Feature: Babe Club – ‘Remember This Feeling’

Charleston powerhouse alternative rockers Babe Club have just dropped their debut EP today, two full years of work encapsulated in ‘Remember This Feeling’, five tracks of pure indie goodness; almost a world away from their first ever single Hate Myself in 2018.

Although the band are influenced by Blondie’s 70’s new wave sound and the 90’s pop-rock gods The Cardigans, there are many other notable amalgamated genres sprinkled generously throughout their debut EP.

However, it doesn’t sound confused, if anything, the complete opposite. From clean synths to gritty grungy guitar tones, the melting pot of sounds set the band on the path to break free from the chains of genre many bands find themselves unable to.

The latest single Automatic Love is accompanied by a beautifully shot music video with the themes of the song bleeding into the creative direction. The idea of phones and social media having so much control over our lives is conveyed not only through the lyrics of the song but through the use of the band’s latest technological development, the “Flip-Flap” phone.

We spoke to the group about their debut EP before the release of the EP and here’s what they had to say about the process:

Speak Soft Magazine: To kick things off, producing ‘Remember This Feeling’ has encompassed two years of your lives, how does it feel to finally set this project free into the world?

Babe Club: “It feels pretty weird honestly! The recordings themselves were made in a span of 5 months, and we’ve been waiting about 1.5 years to put it out. So you could imagine we were just eager to let it live. It’s really cool to finally have a body of work to point to that represents us, but it’s also nerve racking because naturally we get really excited about the music we’re making right now! It’s easy to identify with what you’re doing in the moment, and can be hard to relate to songs that were written as long as 4 years ago! Holy shit.”

SSM: You just dropped the music video for ‘Automatic Love’, how has the reception been to the single and most importantly, the flip-flap phone?

BC: “The song & video has been received well! All the feedback we’ve gotten so far has been positive. Very grateful for that.”

“Most importantly, the flip flap has been sweeping the globe. We’ve been hard pressed to keep up with all of the orders flooding in. We’ve been in talks with manufacturing plants in every corner of the world to see who’s going to take up the production. It’s just gotten too overwhelming to do ourselves any more. It’s actually not a phone btw, it’s an alternative to your smartphone. It’s the Flip-Flap.”

SSM: Following on from the last question, you both play a massive part in creating your own incredible music videos, do you as artists feel this important to get hands on? Do you feel it is easier to convey the song’s message more authentically?

BC: “Yes, and yes. It’s very hard to speak through someone. It’s much easier to talk for yourself. At the end of the day, no one is going to care about your vision & art as much as you do. We get very picky, and we go through a lot of revisions, which is not an exciting request to make of another professional (especially when you ask for multiple revisions). Always perfecting and making slight adjustments. By picking up new skills, we’ve enabled ourselves to really iron out the vision.

SSM: ‘Remember This Feeling’ is the perfect alternative angsty EP, what music, media, or real life experiences influenced the record?

BC: “Personal existential-dread, isolation, and conflict with loved ones are all emotional sources for the songs. Sonically speaking, there’s a lot to get to. We were listening to Bully, Sunflower Bean, Mitski, Joni Mitchell, Amber Coffman, and Vampire Weekend. It’s all a melting pot of punk, indie pop, and indie rock vibes.”

SSM: Finally, although 2020 is almost over (thankfully), what can we expect to see from Babe Club in the near future?

BC: “More music! And hopefully live events. Since a year and a half has passed since finishing this EP, we have new songs that we’re really wanting to put out into the world. And we’re desperately wanting to diminish the time between finishing the recordings & release day. On top of all of that we want to start playing some socially distant shows in the not so distant future. And hopefully once we get into a pattern of socially distant shows, maybe the world will start to approach some form of normal before 2021 is over.”

At the very core of the group is powerful and existential lyrics, and their ability to produce relatable songs that explore realisation, raw emotions, friendship and love shines beautifully through this EP. To hear for yourself as any album should be heard, on vinyl that is, ‘Remember This Feeling’ is available for pre-order here.

Feature: Cruel Hearts Club – ‘Suck It Up’

Fresh off the back of touring with The Libertines at the end of 2019, grunge pop-rock trio Cruel Hearts Club are ready to kick off 2020 in style with their new single ‘Suck It Up’. The band’s first single of the new decade, following the massive ‘Hey Compadre‘, is a clear indicator that Edie, Gita, and Gabi are here to make the UK’s thriving alternative music scene their own, and this is only the beginning…

We caught up with the band to ask them about the new single and their plans for the rest of 2020.

