So Young Issue Forty-Nine

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Issue Forty-Nine Also inside: Martial Arts Slow Fiction The Orchestra (For Now) Chanel Beads Annie-Dog Goat Girl Cardinals BODEGA DIIV pencil

Been Stellar

Issue Forty-Nine is our second of 2024 and it’s an exciting time. Some of our favourites are releasing new music, new names are emerging and festival line ups are completing. One of those favourites releasing new music is NYC’s Been Stellar and they’re on the cover. Since their debut EP in 2022, the five-piece have toured relentlessly, joining the likes of The 1975, Fontaines D.C. and Shame on extensive runs of the UK, Europe and the US. In between, they’ve teamed up with Dan Carey to record ‘Scream From New York, NY’, their debut album which is released in June via Dirty Hit. On the final night of their EU tour with The 1975, we gave the band a call to discuss their collectively adopted home of New York and their favourites places in the UK. From a much anticipated debut to a much anticipated return. DIIV are very much back and their new record ‘Frog in Boiling Water’ is out in May and we joined them at a Hackney hotel to chat the balance between happy and sad, band democracy and searching for Nessie. London’s Goat Girl are one of our most featured over the years, and it’s with this third record that, with confidence, they’ve grown out of ‘the box’ they’d been placed within and it shows in the way they speak. With a brief political message for good measure, we chat with current line up of Lottie, Rosy and Holly about their new album ‘Below The Waste’. Dublin’s Annie-Dog released one of our favourite singles of 2024 so far in ‘The Pressures of the Heart’. Intrigued to know more, we called to chat Billy Corgan, TikTok and starting the ‘inaccessible era’. Another first time chat inside the magazine is with Manchester’s Martial Arts. Since impressing at our London club night, and releasing debut single ‘Warsaw’, we thought it was important to know more. Enjoyment and playing loud are at the heart of things for this band.

Heading back across the pond, and back to NYC, BODEGA have remade their secret album ‘Our Brand Could Be Yr Life’ - released as 33 tracks in 2015 under then name, Bodega Bay. The new record revisits those early tracks and breathes new life into the best bits. We give the band a call to chat through that decision, the process, and why we should keep an eye out for hardcore band, Nodega. Staying in New York, Chanel Beads is the project from Shane Lavers and the debut album is due via Jagjaguwar in April. The project is described by Shane as “snare drums, hoodies, and jeans” - a statement which makes more and more sense the more you look and listen. Our interview attempts to dig even deeper. Concluding our time in the big apple, Slow Fiction have announced their new EP ‘Crush’ which is out in May. After taking their time to work on new songs and progress their sound, shows with Thus Love, English Teacher and Sprints have motored things along. We called to hear more. Speaking to us for the second time, Cork’s Cardinals have a debut EP on its way. The debut self-titled EP comes in June and we meet the band after a video shoot, and before a trip to Texas, to chat Windmill lock-ins, the music on the EP and their debut headline tour. Finishing off our music features, we chat with two new London bands. One, a group of seasoned musicians who’ve teamed up to form pencil, and the other, a brand new sevenpiece called The Orchestra (For Now) who’ve been cutting their teeth in small venues, predominantly the Windmill, Brixton. We also catch up with Kalisha Quinlan the photographer behind the creative campaign of Lime Garden’s debut album and we dig in to the blossoming music/fashion crossover started by some of the designers forging the aesthetic path for The Last Dinner Party and others.

3 Cardinals If I Could Make You Care

35 Goat Girl Breaking Out of the Box

10 pencil Haunted Euphoria

39 The Days of Yore Ancient Fashion in Music

13 Been Stellar Trust The Process

46 Martial Arts Too Much Fun

20 BODEGA Bands vs Brands

50 Chanel Beads Snare Drums, Hoodies and Jeans

23 Slow Fiction Dream Big

53 Annie Dog The Pressures of the Heart

28 DIIV Looking for Nessie

57 The Orchestra (For Now) Windmill Residents

31 Kalisha Quinlan One More Thing

63 The Great Escape Preview The Festival for New Music

I first interviewed Cardinals over a patchy Zoom call

Darragh: Lovely owners.

almost exactly a year ago. Soon after, they hopped on a plane from Cork to play their first London show at the

Aaron: We had a lock in with them.

Sebright Arms. For what I hope is the beginning of a lengthy yearly interview series, I caught them again in

Did you?

person ahead of their journey to Texas for what would have been their first time at SXSW. The festival’s

O: Yeah, we were playing traditional music on our phones

association with the US army and weapons companies led

and they kicked everyone out and started pouring us shots.

to multiple acts dropping out of official showcases, while others decided to still make the journey and perform at

F: The owners are an old Irish couple, so they liked us I

unofficial events in protest. All Irish artists, from the likes

think. They were just mixing spirits and letting us take

of Kneecap, Sprints, NewDad, and Cardinals included,

free beers.

dropped out of all official SXSW shows in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

A: Until two in the morning.

The following conversation took place before the band

F: And then eventually he was like – alright go, I’ve got

released a joint statement as ‘Music from Ireland’ bands

to go to bed.

along with Enola Gay, NewDad, and Gurriers, announcing their decision to boycott the festival. In the hour we

O: One more shot, then fuck off haha.

sipped coffee, later Guinness, we rambled through their lock in at The Windmill, their renaissance as an accordion-

What did you talk about?

wielding band, kicking former guitarist Kieran out of the band because ‘he’s over 25’ (fear not, all in jest), and their

F: Ireland, speaking Irish. One of them was from Kerry

new biggest fan, Grian Chatten.

and the other from Donnegal.

It’s been almost exactly a year since I first interviewed

O: I was asking them about The Windmill for ages, they

you – before you played your first London show at the

were telling me all about the history.

Sebright Arms – how many London shows have you now done?

F: And their love story, how they met.

Oskar: Four. Fifth coming up soon, at The Windmill.

O: It was quite cute that.

You’d visited The Windmill for the first time when we

And what have you been up to in London?

last spoke. O: We did a live session. O: Yeah, super excited to play, I think that’ll be great. I loved it the few times I went. Good Guinness as well.


Words by Natalia Quiros Edmunds, illustration by Harry Wyld

With State51?

A: She necked ten Stella with Oskar before going to bed.

F: Yeah the space was class, nice gang to work with. Fed

I can’t tell if that’s a gag or not.

us well. O: Those ten empty Stella cans, we’re bringing them to O: We did three songs.

Texas and we’re shooting them.

F: The last two singles and Roseland.

A: She asked me to.

…And you shot a music video yesterday? Tell me more.

Why doesn’t she go too?

F: It was really cool aesthetically.

A: She is. Kieran isn’t coming anymore – we kicked him out of the band because he’s too old so we’re bringing

The first official video shoot you’ve done?

granny instead.

A: First high production.

Have any of you ever been to Texas before?

O: Our other two videos were just walking around town

O: I’ve been to California but I think Texas is going to be

with a camera.

very different.

D: More DIY.

F: Can’t wait to see the glorious American south.

F: The filmmaker we were working with, Sal Redpath, is

A: I’ve wanted to go to Texas ever since I saw Pirates of

very talented.

the Caribbean.

Where did you film it?

O: I think you’re thinking of Paris, Texas.

O: Woodhurst Park. Billingshurst was the first location.

Who are you going to see?

D: How do you remember that?

O: I’ve got a bone to pick with Joe Biden.

O: Stagpark House was the second location.

D: Genocide Joe.

A: My granny was asking so he had to remember… I was

When we spoke a year ago, only ‘Amsterdam’ and ‘The

gonna say ‘our’ granny. Though it is kind of our granny

Brow’ were out and you were excited to lean into a


more pop-inflected sound. Has this new sound changed the band?

O: Yeah, she’s kind of my granny too. Three of us are staying with Aaron’s granny. She’s feeding me, washing

Euan: Probably, but it’s not that different in many ways,

my clothes.

just a continuation. We like writing what we’re writing right now.

A: Just for these four days. She’s being so nice. Fry up every morning. O: She loves Stella.



Do ‘Unreal’ and ‘Roseland’ feel closer to where you

E: I don’t know if it’s all so intentionally like, ‘we’re

want to be as a band?

writing an album’ yet, but we’re always writing new stuff.

E: Yeah. Maybe with the earlier music we were trying to

Are the next few months as packed?

fit into stuff that was around that we thought was cooler – trying to be like those bands. Now we’re just taking a bit

E: Yeah, we’re playing The Great Escape.

more from the stuff we really like. It’s leaning into those influences that’s helping us do our own thing.

A: Oslo in August.

It certainly feels like you’re carving a niche for

O: Bit of a tour coming up in May.

yourselves. Steve Lamacq premiered ‘Unreal’ on Radio 6 Music and when the track finished his words were,

F: Playing in Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, London,

‘well, that was noisy.’ Your edge seems to be in pairing

Southampton, Brighton and then we’ve three lovely Irish

that deafening noise with those catchy warm pop

shows, playing in Galway, Limerick, and Cork.

melodies. Embracing that is what seems to underline your recent releases.

I already have my Windmill ticket.

D: And the accordion too, there’s no accordion on the

F: Oh thank you. I think that’s gonna be a great show. I’m

earlier stuff.

really excited for that. I’m excited for all of it to be fair, Manchester will be great. Glasgow, Scotland should be a

But there’s no accordion on Unreal is there?

lot of fun.

E: No, but these tracks are sort of a transitionary period

Any closing thoughts?

between the older stuff and what it is now. O: …Grian Chatten likes us he said. O: When Euan wrote that song, he was living in a van around Kerry. And now he lives in a house.

Did he?

E: Exactly. I moved into a house and said my band needs

O: Yeah.

an accordion. Hahahah Makes sense. How many more singles can we expect? F: He said it once on Radio 1. E: Two more. So there’ll be four songs off the EP. Although technically Roseland isn’t part of the EP.

O: ‘My favourite new band’

D: The EP is six tracks, just short of an album.

E: He said he’d have us on support if we’d have him.

O: And there’ll be another separate single coming out too.

Let’s revisit that at our next yearly catchup.

So lots of music coming soon.

E: We should take a selfie

F: Yeah, and we’re working on the album as well. That’s a lot!



When pencil announced their arrival into the musical

It really became pencil when Coco joined. That coincided

world, they felt like an oven-ready band. Meticulously

with ‘The Window’ when I switched to acoustic guitar and

designed and poised to take a new and beautiful sound to

Tom started playing the drums with brushes. Then it just

a big audience.

clicked into being pencil.

They were immediately playing to full rooms showcasing

The string sounds from Coco’s violin feel like a central

a swirling, rapturous and definitively “pencil” sound;

theme to the two songs that we’ve heard from pencil

looking to have it all figured out. The fact that they are a

so far. It’s got a very pencil identity. Was it a natural

supergroup of sorts, bringing together Kamran Khan (aka

thing when Coco joined?

Fake Laugh), Thomas Fiquet (Swim Deep), Cai Burns (Kagoule & Blood Wizard), Coco Inman (Philharmonic

D: I think the sound of pencil was realised with the

Orchestra) and Dom Potts (Fake Laugh & Chilli Jesson),

addition of Coco and the violin. When we first rehearsed

did nothing to debunk this theory.

with Coco, rather than putting her in the room with everyone and being very on the spot, she and Kam came

Wonderfully, when So Young spoke to Kam & Dom,

round to mine and we did a little pre-rehearsal run-through

we found a band that are aware of the stunning thing

of some bits.

they have created but are still very much experimenting, growing and working out exactly what pencil is.

