Category: Interviews

October 13th, 2017
By Alex Teitz
 
 India Ramey
            India Ramey should be a common name by now. She released 2 albums prior to Snake Handler. Snake Handler is a storied album mixing outlaw country and rock. The songs resonate about loss and remembrance. The video for the title track can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jMEyd-Z6nk
 
                Ramey worked with producer Mark Petaccia to make Snake Handler. Petaccia is known for working with Jason Isbell, Kasey Musgraves, Lindi Ortega to name a small few. The completed work is a striking album of both ferocity and tenderness. For info visit http://indiaramey.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Snake Handler?
 
IR: Patience.  It is not a virtue I normally possess but I exercised Jedi-like patience in crafting each song, finding the right producer, getting the album art figured out, etc.  It took about a year longer to accomplish but it was worth the wait.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about Mark Petaccia. How did you meet? Why did you decide to work with him on Snake Handler? What was he like to work with? 
 
IR: I was introduced to Mark by my good friend and very talented musician, Will Stewart.  Will had played with me before and knows my style and personality very well. He has also recorded some things with Mark and thought we would be a perfect fit.  He was right. Working with Mark Petaccia was one of the best decisions I have ever made. He got me. He spent so much time and care in making sure this album was the truest expression me and my stories.  The songs on this album are so intensely personal and he treated each one with special care.  Mark also has an incredible work ethic. He works his ass off until each song is perfect and then works some more.  He’s also one of the nicest, funniest people I have ever met. 
 
FEMMUSIC:  It sounds like studio time with Snake Handler was quick. What made things work in the studio easily? Did you have a lot of pre-production? 
 
IR: I worked on the songs for a long time before I ever met with Mark and then we did a few pre-production meetings to hammer out the details. The rest developed organically in the studio. It was done quickly because Mark and I have obsessive focus on the work so there is not a lot of down time in the week. 
 
India Ramey - snake handler
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision for Snake Handler?
 
IR: I would like for Snake Handler to be a classic like Isbell’s Southeastern or Neko Case’s Fox Confessor but then I want that for all of my albums.  That’s a high bar but you have to always be reaching.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time? 
 
IR: It varies from song to song. Some songs write themselves in 20 minutes, others take a year or two to develop. When all I have is just an idea for a song, I usually just start writing down words or phrases that are relevant to the idea and then assemble them in to bigger statements.
 
FEMMUSIC: What lessons did you learn from making Junkyard Angel & Blood Crescent Moon that helped you in making Snake Handler? What do you wish you knew earlier?
 
IR: Patience. Again.  I was just figuring things out on the first two albums and I didn’t take enough time to make sure they were put out into the world properly.  I learned the process and the timeline for a proper release for Snake Handler and have tried very hard to make sure it was put out there in a way that would get it to as many ears as possible. 
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why? 
 
IR: Probably “Things That Scare Me” by Neko Case. I just have a visceral reaction to that song and it says so much in so few words.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against? 
 
IR: At times.  I have encountered my share of mansplaining from male musicians that want to tell me how to sing or write. I have also been ostracized by groups of male musicians that had a fraternity type mind-set (no girls allowed, we only help out our bros, etc.) I also really really hate it when people offering guidance on my music career want to know my age. What the f-ck does it matter?  Does my age make me less talented?   Does my age affect my writing?  No. I think female musicians are still perceived to have a shorter shelf life than their male counter parts and that pisses me off. I hope that changes.
  
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why? 
 
IR: Neko Case because she is my hero and a genius.
 
FEMMUSIC: What’s one thing you’d change about the music industry? 
 
IR: The cronyism. Relationships are important and they are a beautiful thing but sometimes folks don’t listen to anyone outside their bubble and miss out on some good stuff.

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October 12th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Shilpa Ray

photo by Ebru Yildiz

              Shilpa Ray’s Bandcamp page doesn’t have a biography. It has a simple quote that says more about the artist. It is “Nobody grows up wanting to be an artist’s artist. Appreciated by the sub sect of the sub sect is like being the beauty queen at the leper colony.” https://shilparay.bandcamp.com/
 
            Ray herself has a storied history that would make some be in envy. Her first EP It’s All Self Felatio was released on Nick Cave’s label Bad Seed LTD after she toured with him. Before that she 2 previous bands, Beat the Devil and Happy Hookers. She has opened for Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye.

           On September 22 she released her 2nd full length album , Shilpa Ray as Door Girl. The album has a gritty realism to it that recalls some of “No Wave” era of NYC music. The spoken word opening to “EMT, Police and the Fire Department” is visceral. FEMMUSIC is honored to speak with her. For more info visit  http://shilparay.net/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
SR: Maybe it’s more focused. Who knows?  I’ve always had to let things stew for a while before the work comes out. I definitely need a lot of alone time. I’m kind of like that with everything. I barely socialize unless I’m at work or practice.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Door Girl?
 
SR: Making sure I wasn’t too jaded to make it. I wrote most of the material after getting off the road from Last Year’s Savage. I was broke and having to change line ups again. The process can get really draining.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision in making Door Girl? How was that different from Last Year’s Savage?
 
SR: I wanted to say something about my life working as a Door Girl in NYC. I think the mixed emotions and observations that come with the territory are really interesting
 
FEMMUSIC: I’m curious to know about whom you worked with on the album. Who were you most looking forward to working with? What stuck out for you in production?
 
SR: I had a blast working with Jeff Berner at Studio G! The sounds were so strong and our recording sessions were magic. It was hands down the best winter I spent in Brooklyn. Brooklyn winters tend to be gross and depressing.
 
FEMMUSIC: Shilpa Ray Stars As Door Girl is the full title. I was curious about the title. When you say “stars as” it implies putting on the persona. Do you take a persona in the studio? on stage? Can you describe that person?
 
SR: That was a joke to myself. I put on a pretty aggressive persona at work for sure, but at the same time it’s a part of me. I am surly and tough. I am a brown person born and raised in New Jersey. I’ve been fighting assholes all my life. I guess I use what’s left of my brain in the studio and in writing too.
shipla ray
 
FEMMUSIC:  The role as Door Girl caught me at the right point. I’ve recently been doing some editorials about themes like “fight like a girl” and “not the merch girl.” I’ve worked as an usher and coat check. There are certain jobs that are both the entryway to the world, that also have built in stereotypes. I was curious about what you thought when you worked as a Door Girl and what the job means to you now?
 
SR: It’s wild. One minute I’m standing next to Andrew Bird, singing a duet at Carnegie Hall while the next, I’m throwing out some wasted entitled 22 year old dressed in a Santa suit for calling me an ugly fucking bitch while refusing to pay a cover charge. I find this duality hysterically funny and also revealing of the human conditon. A job is a job. They all have upsides and downsides. My door girl job helps pay my bills and allows me to tour and work with an awesome staff. I have no complaints.
 
FEMMUSIC: I’ve recently started research on a possible larger story involving Gender Neutral Booking. It based upon the experience of some friends who changed their band name from something feminine (including a woman’s name in the band name) to something gender neutral. They saw their bookings increase because of it. Have you seen other artists who have different bookings because their band name is gender neutral? Your previous projects did not include your name. Now you are Shilpa Ray. Do you have an opinion on whether this might be a bigger issue in the industry?
 
 SR: I used my name in order to establish who was in charge, since internally most people, male and female in the industry will give credit to guys for songwriting, arrangement and production over a woman. It still doesn’t work though. No one believes Shilpa Ray is my real name and just assumes it’s some pretentious boho band name with significant hidden meanings only a student at Bard College can uncover. I can’t wait to know what these findings are.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
SR: Of course. As a woman of color it’s even worse. Oh well. Gotta keep working.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with, and why?
 
SR: I’m not sure. There’s a lot of people I’d like to work with but those things happen when they happen, so I tend not to think about them anymore.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
 
SR: How musicians get paid. It’s pretty dismal.

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October 5th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Isabel Munoz-Newsom – Pumarosa
 
            In September of 2015 Pumarosa released the single “Priestess.” The song set fire to the 5 piece London band. The band released their debut album The Witch in May. The album was produced by Dan Carey. They are doing a headlining US tour in October which will end with them opening for Interpol. They recently released the video for “My Gruesome Loving Friend” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22Sr–DH7S4&list=PLpoPad4WDvyX9fUxlrQN70vs0ox517Ui7
FEMMUSIC was lucky to do an e-mail interview with Pumarosa’s Isabel Munoz-Newsom. For info visit http://www.pumarosamusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making The Witch?
 