Speak Soft Magazine: To kick things off, you finished off 2019 playing some shows with The Libertines, how was that for you all? 

Cruel Hearts Club: “We’ve supported The Libs a few times now and it’s always an amazing night.  They’re such an iconic band and the fans are so intense but they seem to really like our music too and we’ve always had a great reception at the gigs.”

SSM: So your new single ‘Suck It Up’ is coming out soon, are you excited to share it with the world? 

CHC: “Of course – we’ve put our blood sweat and tears (a lot of tears) into it, so we can’t wait for it to come out kicking and screaming!”

SSM: What is the core meaning of the song to you? 

CHC: “It’s essentially an escape from mundane life, finding paradise in a Mad Max journey kind of way.”

SSM: The music video features all of the CHC children, what was it like bringing them into your world for the day? 

CHC: “We bribed them all with £20 and a day on the arcades in Margate where we filmed – cheap labour.  They totally rocked it, so much more rock and roll than us. Mildly concerning how much they loved graffitiing and gobbing on the camera man.”

SSM: Musically, who would you say your biggest influences are?  

CHC: “We love the 90’s grunge bands – ElasticaSmashing PumpkinsHole, mixed with some Britney Spears and No Doubt.”

SSM: Following the recent Reading & Leeds Festival lineup announcement that faced controversy due to a lack of women, do you think it is important for young girls to feel represented on and off stage especially at such a prevalent UK music event? 

CHC: “Yes they should be represented – we are available guys! guys??  On a serious note, I think it starts from the ground up, girls having the opportunity and being encouraged to play guitar / drums / learn about production and sound engineering from an earlier age and being shown that it’s not just a boy thing.  We all learnt classical instruments when we were younger – man, if only I’d been handed a Fender instead of a violin, I could shred like Jimi Hendrix by now.  And WTF with learning the recorder in schools?  Way to put kids off music for life. We’re lucky to know and to have worked with a couple of female producers and engineers but they are very much in the minority, it’s like seeing a unicorn which is crazy really.” 

SSM: Leading on from that, what would you say to younger female fans of your band who think they can’t do what you guys are doing?  

CHC: “I’d say ask Santa for a guitar for Christmas and practice like a motherfucker. Well, without the swearing.”

SSM: Finally, what can we expect to see from Cruel Hearts Club in 2020?  

CHC: “Our single ‘Suck It Up’ comes out late Feb followed by another single in May with an album hopefully by the end of the year.  We are supporting the legend that is Sting in Germany and also performing 5 nights at The Palladium with him in September too.”

Fierce and feminine, the band are destined to stand out from the crowd and demand to be seen and heard. ‘Suck It Up‘ is the perfect anthem, combining catchy pop with killer riffs. Move over Spice Girls, there’s a new girl power band in charge.

Suck It Up‘ is available on all streaming platforms now!

Spotify

iTunes

Apple Music

Video Interview: Dude Trips

Ahead of their biggest Glasgow headline show to date, we caught up with Scott, Jamie, and Shaun of Scottish alternative band Dude Trips for a chat about the success of their album ‘Through Love & Death, You’re All I Have Left‘, what music they’ve all been spinning recently and future tour plans.

http://www.dudetrips.co.uk/

Feature: Deter – ‘Iniquity’

The Glasgow music world has evolved and grown over the years, and with the success of Lewis Capaldi, Twin Atlantic, and Vukovi to name a few, it appears there is a spotlight blaring intimidatingly on the city. However, instead of shying away or conforming, one of the bands pushing through and making their mark over the last few years in the alternative and post-hardcore scene is Deter. With their debut album ‘Wither & Fade’ less than a year old, the band dropped news of finally releasing a single they had been premiering at shows including their short run with rock powerhouse Tigress.

We spoke to frontman and vocalist Jamie Logan ahead of the release of their new single ‘Iniquity’ and the writing process of what has the potential to be a career changing song.

Where did you get the inspiration to write and release ‘Iniquity’ as a single?