We had this old song we were playing, we didn’t know what we wanted from the violin, but we knew that we

I want to start with the formation of the band. You all

wanted it to come in on the chorus. So we just said to

come from very different musical backgrounds. How

Coco, I’ll give you the nod and you just play violin. We

did it come into being as a thing called pencil?

got to the chorus and she played one note. She just held one long note, but it was the perfect note. Instantly my

Kam: Dom and Tom both played in Fake Laugh. We

whole body was covered in goosebumps and it was clear:

did one tour just before the pandemic, where we played

that’s the sound we’re after.

as a three-piece. That was the seed and then obviously lockdowns happened. We revisited that three-piece, many

I imagine that’s what you’re aiming for people to feel

months later when we could and then Kai moved down

like at a live show, for the audience to be covered in

from Nottingham in the autumn of 2021.

goosebumps at all times?

Dom: We were playing a bit heavier, moving chords.

D: Yeah, I mean, that’s how I’m feeling constantly

A bit more fuzzy, guitar-based stuff and then it just

throughout the set. It’s all because of Coco’s violin. It

completely took a turn. I don’t know where that came

doesn’t wear off … {looks at Kam} … and your singing

from, necessarily.

and your guitar playing!!

K: I think we were refining a sound that we had. It started

K: Cool. I don’t mind. I don’t mind.

with those fuzzy, pop-rock songs that I had, but I guess it wasn’t hugely exciting for us. I think we knew that we could do something maybe more interesting.

Words by Sachin Turakhia, illustration by Zsófia Győrfi


When I first heard about pencil, I started describing

It must be quite a novel experience to have a packed-

you as a supergroup. Is that something that you’ve

out room and nobody knows what they’re going to

heard being banded around and do you feel like that,

listen to at that point?

or is it just another band that you’re part of? D: We were going into it thinking, it’s gonna be a couple D: Good question. It doesn’t feel like just another band.

of friends there, maybe, and that’s about probably it. We

For me personally, this pencil thing that we’re doing feels

were in the dressing room saying, “we’ll just play for

pretty special to me and it’s close to my heart. I feel very

ourselves, we’ll just enjoy it” Then we walked out on

connected to it. But I think it’s because of the music that

stage, and the room was full, and I remember, turning

were making and the musicianship within the band. I just

around to Kam

think the combination of everyone’s styles and influences is what makes it unique and special.

K: And you were like: “There are people here!”

K: I think the term has been brought up … I can’t

D: It was great!

remember by who or whether it was by us but I think we’re hesitant to call ourselves a supergroup. I don’t think

K: To answer your question, a lot of the time we’ve just

we’re quite that. But I think in a way it feels like a version

been focused on the set that we’re going to deliver and

of that, just from the experiences that we’ve had.

haven’t been expecting anything from the crowds, but it’s been really nice so far.

The last time I was in a band, was the band I started when I was 13. That went on for 10 years and then another 10

That’s beautiful. Obviously, there’s more music to

years went by and now I’m doing a band again, which is

come. Are you able to tease us with what people can

kind of crazy. To go from starting one as a very young

expect from future pencil music? What emotional

child, and then now being able to start it with musicians

themes will be coming through?

that have also had a lot of experience, feels like a nice way to start a band.

K: I guess the next thing is going to be a longer body of work, probably like an EP. I haven’t really been in this

That makes sense, it’s a really solid foundation to build

position before where it’s like, “How much do you really

on immediately. You’ve already played some really big

talk about these things?”

shows as well, how’s the reception been to the project in the live setting?

I think we’re still on a journey. Experimenting with different songs and kind of figuring out what the fuck

D: I feel like we’ve gone down pretty well. People are

we’re doing.

very attentive and really listening. I felt like they were enjoying it.

D: Yeah, I mean, am I allowed to say…?

K: I think the attentiveness is the thing that’s fortunately

K: No!

been present throughout most of our shows. It does feel like people are listening and that’s not always a given.

D: Hahahaha … so I feel like, the music that we’ve

It’s nice to feel like we may be capturing people’s

recorded is, it’s all in the set that we’re playing. So,

imaginations and attention.

anything that you’ve heard or felt or experienced from the set is going to be on the record. I feel like we’re aiming

We played Green Man and The Great Escape, both having

to have a bit more of that live feel because we play well

not put any music out, and we weren’t expecting anything

together in that setting and it’s probably a good idea to try

from either show and they turned out to be packed, and

and capture that.

people were really attentive, great crowds.



K: We’re still opening up the world of pencil, I think, for ourselves and other people; that is essentially what the next release will be about. For those who haven’t caught a live show or heard any of the singles, how would you describe pencil and that world in a few words? K: Hahaha … You want to use the phrase? D: Yeah! Or can I say the phrase, but ask that it not be used? It’s just that maybe we can figure something out because I feel like it does portray it kind of well, but it’s a bit … K: Did you come up with it? D: We were spitballing… K: There’s a phrase … a phrase called “haunted euphoria” D: It was like a description of the sound. K: It’s kind of cool and accurate actually! D: Because the songs have the kind of spooky melancholy to them but then there’s also, energy and life in it, and that sort of euphoric, transcendent musical moment thing. K: Do you know what? That’s actually quite good Dom. I dunno why I was so . . I guess it’s quite lofty, but we’re ambitious people. Was that the only reticence? It was too lofty? K: I don’t know, but I think I was wrong. I think that’s a nice summing up of the sound and a good way to describe it. Dream big.



From the outrageousness and opulence of Taxi Driver and

Sam: Our nerves. They’ve transformed into a drive for

Tiffany’s to the bright lights of Broadway, it’s no wonder

intention and energy - setting up the vibes for a good show

that New York stands out as one of the most covetable

and gripping the audience. There was an initial shock

cities to call home. Living in a shoebox has been

walking out to that many people - even in the soundcheck,

romanticised by Instagram, and if you’re lucky enough to

there was an awareness of the noise we make travelling

afford an apartment larger than 600 square feet, you can

that far across a room.

move into the Chelsea Hotel: once deemed ‘eccentric and damned’ by Patti Smith, the ghost-ridden corridors are

Nando: We haven’t played in a lot of these countries but

now million-dollar bohemian havens. Are these state of

there have been thousands of people watching us every

affairs part of the city’s charm or are they pushing New

night. We’ve had to channel nerves into enjoying that.

York into a cultural vacuum? Have you had to adapt your shows to accommodate the This is a question Been Stellar have been exploring

magnitude of these rooms?

since their genesis. Formed out of NYU, Sam (vocals), Skyler (guitar), Nando (guitar), Laila (drums) and Nico

Skyler: The biggest challenge is the distance between us

(bass) use music to express New York’s impalpable sense

on stage and the audience. You can’t rely as much on a

of electricity and overwhelm. The results are intricate

physical, visceral interaction with the audience. A lot of

sweeping soundscapes that blend the personal - musical

the time, you can’t even see their faces, so you need to

allusions to Detroit’s guitar scene, LA’s pop-punk and

find the energy from within and from one another.

Brazil’s bossa nova - with an overarching taste for grunge and shoegaze. Despite all emigrating to New York, Been

Nando: There’s something crazy about walking into these

Stellar has only ever existed together here, and their

big rooms and considering not just the people watching

upcoming debut album ‘Scream From New York, NY’ is

you directly in front, but also those in the seats up top.

an ode to just this.

That’s affected my performance because I’m thinking about how there might be someone into the band who’s

In the run up to the album, Been Stellar have been

sitting far away.

jumping on incredible support slots, joining the likes of Interpol, Fontaines D.C. and Shame amongst others. Most

You’ve played an incredible list of support slots,

recently, they embarked on a European arena tour with

including Shame, Fontaines D.C. and Bodega to name

The 1975, playing their biggest shows to date. We caught

a few. Have you learnt any lessons from the artists

up with the band on the last night of this tour, reflecting

you’ve toured with?

on their own aspirations and the inextricably deep connection to New York they all hold.

Laila: You go into a world that’s someone else’s and it feels as if you have to prove yourself. I’ve learnt the

Cast yourselves back to the first night of tour - what’s

importance of setting an initial energy - the first note you


play is arguably the most important because it sets the tone for the rest of the show. It’s harder to get people to catch on gradually.


Words by Poppy Richler, illustration by Julie Alex

Skyler: These support shows have made it clear how much

Sam wanted this record to be more lyrically specific than

we have to work to become one of those headline bands.

past releases, and that specificity has allowed us to dig

I’ve left all these shows honoured to have joined such

into certain inflections that highlight the bass or guitar

great acts, but I want to be the band people open for. I

for example. A big influence for us was Jim Jarmusch’s

don’t say that out of selfish aspiration but because I’m so

Coffee and Cigarettes – it’s a compilation of little

proud of what my friends and I are doing.

conversations and that’s what the album represents.

Sam: I had a conversation with Charlie Steen from Shame

Do any of these specific moments stand out?

when we toured with them last year. We were finishing the album on the road and there was a lot going on so I was

Sam: Sky and I worked collaboratively on the lyrics for

pretty anxious. Steen gave me a great piece of advice for

the title track. It’s a journalistic style of writing and refers

anything: he told me that you need to trust the process,

to a church on 2nd Avenue that burnt down. Sky was

go with the flow. As much as you need to work incredibly

witnessing the aftermath of that, so the song has a certain

hard to get anywhere, at this stage, you also need to know

boldness to it.

when to let the reins go a bit. You need to trust yourself but acknowledge you can only do so much - working hard

Skyler: Our latest release ‘All In One’ is about the

is the best you can do and you need to trust that that’ll be

monotonous reality of being in NY – the reality being that


you spend most of your day in a tiny apartment. The music mirrors this as it’s one of our most melodically repetitive

Do you remember saying that ’you can take the band

songs. It only focuses on a few chords and is very

out of New York, but you can’t take the New York out

mechanical. Sam wasn’t trying to write lyrics like that, but

of the band?’ Has this shown itself recently?

that feeling was impossible to ignore.

Skyler: I definitely feel it in Europe. It’s interesting

‘Passing Judgment’ is the first single off the album and

because we’re not from New York, we’re from all over.

it’s about being ‘insecure in oneself.’ Do you think that

But saying that, this band has only ever existed in New

New York’s intensity helps people forge or lose their

York and it’s what we share. There’s this tireless energy


that exists in New York and if you go somewhere else with a bit more order, you feel the clashing of energies to some

Sam: It’s easy to fall into comparisons. There are so many

extent. People daydream about living in different places,

people, so naturally there’ll be a big pool of people who

but I can’t imagine myself without that New York thing - a

are great at what they do. If you don’t keep your head

thing which has become symbiotic with our music.

down and focus on what you’re doing, you can get swept up into that.

New York is clearly intrinsic to both the music and personalities of Been Stellar, so much so that your

Laila: If you can make it in NY, you can make it anywhere

upcoming debut album is called ‘Scream From New

because it’s so hard to live here. I come from LA and it

York, NY’. In the past you said you can imagine

was this pressure cooker of a place that formed who I am.

yourselves writing a movie soundtrack - does this album represent that intention?

Skyler: Because it’s so difficult to live here, it weeds out a lot of the reactionary hype; the industry stuff you see

Skyler: Yes, but I think it came about in a much more

in other big cities. I think it’s something everyone should

unintentional way than expected. Visuals were a big

experience. There’s a thing to it that you can’t put your

influence on us when writing this album, and because the

finger on.

design and video processes have an equal involvement in many ways, I think each song is a soundtrack to a small movie.