IMN: The Witch was our first album so I guess the main challenge was locking down the sound. We have been playing a for a few before and the sound had gone through various phases, we had to let the songs still have their character, but find a way of uniting them also. I definitely feel like we achieved this! With Dan (our producer) it seemed to just flow. 
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about working with Dan Carey. How did you meet him? What made you decide to have him produce The Witch? How was it working with him?
 
IMN: Pretty much as soon as we met Dan we all loved him. We recorded “Priestess” with him in his studio in Streatham and we were hooked. It is wonderful working with someone you really trust. We all have so much fun together. But it’s the best kind because it’s really intense- I mean, you are making something and it has to be good! We did not want to work with anyone else. He was the person who made us feel this way, and so we wanted to be with him.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
IMN: I don’t really know if I have a technique. I keep notes of phrases or words, thoughts on my phone or in a book. I also just sit down and write a lot of words down, on paper. Sometimes about a chosen subject, sometimes just let my mind wander. Then I look through it retrospectively and pick out phrases which seem to have something about them. And then I know what I am writing about. I see what I was saying more clearly. Then I continue writing in that vein of thought.
 
With the melody and chords I work at the piano. Kind of jamming till i find a sequence that clicks, or sometimes I will have thought of something more complete before I get there.
 
Then when I have a song I play it to the band. Then we work on it, sometimes for months!! Till we come up with an arrangement that’s satisfying. Everyone writes their parts.
 
However there are a couple of tracks on the album which initially came from an improvisation and we then structured into a piece. (The songs are) ”Red” and “Snake.” With these two pieces most of the work happens together with all of us present.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What benefits do you see in signing to a label?
 
IMN: Well a label effectively gives you a loan to propel you into the world. This loan enabled us to record our music and also to be able to live and entirely focus on the music rather than holding down a full time job. We are signed to Fiction and they are a very good bunch of people. You feel supported, and you are.
 
I have huge respect for artists who can run their own label, but I do not have the energy to do that. I wish I did. I think I would have to divide my brain. However, the people who run our label love what they do, and everyone seems to know everyone in the music world, that is their zone, and they are totally focused on navigating it. Whereas I just want to b in my studio or on the road.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What song (not your own) had the most impact on you and why?
 
IMN: This is a very hard question. I guess during my life different tracks have suddenly exploded what I new music to be. Hearing Neil Young “Old Man” when I was really high as a teenager..I could not believe how tender and beautiful it was. Hearing “Horses” by Patti Smith. Then hearing Prince, oh man how can anyone be so sexy. Currently Aldous Harding is blowing my mind with “Horizon.”
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
IMN: Yes I think so. Its just harder to get anywhere, because so many more men have come before.
 
 FEMMUSIC:  If you could tour with, or collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
 
IMN: I would love to go on tour with Nick Cave, just to watch him perform those heart breaking songs and with all that pain inside him. I think it would b incredible to witness.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
IMN: I think the whole thing needs to be radically reshuffled. I don’t think it has caught up since illegal down loading and then Spotify happened. But one thing? Artists should earn a bit more from Sportify plays I recon. That would help us to keep going.
 

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October 5th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Amy Shark
 
            When people speak of Australian pop stars the name you always hear is Lorde. The name you should pay attention to is Amy Shark. Shark’s songs “Adore” and “Weekend” are addictive. She recently released her EP Night Thinker and is touring the US on Vance Joy’s tour. She will be in Englewood, CO  on October 10, 2017 as part of the tour. FEMMUSIC was honored to do an e-mail interview with her. For information visit http://www.amyshark.com & http://www.gothictheatre.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
AS: It’s very simple, every spare second I get I grab a guitar and strum away until I find a chord progression I like and then I let it all out… like a therapy session.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Night Thinker?
 
AS: Just making time to do it. With all the shows and festivals etc. I was flying all over Melbourne to record in different studios.
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
AS: “Ribs” by Lorde, apart from the fact that it’s just a brilliant song it gave me hope that people are over glittery pop and maybe my kind of music would finally be respected.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
AS: All the time. So many times I would have guys come up to me and give me their advice and I’m like … dude I never asked!
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
AS: I’d love to collaborate with Eminem. All I want is one of my choruses in one of his songs!
 
 FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
AS: I don’t like encores. They just seem so cheesy and outdated, but who knows ill probably add one to my next tour lol. 
Amy Shark

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October 5th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Chappell Roan
 
            If you’ve heard the single “Good Hurt” recently then you’ve heard Chappell Roan. She is a new songwriter who has moved quickly from playing music to being signed before she is 20. She recently released her EP School Nights and is touring on Vance Joy’s tour. She will play Englewood, CO on October 10, 2017 as part of the tour. FEMMUSIC was honored to do an e-mail interview with her. For information visit http://iamchappellroan.com & http://www.gothictheatre.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
CR: Writing for me is always a draining process. A song can take 3 hours or up to 3 weeks to finish.  I write mostly on piano, so I write the the melody and chords first then figure out what I’m feeling and that’s usually what the song is about. After that,  I plug lyrics in the melody.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making School Nights?
 
CR: The biggest challenge was finding the right sound and vibe for the music.  I was in the studio for two years working to make it perfect.  It was also a big challenge going to the darkest parts of myself to write. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Atlantic Records. What made you decide to sign with them?
 
CR: The team I have at Atlantic is the best I could ever ask for. I got signed right when I turned 17 and they gave me time to grow ,to find my sound and develop as an artist. They have been patient with me and  helped me tremendously with this EP.  I couldn’t be more grateful.
Chappell Roan
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the most impact on you and why?
 
CR: “Stay: by Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko came out when I was a freshman in high school, which was the year I started writing. I couldn’t stop listening to it. I loved how it moved and the piano and how emotional it was. It inspired me to write some of my first songs.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
CR: A couple times I have been put in uncomfortable situations with older men who are producers. Some were inappropriate and/or made me feel less than them because I am a young woman. I do feel like the music industry is moving forward though. The best thing to do is show love and respect for all,and for women who are artists to come together and support each other.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with? Why?
 
CR:  It would so cool to collaborate with Khalid. I love his music and his voice. I would love to tour with The Weekend or Lorde. I look up to them so much and it would be so fun to tour with them.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
CR: I wish the business part of the music industry didn’t separate people. It always does, and relationships are ruined because of money and greed. I wish writers were given more credit for the songs they 100% wrote. It sucks and I hope one day it changes. 

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October 4th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Air Traffic Controller

               Air Traffic Controller has been flying high. They’ve been on Billboard’s Hot 100 Fest Performers, and on NPR’s Hot 100 List for SXSW in 2015. They’ve released 3 full length albums and recently released a new EP called Echo Papa.

              The core of Air Traffic Controller is Dave Munro, who started the band on his own​ when he returned to Boston after serving in the Navy,​ and ​Casey Sullivan joined after their debut album was released.  ATC is a 5 piece band from Boston that has been on FEMMUSIC’s radar. We are pleased to interview Sullivan prior to the First Chair Festival. For info visit http://www.airtrafficcontrollermusic.com/ & http://firstchairfestival.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
CS:  My songwriting technique has changed a lot over time.  I think it has become much more collaborative than it used to be.  A lot of my first songs I just wrote on an acoustic guitar by myself in my bedroom.  So over the years, writing more with the band has made me more comfortable sharing ideas with people and it’s almost made me rely on their feedback at this point.
 
FEMMUSIC: You released 3 full length albums before the Echo Papa EP. Why did you want to release an EP as opposed to another full length album? What benefits were there for it?
 
CS: I think it was really about how excited we were to get the songs out into the world.  We wrote and recorded the EP in a pretty short amount of time and felt like it had a very cohesive sound.  So rather than forcing an album, I think we just all kind of easily decided “This is done.  We want to show it to people now.”
FEMMSUIC: What was the biggest challenge making Echo Papa?
 
CS: I think part of our biggest challenge was knowing when to stop.  The writing and recording process can go on forever if you allow yourself to go down rabbit holes, and so deciding when a song was done and also deciding the it was just going to be an EP was a bit of a challenge
 
FEMMUSIC: What song (by another artist) has had the biggest impact on you and why?
 