“After we had just released our debut album ‘Wither & Fade’ we didn’t really know what sound we were gonna pursue next but based on the live experience of playing the album we knew we wanted more energetic, heavier songs so we could have more fun playing them live. Then Jonny (guitarist) came up with the bulk of the ‘Iniquity’ guitar parts and we spent a little while refining it until we were happy. We knew from the first time playing it live in February 2019 that we needed to make it our next single as it was received better than our album songs.”

Who were your main musical influences for the song?

“At the time of writing ‘Iniquity’ myself and Jonny were listening to a lot of Movements and Rarity but were already inspired by bands like Holding Absence and Casey. Lyrically mostly Casey and Holding Absence.”

Lyrically, was ‘Iniquity’ cathartic to write, or was it difficult?

“‘Iniquity’ is to this day still one of the most challenging songs I have written in terms of subject matter and portrayal of my own thoughts. It definitely was cathartic to just put my darkest thoughts into a positive outlet as it covers my trials and tribulations with my own mental health and how they have worn me down over the years.”

The word itself has deep-rooted ties to the bible and religious connotations, was this an influence at all or merely coincidence? 

“The religious connections to the word were purely coincidental. The song was written from a place of disdain and frustration with myself and holds no religious connections.”

Last year, you released your debut album ‘Wither & Fade’, do you have any plans for another album or EP?

“Sadly, we don’t intend in doing a significant body of work such as an album for a long time but you can expect lots of smaller releases from us until we feel the need to create a cohesive body of work.”

Finally, what can we expect to see from Deter in 2020?

“In 2020, you can expect lots of new music and bigger shows. More so in the second half of the year! We’re working really hard behind the scenes to take the band to the next level. PS expect more riffs and cool shows.”

‘Iniquity’ is available to buy and stream through the links below.

Spotify

Google Play

iTunes

New Music: Aerial Salad – ‘Romance?’

Manchester punk trio Aerial Salad have just announced their latest album ‘Dirt Mall’ with a release date of the 27th March. In the meantime, today they dropped the video for new single ‘Romance?’

The band have possibly one of the best origin stories in music history, frontman and guitarist Jamie Munro recalls attending legendary punk event The FEST in Gainesville, Florida in 2016, and being so inspired by the bands he had watched, he had to start a band, and they had to play The FEST no matter what.

“It was a very important time in my young age,” remembers Jamie. “I was like, ‘fuck me, all these people, all these bands are small punk bands, but they’re playing here and they’re all on tour, this is fucking sick this!’ Fuck uni, I hate uni, I’ll start a band. We’ll play The FEST.”

Upon returning from his punk band daydreams in Florida, Jamie did in fact form a band with two best friends Mike Wimbleton on bass and vocals, and Matty Mills on drums. Aerial Salad recorded music, played a handful of gigs, and they finally got the chance to play The FEST, but that is not where this story ends.

Due to unfortunate technical difficulties and unfamiliar equipment, the band now refer to their set at The FEST as ‘The Worst Festival Set Of All Time’. “The set was so bad that as soon as it finished, I had to run out of the venue, hide around the corner and cry,” remembers Jamie.

You’ll be glad to hear that Aerial Salad have bounced back from their living nightmare in the form of that disastrous set. They met former Flying Medallions frontman and Wonk Unit leader Alex Johnson who, so taken with the bands spirit and vibe, offered to mentor, manage and helped put out Aerial Salad’s debut album ‘Roach’ in 2017 on his label Plasterer.

On their new album ‘Dirt Mall’, Jamie admits, “It captures everything I’ve seen working as a temp in offices and generally being in my twenties trying to work myself and the world out. With some pop songs thrown in for fun.” If ‘Romance?’ is anything to go by, the album will be full of energetic DIY punk, and 2020 will be the year of Aerial Salad.

‘Dirt Mall’ track-listing:

  1. Virtue
  2. Romance?
  3. Fever Dream
  4. Temp
  5. Such a Pity
  6. State O’Yer
  7. Dirt Mall
  8. Lazy
  9. Stressed

Pre-order ‘Dirt Mall’ here:  https://wonkunit.com/aerial-salad/ 

The Life and Legacy of Elliott Smith

Next week the Speak Soft Magazine team are headed south to document the charity tribute show in memory of the iconic singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, celebrating what would have been his 50th birthday.