Been Stellar

Can you try and put your finger on it? Skyler: It’s an amalgamation of sounds – a big cacophony of stuff. We made an album about it! Do you think emigrating to New York has given you a more critical eye towards the city compared to those that grew up there? Nico: We’re all so privileged to be living in NY, but I can’t imagine growing up there – it’s too overwhelming. Going through the thick of it has opened our eyes to the city’s grittiness and has built a better foundation for us as writers and humans. Skyler: We’re not yet jaded to the city compared to people who grew up here, so there’s an ideal that hasn’t fully died for us yet. I don’t want to wax romantic about Clarkston, Michigan (where I’m from) because it’s tough to write about something you know too much about. You need that level of mystery to intrigue you to talk about it. Having New York as an ideal - growing up and wanting that life and now living it – we’ve been on both sides of that coin. That constant dual identity is something you never lose. Together you hail from Michigan, Brazil and California - landscapes deeply influenced by specific musical movements. Have any of these movements made their way into your music on a personal or band level? Everyone: Bossa Nova Skyler: In Michigan, I grew up listening to stuff like The White Stripes and The Stooges – raw music from Michigan that doesn’t have the industry breathing down their neck. Nico: In LA, pop-punk is big - Red Hot Chilli Peppers were always on the radio, so they’re ingrained in my brain. Their music has something that I strive for in ours – it seems so simple and you can enjoy it in a pop sensibility, but upon examination it’s full of complexity.



Last time you were in So Young, you expressed an

Skyler: Gabriel Jace Long who makes all our videos is

awareness for not just taking things from New York,

interested in Harmony Korine, and shoots on a mini DV

but also giving back. Thinking about how TikTok

handheld camera, printing everything to film. This makes

and selfie culture risk making historic cities cultural

everything look like it’s alien footage trying to be made

vacuums, what have you taken and more importantly

more human. Saying that, the Warhol Screen Tests have

what have you given back?

definitely influenced us in the past.

Nico: It’s difficult - in what way can we even say we’re

Bringing it back to So Young’s home turf, you’ve had a

giving back to this historical city?

lot of career “wow” moments here in the UK. Can you tell us more about this?

Skyler: We’ve given our most real and honest portrayal of NY as we see it and that’s the best we can do. NY is

Nico: Going to shows is very different in the UK - there

highlighted by its honesty and how real the people are. It’s

aren’t as many barriers to enjoying and making music.

very to the point and as Nico says, I always feel in debt to

There’s a lot more faith in promoters putting on shows – a

the city. It’s a debt that we haven’t repaid yet, but we’ve

lot of the coolest shows we played were free, like ‘We Are

worked our asses off to whittle down a little bit of it.

So Young’ at The Social. No one’s stressed about spending $20 on a ticket alone and because of this, music discovery

Nico: It’s about making music that will help people

seems a lot more intrinsic to everyday life.

understand a perspective on a city, rather than just making If you could put together a Been Stellar travel guide to

music for ourselves.

the UK, what’s on it? Skyler: If people don’t talk about real places, then I’m not sure what there is to talk about any more. There are a lot

Skyler: Spice Grillz in South London.

of albums filled with irony or that discuss online culture, but cities are our last vestige of not just being troglodytes

Laila: The Marine Fish Restaurant on Scotland’s West

plugged into a fake world.

Coast – the best fish and chips I’ve ever had.

You’ve alluded to the gentrification of New York –

Everyone: The Polar Bear in Hull.

thinking about romanticised places like Andy Warhol’s Factory, do spaces like this still exist?

There are a lot of people who are excited to see what you do next. Whose next steps are you excited for?

Skyler: They definitely still exist, but will remain nameless. There was this place that closed called The

Sam: New York bands like Catcher, Geese and Bodega.

Glove - it was like The Factory but cooler because it had no pretence to it. It was crazy how a DIY space with no

Nico: Ethan Crane, Friko from Chicago.

liquor licence existed. The music was so experimental. Spaces like that still exist but they’re smaller in number,

Skyler: Just Mustard are our favourite band collectively.

and there’ll probably be a lot more community funding that goes into it. Thinking about The Factory, have Andy Warhol’s films ever influenced your music videos?


Been Stellar

It’s not often that bands are fans of their earliest

To keep adding stuff felt false or that we’d already

recordings - heck, they’ll often shun them to the point that

captured the idea. This time around, I wanted to take it

it becomes awkward when you bring it up in conversation.

as a challenge and treat the original record as demos, but

Given this, it came as something of a surprise to find out

fleshing them out more. It’s funny because when we were

that NYC group BODEGA have decided that their third

making the Bodega Bay record, there was a part of us that

record would be a remake of their previous incarnation’s

thought ‘we’re making a big, classic rock record’, but it

33-track epic, Our Brand Could Be Yr Life - originally

was making fun of that at the same time.

released in 2015 as Bodega Bay. How much of that way of working disappeared In a world where only Taylor Swift seems to also see fit

when you were doing ‘Endless Scroll’ and ‘Broken

to revisit her entire discography, bloating each album’s


runtime drastically in the process, Bodega have taken this past recording and touched up the rougher edges to make

B: ‘Endless Scroll’ was written in a pretty similar way,

their most polished and direct album to date.

where everything was pretty instantaneous and fast. That was what we were into at the time, but one of the

Speaking to founding members Ben Hozie and Nikki

problems that we were talking about when we started

Belfiglio with coffees in hands and cats on laps, we spoke

Bodega was how our lyrics and our philosophical ideas

about the shifts that have taken place since the original

were being misunderstood a lot of the time.

release, their approach to social commentary and how they went about remaking Our Brand… (‘Bodega’s Version’, if

You’ve also slimmed it a little bit too - the tracklist has

you will).

been halved in size, but then you’ve also been releasing new versions of the ones that didn’t make the cut.

What is it about the original version of ‘Our Brand

What was the selection process for deciding what felt

Could Be Yr Life’ that made it so ripe for sort of

necessary to keep and what could be removed from the

revisiting at this moment in time?


Ben: Those are the first good songs we wrote and the

B: Part of that was like me wanting people to go back

first time we found our songwriting voice, so it’s a

and check out the original record. I just chose tracks that

personal archivist project if you will. ‘Endless Scroll’

I thought were thematically related to last year when we

was originally written as a sequel to that record but no

were making it, and also ones that I thought our new band

one knew the original outside of New York. We’re sort of

could play particularly well. Also ones that felt essential

presenting it as a trilogy.

to the process or the narrative of Bodega.

The remake is a lot more refined and you’ve made a

Nikki: This album kind of encompasses my whole music

few alterations here and there. When you set out to do

career in the sense that I joined this band before I even

this, what parts did you know you wanted to change

knew how to play music, which is hilarious. It’s great to

and which parts were crucial for you to keep?

revisit these songs again with a little bit more musicality and what you’ve learned since then.

B: The original record was really in the spirit of stuff like early Pavement and Guided by Voices.

With the lyrics that were changed between versions,

One thing I love about Guided by Voices, their average

which ones stuck out to you as being equally as

song length would be 45 seconds or something. It was sort

prescient now as they were when you first wrote them,

of like ‘the first idea is the best idea’.

and then what things were there that you absolutely didn’t agree with anymore? Words by Reuben Cross, illustration by Gyayu Wang


B: We tend to think of songs as like a statement from the

B: One thing we’re doing right now is this alter-ego band

author sending this beacon out there in the world. I like to

called Nodega, which is the hardcore punk version of

think of them more in terms of maybe how Shakespeare

Bodega. We’re doing an EP which I don’t know when it

plays are written. It’s way easier in literature because

will come out, but we’re working on it. It continues the

you have these characters that can say something and the

themes of ‘Our Brand Could Be Yr Life’, but it’s hardcore

writer might not necessarily believe it, but he’s teasing it


out. When people give valedictorian speeches and they’re quoting Shakespeare, a lot of times they’re obviously

Speaking of live shows - since the album is quite

quoting the characters, so in some of the songs, I’m

conceptual, I was wondering if you had any plans to

embodying characters.

turn the live show into something more conceptual as well. You’re both filmmakers outside of the band, so I

Going back to the themes of the record and bands vs

can imagine you’d have a lot of ideas for visual aspects.

brands, it touches a lot on the subject of the Michael Azerrad book that it sort of takes its name from. I’m

N: We really wanted to upgrade this year, but in an ideal

not sure if he’s aware of your work, but what aspects

world, I really want a moving backdrop with an animated

of the record do you think he would be most on board

ATM machine, based on this giant one [Nikki rotates the

with in an ideological sense?

camera to show two models of ATM machines]. I had my friend animate it, and it spins around, and then money

B: I think he believes in the transformative power of what

comes out of the slot that I had painted. I also would love

starting a band can be. It’s not necessarily just the creation

to have some other visuals and stuff, I really wanted to do

of the music, but finding fulfilment in creating your own

some feedback art.

scene, your own culture and driving 3000 miles to play to 10 people. That’s the Black Flag story - they created this

B: We’ve also been incorporating theatre aspects into the

whole new scene that didn’t exist before. If people aren’t


putting on punk shows in Reno, they’d figure out how to do it.

N: We would love to have a cultural consumer MC, like a branding guru. There’s this guy called William Arruda,

N: We just got back from SXSW where we were official

who gave the personal brand speech that Ben found in

and then joined the boycott. We ended up just playing

2014, and we sample a lot of his vocals.

all the independent shows, and we had a blast. All those people are aware of the SXSW apparatus and they built

B: We would love to hire that guy to open for us or to be

something really special underneath it. That’s something I

part of the show or something, but maybe for like one

found to be incredibly inspiring for us, and going forward

night in London.

as a band that could be more of what the future holds. In a very hopeful sense, I would hope that going forward this

If you could remake one album from history, not a

could be the start of a new underground because you can

Bodega record, what would it be and why?

see that a lot of bands don’t need the apparatus. B: One album that is so conceptually brilliant that I often Quite often, and I don’t know if this is the case for you,

think about is The Residents’ ‘Commercial Album’. It’s

but when I’m interviewing bands about album three,

basically 40 one minute songs that are meant to be their

for example, they’ve already finished the fourth. I

own alternate universe top 40. That’s such a fun world to

don’t know whether you’ve already started working on

play in. I would love to try and write 40 one minute songs.

future projects…

I actually pitched that to somebody on our team recently as a collage of shit for TikTok or whatever. Nobody seemed to like the idea.



It doesn’t take long to hear just how Slow Fiction have

It does feel like there’s been a bit of a sea-change on

become a vital component of NYC’s guitar scene in the

the NYC scene in recent years with more band’s diving

space of a couple of releases. The band’s latest single

into the city’s illustrious heritage and hunger for

‘Monday’ comes as a dizzying and frantic squall of

something fuzzier and grittier - does it feel like there’s

rhythmic distortion - that’s before the barbed vocals of

a bit of a community brewing?

Julia Vassallo’s vibrant lyricism cuts through the stark Paul: I definitely think we all feel at home here, it’s a

scene in gripping fashion.

really inspiring place to be. In terms of a scene, I think Although their sound is very much tethered to the true

it’s pretty wide-spanning at the moment. There’s a

greats of the city’s noise rock stomping ground, speaking

huge variety of sounds coming out of the city all of the

to the band from their Brooklyn apartment, you quickly

time. It’s cool to be a part of that and we do feel really

get the feeling that they’re driven by forward movement,

connected to it.

refusing to get caught up in the romantic trappings of what it means to be a guitar band in the The Big Apple in the

You’ve been quick to cite giants of the scene like Sonic

year 2024.

Youth as touchstones, when you all met was it clear that you were going to head in that direction?

Speaking to the band just a month before the arrival of their thrilling second EP ‘Crush’, Vassallo does admit it

Paul: The sound itself has developed a lot over time as

feels like a growing up moment for them, with the works

we’ve gotten more in tune with each other and how we

colliding as one epic whole. “Thematically they have a

play. A lot of our early songs were written differently

lot of ties with each other,” she says of the songs. “It’s

to how we’re writing now. We had a bit of a different

like chapter by chapter really and it just works as a whole

sound from the outset. Now we’ve struck upon the real

this time around.” She’s not wrong either, you can’t help

intersection of our influences as well as understanding

but feel it’s a true statement of intent from raucous guitar

more about how each other play. I think it’s really special

giants in the making.

to be able to contribute to a canon of music from New York in general. So many names from here have inspired

It feels like you’ve just been going from strength to

us so much and personally I’m very proud to be a part of

strength recently, how’s everything going in the world

that in any capacity.

of Slow Fiction? It’s quite romantic really, do you feel energised by the Julia: It certainly feels like that at the moment we’re


just incredibly excited. It feels like we’ve been building momentum since the start of the year and we’re just ready

Julia: It is romantic. We all grew up listening to a lot of

for everything we have to come with the next few singles

band’s who had their own scene throughout time here and

that will lead into the whole EP which is going to be

it is romanticised in that way that there’s this ongoing

arriving at the end of May which we can’t wait to see out

story about it.



