2022 Artist Interviews
2022 was an incredible year for shows at FORM, and we got have conversations with loads of awesome artists throughout the year! See our highlights below.
With a busy festival summer ahead of them, featuring the likes of Green Man, Latitude, End of the Road and Pitchfork, and with fans such as Phoebe Bridgers backing them, M(h)aol are gearing up to grab the UK’s attention further with their headline tour later this month.
Ahead of this, we’ve been treated to new single ‘Bored of Men’, the latest since their brilliant 2021 ‘Gender Studies’ EP. Mixing up their stream-of-thought lyrics with a point to make, and sticking to their noisey post-punk sound, ‘Bored of Men’ is a suitable follow up to the sound fans have gotten to know.
‘Bored of Men’ gives a real sense of exhaustion, but without fully admitting defeat – were you inspired by specific events for this track, or a general overview of how you were feeling at the time?
Róisín: Writing it was a bit of a tight rope act. While being able to be ‘bored’ of something is definitely a privileged position to be in, the song is also tongue in cheek. I’d been followed on my way to meet my girlfriend a few weeks before I wrote BOM and that served as a major inspiration. There was a part of me that was shocked – I was like ‘feminists have been banging that drum for decades!’ How do you not know by now that it’s not ok to follow someone? But of course not everyone is listening to feminists. It was also inspired by what was going on in the news with *that* courthouse and the unsettling reaction a lot of people had to it. At the same time I wanted to write something that was fun to sing. With our upcoming album I’ve got a lot more creative with my delivery which feels very exciting. When I perform BOM live its definitely quite playful.
I’m alai bisexual and queer, and have found existing in queer spaces a revelation. Growing up the conversation was always about boys and then men and what they liked etc etc. Having the opportunity to find a queer community that isn’t so rigidly defined by gender binaries has been life changing.
‘Bored of Men’ has a title that will turn heads – is this intentional, or was it simply what you thought best fit?
Róisín: I think if you’re going to say something you should say it with your chest. There’s no point in being coy. We played around with calling it ‘Board of Men’ but in the end settled with ‘Bored of Men’.
A lot of your lyrics are very politically-charged, and you fully wear your opinions on your sleeve – was this something you set out to do when you formed M(h)aol, or did world frustrations naturally seep into your music as you went on?
Constance: When we formed M(h)aol it was being done with the intention of being very open and un-front about our stance on things. I started the band because I was annoyed with how I was being treated as a woman in music, so talking about those frustrations was always an integral part of it. The aim was to try and get conversations going that I thought should be happening.
The music video for ‘No One Ever Talks To Us’ is said to be inspired by various brilliant films (The Monstrous Feminine, Powers of Horror), including Jennifer’s Body. What was it about this movie that you think has made it such a cult classic, and made you want to pay homage?
Zoë: I was definitely interested in exploring the concept of abjection in Kristevas essay, and Creed’s Monstrous Feminine was a huge inspiration in how she dissects the patriarchal fear of feminine power. Her analysis of the sadistic male gaze present in so many horror films, which so often depicts women as the victims and sexually objectifies their form was something I wanted to subvert in the visuals. I direct, shoot and edit all of our videos so there’s a strong female gaze present in each that, hopefully, allows them to exist in a realm of their own, free of any conventional and cultural identities.
As for Jennifer’s Body, I think Karyn Kusama and Diablo Cody combine these concepts brilliantly into a narrative film, we watched it after we were finished shooting in the forest that night, eating a bit of curry and covered in dried blood! They really conjured up something special in that film that the world wasn’t ready for at the time, an acute subversion of the horror genre that Buffy also does so well! But really, at the end of the day, it’s just three friends having a lot of bloody fun in the forest!
You’ve got a busy summer ahead! What are you most looking forward to about tour?
Jamie: The opportunity to all be together for an extended period of time again. We had such a beautiful time in November last year and that was only four days on the road. All living so far apart and not having a regular rehearsal schedule means we really lack those bonding moments so getting in a van for days helps remind us why and how much we all love each other and being together.
Róisín: I love meeting people, whether it be other bands or the people who we meet after the shows. We’re playing two festivals in the Netherlands this month and I’m very excited to learn a bit of Dutch!
Anything else you would like to plug?
Listen to Bored of Men and buy our merch!
We caught up with Lucy from the electrifying, high kicking three piece Orchards ahead of their Hope & Ruin show. They shared with us their favourite photo from the last few years, chatted ‘Trust Issues‘, and generally caught up on how the band are doing! Catch them on their UK headline tour in March following the release of their latest EP, out on Big Scary Monsters records.
Where / when was this taken?
