FROM the mountains just outside of Washington DC…
it is to the Midlands – and a chat with the up-and-coming band, SHE. I ask them about their new single, Howl, and how it differs from the debut cut, Body Talk. They reveal how they got together and whether there will be more music; the artists, new and old, they are inspired by; what they have coming in terms of gigs – whether the Midlands is a productive and inspiring landscape for them.
SHE have only been around since September. I ask whether the stage is somewhere they feel comfortable and alive; whether it is quite a formative and exciting time for them – they tell me whether (the band) get time away from music to kick-back and relax.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
We are very well, thank you. Tired but still smiling. We’ve had a busy one. Lots of rehearsals, travelling and an awesome show at The Sebright Arms in London.
Not too shabby at all. Lots of fun!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are SHE. We are an Electro/Indie/Pop outfit, fresh from the box. Bex on Vox and Keys; Robin on Guitar and Keys; Edd on Guitar and Keys; Si on Bass and Ricky on Drums. We’re just a happy little bunch, roaming around; playing music and generally having a jolly good time.
Can you tell me how SHE came to be? Did you all know each other from way back?
We’ve been good friends for a long time now. We’ve been writing together under different musical umbrellas for almost ten years - and SHE came about just at the right time for us. Just a shared enthusiasm for making music; developing our sound and having a good laugh along the way. We’re just a group of like-minded people who love making noise and so we do just that.
As often as we can.
Is there a reason for the name, ‘SHE’? Is there a meaning behind it?
It just seemed to click.
We have five people in the band, all with strong minds; throwing ideas about the place all of the time and naming your band…it’s such an important task. Mammoth, really. Not one to be taken lightly…but ‘SHE’ was always there. Popping up. Giving us a little wave and the more we thought about it the more it just felt right.
Sounds cheesy but, once we’d tried it on for size, wore it for a few weeks; stretched it out and relaxed into it a little, we knew it was our name. It just felt fresh and snappy, feminine and a bit sexy, too.
Howl is your new single. How do you think it differs from your debut, Body Talk?
Body Talk was our debut track - and it was rooted in fantasy. It was based on a movie that gave us lots of freedom and creativity when it came to exploring the lyrics, especially. Howl has a lot more sorrow attached to it. It’s personal - so it feels darker and more mysterious, I guess.
Is there a story behind the song? How did it come together?
Howl is about relationships and the damage they can sometimes do. The imprint they leave upon you; good and bad…but that, throughout the hurt and the love and the intensity, you should always listen out for your mother - or the motherly presence in your life. Your protector. Whoever she or he may be. Your guide...because they can be wiser than you think - and much more fearful than any scorned lover.
Will there be an E.P. coming later this year?
We might have something up our sleeves for you. We’ll see what we can do (smiles). We are enjoying writing and gigging. We can’t wait to put a collection of tracks out there for everyone to grab an earful of.
Watch this space!
You have not been on the scene long (since September) but are already turning heads. Do you think, as a band, you are ambitious? What are your plans for this year?
We’re a passionate bunch, for sure. We like to play good music and give our very best. We work hard and we love to perform so, whatever we have to do to make ourselves heard; then we are always willing to give it a go. Sounds ruthless - but we just love what we do and we love spending time together as friends and musicians. Whatever we can do to hang out and write music…that’s what really bakes our cake.
The Midlands is where you are based. Is the music scene quite active where you are? Are there a load of great local artists?
The Midlands gave us a platform to show gig-goers what we can do and there has been some great talent to come out of Birmingham and the Black Country. There will be even more continuing to creep out of the woodwork in the future, too. I think the venues on our local music scene are brilliant and they do a great job of nurturing new talent; giving newcomers the opportunity to support bigger artists.
There are some proper-quirky little jaunts about town - and we love to pull in a hometown crowd. When a local gig goes well, then that’s something really special. We travel a lot, too; so we’ve seen some great acts up and down the U.K. - and there is new music all over the place.
It’s really exciting when you stumble across new talent.
Which artists did you all grow up on? Can you all remember the first song to lodge in the mind?
That’s a difficult one to answer - because we all have such different tastes. Some of us are into Electronic stuff and others more into heavier Rock/Pop. I think we look back at old school artists from all eras just as much as we look forward to current bands - and even those bubbling underneath the radar; yet to emerge into the mainstream. We are inspired by a lot of different stuff. It even surprises us, sometimes.
We trust each other’s opinions, though. Even when we disagree on likes and dislikes; we can always seem to pull it together and find inspiration from tracks and artists we wouldn’t usually listen to on the regular.
Has it been hard getting gigs – being a new band? Is the stage somewhere you all love?
I think, the way we see it now; is that it’s not about getting loads of gigs - but it’s about getting the right gigs. Sometimes, you can burn up all your energy playing week in week out and, with experience; we’ve learnt to pace ourselves. We are really lucky to have the support of a fantastic label - Killing Moon.
They give us the best advice and guide us along this path so well. We really appreciate that. I think it’s important to take on-board the experience of certain professionals in the industry. Any little nuggets of wisdom they have are worth taking on board - as well as trusting your own mind and heart. Live is definitely where it’s at, though. We love writing and rehearsing, so, so much - but taking it to the stage is next level.
That’s the thrill.
If you each had to choose the one album that means the most you; which would they be and why?
Huge question! Again…it’s difficult to just choose one.
I think we’d all need one from each era, from within each genre. This wouldn’t just be five albums here: this would be more like a hundred. One for our nights out raging; one for our tortured teenage souls, another for our sentimental, crying-in-our-bedrooms-alone moments. I think, if we could make one big, love-child album of all of our favourite artists, then that would be a start. We’ll just create one massive Spotify playlist with all of our favourite music - and we’ll ride off into the sunset listening to that, instead. Then everyone’s a winner. If that fails; then let’s go with Now! That’s What I Call Music 1995.
Is there any advice you’d offer likeminded bands coming through right now?
Support your local music scene! Get out to gigs. Watch live. Play live. Write horrible music and show everyone. Get better. Know your sound. Develop it. Then, just go out and be awesome!
Do you all get time to chill away from music? What do you all get up to when you’re not creating music?
We love down-time with our friends and family. We all have a really supportive network around us - and it’s great to hang out with them. We relish our chill time. It’s rare when the music takes hold of you…but, even when we aren’t on the road or in the studio; we still gravitate back towards each other. These are our buddies; our bread and butter so, if we are away from each other; we do miss each other’s company. Even when we’re sick of the sight of each other; we still love the bones off one another.
That’s really lame, isn’t it?
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
London Grammar - Hell to the Liars
Clean Cut Kid - Vitamin C
Dua Lipa - Be the One
Fickle Friends – Swim
Pale Waves - Television Romance
Blossoms - Honey Sweet
Royal Blood - How Did We Get So Dark?