Words by Rhys Buchanan, illustration by Silvia Reginato

When you grow up in North America, you have this idea

Julia: We just like to keep hold of our creative integrity

in your head about this bustling music scene in New York.

and be the most honest version of ourselves as artists and

I think a lot of us grew up with this idea of how cool


it would be to be a part of something like that one day.

I think that’s something we discovered together. We want

Sometimes it doesn’t always feel realistic though, so that’s

to write what we want to hear and what we want to play. I

where it becomes this big fantasy of what life could be

think our listeners have really resonated with that.

like. Sometimes when you’re in the thick of it and doing it all of the time it’s easy to forget that it once felt so far

So how did the upcoming EP itself come together as a

away. It does take a while to sink in and appreciate it

body of work?

when you’re so focussed on what’s next. Ryan: When we’d finished recording our self-titled first Surely it’s just as important to switch off from that

EP, we quickly began writing and compiling a bunch of

mythology and add your own contribution by staying

new material and this new one is a snapshot in time of

true to yourselves?

that. It was the moment when we’d started to come into ourselves a little bit more. We’re incredibly proud of this

Paul: I think so many people in New York want to be


part of a scene as it’s happening. The recent ‘Meet Me In The Bathroom’ documentary that came out probably

The debut EP must have been a massive learning

didn’t help as you get people striving to be a part of that

curve for you all in terms of what you found out about

renaissance. Sometimes you don’t notice movements until

yourselves, was that the case lyrically as well?

after it’s all happened. You almost need to be a little bit removed from it to see how it’s shaped music elsewhere.

Julia: I think lyrically things are always changing. As with any piece of art, it all depends on where you’re drawing

I guess the live show has been central in hitting upon

influence from during that specific moment in your life.

that intersection, has it been a case about building the

At the time I can look back and kind of tell, ‘I was reading

sound during the live shows in a post-pandemic world?

this sort of thing’, ‘I was feeling this way’, because of the speech pattern and language I’m using. I love diving back

Julia: That’s been massively important. It’s how we

through my influences. It’s interesting because the songs

figured out how to be a band and play together. Our initial

weren’t all written back to back. I’d had some of the lyrics

goal was just to play a show, so we’d gotten all of the

for a long time and brought them back in, it’s a bit of a

songs together just so we could achieve that milestone in


its own right. Then after we had a few under our belt, then we became confident in the fact that we can book shows

You guys were out at SXSW, how have you found the

and play live. Then it was a case of figuring out exactly

response to the new material?

what we wanted to be expressing and what message we wanted to get across as a group. With some band’s it’s the

Ryan: We’ve been super proud of the response and it’s

complete opposite but it’s really cool that all of us have

been so fun playing them live. We’ve been playing some

lived in the city and have figured out who we were as a

of these tracks since last summer, now we’re playing

group while we were playing.

even newer material so it’s definitely a cyclical process. We want to be able to keep writing new things and keep

What message did you want to put out into the world -

testing where our sound can go. Most of it is informed by

did you stumble upon anything specific?

the live environment for sure.


Slow Fiction

Julia: Maybe I’m a little bit sentimental but it feels like the more you get to know each other the better you’re going to get to work together. It’s like any relationship, friendship or partnership in any way. It takes time to build and it’s the same with a musical partnership, especially with a whole group that’s a family of people. We’ve all been learning a lot about each other and the way we write music, we’re constantly evolving. We’ve all gotten to a point now where we really know each other and trust each other enough. It’s about being comfortable and confident enough to try things and see where it goes. That relationship changes over time for sure. Did things scale up production wise or was it still born out of your own apartment studio space? Paul: Just in general it happened to coincide with some of us moving in together and writing and practicing where we live. I agree with Julia though, the more we’ve done as a band together we’ve grown closer and have had more time to rehearse and work. So timing wise it did work out really nicely. As time has gone on we’ve gotten more comfortable and excited about writing new stuff and working out new material. Having the ability and freedom to do that whenever has helped a lot. Having a dedicated recording setup has helped us work faster as well. How does it feel to be working with the label, especially with the presence over here in the UK? Paul: Definitely, we’ve looked up to them for so long, they’ve been championing really cool music for such a long time, so it was kind of like a dream label situation. Sam and Josh are really helping us so much and we’re incredibly grateful. Julia: We’re definitely daring to dream big. You can definitely hope and wish for the best and you never know where it can end which makes it so exciting. Your day to day life can be very set in reality so having those goals really drive you to continue. We set really high expectations for ourselves and we’ll never stop doing that.


On a drowsy Monday morning, I met bona fide legends

When we did those tours, it was stunning how young some

of 21st century shoegaze, DIIV, in a function room of a

of the fans were. It had felt like our fan base was ageing

Hackney hotel. Severely jetlagged, they were busy signing

with us, and then there was some sort of reset where, now

some 500 artwork prints of their upcoming fourth album

there’s all these new young fans!

‘Frog In Boiling Water’ as part of the whistle stop press You can also hear that in the music! ‘Frog..’ does like a

trip to the UK.

progression from the last album - darker, heavier. Was Taking its title from a metaphor for the environmental

this something that happened naturally?

crisis - if you put a frog in water and slowly heat, it won’t notice it’s too hot until it’s too late (apparently)

C: I suggested the other day that our discography is:

- The New Yorkers’ latest sees them move away from

‘Oshin’ and ‘Is The Is Are’ are two sides of the same coin;

the much-publicised personal lyricism of yesteryear, and

and then it’s ‘Deceiver’ and ‘Frog’. The next album we

instead move towards more more global problems: “It’s

make will probably be a departure. But it felt very natural.

kind of boring talking about yourself all the time…”, says

We wanted to make a more experimental album, but it’s

frontman Cole Smith.

not like we set out to make it explicitly heavy in the same way that we did with ‘Deceiver’. It just ended up coming

Fittingly, we covered a lot of ground during our interview:

out that way.

climate change, the failure of human societies, the platonic quest for the ideal form of shoegaze music as it appears to

I feel like the music feels less optimistic than it used to

DIIV themselves; the inherent paradox of the collaborative

be too. I don’t know if you’re less optimistic than you

creative process; the darkly magical pleasures pleasures

were 10 years ago, and have gotten more cynical about

of the godlike guitar riff; the pitfalls of democracy,


the nature of conflict and its resolution; the power of communication; the search for the Loch Ness monster. The

Cole: I wouldn’t say it’s all cynical! I love music that’s

arduous creation of ‘Frog…’ holds all this wisdom in its

both sides at once, you know, ‘happy and sad’ at the same

grooves, and more, as Cole (guitar/vocals), Ben (drums),

time, or ‘bleak and hopeful’ at the same time - because life

Andrew (guitar), and Colin (bass/vox/keys) divulge.

is like that. It can balance itself. And I think that a good record should be balanced. It would be so easy to put the

What was the state of the band after the ‘Deceiver’

lyrics into a black metal generator and be like “scorched

album cycle, especially with lockdown coming in the


middle of it? Was it difficult getting yourselves back together after that?

C: The album is less personal in terms of lyrics but it’s even more of a reflection of what the world is now.

Colin: We got lucky because Lockdown happened, but

The world is very bleak right now. But then, it’s also

then we still got to have a bit of an album cycle afterward.

enduringly magical and hopeful in different ways. It’s

We did two really successful tours in Europe in 2022. It

interesting that you think the album is so heavy and dark.

felt like the band was going the entire time. And we were

It’s cool. I keep coming back to the word ‘magical’. I

working on this record for most of the last four/five years,

listen to it and I feel more hopeful than I do dark. I don’t

so it never felt like there was like a really distinct break. It

know what that says about me, or us being closer to it.

felt like the band had a lot of new life injected into it too. It’s interesting you say ‘magical’. Now I think about it, it seems so obvious. Words by Elvis Thirlwell, illustration by Laura Garcia Sanchez


I’ve been listening to ‘Brown Paper Bag’ a lot, and

C: For us [the album] is a totally new feeling, and all

when that riff comes in, I do feel like I’m God or

the songs are different to what we’ve done in the past. To


continue the boat metaphor, you have to fish a lot to get that stuff…

C: I feel like it’ll be more difficult for people to just put this on and not think about the music or the words. But at

Cole:.. Until you get Nessie…we’re all looking for Nessie.

the same time this album does have these musical passages that are just blissfully transportative. The ‘happy and

What does conflict resolution look like? How do

sad’ thing, or the ambiguity, is part of what makes DIIV

you make any decisions in what seems like quite a

sound the way it does. It’s always there. And even though

democratic band.

the older stuff is brighter and faster, to me, some of that sounds way darker.

Cole: You’ve pinpointed the essential problem with democracy or group decision-making. What process do

I was reading about you going to the Mojave desert

you use? There’s no perfect way. There’s an even number

for two weeks and failing to make an album. Then you

of us, so voting doesn’t work! We talked a lot about

spend nine months trying to record it again. From a

the consensus based model for decision making. It’s

well-being point of view, I was concerned about how

either consent or dissent. If you dissent, then there’s a

you’re exclusively working in really intense ways for

discussion. After enough time of conflict resolution, you

long periods of time. Why do you do this to yourself!?

become avoidant, and we become avoidant of conflict for a while because it’s exhausting.

Ben: We all have really particular and strong opinions. Each of us has our own thing that we want, and then you

C: We did something very male and didn’t talk to each

multiply that by four… there’s always this tugging from

other. Towards the end when it was getting really, really

different directions going on. We’re always trying to get to

difficult, before we mixed and finished the album, we

equilibrium between the four of us. And I think that takes

got together and talked. And it was so nice. It’s easy to

a long time.

focus on the things you disagree about, but almost always there’s more that you agree on. After we talked like that,

Cole: It’s like group problem solving but there’s no correct

the finishing of the album was comparatively much easier.

answer. You’re just kind of fishing. Some of my favourite

It’s hard to have those open conversations especially when

music is very meticulous. We all like meticulous music.

you’re trying to be efficient and finish something. It’s

We’re not a ‘write a song and record it in a day’ kind of

cheesy, but lot of times that is the solution, just talking

artist. We wanted to make a headphones record with detail. If it was possible to just do it quickly, we would all sign

Cole: It happens a lot. You have a resentment towards a


person, but a part of that resentment can come from you assuming what their intentions are. But you can never

We’re all pushing and pulling like Ben’s been saying,

know what another person’s intentions are unless you talk

but we all have some sort of consensus about what DIIV

to them and they tell you! People are infinitely complex.

feels like too. So it feels like we’re all striving towards

For any motive, you could go back to the beginning of

a shared goal. We were spending our time chasing some

their life. if I tried to understand what Ben’s intention

ephemeral thing that doesn’t exist. Some kind of ideal,

behind anything is I’m going to be wrong. So then that

that’s not described. And we didn’t really have a road map

resentment is based on something that I’ve created. I’ve

to it either. It’s a ‘you know it when you hear it’ kind of

created a guy to be mad at. And that was an important

thing. And then we have different ideas about that. It’s like


sending four people out to find the Loch Ness Monster… Andrew: …and everybody has a steering wheel

It’s good to see there’s some personal growth going on.

*laughter erupts*

B: [laughs] working on it.