The Photo/Video Shoot for our first single since our album ‘Leave Us Here (We’re Fine)’!
Who took it?
Our favourite person ever Jessie Morgan! They are truly the reason we look as good as we do! They’re one of the only people we’ve ever felt truly relaxed with.
What do you think of when you see this photo?
The sheer release this shoot gave us all. The last 2 years had been so dull and lightless and this shoot was exactly what we needed to just feel like a band again!
What’s something we might not be able to figure out just by looking at it?
That confetti cannon was a good 3 years old. We used to shoot a confetti cannon at every show for at least 2 years, and for some reason we stopped. I took a bag of old decorations and just random stuff to make the shoot fun and the cannon was magically in the bottom of the bag! It was so old and it took us 3 people and 25 minutes to pop the cannon. So those smiles and laughter was honestly real because it scared the absolute life out of us! It was also one of the last things we did because it made a mess so it rounded this amazing cathartic day off perfectly.
Why do you love it?
It’s just being truly happy to be back being a band again after so long waiting! Music and this band is our life and to be in a room being us again was honestly the most wonderful experience.
You’re a very active band on social media – does content creation come naturally to you alongside making music, or is it something you’ve had to practise and develop over the years? Is it ever hard to find a balance between just living your life and thinking all the time about what would make good content?
Wow. Loaded question, first thing in the morning! I have a serious struggle balancing social media and the actuality of real life. Comparison is the killer of creativity. If you’re constantly scrolling over a feed of non-realistic expectations, it can seriously affect your mental health. But on the other hand, social media is where some people go to find community and friendship. Striking a balance can be tricky. We try to keep our pages a wholesome and kind place for people to find themselves. It’s a cute little community and we are so lucky to have the sweetest fans!
If you could change one law, what would it be?
I’d make speaking loudly while a musician/band is playing completely illegal. Does it not bug anyone else!? It drives me loopy! Like go find a pub, stop talking over people’s creations you know. On a more serious note though I’d make period equity a legal requirement not just in schools but in all facets of life. In education, in workplaces. Everywhere. Scotland is doing great things in this area, but the rest of the world needs to catch up super-fast! Nobody would be alive without a working uterus/womb and periods are an integral part of that. People who bleed should not be unfairly hindered in their lives just because we’ve got a uterus!
If you had to pick any other profession outside of music, what would you be?
Truly, a museum tour guide. Or invent some talent and be an art teacher. I always wanted to be a cool art teacher. I literally dress like I want to be one too!
Prior to its release, what was the track on ’Trust Issues’ that you were most excited to share and why?
‘Wrong Shoes’ – and my answer totally remains the same now. They’re some of the best lyrics I’ve ever written and I feel the words so deeply. I also think it’s one of the best songs we’ve ever written! I still get goosebumps when I listen to it! Although, to be honest, I was more apprehensive about ‘Bye, Insecurity’, and people are loving it so maybe I’m not the best judge of character. We write music that we want to listen to, we always have, so it’s kinda like asking someone to pick a favourite child. I love them all. In very different ways!
Melbourne punks CLAMM are coming to the UK for the first time this summer, ahead of their upcoming album ‘Care’, out 14th August! The singles preluding the release are both punchy and relevant, with ‘Bit Much’ and ‘Monday’ keeping the raw punk sound the CLAMM solidified in debut album ‘Beseech Me’, whilst expanding further on their angers and frustrations on society.
We chatted to them about soul-sucking jobs, making time to find catharsis, their upcoming tour and more..
Did you set out for your lyrics to be political, or has CLAMM naturally become an outlet for your frustrations?
I don’t think we set out for our lyrics to be political. CLAMM’s sound is frustrating and loud and our lyrics reflect this sound. I’d like to think it’s more about honesty and an expression of frustration or discontent that we face in life, and I suppose quite a bit of that relates to politics.
You met Maisie at a gig, and Miles & Jack have been playing in various bands together for years – what do you think the important of smaller venues and musical communities is to up and coming artists?
Smaller venues and musical communities are the most important thing about making music for us. Attending rock gigs at a younger age gave us the opportunity to connect with a community we aligned with. I think this is extremely important and I wish underage gigs were more of a thing in Australia so that it could start at a younger age. I think a special thing about the live music scene is that there is always a stage for everyone. Thanks to smaller venues, you could start a band one week and the next week have an opportunity to play your music on a stage. That might change your life in some way.
‘Monday’ is a very relatable track for many who are in soul-sucking jobs, and appears to cover the all-work-no-reward structure that society seems to have built – what inspired you to tackle this topic?