CS: I go through phases with songs and styles and artists, so it’s hard for me to choose a “favorite” or “most important” song to me because it always changes.  I guess within the past week I’ve been really drawn to the song “Both Sides Now” by Joni Mitchell.  I’ve always loved her vocal phrasing and of course her lyrics.  This song has kind of a sad hopefulness and innocence to it that is really hitting me hard right now.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
CS: Yes, but I don’t think that it’s something that’s unique to the music industry.  I’ve been in situations where I’ve felt in danger and alone and almost forced into working with people that frightened me.  As a young woman, it was a really difficult world to navigate, but I’ve learned that it’s important to do what you love and most importantly surround yourself with people that lift you up and don’t make you feel “less than” just because the industry can be a boy’s club.  It’s also important to a have a community of people that can be honest with you and warn you to steer clear of certain people.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with, or collaborate with and why?
 
CS: I’m a big fan of Miya Folick’s songwriting.  I discovered her music when I first moved to LA and she’s super talented.  If you haven’t listened yet, go check her out.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
CS: I think the music industry is going through a strange transition right now.  I think since people are not really paying for music anymore, musicians are having difficulty making money.  It creates this odd atmosphere for creation, where you have to look for other outlets for making money, which tends to be commercials and writing music for television and movie.  I think it’s strange for me that it seems to dictate certain music trends, and I guess if I could change something, I would love if that didn’t have an effect on musicians’ creative process.  If people could just write whatever they found interesting, I think we would be hearing more boundaries being pushed.  That’s just something I find really fun in music.

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October 3rd, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Frankie Rose
 
            Frankie Rose has played with Dum Dum Girls, Vivian and Beverly. She has been known as a New York musician for years. For her 4th album, Cage Tropical, Rose went to Los Angeles and worked with Jorge Elbrecht (Tamaryn, No Joy) and Dave Harrington. The result is a sublime album filled with a dreamscape of voices. It feels like ocean washing away the world. The album includes “Red Museum” which has a striking video directed by Geneva Jacuzzi. Rose is on a headlining tour. For info visit http://www.frankierose.info/
 
FEMMUSIC: Cage Tropical is wondrous creation. What was your vision for it when you began?
 
FR: I ever really start with a vision. Projects develop as I move forward and become ” a thing” starting an album is a bit like being at the bottom of my Everest , knowing you are going to climb it. Eventually you get to the top and you have created something!
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Jorge Elbrecht. How did you meet and what made you decide to work with him on this album?
 
FR: Jorge is a cool wizard. He likes supplements and can slay pretty much any instrument. I knew he would be perfect for getting the album started. He’s quick on the draw.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Dave Harrington. Again how did you meet and what made you decide to work with him on this album?
 
FR: Dave made a remix of pair of wings and I really liked darkside. He helped to arrange the record and challenged me to make choices I wouldn’t normally make.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Cage Tropical?
 
FR: Getting the resources together to make it happen… that happened by sheer will I would say…
 
FEMMUSIC:  In Cage Tropical you return to Slumberland Records for the first time since Interstellar. What made you decide to work with them again? What benefits do they bring to this project?
 
FR: I trust mike from Slumberland records with my life. Being on Slumberland records is like going home.
 
FEMMUSIC:  I happened to see Geneva Jacuzzi live at the same time the “Red Museum” video came out. Please tell me how you came to meet her and why you choose to work with her on the video?
Frankie Rose
 
FR: Actually Jorge suggested her as a director. I was already fan so he didn’t have to sell it to me.  I have actually never met her! I hope to!
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
FR: It’s been the same as long a short I can remember . Someone recently described it as sculptural I think that’s true. I have about 5 different versions of each song.. all with different elements , different speeds, I will carve away at something until it’s ” finished”
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
FR: Well. I think that’s obvious. Yes. It’s a completely male dominated industry most music writers are men most bands are full of men, most sound engineers are men. I think things are changing however. I’m happy to see it.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with and why?
 
FR: Robert Smith. The Cure. He’s amazing.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
FR: How male dominated it is. And maybe we need to figure out how to pay our music makers better. This Streaming business is not working out so well for us.

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October 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Lucy Rose
            Lucy Rose went through some life changing experiences to make her 3rd studio album Something’s Changing. She changed labels. She toured Latin America with the help of her fans. She went into the studio in a different way. The result is an album that reveals the artist’s true heart. Lucy Rose is on tour with Paul Weller in the US this month. For info visit https://www.lucyrosemusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  It sounds like you went through some profound changes before recording Something’s Changing. How did that effect your own goals for recording the album?
 
LR: I think my whole perspective for music and making records changed after really getting to know my fans. I understood what they had taken from my music and the importance of songs and making music. During that trip I reconnected to my guitar and writing songs began to feel natural again. I guess you can put a lot of pressure on yourself when you’re making something and worry that no-one will like it but I was just thinking about those fans I had met and was writing the record for them so I wasn’t worried and enjoyed the whole experience.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Something’s Changing?
 
LR: It really doesn’t feel like a challenging project, in many ways it was the easiest record I’ve made yet. I’m sure with more experience that helped but I had a very clear vision in my head about what I wanted to make, I had all the songs written and had been playing them for half a year or so so I felt confident in playing and singing them. The only challenge I can think of is that I was self funding this record and managing myself, so it was a lot to take on but it all worked out in the end.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about working with Tim Bidwell. What did he bring to the project and what did he bring out of you?
 
LR: A lot of laughing. Tim is one of the funniest people I know. Sometimes when you’re recording, things can feel quite serious. You’re in a studio, the clock is ticking and you know it’s costing money so there rarely feels like there’s time to mess around, be silly or just have another cup of tea and relax. And weirdly this record was so quick to make. In making the environment so relaxed, we did less takes and caught real performances. I think he brought out the best in me, sometimes I can be quite serious so it was nice that fun Lucy was out making this record.
 
 
FEMMUSIC:  It sounds like the production time of Something’s Changing was both really quick (17 days) and relaxing at the same time (I read you were attending some shows as an audience member then). How did that differ from producing your other albums? Were there any benefits or downsides you weren’t expecting with it?
 
LR: We clocked off most evenings around 7pm, so it meant I had the evenings to myself. I live in London, so don’t know that many people in Brighton which is were Tim lives, so I spent most evenings on my own going to see gigs. I not great on my own but I love it at the same time and it gave me lots of time to think about the record and the songs. Honestly I really enjoyed making this record, like I did the other records, they were all such different experiences, the first at my parents house in their living room, the second in a proper studio in London and this one in Tim’s house in Brighton. I did find it hard being away from home so much but it meant I was determined to work hard and get the record finished quickly. And the biggest benefit from making the record is the new friends I’ve made, Tim and Laura (Tim’s wife) are now great friends of mine and the musicians that Tim introduced me to are now by band who I love.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about Arts & Crafts Records. How did you come to sign with them? Did you have any reservations about signing to another label after leaving Columbia?
 
LR: I’ve always loved Arts & Crafts and it’s been a dream of mine to be able to release my music with them, I still can’t really believe it’s happened. After being set free from Columbia Records, I was a little nervous about my next step and I knew I would never do a regular major deal again, so I’m licensing my music, which gives me a lot more control and freedom to make the music that I want to make and put it out in the right way. I more involved in every step now so it feels much more authentic.
Lucy Rose
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
LR: It’s like waiting for a bus, you can be waiting for ages or two buses come at once. Last night I sat down at the piano and somehow wrote something and then picked up my guitar and wrote something else. But this last month I’ve written nothing because the moment wasn’t quite right and the feeling wasn’t there. When that feeling of inspiration comes I make sure I make the most of it and if it’s not there I try not to worry.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LR: There’s been the odd moment here and there where I’ve thought ‘if I was a man would you have said that to me? Or asked me that? Or treated me that way?’ Some people treat men and women so differently and don’t even realize it. I’ve had the odd comment on a radio show, when I was talking about living with my fans where the male presenter has said ‘oh you can come stay in my house’ and there’s a joke that’s slightly inappropriate that follows this and I feel like all my power has been taken. If I laugh along then how can I be taken seriously as a musician and if I say something I’m an uptight bitch who can’t take a joke. It’s really hard sometimes and I pick my battles but it’s never easy.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with and why?
 