Long time friend of So Young and subculture obsessed

I like to document and take the same approach with band

photographer Kalisha Quinlan recently brought to life the

shoots, curating a casual but artistic representation of

creative vision of So Young Records’ Lime Garden. The


‘One More Thing’ album campaign fed off of the band’s ‘girlhood’ brief with a ‘sleepover disposition’ which was

How would you describe your approach to

executed through Kalisha’s eye for capturing the moment.


We thought we’d dig a little further into her history and I favour analogue photography. Adobe Lightroom isn’t my

creative process.

best friend but I enjoy alternative processing and testing What first drew you to photography?

different cameras/darkroom/printing techniques. I’m curious when it comes to tactile, experimental processes.

I’ve been photographing my friends for almost a decade,

It can be unpredictable but so rewarding.

at festivals, gigs, and house parties throughout our formative teens and into our 20s, which gradually led me

What photographers have had the biggest influence on

towards music and portraiture. It’s an intrinsic form of


expression. I’ve always gravitated towards documentary What’s your main inspiration while creating work?

photographers like Derek Ridgers, Nan Goldin, Sam Knee, and Gavin Watson. Their candid shots of subcultures;

I’m a super sentimental person and so my hope is to

from ’80s Goths, Punks and Club Kids to Acid House

capture the energy of whatever’s happening now, being

Ravers, are what urged me to pick up it up. I also love

able to evoke these feelings in years to come.

how the likes of Elaine Constantine, Ewen Spencer, Ryan McGinley, Corrine Day, and Justine Kurtland have taken a more editorial approach to these themes.


Kalisha Quinlan

Would you say there is one theme, however vague, that runs through all of your work? Nostalgia. Honestly, my introduction to a lot of these visuals would’ve been Tumblr and I still feel inclined towards that indie gaze of Cobrasnake/Hedi Slimane/old American Apparel ads. Most of my mood boards start thereabouts. How does your interest and love for films filter into your photography work if at all? When it comes to film, and my media diet in general, I have a propensity for the lo-fi, coming-of-age lens. Take a frame from any Gregg Araki/Harmony Korine/Gus Van Sant film and I’m subconsciously bearing that in mind when composing stills. I would say that music videos feed into this for me, too. I love shooting BTS, to get a glimpse into the crew. What was the experience like working with Lime Garden on the creative campaign for their album , ‘One More Thing’? A dream! Although, in the end, my camera roll for sure was giving foot fetish. I’m a huge fan and knew immediately that the liveliness of their ‘girlhood’ brief would be fun. I got to shoot the album and EP artwork at home, in my bedroom. We had people over, listening to the album, drinking horrible, blue Four Lokos and doing cartwheels in the garden. To me, the whole campaign has a sleepover disposition, which felt authentic. What’s your favourite song on the album? Trick question! As somebody who frequently yearns, I’ve found myself stuck on Pine and Floor. Nepotism (baby) has a big place in my heart for being the first cover that I ever got to work on, playing the track on loop. What can we expect to see from you in the near future? I’m editing up some new press shots for Cardinals, Hank, and Slow Fiction. I also have some video ideas that I’d like to explore (+ the next SY cover, right?).

Words by Josh Whettingsteel


Goat Girl’s forthcoming third album ‘Below The Waste’

Holly: It’s co-produced between us and John Spud

(June 7th) is a 16-track grand-opus brimming with haunted

Murphy. Producing it gave us the freedom to unhinge

folk, noise rock and synth-pop. It’s a huge departure

ourselves. We captured the sort of stuff that we wouldn’t

from their politically on-the-nose back catalogue, and

have if we’d done it in a room with lots of other people. It

for good reason. This new stylistic iteration that the

allowed us to explore the quieter moments as well.

band have created drifts seamlessly between diverse

Lottie: It was the first time I focused on the way I wanted

and often contrasting themes so that nothing’s laid

my vocals to be recorded. We took lots of care getting the

bare. As we discuss, this is an album conceived outside

right sound rather than jumping ahead with the first or

the expectations of others. They’ve torn and burnt the

second take.

proverbial box which they’ve been placed in by the media and found what makes them, them. As they tell me, “We’re

The vocals are quite lo-fi and uncut. There’s nothing

making music we want to listen to.”

production wise separating you from the listener.

This interview marks the band’s fifth appearance in the

L: Yeah. There are quite a few tunes on the album where I

magazine (since their first in 2016), making them strong

start playing guitar and singing with nothing else which is

contenders for the most featured artist to date. How to

new for me. It felt more vulnerable.

celebrate? Obviously with a jacket potato in Lewisham’s legendary Maggie’s Café where I was joined by Lottie,

H: Spud was pretty hands off, he didn’t come in and take

Rosy and Holly.

the reins on the project. We had a lot of autonomy to make the album exactly how we wanted. I think it shows that

Holly: So, what’s the vibe of this interview?

we’ve grown in confidence a lot as a group.

It’s totally up to you…

L: There was a lot more at our disposal this time. Spud had a room full of guitar amps which I could try, each with so many different tones to search through. The studio

Rosy: Have you listened to the album?

was also in such a beautiful location in rural Ireland which I absolutely love it. It’s very different from your last

helped creativity.

two. It seems like quite a different process to the way you Rosy: Definitely. This time we had the freedom to record

recorded your first two albums with Dan Carey.

over a long period of time. We recorded the bulk of it in Ireland but had lots of stints after at different studios. This

L: For sure. Both methods have their strengths. Dan’s

was the first time we really felt like producers as well as

method was perfect for the way we initially wanted to


record stuff, you know, the live, in the room feeling. With this one we wanted to find the confidence as producers as well which takes time and space.


Words by Leo Lawton, illustration by Holly Thomas

Before your debut, Goat Girl was so live focussed.

It must be reassuring having two amazing albums

Now in a post covid world maybe this more dissonant

behind you going into the studio now.

production style makes more sense to you? L: That’s all subconscious. I’m never aware of those H: That’s a good point, I think it also enforces the fact

feelings. In retrospect it’s easier to see where the

that we’re not in as much of a rush. We did that record and

confidence came from. I didn’t feel any pressure during

things happened. Ellie was poorly and then covid hit.

the writing or recording of the second album, but then again, maybe I did. I felt pressured to say and talk about

L: There are different psychologies which come into it

certain things, so I wasn’t as free with what I was saying.

when recording a third album. You’ve tried out the second, which is the one people put pressure on. This one is an

You’ve always been super outspoken about political

amalgamation of both our previous records, and more.

and social issues which are close to you, so I can understand that pressure.

H: And less. We threw the kitchen sink at the second album. There were modular synths in every track. With

L: There is a self-awareness which comes from being in a

this one, we chucked loads at it, but also took a lot away.

band known for talking about societal issues. Regardless

When I listen to the final mixes now, I can still hear old

of our views being supported or not, you’re put in a

parts which we removed in the mixing process. The key

box. This album was about me trying to push out of that

to making a good album is to ditch your ego and your

headspace and be as free as I could. I was writing dreams

attachments to specific parts of a song.

when I woke up; just stream of consciousness stories. There are so many ideas in my head, but they get filtered

L: The music we want to make requires a lot of space.

through anxiety, depression, self-consciousness, and

Leaning into moments and letting them speak for

everything else going on in the world. I was trying to get

themselves rather than overcompensating or feeling that

to the stuff underneath which makes me, me.

you need to explain every musical decision. We’re making music which we want to listen to.

R: That’s why the album’s called ‘Below The Waste’.

Has the music you want to listen to changed since your

H: This record is a mixture of these vignettes which don’t

first two albums?

have much meaning and songs which are confronting realworld issues which need attention.

L: There was so much going on for all of us personally during the process of recording our second album. Also,

That’s awesome. Music doesn’t have to be politically

we felt pressure to prove ourselves and therefore didn’t

charged; it can exist purely as an aesthetic.

edit anything back. It was important though because that was the first time we realised, “shit, we’re actually good

L: For sure. One of my favourite songwriters, Alex G,

at this.”

often tells these weird stories in his music that he can’t explain in interviews. Stories don’t have to be real either,

H: I feel proud of what we achieved then. Dan’s energy

they can exist as fictional worlds.

in the studio was so infectious. He’d be like “what if we do this, what if we do that”. There aren’t as many spontaneous moments on this new album. It’s much more considered. We know each other better and we know what we’re good at.


Goat Girl

We all have this need to categorise, to get to the bottom of something. It’s quite an oppressive way of experiencing life. We don’t have to have the answers, maybe there isn’t one. H: There’s a power in accepting something for what it is and taking it at face value, rather than analysing it to gain meaning. L: Everyone is unique in the way that they experience the world. Your perspective is built up of your own subjectivity. I don’t want to enforce my opinion too heavily onto other people. Often, I listen to melody rather than lyrics, which for me has an intrinsic emotional value over words. I think there’s such an appetite now for escapist music. No amount of political music is going to change the fact that Trump might be re-elected. R: Biden is Trump, that’s the headline. There’s an illusion of choice which we’re given which doesn’t exist. It’s the same here with the Labour party. Keir Starmer is a Tory. It’s hard enough trying to survive as a musician in this right-wing political climate. Culture is always the first thing to lose funding from the government, and that’s because it can be revolutionary. It’s not in the government’s interest to have people being actively subversive. L: Starmer’s basically come in to destroy the Labour party, as did Blair and Thatcher. Recently, musicians have received political backlash for speaking out about Palestine. Bands have been taken off bills, literally just before going on stage. If all those bands boycotted that show, they wouldn’t have had a festival. This is why we need unions, such as UMAW (Union of Musicians and Allied Workers) so that we have strength against these big corporations which run the music industry. That’s the future. R: Let’s do it!



The love affair between fashion and music has been a

Corsets and tapestry detailing were mainstays of her latest

long-term and era-defining one. From the Mod look that

collection ‘The Old School House,’ which also featured

characterised listeners of modern jazz, Motown and soul

knitted Celtic runes and an Empire-line mini dress.

in the 60s, to the ‘Baggy’ style that emerged alongside the outbreak of Madchester. The list goes on and doesn’t

Speaking with the designer during London Fashion Week,

need an introduction. Yet, alongside somewhat of a folk

Evans divulged some of the rituals behind her collections,

revival has come a new (or should I say old) look, both for

which often lean into the occult. “I do tarot for myself

musicians and those inspired by music, characterised by

every week, or every so often,” she says, “as well as braid

traditional and pre-industrial styles of dress with a taste

spells, looking at the intention you can put into people’s

for occult.

hair.” Her sources of inspiration are as magical as her practice, found buried in the legends of the Mabinogion

Bristol-based fashion designer Sophie Spratley and

or other thickets of ancient, often Welsh, folklore. For

her label ‘Rabbit Baby’ are widely responsible for

her SS24 collection, the designer adapted a story from

the whimsical whirlwind taking over gigs, tours and

the Mabinogion into a short film ‘Esyllt and The Ivy,’

independent music venues across the UK. The designer

which saw friends and collaborators, costumed in Evans’s

is in the midst of pulling a Vivienne Westwood through

designs, dashing around on invisible horses and engaging

her long-term collaboration with The Last Dinner Party,

in theatrical showdowns. The New Eves, who starred in

having been somewhat responsible for the unique aesthetic

Evans’s production, have since taken her look on stage,

that helped propel the band into stardom. Characterised by

and can often be found sporting patchwork corsets and

Empire-line dresses and corsetry, Spratley’s designs are

knitted vest tops adorned with the Welsh Dragon.

often described as ‘fairytale’ and resist being confined to a single historic era. Yet, what lies at the heart of ‘Rabbit’

Elsewhere, Central Saint Martins graduate John Alexander

is a dedication to craftsmanship, which revolves around

Skelton has also gained momentum with his anything-

screen-printing, crochet and knitting.

but-21st-century designs. Typically informed by niche interests such as Neolithic British Rock Art, pre-industrial

Music is also the backing track to the brand, which is

revolution British folk theatre, or nautical workwear of the

both made for and influenced by musicians. For her latest

1800s, the designer is distinctly off-beat. Skelton’s designs

collection, inspired by T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan, the

are characterised by earthy colour palettes, relaxed fits,

designer returned to East London’s George Tavern, for

generous button adornments, and a general Dickensian-

not only a catwalk but an evening of live music. Gothic

orphaned-child vibe.

starlet Gretel Hänlyn soundtracked the runway whilst band members of Velvetine, My First Time, Abi Asisa

Whilst overt encounters with the music industry have

and Agata and The Rabbits modelled Spratley’s designs.

been scarce for Skelton, the designer has previously

Whilst envisioning the collection, aptly titled ‘I Live In A

collaborated with traditional English folk singer Frankie

Castle With My Rockstar Boyfriend,’ Sprately considered

Armstrong who soundtracked ‘Collection IV,’ (the

“What would the rockstar version of Rabbit wear?”

designer releases one collection a year, each numbered with Roman numerals.) However, for ‘Collection XVI,’

Similarly, Welsh designer Rosie Evans has also styled

his latest offering, Skelton was inspired by 1980s music

The Last Dinner Party as well as Brighton-based psych-

collective This Mortal Coil. Adapting their gothic-

folk band The New Eves. Craftsmanship is once again at

romance aesthetic into a collection of loose-fitting velvet

the forefront of Evans’s eponymous label, as well as an

suits, wide-leg trousers and printed shirts.

emphasis on found materials, including (but not limited to) novelty tea towels, abandoned wool blankets and old bedding.