Maisie wrote this song. She works really hard. She works more than Miles and I do, but often feels like she’s just as broke as we are which is really frustrating. Work makes you tired and can consume your life and then you’ve got nothing to show for it. In some cases anyway. I think a lot of people share this frustration because laborious and monotonous full time work seems to be such a large part of this wonderful capitalist life.
‘Beseech Me’ covered a variety of hard hitting topics such as mental health, anti-violence, materialism and more – what do we have in store for us on ‘Care’?
Much of the same I guess. We probably go into it a little bit more with this album. The first one was kind of rushed. We loved how people related to the album and I think we wanted to think a bit more about why this was and set our feet a little deeper. We question power structures in this song a bit. It’s about navigating life – it was written during covid so there’s a bit about that. It’s a bit more about the self as well. Self-empowerment, introspection and the relationship between some of these political ideas and the self.
It can be hard to give yourself the self-care we all need when we’re constantly bombarded with awful happenings in the news, as covered in ‘Bit Much’ – tell us about the though process behind writing it, and what you do to reach a sense of catharsis?
I guess I went into it a bit above. But, overall, it just all seems a bit ridiculous doesn’t it? We are a part of a system where we are expected to work the majority of our waking hours in order to survive or pay exorbitant amounts of rent/mortgages. We have to manage personal and family relationships. There seems to never be a shortage of one horrific thing or another happening in the world which is then spread questionably by evil news corporations possibly benefiting from our fear. You’ve got to laugh really. I do. Where does the time for “self-care” exist within this? You have to prioritize it. CLAMM is a part of my own catharsis, but I have things I try to do everyday to create space and quiet in my life.
What are you most looking forward to about getting back out on tour?
We’ve never toured Europe. We have no idea what’s in store but we are most excited to share our live experience with as many people as possible and to visit all these incredible cities we’ve never been to.
We caught up with Matt from sharp Irish alt-hip hop duo Tebi Rexahead of their upcoming Hope & Ruin show. He talked album release, Irish HipHop, TikTok and generally caught us up on how they’re doing ahead of their string of UK dates!
Catch them on their UK headline tour in March following the release of their album ‘It’s Gonna Be Okay‘, out now.
You met because you battled it out in a music competition – if you had to do that again, who do you think would win this time round, and would you play fair?
I would win again. No question. I know his games, I’m in that mf’s head. He thinks he can beat ME at a talent show? Playing fair isn’t even an option. I’d meticulously study each judge’s interests and passions, to deliver a nuanced, diverse yet palatable performance never seen before. I’ve actually been practicing for this day ever since we first met, like a lead anime character. This is for my honour.
The Irish Hip Hop scene is booming at the minute with artists like Denise Chaila, Hare Squead, Kojaque and yourselves making names for themselves. Who are some of your favourite acts at the moment?
In terms of HipHop I’d bet my house on the success of the Gliders, TraviS, Elzzz, and Trever. They haven’t missed yet and I’ve seen every live performance they’ve done to date – they’re ready to blow. Someone else in the genre who I love and also think is shockingly overlooked is Sweetlemondae – she gives me Noname / Saba vibes. Really soft poetry that you can just sink into; I’m literally sweating for her next release. R3D, our Dj who is currently cooking audio crack. And of course everyone from Chamomile records.
“It’s Gonna Be Okay” is a beauty of a record! Before its release, what track were you most excited for people to hear?
For me it was Lost Time and Fear Lasta Lampaí. Lost Time was just such a beaut of a track, I loved mine and Max’s call and response throughout and was particularly proud of my vocal performance. It was something I was working a lot on over the last year and hearing that effort come to fruition was fulfilling.
Fear Lasta is my personal favourite from the album. The story telling, the themes, the use of Gaeilge, that shit just gets me going man. Even the fact it’s based off a poem we did in school gives me mad nostalgia- and it is an essential piece of the album as a whole – it’s truly a gem (for me, anyways). The original poem of the same title was about the Glimmerman: a small, ugly fella that would manually light the oil lamps on the streets years ago; he got bullied by locals for how he looked but he just didn’t give a rats about it because he loved doing his thing. And that was lighting the lamps. He knew who he was and what he does, and loves all of it. And that’s me; I had a lot of imposter syndrome, the bigger Tebi Rex got. Like wtf was I meant to be doing as a hip hop artist, y’know? What’s my purpose? Then I came to the conclusion, I’m like the Glimmerman. I do what I do, and I love doing it – no need for a big fancy, deep purpose. That’s the story I’m trying to tell throughout the album, it was definitely really well presented in that paticular track.
For people who haven’t yet seen your high energy shows live, what should they expect?