LR: Neil Young, 100%. Because he’s my hero and I’d like to think his fans may like my music.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
LR: Tough questions but if I could change one thing I’d love the industry to not be profit driven.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

October 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Elizabeth Ziman
 
            Elizabeth Ziman is a Berklee graduate who first came to prominence with the release of the Elizabeth and the Catapult EP in 2006. She was signed to Verve Records in 2008. She has worked with Esperanza Spalding and Ben Folds. Her songs include “Race You”, “Taller Children”, and “Underwater.” She released her 5th studio album Keepsake in October. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak her about her songwriting and process. For info visit https://www.elizabethandthecatapult.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How has it changed over time?
 
EZ: My songwriting process has always been an idea first, whether it be lyrics on a napkin or whatever I can write on at the moment, followed by rushing to a piano to flesh it out. I learned guitar in recent years, specifically so that I didn’t have to find to find myself a piano everytime I was exploding with an idea.
 
FEMMUSIC: What were your visions and goals when you started on Keepsake?
 
EZ: I wanted to make something that showcased all the stylistic sides of what I do– from classical piano to folk to indie rock — and then somehow unite it all with an underlying theme.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Keepsake?
 
EZ: The biggest challenge is always choosing which songs to record. I think I started recording about 30 songs for this album – maybe more? I ended up choosing mostly the songs that had a “forgotten” or “nostalgic” quality to them, as they most genuinely tied in to the way I was feeling while recording the album. They’re all a little dreamy, a little contemplative, and always searching for meaning.
 
FEMMUSIC: How did you choose Dan Molad to produce the album? How was it working with him again?
 
EZ: I love working with Dan. We have a long history of working together – almost 10 years now. We’ve worked together on all of my albums. He’s incredibly talented and just released a wonderful album of his own music, his self titled “Chimney” – check it out!
 
FEMMUSIC: Both Like It Never Happened and Keepsake you used crowdfunding. What do you like about crowdfunding? What benefits and downsides have you encountered with it?
 
EZ: There are no downsides to crowd funding, except that you don’t want to keep supporters waiting too long! Otherwise, it’s a miracle that artists can find a way to fund their own music through their fans instead of searching for labels or investors—its a huge luxury, actually. I don’t take it for granted for even a minute.
 
FEMMUSIC:  I’ve recently started research on a possible larger story involving Gender Neutral Booking. It based upon the experience of some friends who changed their band name from something feminine (including a woman’s name in the band name) to something gender neutral. They saw their bookings increase because of it. Have you seen other artists who have different bookings because their band name is gender neutral? Do you think your own bookings would change if Elizabeth and the Catapult was Catapult? Do you have an opinion on whether this might be a bigger issue in the industry?
Sidenote – This is something that I’m researching as a bigger story. If you have any recommendations of whom I might want to speak to, I’m seeking any help I can get.
 
EZ: I haven’t experienced discrimination too much in terms of my band name, but I’m not surprised to hear. Sometimes I encounter sexism in my composition career — I’ve noticed there’s a lot less recognition for female-identifying composers and film scorers although it’s getting better. So, people just expect composers to be older and male. Its frustrating for sure, but there’s something much larger than myself at play there.
Elizabeth Ziman
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
EZ: Have I had unwelcome attention and/or made to feel small because I’m a woman? Have people told me to lose weight? Have I found myself in situations where it feels like a boys club? Sadly, yes. That said, I’ve also had the good fortune of working with many female PR agents and managers at many points in my career. That’s been rad! I always make sure to surround myself with strong smart feminist humans, of all genders, whenever possible. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
 
EZ: Ah! This is such a hard question. There are so many artists I’d love to tour with and collaborate with on any level. A couple off the top of my head: David Byrne, St Vincent, Tom Waits, and Danny Elfman to name a few…they are all beautiful, wildly imaginative artists who have somehow carved out a world that transcends music and exists in its own unique plane.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
EZ: I would make recording equipment less expensive so everyone can learn to record themselves in their home recording studios at an earlier age! Here’s to home recording — yeah!
 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

September 26th, 2017
by Alex Teitz

 

Ruth B Photo by Jacqueline Di Milia

Ruth B Photo by Jacqueline Di Milia

 
            Ruth B released The Intro EP in 2015, and her full length album Safe Haven this year. She is known for her lyricism and creativity as expressed in the single “Lost Boy.” She is a Juno Award Winner and is currently on a headlining tour including a date at Globe Hall in Denver on September 28. For info visit https://www.ruthbofficial.com/ & http://www.globehall.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
RB: Writing a song is different every time. I try to write as inspiration hits.  Even if it’s just a word, I like to keep it honest.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making Safe Haven?
 
RB: I don’t think there was a challenge. Writing these songs came naturally, and once I found the right producer things flowed well.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one song (not written by you) has most impacted you and why?
 
RB: I love Ed Sheeran’s album (+). I think a lot of the songs on there were a big part of my teenage years. “Lego House” in particular was the first song that made me think about writing.
Ruth B Photo by Jacqueline Di Milia

Ruth B Photo by Jacqueline Di Milia

 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
RB: I think it’s discouraging when you walk into a songwriter award show and see hardly anyone that looks like you. But that inspires me to keep going and shine light on the fact that anyone can do anything so long as they are given the opportunities.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
 
RB: I would love to one day work with Stevie Wonder. He’s always been a hero of mine and just to watch him do his thing would be amazing.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
RB: More female and people of color writers. Equal opportunity for all.

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

September 15th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
tokimonsta

 

TOKiMONSTA is the multi-talented producer, and record label owner Jennifer Lee. Originally a graduate of Red Bull Music Academy, she was signed to Brainfeeder Records where she remained until 2013. She then founded Young Art Records. She works frequently with Garen Tauk. For her new album, Lune Rouge, she collaborates with IO Echo, Selah Sue and more. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with her about her process. TOKiMONSTA is on a headlining tour including a September 30 date the the Bluebird Theater in Denver. For info visit https://tokimonsta.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: What was your vision in doing Lune Rouge?
 
JL: I didn’t create this album with any strong intentions or expectations in mind. I just wanted to create a body of work that brought me joy and allowed me to express my creativity without pressure. In the end, I’m left with this celebratory piece of art that brought me peace and
therapy after a very difficult time in my life.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Lune Rouge?
 
JL: Initially, it was that I couldn’t make any music.  Right before I started working on this album, I had to get two emergency brain surgeries that left me unable to talk, walk, understand speech, and create music.  The recovery was difficult, but eventually all those
faculties came back to me. So the first few attempts at writing music were not successful.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about some of the collaborations on Lune Rouge. I see you’re working with Selah Sue, Yuna and IO Echo to name a few. With those 3 specifically can you tell me how you met them, and how it was working with them?
 
JL: Selah Sue I met over email.  She lives in Belgium, so we still haven’t met each other in person. Be that as it may, we have had deep and personal email exchanges that really create a more personal bond, which was necessary for our songs.  IO Echo is actually one of my best
friends.  We had made a cover together, but this is our first time actually working on a full song. Yuna and I were introduced by our managers, but we were both big fans of each other.  She an amazing musician and person.  We’ve been able to work on several song and stay
in contact with each other.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve now been running Young Art Records for 3 years now. What is the biggest challenge with it?
 
JL: So far the label is doing fairly well, which is a relief. It is still difficult to find new artists to sign because I’m so particular about the artists I want on the label. There haven’t been any major surprises. I think I’m fortunate because I have an amazing friend managing the label and doing the hard stuff. I get to A&R and do the fun stuff. I’m sure if you asked him, he’d have tons of things to say.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What is your perspective on signing to record labels? Do you advise friends and other artists to sign? Why or why not?
 
JL: It depends.  For example, when I sign an artist, I am not stripping them of their rights to release on other labels and I am not taking a % of their touring, merch, etc.  I just sign artists so I can give them a platform to get their music heard by a larger group of people.
However, sometimes signing to record labels does involve giving a % of your life to them too.  It’s tricky, but always read the fine print before signing and weight the pros and cons.
 
FEMMUSIC:  I was reading one of your past interviews that asked about festival booking. I’m beginning to explore a story on Gender Neutral Booking based upon the experiences of some friends. They said that their
booking opportunities increased when they changed their band name from something feminine to something Gender Neutral. If you were performing as Jennifer Lee vs TOKiMONSTA do you think you would have the same bookings you’ve had now? Why or why not?
 
Sidenote – I’m exploring this question as a larger feature so if you have any recommendations on whom I should talk to, I’m seeking any help I can get.
 