Skelton is also no stranger to a mask, both ‘Collection

Craftsmanship is certainly at the backbone of this

XIII’ inspired by nautical workwear of the 1800s, and

movement, and a core value for Spratley, Evans and

‘Collection IV,’ an Ode to British folk theatre featured

Skelton, as well as independent musicians. The New

different iterations of face coverings. Whilst Bands with

Eves, for example, often take a hands-on approach to their

a post-punk sound such as Hot Face, English Teacher and

album artwork and additional promotional material. For

Mary In The Junk Yard, as well as Indie-folk sweethearts

their latest single ‘Astrolobe’ the band designed, made

Tapir! have also been quick to adopt this more deceptive

and styled an iridescent blue gown that they embellished

jaunt of the folk tradition.

with potato-printed stars. Whilst, Tapir! constructed their signature red heads via the distinguished medium of

Musician and Morris dancer Angeline Morrison is another

papier-mâché, and are rarely seen without them.

key player, with a more historical perspective. Her latest album ‘Sorrow Songs: Folk Songs of Black British

For Xulu, the internet might be to answer for our crafty

Experience,’ explores the lost history of Black British folk

folk-occult neurosis. “Going back into nature, reviving

artists. Performing at Moth Club in March, the musician

customs and re-enchanting the landscape is something

wore an Empire-line mini dress, plum tights and kitten

that we’ve been seeing since this digital era,” she says.

heels, a look not so far departed from the whimsical

Adding, “The more technology plays a bigger part in our

womenswear being cooked up by Sophie Spratley and

lives, the more we want traditional things, and nature,

Rosie Evans.

paganism and witchcraft, is a part of that.”

As it stands, the current interplay between fashion and

Our lust for tradition and green pastures might also

music appears to unite under the banner of all things

explain the more sporadic locale of this so-called folk

pre-industrial, folk and occult. “When you think about

resurgence. Notably, its main players don’t originate from

folklore, music and the occult, it’s so interdisciplinary,

the ‘major’ UK cities you’d expect, neither Spratley,

it’s sort of one thing really,” observes Melanie Xulu

Evans, nor Skelton were raised in London, with only the

founder and editor of psych-folk print publication MOOF

latter being currently based there. Meanwhile The New

Magazine. She also cites Cornish musician and artist

Eves, Daisy Rickman, and Angeline Morrison hail from

Daisy Rickman, as well as Fine Artist Nooka Shepherd

Brighton and Cornwall respectively.

as purveyors of this emerging aesthetic. Moreover, Xulu credits The Arts and Crafts Movement and Pre-raphaelites

It appears as though a fresh perspective and renewed

as influences on up-and-coming musicians.

public interest in the days of yore, are brewing a desire for something ancient in fashion and music communities throughout the UK.

Words by Issy Wetter


With February’s debut single ‘Warsaw’ - Manchester’s

J: …Tom lives in the house behind us, it’s great

Martial Arts firmly placed themselves on the front line of the latest wave of gnarled British post-punk bands. With

M: It’s cliche, but we fucking love doing it. This is kind

three guitarists, no less, blasting heavenwards to meet

of what we all wanted to do separately before we came

some deviously euphoric end, more striking about the

together and we’re just happy it’s come together so well.

five-piece is their distinctly measured approach to musicmaking. Betraying a maturity beyond their years, Martial

It feels like there’s a lot more to your band than just

Arts pride themselves on their dedicated work ethic.

having fun. Martial Arts is more than just a cool name.

Rehearsing twice a week since their inception, they were

When I saw you guys play in January, it really felt like

an entity for a whole year before playing their first gigs

you were actually fighting for something when you

in 2023, assiduously honing their material in seclusion so

were on stage. What are you fighting for?

as to emerge seemingly fully formed: “We wanted to hit the ground running.” says Jim, “Not just fall over straight

J: We’re all discontent with what we do. We all work


nine-to-fives. Pretty much all of our money goes back into this. So when you actually get [the opportunity to play]

With most of the band knocked out by a heavy cold

you can’t not want to give your all, put some passion into

- Browny (Guitar), Jude (Bass) and Tom (Drums) -

it, because you’ve worked so hard to get yourself in that

smashing back paracetamols to make it through the


evening’s performance - Matty (Vocals/guitar) and Jim (lead vocals/guitar) were the only men standing as I

Also, what I think makes your first single so engaging

went to meet them at Shoreditch Venue Dream Bags

that there’s a lot of sadness in it too. There’s pain, just

Jaguar Shoes. With the panacea of a pint in our hands, we

general hurt. What’s this directed towards?

gathered around some bar stools to shoot the breeze. J: That was written without too much overthinking. It was What immediately strikes me about you guys is that

one of those you write quickly and don’t really doubt too

you seem to work really fucking hard. What’s in it for

much, because then you capture the feeling. That’s the


first one we wrote when we got in a room together. It feels so long ago that you lose track of what the original idea

Jim: Enjoyment! For me, it’s the experience. I’m having


too much fun out of it. I really want to play abroad. Like if I get to go on holiday because we get to play gigs out

It’s funny you say that. We have a post-punk sounding


band, so it can always sound a bit moody, but we always try to throw in bits that are quite positive and uplifting -

Matty: There’s no reason not to do it. The situation we’re

cool outros, stuff like that. So there’s a small bit of hope,

in is so good, the four of us live together….

you know?

Words by Elvis Thirlwell, illustration by Fae Sharples


I guess having three guitars just going for it - there is

J: Manchester is quite retrospective. It’s something that

something quite uplifting in the sound of that.

we do want to move away from, because there’s so much talent in Manchester now. It really feels like something is

J: Yeah! You can always add layers on which is great.


M: That’s the thing about three guitars. It’s a constant

It’s interesting you say that. I interviewed Maruja

‘push and pull’.

about 18 months ago, and I asked this question about the Manchester music scene. And they were

J: No one’s got an ego, even when there’s three guitars.

like “There’s no scene. There’s maybe a few things,

It’s not like anything shines through more than anything

promoters etc. but a lot of is very retrospective”

else. J: It’s definitely [happened] in the last year. I mean, you M: And when you do bring them all in at the same time,

got bands like Hollyhead, Shaking Hand…

with that fat sound, it pays off having them. It’s almost like one guitar’s doing an overdub - that you might get on

M: Yeah, there’s some great bands coming up at the

a record - but not necessarily get live. With the sound we

moment and we’re proud to be part of that scene.

have available to us, to give at the right moments, I think it works.

J: Even in the past 18 months, the last year! We’re lucky to have that. ‘Cause when you have a few bands getting

So you’re writing collaboratively when you’re together,

picked up, that lifts everyone.

or separately? You’ve mentioned the poet Frank O’Hara as an J: A mix of both. Sometimes I’ll bring an idea in. Matty

influence on your music. Can you explain that a bit

brings ideas in. Everyone brings ideas in. And often we’ll


go over them for hours and hours! M: It’s something I kind of said in passing! Lyrically, M: That’s one thing why we practise so much, because

I like poetry, and people like O’Hara. You’re always

we go over tunes. We do go through them bar-by-bar,

influenced by what you read, in terms of what you’re

nitpicking things so it’s what we all want and all like.


Going back to the single. You decided to name it

J: Me and you tend to bounce off each other. Usually I’ll

‘Warsaw’. I don’t know if you thought about the

write something, pass it through Matty, and he’ll tend to

fact that you’re a Manchester band, and obviously

make it better! He’s much more versed…

‘Warsaw’ is a famous Joy Division song… I was reading about O’Hara, and how he used to write M: That wasn’t an intentional thing!

most of his poems in his spare time…

J: Honestly, we were planning a holiday to Warsaw at the

M:… on his lunch break!

time that fell through. …He believed creativity should be a spur of the moment thing.

M: That song name - I understand the Joy Division reference in there. But yeah, we don’t, we don’t want to be like - oh we’re from Manchester!


M: We both do that!

Martial Arts

J: I mean everybody does it now. You’ve literally got

M: A bit less good, I got Women, - they’re an American

notepads on your phone! Any idea, you’d be stupid not to

band from the late 2000s

jot things down on the day to day. So I just piece things together from there.

J: We have a few pillars we all associate with - Fontaines, Shame stuff like that - but we all pull off in different

M: I know you can say this about most bands, but we’re

directions. I grew up on Northern Soul. Jude’s always

definitely writing about our experiences. We’re not

Radiohead, The Clash. Dylan, [Matty]. You end up getting

writing concept tracks. That’s where emotion comes into

really nice coverage, but it all comes back to this one root.

it sometimes. It’s so much easier to deliver with emotion which is what we want to do - when the lyrics come from

Is there anything else you want to say?

a place of, you know, why you’re singing about it, you know?

J: Pray you don’t get jury service! I’ve been doing that this week. Because I’ve been ill, calling sickies at Crown

I also want to ask about what influences tie the band

court is stressful.

together. The sounds you’re referencing feel quite modern. I think of bands like Shame or Fontaines D.C.

M: If you like loud music, come to a gig. That’s where the

Are these the bands that are being thrown around

magic happens.

when you’re together? Wait, that reminds me of something! You also talk M: We always have tunes on, and are showing each other

about wanting to really involve people in what you’re

new things constantly.

doing. What do you mean by that?

J: If it’s somebody’s birthday, it’s always a record

J: Because everything’s on digital shelves now, I think music’s just becoming more and more disconnected from

What did you get for your last birthday?

the real live thing. We all love live music so much, and we really want to drive that home. We’re a small up-and-

J: I got the Murder Capital’s record! One of my favourites.

coming band that no one really knows about at the minute. But, I’d like to think people still feel a part of it.



Taking a step into New York’s experimental scene, we

I’m not really sure... snare drums, hoodies, and jeans. I

arrive at the ambiguous works of Chanel Beads. Led

think it’s something that’s easy to adapt to different things.

through the vision of Shane Lavers and sometimes

In all honesty, I reckon it is easier to say what it’s not, but

joined onstage by close collaborators Maya McGrory

even then, I have a hard time defining that.

and Zachary Paul, Chanel Beads is an audio collage of lo-fi textures, almost hip-hop-like beats, soundscape

Whenever I hear your work or even watch your videos,

electronics, and distant recordings of dreams.

I can’t help but feel like I’m watching or experiencing someone else’s dreams. Is this something you feel too?

Like staring into a Höch or Rauschenberg, there are

And do you ever use your own dreams as inspiration?

snippets of things we recognise and cuttings of things that we don’t. After a while, as it begins to sit in our minds and

Personally, I don’t really dream a lot or remember them.

make itself comfortable, it becomes something entirely

But I do love dream logic. I like how time and the

new. We have been allowed to take part, and it has become

sequence of events collapse together and just keep on

something of our own creation.


Self-produced by Lavers, the debut album, ‘Your Day Will

What would you say the creative process for your

Come’, features singles such as the warped ‘Embarrassed

tracks looks like? I’m sure every song is a completely

Dog’, the ethereal ‘Idea June’, and the new-age pop song

different experience; maybe you could tell me how you

‘Police Scanner’. Despite releasing since 2018, ‘Your Day

created the ideas for ‘Embarrassed Dog’?

Will Come’ feels like a fascinating introduction to the polysemantic world of Chanel Beads.

‘Embarrassed Dog’ was a really quick song to make. But it did take several months to land on the vocal, which

Ahead of the release of ‘Your Day Will Come’ (April 19th

I turned in at the last minute. I wanted to make another

via Jagjaguwar), I chatted with Lavers about his meaning

song that was good live. My singing volume kept getting

of it all.

louder live. So I tried to make an emotional song that would match a louder vocal at the end. I also thought it’d

Hey, Shane, thanks for speaking to me. How’s your day

be really funny to sing the line “I was just a child” and


actually have some genuine emotion behind it.

About 2 cups of coffee, and it’s raining in March.

What’s the setup like for your live performances, as I know it’s not just yourself?

If it makes you feel any better, the weather has been awful here too. You’ve just got back from SXSW. How

It has changed a lot in the last few years, but we’ve

was that?

gotten pretty set on how it’s working right now. Our live structure sort of looks like Maya sets up a lot of tracks

It was great. It was my first time. I loved drinking beer

and effects and will play any accompanying guitar parts,

every day and having some fun with some friends down

and then Zach plays the violin through some of it. They

there. Nefarious vibes, though. Both YHWH Nailgun and

both make up everything they play. I like to set it up so

Lucy are amazing live; I got to see them several times.

they can knock it down. We try to keep things as nimble

Also, May Rio’s trio set-up was great too.

as possible, really. Live; I don’t do anything else but sing, and I’m loving that part of it at the moment.

Do you mind if I ask you to describe what Chanel Beads is? Words by Will Macnab, illustration by Twinkel Achterberg


It has changed a lot in the last few years, but we’ve

I really love ‘Coffee Culture’, and it made me wonder if

gotten pretty set on how it’s working right now. Our live

you had ever had any interest in creating soundscapes

structure sort of looks like Maya sets up a lot of tracks

for any films. Is there a film that you would have loved

and effects and will play any accompanying guitar parts,

to have done the score for?

and then Zach plays the violin through some of it. They both make up everything they play. I like to set it up so

So I actually just did a score for this two-channel video

they can knock it down. We try to keep things as nimble

piece by Dana Greenleaf. I loved the music in May

as possible, really. Live; I don’t do anything else but sing,

December by Todd Haynes, but I don’t think I would

and I’m loving that part of it at the moment.

be good at stuff like that. I think it would be fun to do something really melodramatic. Maybe Titanic (1997),

I’m assuming that in an environment like that, there

I’ve only seen it once, but I would give it a good shot.

must be a lot of room for improv. Looking back at the past six years since your EP Yeah, initially there was, but things are starting to settle

release (Zut Alors), do you feel like everything has been

into place now. We don’t usually make the set list until

building up to this moment?

right before we walk on stage. Hmmm, I’m not sure, really. I try not to be too precious What is the best and worst gig you have ever played?

about this stuff, but it did take me a while to make something that I’d feel happy to stand behind.

There are honestly too many best ones. I like playing live a lot. We did a few in Europe—Amsterdam, Copenhagen,

I read somewhere that described your work as

Paris, and London—which I loved. But the worst one is

stemming from “an anger at the lack of virtue in the

still yet to come. I’m excited for it.

world.” There is a lot going on in the world to feel angry about, especially when you look at the genocide

You do a lot of work with field recordings; how do you

in Gaza. Do you agree with that statement, and would

know when something feels ready to use?

you be able to expand upon it if so?

At this point, a good field recording would be something I

Yeah, so ‘Police scanner’ definitely came out of that

don’t have to edit or layer at all. Just to be able to play it

feeling. There’s too much going on, too much music, and

as it is, and it’s perfect.

too much stuff periphery to it that numbs me to sounds. So I just try to make music that I think does something

Are there certain environments or moods that tend to

interesting musically. I would say that all my music comes

spark inspiration more than others?

from any strong enough feeling, not just anger. I really don’t understand how my music is made or why I make

In all honesty, deadlines and upcoming shows are the best

it, which is why I keep on making it. That abstraction and

at clenching things off. I also really like it when a friend

mystery is what I love about music and art. The genocide

shows me a new song, and that can make me want to up

is not abstract or unclear, and so when I feel frustrated by

my game and do better.

that, I wouldn’t say I go and make music.

How are you feeling about the release of your debut

Lastly, then, I wanted to ask if you had heard about


how the US Congress is going to be defunding the UNRWA (the largest humanitarian organisation in

Yeah good! I’m feeling ready to put more stuff out.


Could you describe the album in one sentence?

I think that the members of the US Congress should face the wall.

Yes, your day will come. 51

Chanel Beads

Dublin-newcomer Annie-Dog, real name Catherine, has

Or sometimes tune out!

spent the better part of 2024 releasing the first tasters of her work. Having pulled the moniker from The Smashing

You were in a band before Annie-Dog, is that how you

Pumpkins track of the same name, she has opened up her

made your start in music?

creative world and welcomed in a slew of new listeners, making the first moves toward her debut EP expected later

Yeah! I always wanted to be in a band when I was a

this year. During her introduction, Annie-Dog caught the

teenager, I met like-minded people in college and we put

attention of her namesake, earning online support from

together the band, but too many cooks can indeed spoil the

Billy Corgan himself. With that co-sign and two singles

broth sometimes – the mental broth even!

now under her belt, the first few steps have been nothing

That was super fun but things ran their course, and I

short of promising, but more importantly, it’s evident that

had no plan to stop writing, so I started to mess around

Catherine is still enjoying figuring things out on her own.

with GarageBand. That’s what I made my first song ‘The Pressures Of The Heart’ on, so production-wise I’m new

Shortly after releasing her debut single ‘The Pressures

to the game.

Of The Heart’, Catherine called me to talk about letting yourself enjoy the process of learning, Alex G, and the

So with production, you’re self-taught too?

early days of Annie-Dog… ‘Taught’ is a big word. Maybe self-getting-through! I’m You recently put out your debut single, how has

learning something different with every song. I’m not a

everything been post-release?

perfectionist either, I can’t sit and listen to different snare sounds for hours, it would drive me nuts! So once I feel

It’s been great! It got reception – I mean I’m not in it for

like I’ve captured the general vibe of a song I’m pretty

the accolades or anything – but it was nice that people

good to go. You can feel a little bit lost sometimes, and

were vibing with it. It was my first time releasing a track

there are loads of talented people out there who I’d love

that I’d built up from scratch, producing it, recording it,

to work with, but there is real freedom in doing what you

and writing it. It can be a bit scary to put something out

want and seeing what comes out of it.

that you’re fully behind. I feel like I’d be a bit out of it after releasing something so close to me into the world. I’d have to consciously tune in…


Words by Amber Lashley, photo by Omero Mumba

There is so much to be said for someone who just

It’s like how someone’s message can differ from one

starts! You don’t have to wait until you know

album to the next, you can get the same effect in

everything, but I think that pressure stops people from

production development, and that really interests me.

being creative or trying new things all the time. With someone like Alex G, that growth makes a much Definitely! I think that’s what prevented me from trying

wider conversation around the music too. There’s

it earlier. I felt like I didn’t have the knowledge that all

room for his fans to favour ‘Trick’ or ‘DSU’, but for

of these other people possessed. I watched what felt like

others, it might be ‘House of Sugar’ or ‘God Save The

hundreds of hours of GarageBand tutorials on YouTube,

Animals’. People can have their preference.

I was taking notes but I was retaining nothing, and I was driving myself mad! I was bigging it up to be this

That exactly! I didn’t get attached to his latest album as

unreachable thing that I’d never get a grasp on. Once you

much. There’s a rawness to him that when I think Alex G I

sit down and plug in a microphone you kind of realise that

think earnesty, but the new album is a bit more buffed out

you’re just picking what sounds nice, and maybe there will

around the edges. I appreciate it sonically, but in terms of

be people that hear that and go “She’s destroying the art

going back to it, not so much. ‘Soaker’ is still one of my

form”, but I think it’s really fun to just try things. People

favourites, it sounds like a voice memo but I love it, you

underestimate themselves a lot, and it can seem like a bit

can hear the emotion in it.

of a boys’ club too, but GarageBand is grand and you can get free Logic - just crack it.

I am fully on the Alex G tangent…

When it comes to self-producing, do you have a

His ears are burning!

dedicated space to be creative? It’s basically working from home, and if there’s no clear distinction between

The amount of music that exists from his early days

what’s home and work, that can be really difficult to

says a lot about how much material can come from a


more DIY process too. They aren’t all ‘polished’ but you’re right, they’re raw! They’re the songs I go back to the most.

Definitely. I have a workroom that I share with my boyfriend that I come to a lot, but I’m the type to bring my laptop with me wherever. To be honest, I’m happy just

Definitely me too, but I remember I was working with

setting up on the floor, and that’s not to be like “I’m cool I

this guy once and we were talking about Kings of Leon

can just set up on the floor”, I just like a little portable set-

and I said “they’re great”, and he was like “but no albums

up. It’s less serious, and I think it goes hand in hand with

after 2014!”. I don’t want to be like that, I don’t think I or

the way I make my stuff, and with what it sounds like too.

anyone else hold the golden opinion on what is best, for me though, I tend to gravitate to the older stuff.

Do you think that makes your music a little more personal as well?

I also saw that you had an interaction with The Smashing Pumpkins, how did it feel to see that they

Yeah maybe, I think it makes it a little more honest. It’s

were listening to and sharing your work? And what

very DIY, and I’m really drawn to music that you can hear

part has social media played for you as an artist so far?

is still in its infancy. As in, you can hear the idea still, whether that’s a more raw vocal or a thrown-together mix. Alex G was a big one for me especially. You can see the progression from his earlier stuff to the recent material, not to say it’s necessarily getting better or worse, but just that it’s different.



It was a bit crazy! They DM’d me the day ‘The Pressures Of The Heart’ came out, I don’t know how it even happened, it was wild getting a message from Billy Corgan. My dad was ecstatic, he introduced me to The Smashing Pumpkins so he was like “you’re going to Hollywood!”. With social media, I don’t enjoy TikTok that much, but I know it’s a cool opportunity and platform. It’s not lost on me that everyone’s on it and you can reach a bigger audience, and I’m not going to be a stick in the mud, I like Instagram! I used to love editing movie clips and stuff, I enjoyed that aspect of it, being able to make something and just throw it up. Do you think social media has been an asset or detriment to new music? I think it’s the same as when people thought CDs were crazy, everyone was like “this will kill vinyl and it’s not the same sound quality”, but then obviously CDs took off. Then when Spotify and streaming platforms came in everyone said “this will fuck up the music industry”, and now with TikTok we’re saying the same thing! You’ve got to just ride the wave otherwise you get left behind. Like it or love it, I’m trying to embrace it, and that’s all I can do I think. For sure, it’s not necessarily always going to be there, but it is very much there… I sometimes have this fantasy that the satellites fall from the sky or something, I just don’t like to be reachable. I love to be in communication with people, but at the same time, I do wish that it was like the olden days when you had to wait for a letter to arrive at your door. I sound like a grouch. You actually don’t! Someone said to me recently that their WhatsApp is like another email inbox. It makes me feel way too accessible, you should not be able to contact me so easily when I’m out and about. I need to go into my inaccessible era. I forgot my phone when I was going into town about two weeks ago and it was the best day I’ve ever had. Then I got home and saw loads of messages and I was like “holy god, turn that off please!”.