Host of the evening Dan Caleb will be performing alongside Benjamin Langford-Biss (As It Is), Georgia Maria, Aaron King, and more incredibly talented musicians all coming together to play songs from Elliott’s back catalogue and most importantly celebrate his life and legacy.

For those of you who don’t know much about Smith or even if you do, we have composed a short timeline of his life and his musical career up until his tragic death in 2003:

  • Stephen Paul “Elliott” Smith was an acclaimed American singer-songwriter, known distinctively for his melancholic sound and often deeply personal lyrics that danced around the topics of addiction, alienation, and depression.
Photo by Wendy Lynch
  • Born August 6th 1969 in Omaha, Nebraska, he endured a difficult childhood, his parents divorced when he was six months old, and he moved with his mother to Texas. The strained and possibly abusive relationship with his step-father became a reason to sedate himself with drugs as an adult.
  • Smith began playing Piano at age nine alongside guitar just a year later. He began writing and recording his first songs around the time he moved to Portland, Oregon at the age of 14.
  • His musical influences included such iconic stars as Bob DylanElvis Costello, and the Beatles; he said he was inspired to become a musician after hearing The White Album.
  • After graduating high school, Smith began calling himself “Elliott“, saying that he thought “Steve” sounded too much like a “jock” name, and that “Steven” sounded “too bookish”.
  • In college he met future bandmate, Neil Gust, and formed the indie rock band Heatmiser and released three studio albums and two EPs before disbanding in 1996, shortly after signing to Virgin Records.
“Blackout” by Heatmiser
  • Smith‘s girlfriend at the time convinced him to send some of his solo demos to Portland-based record label Cavity Search Records. The label immediately expressed interest in releasing a full album, and so Roman Candle was born, using mostly acoustic guitar with a handful of other instruments, entirely home-recorded on a four-track tape recorder.
  • In 1997 he became a mainstream name with the success of the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, which he contributed “Between the Bars”, “Say Yes” and “Miss Misery” for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song, but lost to “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic. This mainstream exposure led to a record deal with DreamWorks, resulting in Smith‘s first album, XO, being produced in professional studios.
“Miss Misery” in the closing scene of Good Will Hunting
  • In 1999, he contributed a cover of the Beatles‘ “Because” to the soundtrack of Best Picture winner American Beauty.
  • For the next couple of years, Smith laboured over what was to be his next album. He parted ways with DreamWorks, and after a falling out with fellow musician and producer Jon Brion, he scrapped an album they had started working on together.
  • Elliott Smith was arguably the Van Gogh of music, a heavy drinker and drug user, diagnosed with ADHD and major depressive disorder. He died on October 21, 2003 in Los Angeles, California, after he was found in his home with two stab wounds in his chest. The coroner was unable to determine whether it was suicide or the result of homicide, and the Los Angeles Police Department’s investigation remains open.
“We miss you”, a fan tribute on the Figure 8 album mural.

We spoke to co-producer of the My Favourite Elliott Smith Song podcast, Robert Comba about Smith’s legacy:

 “What’s so great about Elliott Smith, for me, is how his songs seem to get better with every listen. There are things in songs he’s left for you to discover only when you’ve listened for the 500th time. It’s like with a good film – you notice more, the more you watch it.”

“What’s been interesting about doing the podcast – which I now make with my co-producer Elizabeth Withstandley – is hearing how he still has such a strong influence on artists today. People we’ve spoken to like Benjamin Langford-Biss, Phoebe Bridgers and Lindsey Jordan (Snail Mail) all discovered him after he died but cite him as a major influence on them. From that perspective, it’s reassuring to hear his legacy is continuing in a major way.”

If you can, come along to the Finsbury in London on 6th August to celebrate the life and legacy of one of the greatest singer songwriters of all time, on what would have been his 50th birthday.

Elliott was known by his friends as a very charitable person – he set up his own music studio and let smaller bands record there for free. So, in keeping with his spirit, all money raised from this event will go to the charity Help Musicians UK. So, what are you waiting for? Tickets below!

Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/elliott-smith-50th-birthday-party-tickets-63494629145?fbclid=IwAR3ljzmCoslwRvhGoIcWCyRHnQsj5hXGd8P8orMSm4N59MhZRQiPUb-HtdQ

Sources for timeline: