your ears prick up and your hair stand up, so we can’t wait to see her playing again solo on the bar stage at LOUD WOMEN Fest in September.

19

Janine Booth gave a poetry set full of characteristic bite and warmth, opening with a brand new poem about the ‘Disaffected middle-aged woman’ which really hit home with this one! Janine is such an inspiration – travelling across London to give her time to our cause (for which she donated her fee to Women’s Aid), not complaining for a moment about her early slot in the line-up, and telling me moments before she went on stage that her boob was ‘still cooking’ from the course of radiotherapy she’d had that week. Massive love and solidarity with our shero Janine.

20

Madame So played next, accompanied only by a drummer, giving a stunning and heartfelt performance. She then stuck around to enjoy the rest of the day’s music – an artist who knows the importance of supporting her fellow musicians. Awesome attitude.

2

(Sorry Solange, I failed to get a photo of you – instead, here’s Bagel, the resident cat at New River Studios.)

Fightmilk joined us next, having stepped off another LOUD WOMEN stage only 16 hours previously! They’re always a joy to watch – they’re a rocking party and everyone’s invited. Top fun.

17

GUTTFULL played next – my band! We were on great form, if I say so myself … our singer, Moe, is proving herself to be a total natural at the front of a stage. She left the audience  raised-up/chastened as appropriate, and also covered in ‘cum’ from her party cannon orgasm. Dead proud of my new band!

16

The Tom Boys from Japan were a last-minute addition to the bill, as they happened to be over in the UK staying with friends of friends and were looking for a gig. What a treat! They gained a lot of new fans in London yesterday.

The Potentials hopped on next and, bouyed up by the Tom Boys’ awesomeness, decided to scrap their planned set list, and instead play all of their old favourites that they haven’t played for ages. They announced this as their “disaster set” … but it worked brilliantly!

13

Nervous Twitch came all the way from Leeds, in the rain, with a dodgy windscreen wiper, to play a stonking set. I’m always blown away watching Erin playing bass and singing *so brilliantly*, such a hard thing to do and she makes it look easy.

15

Little Fists played next, reminding us all why we love them so much. Alternating catchy tunes with fierce rock;  and alternating melodic vocals with visceral, well, shouting. They switch between instruments with ease (well, ease, apart from Soph falling off the drum stool a few times, but done so elegantly of course!)

7

The Ethical Debating Society were introduced by Scene Queen Pearl Pelfrey, who rightly described them as her favourite London band. TEDS were on top form – possibly the best I’ve ever seen them play – and they debuted some very exciting brand new material.

11

DOLLS joined us next with their storming pop-rock, catchy tunes, stunning vocals, infectious smiles, and perfect teeth. How are these two not playing stadiums yet? We’ll just make the most of getting to see them in small venues while we can because it seriously can’t be long before they go stratospheric.

8

Argonaut were also on top form – playing as a full band for LOUD WOMEN for the first time in too long! Lorna wowed us with her powerful voice and tigger-like dance moves, and Abby won herself a LOUD WOMEN ‘multi-tasking’ badge by playing keyboard, guitar, singing, and shouting down a megaphone during their set. Top work.

9

Gladiators Are You Ready? however, won the badge for most memorable live show. Jose and Ste entered wearing terrifying masks, and if that didn’t scare the shit out of us all enough, a bare-chested, kilted bagpiper entered from the far end of the hall, playing through the room and on to the stage, then piping in the entrance of ‘Vulvarine’, aka Hana, looking hot AF in an outfit that looked like she’d just rode in on some kind of winged fetish pony. She then produced a cape emblazoned with several pairs of pants, with letters on spelling out ‘TOO LOUD FOR TOOTING’. They could have just stopped at that, to be honest, they’d made their point. But they then played an awesome set of spectacular songs. Couldn’t really tell you what they’re about – between the masks, the bagpipes, and the corsetry, I was pleasantly distracted – but we all had a bloody good time dancing along to them. Must see these lovely mad bastards play again soon.

3

Then Deux Furieuses played their headline set and showed us all how it’s really done – a stunning set by two women with awesome talent, energy, and passion for their music. They were the perfect end to a perfect day’s gigging.

1

Special thanks too to the awesome Alice of the Glitter Girls, who came along to paint glittery shit all over our faces, in aid of refugee charities. Glitter makes everything better, even these beauts!

14

LOUD WOMEN: Volume One compilation CD available to pre-order NOW!


cover
btn_buynow_cc_171x47back

LOUD WOMEN – Volume One will be released on CD on 18 March 2017, featuring tracks by 21 of the UK’s most hotly-tipped female artists:

  • Dream Nails: DIY04-dream-nails
  • Bratakus: Pollution Evolution
  • Petrol Girls: Touch Me Again
  • Dolls: Audrey
  • The Empty Page: Deeply Unlovable
  • The Ethical Debating Society: Poor Liam
  • Gladiators Are You Ready?: I Want to Love You
  • deux furieuses: Out of My System
  • Fight Rosa Fight!: Sick of You
  • GUTTFULL: Keyboard Warrior
  • Little Fists: Tyler is Not a Feminist
  • The Potentials: Moloch14188231_1107551255999096_1587132143501267403_o
  • Nervous Twitch: Something Wrong With Me
  • IDestroy: IDestroy
  • Madame So: Black is Beautiful
  • Fightmilk: Chaperone
  • Bugeye: Hey You
  • Argonaut: Not Rich
  • The Wimmins’ Institute: Nando’s
  • Lilith Ai: Riot
  • Janine Booth: Real Rape

All artists have played at the LOUD WOMEN monthly live music nights or the annual festival.
Organiser and musician Cassie Fox says: “It’s 2017 and women are still struggling to get their voices heard in all arenas. LOUD WOMEN is about putting women centre-stage and turning up the volume. There are hoardes of massively talented female artists out there, hopefully this CD can bring a few of them to a wider audience.”

The album will be officially launched on 18 March with a special all-day gig at the Sound Lounge in Tooting, featuring live performances from 12 of the artists on the CD.

cdlaunch

18 March – LOUD WOMEN album launch party

cdlaunch

LOUD WOMEN are holdling a party to celebrate the launch of a new compilation album, with all profits going to Women’s Aid.

Tickets £6 in advance (£8 on the door) from https://www.wegottickets.com/event/386676

Under 18s free – please obtain a child ticket so we can monitor numbers https://www.wegottickets.com/event/386677

Live performances from some of the 21 acts featured on the album, including:

Argonaut
Bugeye
Deux Furieuses
Dolls
Fightmilk
Gladiators Are You Ready?
GUTTFULL
Janine Booth
Little Fists
Madame So
Nervous Twitch
The Ethical Debating Society
The Potentials