The Orchestra (For Now) are a phenomenon. Their sets,

Now I’m speaking to you all, I’m just thinking how

often consisting of just a handful of lengthy, ever evolving

hard it’s going to be to transcribe this interview, there

tracks, veer and swerve in unexpected directions. They

are so many of you! There are gonna be so many names

proudly flaunt their inspirations, cherry picking the very best to create something truly unique. To see them live is

B: We could describe each person’s characteristics

to be convinced.

alongside their name?

To speak to them is to be caught up in an energetic

J: So how would we describe Bill?

bubble of sheer excitement. Suddenly the tapestry of personalities that make up their complex and ever playful

E: A charming young man

sound becomes clear. On the final night of their four week residency at The Windmill, we spoke to 6/7ths of the band

B: No! My physical characteristics * laughs *

about dog sanctuaries, whiteboards and the theft of an iconic ashtray.

Charlie: A lean man

So how were your rehearsals?

J: 21st century’s answer to Bob Dylan

Bill: Good, we are doing a cover tonight but I’m not sure I

E: Neil is…

should tell you what it is… maybe it should be a surprise B: I’d say he looks a little like David Gilmour in his youth The band all burst in, chatting until we somehow end up discussing Thai dog sanctuaries and the ethics of

C: I definitely see Mick Jagger a little bit

rabies. One of the band points out we should probably talk about the music

N: Okay next up is Charles, I’d say outrageously attractive

B: So uh… where do you get your inspiration from?

E: One of the most dapper at the table, the only American too

* the band all laugh * C: Erin is incredibly intelligent Joe: We are missing a member so we are down one B: Oh yeah! Erin’s got an IQ of 142 Erin: She is doing an exam Do you all do IQ tests regularly? B: But she will be here later * all laughing * no, no Maybe one of you could pretend to be her? N: There’s an entrance exam to be part of the band E: Oh yeah, I can double for Lingling, I’ll represent the whole string section!


Words by Eve Boothroyd, illustration by REN

E: We have Izzy (gestures across the table), currently

J: I think to be honest, we knew the acts that were going

sucking a Chupa Chup, she’s got a mullet… and we’ve got

to be on beforehand and they were all such good acts that

to get to you Joe!

I figured it would sell anyway. So it wasn’t too nerve wracking in terms of ticket sales

J: I’m present N: We have a lot of faith in the bands that were opening E: Joe’s got a bit of a shaggy mop

for us so it takes a lot of pressure off of us

J: Okay cool, all done!

J: And a lot of faith in ourselves * laughs * but also it’s been really cool to see the sort of snowball effect because

Great * laughs * So how has the residency gone and

there have been people who came to the first show, that I

why did you pick The Windmill?

saw at the second with a couple of friends, and then by the third there’s a group of like six or seven. It’s so funny to

J: The first night was the best but they’ve all been amazing

see the same person coming back

B: There have been some really good acts and Joe was the

N: We keep track * laughs *

one who was responsible for booking all the acts B: We keep track for sure, we’ve got facial recognition at J: The reason we did it was because Tim approached us

the door of The Windmill

in November. We had so many shows around London towards the end of last year. We were just getting so many

C: We’ve got eyes everywhere

offers and Tim was like now is the time… don’t spread yourself too thin, just do four big shows

J: We know that you’re shoplifting

N: The only night that didn’t sell out was the second one

N: Was it one of our nights that someone stole the ashtray?

C: The residency has also been really cool because we’ve

E: Yeah!

been taking the time to do new stuff, and try out just a bunch of weird shit. Like, we had a headline show which

C: It was the first night, there was a group of seven, it was

was completely improvised with the drummer from Mary


in the Junkyard as well, which was really cool E: And then they came back with five more friends the E: That was cool, that was good fun

next night * laughs *

They were the last band I interviewed for So Young

J: The big ashtray in the shed outside [The Windmill], they nicked it

C: Oh really! Devastating! B: David’s a real chum N: It only happened because it was the night that Bill was C: Yeah, shout out David

away, you know normally you would have…

Is it nerve wracking announcing all those shows in a

B: I describe myself as the muscles of the group

row for a residency? * they all laugh * C: Mostly exciting


The Orchestra (For Now)

I: But the residency is a good way to start the week!

N: And I think that’s something that actually not a lot of bands can get

N: Also, it’s let us streamline ourselves because we know we are here every Monday. For me it used to be that my

J: It’s a very intuitive process where we will think that we

week led up to the weekend, but now my weekend is

are done with a song and then two days later we will come

leading up to the Monday, it’s going to be weird not doing

back and listen to it and look each other in the eye and


kind of go… “yeah it’s not good is it” * laughs *

I’m guessing it’s very difficult to get all seven of you in

E: Also half the time we are gunning for like a four minute

one room?

song or a six minute song and it always ends up being nine or ten minutes

I: The gigs have been the practise sessions, we haven’t really been able to get together too much because we’ve

J: I always am trying to make it shorter than five minutes

all been so busy and ill C: It’s always a battle to try and figure out what sections E: Lots of illness

to take out

J: I’ve got a field recorder that helps out

N: It’s crazy to think that this latest song which is now the longest in the set was originally meant to be like a punchy

What does the songwriting process look like if it’s so

banger * laughs * The first version was like three minutes

hard to get together to practise?

but we were like “it needs a bit more doesn’t it”

N: It’s usually Joe who initiates it

E: There is a lot of writing out sections on whiteboards as well

J: But it can be Neil Whiteboards? E: Yeah Neil will rock up with a riff E: Yeah * laughing * J: Just any idea that we have is kind of put to the band N: Actually, whiteboard is the eighth member of the band. E: There is one song that we’re opening the set with that

Everything we do, we write out on a whiteboard

has been in various different versions for months How did the four initial members meet? J: I would say that song kind of sums up our writing process because I brought some ideas and then everyone

J: Me, Neil and Bill went to school together. We just

else piled in and now it’s turned into this ten minute long

ended up making tunes together, we had an old thing

tapestry of interwoven, at the moment, dodgy shit

called Joe Jazz which died very quickly

E: * laughs * no, no, it’s good!

B: Don’t look that up

J: It’s there but it’s not quite there

E: Look it up! * laughs *

N: And that song represents all of our musicianship as

J: It was very ironic and weird and hyperpop and… shit

well B: It had it’s redeeming factors, Neil did a bit where he I: It’s got loads a little bit of each of us

just barked into the mic



N: Yeah I had a rabid dog impression C: Then my sister is on a course with their very close friend and… B: We saw a video of Charlie * laughing * the first thing we saw of Charlie was him doing this incredible drum solo and then finishing the solo and as the song fades out he holds his hand up and throws up everywhere, and kind of stumbles off stage and we were like J: That’s him B: We need him J: That’s the guy What was it like for you Erin and Izzy coming into the band? E: I showed up to a rehearsal and was like oh… these are lovely guys! Everyone’s got a dad name ‘Joe, Neil, Bill and Charlie’ B: And the kicker was ‘Joe, Neil, Bill and Charlie… and Lingling’ * laughing * Have you recorded any music? J: The honest answer is no B: Redact that J: The honest answer is no, but we do record everything that we do E: The honest answer is no and then a big redacted box that takes up half the page B: No, the answer is no and then in brackets our email address * laughs *, we’re easy to find E: We want to record


The Orchestra (For Now)

The weather may not be on our side just yet, but that’s

And finally, the Scouse meets Mancunian mega mix that is

not halting our excitement to return to the seaside for The

Picture Parlour return to the pebbles with snarling vocals

Great Escape 2024.

to sing along to.

There’s no time for skimming stones as across 30+

First picks for Friday include Ugly, a rallied-up six-piece

walkable venues, between 15th – 18th May, Brighton

from Cambridge who now reside in London, and the folk-

opens its arms to welcome some of the world’s most

meets-fairy-tale quartet, The New Eves. However, one I’m

exciting upcoming artists, alongside some local talent.

100% not planning on missing that day will be the Irish

With over 450 budding musicians set to play, The Great

trio Kneecap, as the minute I hear ‘Get Your Brits Out’

Escape reminds us why they’re the festival for new music

live, the memories of driving around my hometown as an

and the first place to discover your new favourite within

eager 18-year-old with all the windows down, frightening

any genre.

the public and blasting that tune, will resurface in all their glory.

Hopping on the main stage at the Brighton Dome Music Hall, for one of this year’s Spotlight Shows, is American

Rounding up our trip to the beach on Saturday’s closing

singer-songwriter Faye Webster, joined by Sid Sriram.

parade will be the newly labelled Soft Play, but not to fret,

Webster, 26, invites a unique sound to the shore as she

from recent show experiences, ‘The Hunter’ and ‘Cheer

styles out stoner-folk, carefree indie pop, and R&B

Up London’ will be smashed through a speaker near you

influence within her music. After a

at full volume. The duo remains in

surge in TikTok popularity,

their true form for sure.

her tough-to-pin soul

Also joining the

and heartfelt lyrics

party are female

have struck a


chord with many

Lambrini Girls,


with their electric

wannabes, making

crowd engagement

her the perfect 21st-

that is something

century navigator.

everyone should witness at

Sriram, 33, is ready to open the stage

least once. For the ultimate experience, go

for this big Friday night with his Carnatic twist on R&B.

and learn all the words to ‘Mr Lovebomb’ ASAP so you

Carnatic is a subgenre of classical Indian music that

can scream out every word with me.

evolved from Hindu text and tradition, which his music teacher mother raised him on after moving to California.

Dropping in and about over the weekend for a TGE debut

This is a new one for me so I’m excited to take a trip

are Manchester three-piece Nightbus and the shoegaze

down to catch him in action, making this performance one

washed, indie rock of Slow Fiction. Following their

not to miss across the weekend.

London debut (a show with us at So Young at the Blue Basement), NYC trio, Fcukers, bring back 90s dance

Other notable mentions that have already snagged

tracks packed to the brim with head bops.

our attention include a regular So Young favourite, Wunderhorse, who you can catch on Thursday evening.

All in all, if it’s a fresh range of new artists to fill up

NYC’s Been Stellar never stick around for too long so

your summer playlists, the opportunity to see one of your

make sure that you free up space to catch these lot before

current favourites in the flesh, or even to just sit and sink

they head back to the States. Cork’s Cardinals are set up

pints amongst the waves with all your pals, then a trip to

to serenade you with accordion laced indie rock.

The Great Escape 2024 is what you’re after.


Words by Alicia Tomkinson

Editors Sam Ford

Josh Whettingsteel

Writers Sam Ford

Natalia Quiros Edmunds Sachin Turakhia Poppy Richler Reuben Cross

Rhys Buchanan Elvis Thirlwell

Josh Whettingsteel Leo Lawton Issy Wetter

Will Macnab

Amber Lashley Eve Boothroyd

Alicia Tomkinson

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@soyoungmagazine (Twitter)

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Josh Whettingsteel Harry Wyld

Zsófia Győrfi Julie Alex

Gyayu Wang

Silvia Reginato

Laura Garcia Sanchez Kalisha Quinlan Holly Thomas Emilia Chubb Fae Sharples

Twinkel Achterberg REN

Cover Photo Sophie Hur

Photos for Collage Sophie Hur

Holly Whitaker Pooneh Ghana

Emilyn Cardona Richard Kelly Miles Wilson

Omero Mumba

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