I doubt there are many busier artists…
out there than Bryony Williams! Not only is her new E.P., Conscious, out – which she talks about – but she is involved with GRRRL GROANNN!!!? Williams discusses her new music and releasing her first (with her team) zine; what she thinks of the modern music scene - Williams tells me whether she gets time to chill away from music-making.
I ask whether there are any tour dates coming; which artists have been important to Williams; whether there are upcoming artists worth some time; which three albums mean the most to her – Williams talks about ambitions she wants to fulfil before the end of the year.
Hi, Bryony. How are you? How has your week been?
Hey. I am great, thank you! Well; I’m currently on tour around the U.K. so this week is full of travelling, seeing new places; meeting new people, mini golf; happy hours…oh, and performing of course!
So, you could say I’m living my best life right now.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Sure! Well. My lyrics will most likely make you contemplate; their melodies will get ridiculously stuck in your head and, if you like to air-drumming, then you’re in the right place: think early-Wolf Alice with a dash of Lucy Rose and a sprinkle of Hazel English.
The video for Narrative Form is out. What can you reveal about its inception and creation?
Narrative Form is definitely not single material: it’s potentially the most unconventional track from the E.P.! So, with that in mind, I wanted to explore more abstract ideas in terms of visuals. It started when I was travelling back from Liverpool and there were blankets of snow across all the fields for as long as you could see - and I just knew I needed to have some outdoor/snow shots for a video. Then, instead of going straight home, I went and hired a camera out to do some bath test shots at home. I experimented with different lamps for lighting and lighting paper on fire to signify conflict and contrast with the bath water - which I advise anybody not to do because I nearly set the place on fire. I scrapped that idea.
Then, I just put out a Facebook status and my pals from Second City Capture took the bait. We shot in next-to minus temperatures, had food colouring poured into my mouth multiple times and laid in swamp/marshland in Cannock Chase for the drone shots which is a visual idea I’ve had ever since I watched the video to Jenny Hval - Conceptual Romance…except the girl would be nude with dirt smeared in certain areas across the body.
But, I kept it P.G. this time…
Anyway; the premise of the video is that there kind of…isn’t one. It’s open to anyone’s interpretation. Though, for me, it’s a very self-reflective and has feminist connotations – using the body as an object, as a piece of art as well as somebody’s idea of a piece of meat.
There’s also, definitely, some influence from the film Neon Demon. So, for fans of art house and avant-garde; you know what to do.
You should check out my single video, too! Again; directed by myself. This is for those who love a good road trip.
It is from the E.P., Conscious. What sort of ideas and stories compelled it?
The record is my coming-of-age soundtrack. It’s full of stories about hardcore lust, romance; manipulation and escapism. The stories are all real and are related to me but can often be told through a different narrative - that of somebody else’s persona.
I hear shades of artists like Marika Hackman in your work. Who do you count as idols and guides?
Well, thank you. Ah. I have to say icons like Joan Jett, PJ Harvey; Patti Smith, Anastacia; Elizabeth Frazer, Suzi Quatro; Theresa Wayman, Grimes; Kim Gordon and Viv Albertine. Through autobiographies to their music to their personalities and presentation, they all have me so encompassed and in awe of their journey from start to present.
When did music come into your life? Who do you grow up around?
Music has always been part of my upbringing. My dad is a huge music fanatic and collects autographs, vinyl and posters – you name it! Which has, inevitably, been passed down onto me. I grew up listening to a lot of Prog-Rock, Roxy Music; Brit-Pop (Genesis, The Beatles; Blur, Nirvana and Empire of the Sun). My earliest childhood memory is seeing Macca’s Live and Let Die Tour - I was five at the time...
So, obviously, I wanted to be a Rockstar!
When I was nine, my dad took me to a music shop to scout out my first guitar; the salesman suggested a cute pink one…I thought ‘get real!’ and pulled on my dad’s shirt and pointed to the red one. We left with a ¾ neck-sized red Strat and here I am now…just with a couple more guitars in my possession.
What do you think of the modern scene? Do you think female songwriters get the credit and respect they deserve?
I can see a lot of empowering women in the scenes I’m involved/observing: artists such as Dream Wife, Laura Mvula; Courtney Barnett etc. It’s getting better (as everyone says in every interview…) but I’m not sure about the respect. Sure, there’s respect from the majority of audience members, music lovers; supporters etc but there's simply some absolutely assholes out there who, without thinking, will treat an artist different because of their gender. It’s a heavy mix of underestimation, ignorance and self-entitlement.
Talk to me about GRRRL GROANNN!!!? How did that come to be and why did you establish it?
GRRRL GROANNN!!! became an idea last summer while choosing my modules for the following semester. Music Innovation was the class and we had to come up with an idea of disruption which is where it all came from. I formed a business plan and pitched its purpose - which is to establish a female collective specialising in music.
There were the initial, smaller plans such as publishing seasonal music zines, monthly podcasts interviewing inspiring women; creating merch, a website and overall evolving into an independent record label; recording, promoting and distributing artists (who happen to be female) - with potential to host our own gig nights around the U.K. Perhaps, even, having our own festival similar to Lady Fest, Lilith Fair and Riot Grrrl antics.
So far, we have released our first music zine! This includes all gig photography done by me and interviews with Jen Cloher, Peach Club and Riot Grrrl Sessions (in Sweden). So, I guess call me the editor-in-chief! I worked with my good and highly talented friend Jess Webberly who designed the layout, our official logo and the cover design. I’m currently working on the next music zine, which has photos of ShitKid, U.S. Girls and Goat Girl so far.
I’m using this zine edition to also sell Conscious on C.D. to be cost-effective and to kill two birds with one stone. Like my music? Want a physical purchase? Cool. Have a personalised, burned C.D. copy and here have a music-infused zine, too! How cool!
Will there be any live dates coming up? Where can we see you play?
I’m on tour right now!
8th July – Good Neighbour, London
9th July – Singleshot, Leeds
10th July – Centrala, Birmingham (my official E.P. Launch)
After the tour, I’m playing at The Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham (8th November) and will be planning another U.K. tour as a band to tour the E.P. in its full bliss this autumn - so, keep your eyes peeled for that.
Do you have any ambitions to fulfil before the end of the year?
I’ll be working on my producing skills in my home studio, songwriting for my next record; touring Conscious, curating the next GRRRL GROANNN!!! zine and look into making some podcasts. I really want to start a podcast between my dad and his good pal Steve – together, they can talk about music forever and recall such amazing gig stories. So, it’d be great to record their music memoirs.
Then, besides all the creative drive, I plan to start my Masters in Sociology of Popular Culture – the aim is to become a published musicologist and I’ll be satisfied once I’ve been on TED Talks.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
Honestly: it all merges into a big blur for me. There’s the making of the music videos, performing; being in the studio…but all of that has a thing in common and that’s being introduced to new people and contributing to various social communities within the arts. It’s heart-warming to collectively achieve these creative experiences.
Which three albums mean the most to you, would you say?
Jen Cloher – Jen Cloher
Still Corners – Strange Pleasures
Beach House – Bloom
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Keep your momentum, go with your gut; shout about yourself – don’t be shy. There’s so much competition in regards to the volume of music that is being released constantly. It’s such a tough game so you have to believe in yourself and make others believe in you too.
Get a record out there, perform; sell merch, get creative and don’t go over your budget.
IN THIS PHOTO: The Sunset Beach Hut
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I recently met a young producer and artist, Kiera Carter, at a music conference not so long ago – she’s currently studying in Wolverhampton and she’s onto a few things. I’d keep my eye on her.
IN THIS PHOTO: The Hungry Ghosts/PHOTO CREDIT: Indie Images Photography
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Hmmm; I don’t think I do! The closest I’ve got is when I was at Primavera this year as I was in full festival mode and I needed my phone battery for survival in case I got lost! So, checking emails was a rarity. I take refuge at my girlfriend’s place because it makes me realise that I need to appreciate the beauty of sitting outside with a G&T without the itch of having to be doing something productive. (Drinking gin is surely productive enough?).
But, even then I’ll take my laptop wherever with me answering interviews, radio plugs and all the lovely PR stuff because it ain’t gonna do itself - and this gal doesn’t have a team behind her. (Yet!).
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Oooooo! Okay, okay….
Chastity Belt – Different Now
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