TOKiMONSTA – Jennifer Lee
 
JL: I guess I do not have much to say on this because I’ve only gone by TOKiMONSTA.  In order to give a fair response, I feel like I’d have to know what it’d be like to be a touring artist with a feminine name. It is very unfortunate that the experience people have had to go
through and I’d be curious if “BUFF STRONG MAN 5000 BAND” would get booked more. Overall, I think it’s silly how a band’s “name” is referenced more strongly by bookers than their music and their following.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
JL: I think it is very likely, though it hasn’t been presented to me in a way where I experienced a situation where it was in my face.  I have heard from others that some peers undermine me saying they didn’t believe I made my own music, my boyfriend taught me everything I know,
I only get attention because I am a female producer, the list goes on.
 
FEMMUSIC:  I’ve read from other interviews that you would be interested in working with Missy Elliott and Bjork. Whom else would you most like to work with or collaborate with and why?
 
JL: Timbaland, Pharrell, Thom Yorke, MIA because they are all artists who create music that always challenges the norm. To be honest, I just want to see how they create and being a part of that would just be icing on the cake.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
JL: Equality. Meaning gender, race, orientation, all of it.
 
 
 
 

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September 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Zolita
 
            Zolita came to our attention in August when we received the video for “Fight Like A Girl (see Unfinished Mail).” She is a singer-songwriter who’d previously released Immaculate Conception EP. She is working on an unnamed new EP and is working with Paige Duddy of xylo and xylo’s producer Lee Newell. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak to her about the songwriting and process. For info visit http://zolitamusic.com/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
Z: It definitely varies. I write a lot of song lyrics in my notes and record melody ideas on my phone that I refer back to when I actually sit down with a guitar or keyboard.
 
When I actually sit down to write a song I’ll start with a title or concept, usually write the chorus first and then the rest.
 
FEMMUSIC:  With your new EP I understand you were co-writing with Paige Duddy and Lee Newell. What did they bring to the writing? How was it co-writing vs songwriting by yourself?
 
Z: Yes! Writing with Paige and Lee was so awesome. It was actually only my second time co-writing. I’m so used to writing solo, so it was refreshing to write with them because we’d all bring our experiences to a concept we’d be working on. Paige and Lee both have great ears for pop so they really helped me condense my ideas and lyrics in a way that was best for the song. I hadn’t worked with that kind of structure before. It was also really great to have three sets of ears, because when we were writing the melodies we’d all hear something so different and then all the best melodies came together. The best thing about co-writing is you have to finish the song even if it sucks! If you’re by yourself, there’s no one else pushing you but yourself so you can just put your guitar back in the case and call it a day.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What was the biggest challenge making the new EP?
 
Z: I think the biggest challenge was finding resources and the right people to work with. I’m an independent artist so it’s not that easy! I’m glad it took me the amount of time it did though, because it allowed me room to write more and explore different sounds before I reached the sound the EP has now.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What do you think the biggest differences were making this EP vs Immaculate Conception? What lessons did you learn in the interim?
 
Z: Immaculate Conception was more of a collection of songs I’d written and gotten produced over a long stretch of time. This next EP was more planned – I flew to LA to work with Paige and Lee for a week, brought a notebook of ideas, and we banged out five songs.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Tell me about “Fight Like A Girl.” First the songwriting. How did the idea originate and how did you develop it?
 
Z: Fight like a girl was the first song we wrote together. I knew I wanted to write a feminist power anthem and I wanted it to be catchy but also smart and meaningful. Lee came up with the idea “Fight Like a Girl,” wrote a dope melody, and then we filled it out from there to be more directed towards the current White House administration.
Zolita
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about the “Fight Like A Girl” video. Did it bring the vision you wanted to fruition or would you have wanted to do more? What was the biggest challenge making it?
 
Z: Yes! The video is everything I wanted it to be and more. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of women and I’m honored to have had the opportunity to tell their stories. The hardest part was probably the amount of locations – we crammed a studio shoot, outdoor shoot, and nine storylines into 4 days! I don’t know how we did it.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
Z: The best part about being independent is that I haven’t dealt with too many “industry” people. I’ve definitely been discriminated against by publications and people I was hoping to work with, but never by the people I’ve worked with directly.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with and why?
 
Z: I’d love to collaborate with Kehlani or Halsey! My dream would be to open for Lady Gaga. They are all bad-ass trailblazing women in the industry who I look up to tremendously.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
Z: It would be amazing if there were more female CEO’s! 

Posted in Interviews Tagged with:

September 1st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
 
STACEY by Laura-Lynn Petrick

STACEY by Laura-Lynn Petrick

Stacey is a Toronto based singer-songwriter releasing her 2nd EP called First Move. The EP was produced by Alan Day and Derek Hoffman. It includes the singles “It’ll Be Alright” and “First Move.” The videos are theatrical story productions driven by the emotional honesty in the songs. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/staceymusic
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
S: I write everything on piano first then build up the instrumentation together with a producer. I’m usually humming a vocal melody and letting that improvisation lead my fingers on the keys.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making First Move?
 
S: The biggest challenge was finding the right producers and being patient. I had made the EP once and scrapped it. I feel lucky that everything (eventually) fell into place very naturally with Derek & Alan.
 
FEMMUSIC: Your Facebook has a wonderful description of how you met Alan Day. How did you meet Derek Hoffman?
 
S: Yes! The power of the internet. I had actually corresponded with Derek very briefly years prior to this but never met in person. The Toronto music community is small so I think I had seen him around but we were never formally introduced back then. I met Derek and Alan in person both on the same day – the day we recorded First Move, at Derek’s studio, Fox Sounds. Alan was in town on tour with his band and we had decided to try and do one song together. I love them both so much and feel lucky to have built this EP with them.
 
FEMMUSIC:  How were Alan Day & Derek Hoffman to work with?
 
S: The best. Both had great ideas and are very talented music minds. Being in the studio can be pretty emotional for me because I take it quite seriously – they made it fun and were constant sources of support and encouragement.
 
5. How did you approach First Move differently from your first EP?
 
S: My songwriting approach was more or less the same but I think I had a better sense of what I wanted the songs to sound like this time around in terms of instrumentation and overall vibe. I invested more in the overall team and execution.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
S: There are things that have happened to me that I think would fall under the umbrella of “discriminated” against as a woman, certainly. That being said I also recognize that I am privileged in being a white woman. Whether it’s happening directly or systemically, I think we know that this is an ongoing issue but it’s heartening to see more and more people shouting down misogynistic behavior.
 
FEMMUSIC:  If you could tour or collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
 
S: Kevin Parker (Tame Impala). He’s been a long time musical hero of mine.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
S: I wonder what it’d be like if artists were paid a consistently salary to create. Seems like that’d be pretty great.

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August 31st, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Pussy Liquor
 
Pussy Liquor is a 5 piece punk band from Brighton. It includes Ari Black on vocals, Kristen Grant on guitar, Hannah Villanueva on guitar, Tallulah Turner-Fray on bass, and Victoria Lewis Piper on drums. They just released a “Pretty Good For A Girl” and are in the studio working on a 7 inch. They are playing the Loud Women Festival. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/pxssyliqxor/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
PL: We’d describe our songwriting technique as circle time or show and tell; when we write songs we normally start off by asking each other something like what’s made you angry recently or seen anything in the news, had any unwarranted comments in the street lately? And we write lyrics using the topics we discuss together eventually building up the instruments as we go along. We use our music as a platform so we feel it important to include all of our voices. 
 
FEMMUSIC: I was seeing on your FB and elsewhere that you have been recording. When can we expect some tracks, EP or album?
 
PL: We recently had a session with Third Circle Recordings where we filmed the session and recorded our track Pretty Good for a Girl (available to view online by Friday 29th August).
Alongside this we’ve been working on a 7 inch for a while now which will include 2 tracks to be released on our own label Revulva Records, we’re in our final stages so expect to be hearing dates and seeing releases very soon!
 
FEMMUSIC: Are you working with a producer? If so, whom? How did you find them? How did you find the studio?
 
PL: We’ve been working with the wonderful Republic of Music, they have been helping us manufacture our 7 inch through contact of our manager. The studio we recorded our tracks in was our college Access To Music Brighton (rest in peace) where we worked with a former teacher Kevin Ling in the studio whilst we still studied there. The studio wasn’t anything fancy as it was just a college studio, but we had everything we needed to be able to progress by ourselves, without the college’s help it would’ve been difficult.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
PL: Unfortunately yes, we’ve encountered situations where we’ve felt we weren’t being taken seriously and been sexualized. We come off stage and have men tell us we look hot or sexy, as if they’d not listened to a single word of the lyrics. We’ve had bad experiences with promoters and such making unsolicited advances at us and we’ve cancelled on people due to this very reason. It can be rather belittling, but it does give us more songwriting material. 
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with and why?
 
PL: Well firstly we’re very excited to play at  Loud Women fest as we’ll be playing with bands we admire such as Petrol Girls and Hands Off Gretel, it’s very exciting to hear strong female voices in the industry, we look forward to seeing all the lovely people play! If we could just get all the riot grrrls and make a big angry collaboration that’d be perfect really, we’d like to share the voice of everyone.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
PL: The industry is very male dominated, there aren’t many women working behind the scenes leaving a great sense of inequality, even though they’d like to. We’d like to see more job opportunities, support and more platforms for women seeking work in the music industry. Loud Women is a great example of this. We also feel female artists value can be determined down to how hot they are or how they can be sexualized, we’d like to see more labels and companies working against the sexualization and discrimination against women and working towards equality in all areas of music for people of all genders!  

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August 29th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
She Makes War – Laura Kidd
 
            Laura Kidd is a prolific songwriter, producer, director who works under the name She Makes War. Her music is both alternative and mainstream. She released “I Want My Country Back” to coincide with the UK election. She released Direction of Travel last year and is already working on the next album. She Makes War will be playing at the Loud Women Festival before beginning her next continental Europe tour. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with her. For info visit http://shemakeswar.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
LK: I always think in terms of collections of songs – and so far that’s meant albums – because I want to create a musical world each time which the listener can immerse themselves in, if they choose to. The title and themes come first, a culmination of experiences, world view and personal interests at the time, then the songs start coming subconsciously inspired by those. As for the practical side, it varies, but for the latest batch of songs I either came up with melodies and chord progressions to follow them, or the other way round, and I tried to write the arrangements of the songs in one sitting. I either wrote the lyrics the same day or a few days later, and edited a few bits and pieces later on when I made “posh demos”, by which I mean proper layered demos with all the drums, bass, guitar and backing vocal parts, plus keyboards where the cello and piano would go. I demo as I write so I can get all the ideas down.
 
FEMMUSIC: I understand you are working on your next album. What are your goals and vision for it?
 
LK: I finished recording my new album in May and it was mixed in June, just before I went away to spend 7 weeks in Indonesia for a British Council funded music exchange programme which was a complete break from my own creative life. Now I’m home my goal is to create all the artwork for it and figure out the best way to release it next spring. My vision for the music was to up my production and arranging game from previous releases and to make a set of songs that sound really coherent but still take the listener on a music journey inside my head. The songs are about love, bereavement, mental health and inner strength.
 
FEMMUSIC: Are you approaching it in a different way from Direction of Travel?
 
LK: The main difference between the new record and Direction Of Travel is that this album was written in a happier, hopefully wiser state of mind and in one location – my home in South Bristol. I wasn’t exorcising any particular demons or working through any particular issues, but looking back at my life so far and picking out some key events that shaped me as a person. It’s very freeing to know that I can make an album I’m excited about and proud of when I’m not in a state of heartbreak or bitter regret.
 
FEMMUSIC: What is the biggest challenge making the new album?
 
LK: As always, finances are an issue. I never want to compromise on the quality of my work, and it costs money to work with people who can realize your dreams. I produce my own music and this time I had the supremely talented Dan Austin both engineering and mixing (he mixed Direction Of Travel), and it was by far the most fun, enjoyable recording process I’ve ever had. Working with someone who respects my vision and has the talent to make it sound even better than I could have imagined is just brilliant, I’m very lucky to have found him.
 
FEMMUSIC: How has your own songwriting and production changed over time? What do you wish you knew earlier?
 
LK: With the latest album I forced myself to finish lyrics very shortly after writing the music for each song. Previously I’ve left lyrics right up to the wire, which is a technique that has its benefits and drawbacks, but this time I wanted to make sure that the melody and meaning of each song was very clear to enable me to pick out the songs that fit best within the title and themes I’d decided on for the record. I like working like that, the titles of the albums come to me really early on and then everything is shaped by that. I’ve already picked out the title for album 5 and my thoughts around that are starting to coalesce.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LK: Of course, and it sucks. There will always be the odd idiot around, but I have found that the more I’ve grown as an artist, the more professional I’ve become and the better I am at what I do, the fewer of those people actually speak up and get in my way. There’s absolutely no excuse for sexism, or for being unprofessional when working with artists, but I try to give people the benefit of the doubt to start with. Some people are awkward and don’t know how to deal with artists, some people act differently around solo artists of any gender (it’s easier to be in a band because there are more of you!) and some are misogynists. I think it’s important to try and work out the difference, because essentially when I’m playing gigs I just want everything to go smoothly, and a grumpy sound engineer, misogynist or no, shouldn’t be the reason I or my audience don’t have a good time. I haven’t come across much sexism online yet, the most annoying thing so far has been when reviewers don’t read the press release properly and start crediting my engineer/mixer as the producer. When you’ve created every aspect of a piece of music that can feel like a slap in the face, but again I think that’s just someone’s lack of care over details rather than a misogynist swipe at my role.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to tour with or collaborate with and why?
 
LK: I’m a huge Prodigy and UNKLE fan, it would be a dream come true to contribute vocals to their songs in the future. As for touring, my favourites at the moment are The Big Moon and Marika Hackman.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
LK: It would be really cool if people gave you opportunities based on merit, not whatever they think is cool at the moment. If audiences were emboldened to figure out what they actually like rather then being fed stuff through advertising that would be great too, though I appreciate with a gazillion bands to sift through that’s too overwhelming for most people! I would just encourage people to go with their gut instinct – if you like something, you don’t need someone else to tell you that’s okay! There are no “guilty pleasures” in music in my opinion.
 
 

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August 25th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Lilith Ai
 
            Lilith Ai is the soul of rap meeting skilled songwriting. She released an EP called Riot in 2015 and the “Rude Girl” single this year. She formed the Fight Like A Girl Collective and is working on a 2nd compilation and zine for it. She will be playing the Loud Women Music Festival in September. FEMMUSIC was honored to e-mail with her. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/lilithaimusic?ref=ts&fref=ts
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
LA: Mostly first I think about the concepts and all the things I need to say in the tune. Then I come up with a riff or a hook on the guitar and then I just do it. I’ve been reading Star Wars novels recently and in one Luke discusses what it’s like to connect with the force and it might 
sound weird but writing is like that for me anyway.
 
FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Fight Like A Girl Collective. How did it start and what are your goals with it?
 
LA: Me and a couple of friends from music school wanted to do something to counter the general attitude of slating other females, vicious competition and bitchiness that there was around. We start out having jam sessions I’m my room and then putting on shows in local coffee shops. We made zines and stuff. It was fun. We organized a tours playing show put on by like minded girls in other towns around England and Scotland. But now the girls I started it will with and me and in a different stages of our careers, on solo tours, in the studio and one gal got a day job and shit. You know, it’s different now. Even trying to find time to chill together is a challenge. We are working on a new zine though and I hope it’s done by January. We will done some DIY show around the UK to support it. I just want to create a space where people feel supported not judged.   New people joined and the doors are always open so I think it will be interesting whatever happens next.
 
FEMMUSIC: How has your music evolved since the Riot EP came out? What haven’t you done that you would like to?
 
LA: Oh damn, you know what, I really want to play afro punk. I want to play festivals abroad. I love playing live. It’s so chill when I play a tunes from Riot ep and people in the crowd know the words. That’s cool. That’s the coolest. I think my guitar playing has got way better so I write things more different than I did and but it also had to tell what’s has changed because I feel the same.
 
FEMMUSIC: What are you most excited about coming up? Why?
 
LA: I’m on tour in Italy for most of September. I am kind of nervous about it but also hyped. Cos I don’t speak Italian and I got no clue what the crowds will be like. But then I know the foods dope over there and I’m interested to link with fans. Also I’m deep in finishing a next ep and I want to put that out like yesterday, ya know.
 
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
LA: Yes, every day.
 
FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with and why?
 
LA: Lil simz, Stromae, Kendrick Lamar cos they are stunning musicians that move me. Oh and also Tracy Chapman, she can hold a stadium with one vocal and one guitar. Skill like that is rare.
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry? 
 
 
LA: Mostly everything,  like 90% of what have seen so far sucks so I think we should dismantle it all.

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August 25th, 2017
Hands Off Gretel – Lauren Tate Interview by Alex Teitz
 
Hands Off Gretel
            Hands Off Gretel is a 3 piece alternative band from South Yorkshire. Led by the stirring vocals of Lauren Tate the band evokes a throwback to punk and grunge of the early 90’s. They crowdfunded their debut album Burn the Beauty Queen and are now working on album #2. FEMMUSIC was honored to speak with Lauren Tate. For info visit http://www.handsoffgretel.co.uk/
 
FEMMUSIC:  Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
LT: My technique is kinda different each time I play, depending on what I have on me at the time. Sometimes i stick a drum loop on and sing over it making up little melodies before recording them and trying for ages to find the chords on guitar to match and other times I start with a chord progression and sing until I get a hook. Not that all my songs have hooks though , my new ones are much catchier. I think that’s cause the first ones I ever wrote started with a feeling, I’d hammer on the same 4 chords and shout all my lyrics on to paper sometimes forgetting to even give the song much melody at all, it’s only later that I’ve focused on both melody and meaning.
 
FEMMUSIC:  It sounds like you’ve had a busy summer touring and will be going into the studio soon to do the follow-up to Burn The Beauty Queen. What was the biggest lesson you learned making Burn the Beauty Queen?
 
LT: Yeah, the tour seems to have lasted forever I’m really looking forward to taking a break from it to record and write some new songs, these are driving me up the wall already haha! No no, I really like what I did with Burn The Beauty Queen I think it’s just part of me to disregard my work the second it loses its newness. I learnt to always speak up during the mixing process, sometimes if you hear something you don’t quite like or your gut instinct is to change them you imagine after a couple listens you will get over it and get used to the parts you aren’t quite confident with but that is not true at all. Next album I’m not stepping foot into the studio until I’m confident in what it is I’m wanting to create, I need to know the songs inside out before I accept them as complete, many songs on Burn The Beauty Queen i sing with much more meaning now, we play them much faster and there’s so much more energy in the live show that I want to capture in the next album.
 
FEMMUSIC:  What are your goals for album # 2?
 
LT: I want to get on a support tour with a big band that I love like SLAVES or GARBAGE or something, I want the radio to actually like us for the first time even if they’re a little nervous to give us a spin and I just want to go up that next level and attract lots of younger new fans, I think the most important thing is reaching that younger audience and getting more people to our shows. I’m gonna give the new album all I’ve got.
 
FEMMUSIC: What are the biggest differences you would like to make with album # 2?
 
LT: More radio friendly tracks with sweet harmonies and catchy hooks mixed with dirtier grungier louder more insulting less commercial punk tracks. I just want that mixture of sweet and sour, I want to throw people off a little who will just predict we will duplicate the sound of BTBQ. I don’t wanna pigeon hole myself into just the Alternative Rock genre, I want to mix it up a lot more than our first album and show more sides to us. I already have way too many songs I just can’t seem to narrow it down!
 
FEMMUSIC: You are currently an independent band. Would you ever sign to a record label? Why or why not?
 
LT: Well I guess that totally depends on the deal and everything involved. This one guy saw me at a festival and told me he wanted to sign me, he gave me his number and told me to give him a call he then asked me “What is your bands name” I was like “oh… so you haven’t actually heard my music?” he said “no I just want to sign you based on your look alone”. People like him make me fear the music industry, there’s a lot of jokers that big themselves up and offer you the world without a clue of what they’re doing. I think eventually we will need a label, especially when it comes to funding albums, tours and world domination. I just want to be confident in my brand first, I want to prove that there is a demand for the music we are making, that people are coming to our shows or nobody will take us seriously and they will just mould us into another generic pop band.
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
LT: The only time being female has held me back has been with other women in music. Guys are usually fine with me, I mean obviously some men see a girl playing a guitar and jizz their pants but I can handle that. That’s nothing in comparison to the awful feeling I get from the way some girls look at me when we share the same stage. There is a lot of jealousy and bitterness between girls in bands, especially because theres not many women in music so every woman is a threat to the lime light. I never get it though. I think there is this fight to be the better feminist a lot of the time. It’s like… you can’t be feminist because you show your tits, you can’t be feminist because you have guys in your band, you can’t be feminist because you wear too much lipgloss… blah blah and theres this huge rule book and women start to alienate each other with their rules of how to be ‘the perfect feminist, the perfect front woman, the perfect voice of a generation’. Everyone pretends to know better and the cattiness you here between girls in bands you just think “can you hear yourself”? haha! Like… can you not hear the bitterness? I am yet to feel the girl power i fantasised about, it can be such a venomous place when everyone is fighting for the same crown.
 
FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to collaborate with or tour with and why?
 
LT: I want to play a gay pride event with Courtney Love, P!nk, Linda Perry, Lady Gaga and Amanda Palmer because they are all my favourite rockstars ever. Especially Lady Gaga, she is so much more than a pop star, I take so much inspiration from her art!
 
FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 

LT: Ok one thing that I really hope does change for real is I wanna see upcoming young bands headlining the big festivals, I want to see new talent pushing through and the oldies moving aside to let others be the new rockstars. Every-time I go to a festival I swear it’s either Alterbridge or Aerosmith headlining, I want the new Steven Tyler to come along and kick his ass… Politely of corse haha, we need fresh blood to idolize. I want to find my generations Joan Jett and Courtney Love instead of fantasizing of a time I missed when they where in their prime. I want to tell my grandkids about the bands that were of my generation, I want to see the new Janis Joplin screaming right in front of my eyes, It’s not fair because bands from the 80’s still hog the limelight and as much as I love them, I ache for the excitement of something 

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August 25th, 2017

Sink Ya Teeth – Maria & Gemma by Alex Teitz

Sink Ya Teeth

            Sink Ya Teeth, Maria & Gemma, are a synth pop band from Norwich. They are signed to 1965 Records and have released singles including “Glass” and “If You See Me.” They are one of many acts at this year’s Loud Women Festival. FEMMUSIC was able to speak to them about songwriting, labels, and being women in the industry. For more info visit http://www.sinkyateeth.com/

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

GEMMA: We both write, record and produce our songs at home. Maria does the main bulk of the songwriting and producing, and often sends me a solid idea which I then add bass or perhaps a synth part to. Sometimes I come up with a drum and bass part first and Maria might add a vocal and keyboard line to that. I really struggle with words so I leave all of that to Maria! !

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about 1965 Records. Why did you sign with them?

MARIA: Because they came all the way to a tiny pub literally in the middle of nowhere in Norfolk to watch us play! James and Mat who run the label are really nice guys who have been involved in the industry for many years. Their passion for music really shows through. Plus, they have Nadine Shah on the label and we love her!!

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about your single “If You See Me.” How did the song originate and develop?

MARIA: It was written the day after a party. It started off with a drum-beat and vocals, then this bass riff kept going round in my head so I added that a bit later. It’s about feeling sorry for yourself because you overdid things.!We wrote our latest single, Glass, about a year and a half ago but Gemma remixed it a few months back. We love Giorgio Moroder and that late-seventies-early-eighties arpeggiated thing so we thought it would be fun to go for that vibe.!

FEMMUSIC: Are there any plans for an EP or album? Do you have a timetable?

GEMMA: Yep, we’ve just spent the summer writing, recording and producing songs and we now have more than enough for an album, so we’re currently putting that together and hope to release that and a couple of singles off it next year.

FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?

GEMMA: We feel lucky that (as far as we know) we’ve never been discriminated against for being women in the music industry. Maria and I have both been making music for a while prior to Sink Ya Teeth and have had some good opportunities presented to us. We’ve always worked hard for it though, as any band has to.!Norwich has a vibrant and healthy music scene which doesn’t favour men or women, gay or straight over each other, it’s about celebrating good music and supporting one another. !

Having said that, we really appreciate that gigs such as the Loud Women Festival and Gig Slutz offer opportunities for female musicians to play in London. Out of the 4 gigs we’ve secured in London so far, only one was offered by a male promoter which maybe says something? But you can’t categorically say that’s because we’re women. There are a lot of bands around that wanna play gigs, so you have to stand out as it’s very competitive.

FEMMUSIC: Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with and why?

GEMMA: As a rule I don’t like to meet my heroes, and now and then I see my favourite artists play and don’t have the best time and it kinda ruins it for me, so I’m happy to tour with a band I don’t know that I can discover whilst touring with them. We had the best time playing a couple of shows with !!! (Chk Chk Chk) earlier this year, and I’d happily tour or collaborate with them! Lonelady would be cool to collaborate with too. !

MARIA: A couple of years ago I’d have said David Bowie in a shot.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

GEMMA: There are and always have been a lot of frustrations with the music industry and it’s always changing so it never stands still. Which is not necessarily a bad thing it’s just hard to keep up! !One thing that does seem to remain the same is some of the shit that makes it into the mainstream and people are force fed through radio stations that just have about 10 songs on heavy rotation day in day out, brainwashing the listeners. Acts that get their kit off when playing live to try and distract from the abysmal ‘music’. The kind of acts that play at V Festival. !All very subjective of course 🙂 !

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August 8th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
Rebecca Jones

Photo by Nate Lemuel.

 
            We first heard about Weedrat last year. It is one of many bands started by Rebecca Jones. Jones is a musician, teacher and activist. She is Native American, Navajo to be exact. Her new band Nizhoni Girls will be at this year’s Titwrench Festival. We are honored to be able to feature her. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/nizhonigirls/ & https://www.facebook.com/events/1452278884848174/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?
 
RJ: We usually have stuff that we work on at home and bring it to practice. From there, we work together to make it a song.
 
FEMMUSIC What is your vision of Nizhoni Girls vs your other projects? Tell me how the band came together?
 
RJ: Our vision for Nizhoni Girls is to bring representation to Indigenous folx so that they can start femme bands too! My other indigenous project is Weedrat and this band is my loud in your face punk band. I’ve always wanted to be in a punk band and Weedrat has really helped me develop my guitar and singing skills, also the dudes that i play with are very good musicians. The first band that I played in and still apart of is Litter Brain. It consist of 5 womx, and our genre is bratty-hardcore punk. Litter Brain helped me with my confidence and self esteem that doesn’t always come easy when playing in front of folx. My last band is Cat Teeth, and this band is my jam band, I’m in it with two other womxn who are in other awesome bands as well. Cat Teeth is fun, and I can really get creative with the other womxn in that band.
 
FEMMUSIC: What challenges did you face making all women Native American bands?
 
RJ: We haven’t had any challenges yet, and have received a lot of support. We’re still quite a new band and haven’t played very much shows. Personally, being a WoC in a band, I have experienced a lot of microaggression with non PoC and PoC as well. The scene is very much still run by hetero patriarchal folx and spaces are still predominately white. That’s why I feel it’s important to have representation for other POC folx, so that they can start bands and fuck up more shit!
 
FEMMUSIC: You recently had the Adszaa Warriors Festival. What motivated you to put it together? What was the biggest challenge with it? For info visit https://www.facebook.com/asdzaawarriorfest/
 
RJ: Yes, the fest was in June and it was very successful. We were motivated by not seeing enough representation around Native womxn and the LGBTQ2+ community. We wanted to have a fest where we could empower our womxn and youth in the community, so that they could also start bands.
 
FEMMUSIC: I see you are involved in teaching music. How important to you in teaching young women about music and the arts? Why?
 
RJ: I did do a music workshop with my other band Weedrat. It was in Window Rock, AZ at the Navajo Nation Museum. We were in charge of handling the little kids and it was so much fun! I got to show the kids how to hold a guitar and how to strum. They really caught on and enjoyed playing. Weedrat got to play a set in front of the youth and I had one little girl come up to me and she said “I didn’t know you’re a rockstar. Is it ok if I sit by you?” She was so proud to sit next to me. I told her to keep up the music and she could become a rockstar too.
 
FEMMUSIC: What resources that are unique to your community have benefited you as an artist?
 
RJ: I do a lot of work with community organizations, so if I’m part of a planning committee for an event, I can usually help with the music portion. I do Sexual Health Education with Planned Parenthood, so I am definitely involved with a lot local community orgs.
 
 FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated againt?
 
RJ: Yes, definitely, especially as a WOC. I get mansplained to a lot and told I’m pretty cool for a girl. When I was playing a benefit show, I remember a dude coming up to me and and started messing with my pedal settings while I was in the middle of playing a song. I stopped and told him to stop, he said he knew what he was doing because he was a sound technician. As far as being a WOC, some people will avoid talking to me and talk to my other non-PoC band mates. It’s uncomfortable, but I’m glad I have amazing band mates who are great allies and comrades.
 
FEMMUSIC: If you could collaborate with, or tour with anybody, whom would it be & why?
 
RJ: I think it would be rad to tour with Downtown Boys because they are folx of color and they sing about all the things I care about, social justice!
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
 
RJ: Don’t be a sell out or a poser.

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August 7th, 2017
by Alex Teitz
charlotte kemp
            Charlotte Kemp Muhl is a rare artist who is skilled in many disciplines and active in all of them. She is a model, director and multi-instrumentalists. She is most well known for being part of Sean Lennon’s band Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger (GOASTT). She is part of Kemp & Eden. Recently she started Uni with David Strange and Nico Fuzz. The new band adds glam rock to insightful and humorous lyrics characterized by their lead single “What’s The Problem.” The band will be releasing an EP on Chimera Records later this year. For info visit https://www.uni-bomber.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve worked with David Strange before. What made you decide to make Uni a permanent band?
 
CKM: I produced/arranged a solo album for David after hiring him to play guitar in my folk project, as a kind of barter system. We had so much fun that we started a side project called Uni, which recently turned into our main project because we wrote so many songs and it felt like it had a lot of potential.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the vision of the band in style and music?
 
CKM: We were listening to a lot of Ziggy Stardust, T Rex, Zeppelin, Sabbath, Beastie Boys and The Kinks at the time, so there’s a lot of 70’s glam influences with rock/prog riffs and sometimes a 90’s flavor.
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting process?
 
CKM: I write most of the music and riffs while David writes a lot of the lyrics. Nico came into the picture later but he played a lot of cool overdubs and wrote great harmonies. We love music gear so sometimes we’ll get inspired to write a new song when we get a new guitar or tape delay.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the Uni EP?
 
CKM: Finding the right front man was a big thing. It was a miracle meeting Nico when we did! We quickly became an Adam’s family of sorts. Another challenge was figuring out how to modernize the classic sounds we love. We experimented with Nico playing electronic drums over the real ones, and sometimes using analog Moog synth bass in lieu of real bass.
 
FEMMUSIC: What are your own goals with Uni?
 
CKM: The idea was to have a pop project, but my idea of pop is verrry odd. Guess I’m really out of touch with the current pop charts of EDM music. I still think Ziggy is pop.
 
FEMMUSIC: You’ve worked with GOASTT and Kemp & Eden. What differences does Unihave in comparison? Any similarities?
 
CKM: Every group of people have a different chemistry and bring out different aspects in each other. Eden brought out the romantic Victorian quality in my songwriting and production. Sean and I were obsessed with 60’s psychedelia for the Goastt. Uni was more inspired by the early 70’s and our love of vintage gear.
 
FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making the “What’s The Problem?” video? Does the final product match your vision for it, and the band’s?
 
CKM: It was our first video so my concept was to do it very cheaply in a tiny studio. Was inspired by Diane Arbus and Toilet Paper magazine. I shot it on 16 mill film so we only had 1 or 2 takes for everything. Was so fun bringing in all the different characters! Of course some of the vignettes were pretty scandalous and bizarre, so there were moments we would be duct taping up a naked girl and looking at each other like, we hope people see the comedy in this!!
 
FEMMUSIC:  As a woman in the music industry have you been discriminated against?
 
CKM: Eh, there will always be a set of stigmas and challenges every group of people have to deal with. People can be condescending to me as a woman occasionally but I never feel like a victim. It just motivates me to beat them.
 
FEMMUSIC: If you could tour with, or collaborate with anyone, whom would it be and why?
 
CKM: My friends? I only like to tour with people who make me laugh. But I’d love to collaborate with so many people- mostly in the classical world. Writing for orchestra is my dream!
 
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?
 
CKM: Everything!! It’s awful. So vapid and corporate. Kids need to be reeducated about what good music is, and its deeper function in culture to make people think/be uncomfortable, challenge status quo, and offer catharsis.

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