A lot of fun. We love performing music more than anything else, it’s the best part of the music shtick. So we give it 100 up there every time, but we keep it light y’know? Like, we can go from shouting and screaming our heaviest track for 3 mins to telling silly jokes before the next song, which could be something super pop-y. You’ll find us for a beer after also, so please hang around cause we love the chats.
You’re very active on Tik Tok and social media, do you ever find it hard to find a balance between being a musician and a content creator?
Nah not anymore. There was a while when creating music you might be swayed to do something purely for increasing its shot at virality online, but there’s no point in that. I’m at a stage now where I use social media to try enjoy it. Most of my TikToks don’t have anything to do with music or Tebi rex. I’m just taking the piss really.
I will say that social media isn’t as fun as it was when we started. Its become a lot of work at times and I’ve had to separate myself from my phone at certain points. I often think that if I really applied myself and devoted all of my time into content creation I could have a lot more hits, but it wouldn’t make me any happier – in fact, probably the opposite. It’s a balance. Make some tunes that you love, and some content you enjoyed putting together, then go to sleep happy. Noice.
2021 was a mix of amazing and awful for a lot of people – what’s the best thing that happened to you last year?
Releasing the album was obviously amazing, but to be honest it was gigging again. We got to do a mini tour of the UK with Pan Amsterdam, we got to do a London headline, a Dublin headline, supported Easy Life on their Irish tour, and even got to do Other Voices again. To just be with the boys doing live sets again, playing new and old tunes. I wanna replay all of those shows to be honest.
We chatted to Alex of Lady Bird on the release of debut album ‘WE‘, out today on Alcopop! Records. Whilst unfortunately their Patterns show won’t be going ahead, we discussed the Brighton venue in the first of our monthly venue highlighter series, with lots of exciting shows happening at the venue in the upcoming months! Check out the interview below, or grab tickets for any Patterns shows here.
Why is this venue so special to you?
I actually spoke to my partner for the first time ever, in the smoking garden at Patterns, so that’s pretty special! It’s also a local venue to both Joe and I. I’ve been to several gigs here, but 2 that stand out in my mind the most – life changing experiences!
What’s the best gig you’ve ever attended there?
Willie J Healey. A good friend of ours and one of the loveliest, most wonderful chaps you’ll ever meet. A true modern classic. One of the best songwriters of the last 5 years. Alex Turner wishes he was Willie J Healey; so do I…
What is unique about this venue?
It’s a low ceiling venue which makes it feel really intimate. It’s got a couple of slightly different layers so everyone from the front to the back can see. It feels really inclusive and special.
Any weird memories at Patterns?
Too many to name. Have had many a night out at patterns. Couldn’t possibly embarrass myself. But said night that I met my partner was actually Joe’s birthday way back in 2017, of which me and Sam drove down for especially. It got messy. We all did silly things. Sam ran straight into the shutters of a corner shop on purpose that night. That’s all I need to say and that’s as far as I’ll go aha.
What unreleased track from WE are you excited for people to hear and why?
The title track I would say is one that I’m most looking forward to being out in the world. It’s immensely personal to me, and it’s the most honest I’ve personally ever been on record. I like to think it also shows another side to us that people might not necessarily expect.
You recently shared Chelsea Cutler’s post about the strange new social media landscape that artists are finding themselves having to navigate in order to promote their music, turning their lives into content. Is this something you’ve struggled with as a band?
I would say yes, this is something we’ve struggled with. None of us are natural social media people, and the impetus put on being active on social media and to be consistent with putting things out, I find very hard and quite anxiety inducing. I don’t consider my life to be interesting enough to be posting all the time, but if you want to hit the algorithms correctly, and spread what you are doing effectively, you’ve got to keep it up. Posting regularly. Using new features like Reels or TikTok.
I think it’s concerning that promotions and careers are being built from doing these things alone. It doesn’t feel organic or natural to me, and I think we run the risk of homogenizing culture, music and art. More and more people are doing things in their real life now, because that’s what other people all over the world do on social media. There’s no such thing as subcultures anymore, and I think that leads to a lack of identity for young people and the sense that you belong to something.
More specifically, in relation to music and art creation, I worry that these forms will become watered down, only made to get likes or followers or shares. Music created solely to be on a Reel. To capture your attention and to be catchy and to make you want to watch more reels. That’s probably already being done. We as a band are skeptical of it all, and we keep it at arms length but we have to recognise that it’s a part of being a band these days. If it’s not on social media, did it really happen? And how the hell will you tell anyone what you’re up to?
Which law would you change and why?
My word! What a question…. I’d rescind any law that Priti Patel has been involved in. The nationality and borders bill I think is very troubled and starts to tread on the toes of human rights and break international laws. I’m worried that post Brexit, this government is doing their best to build their equivalent of the wall along the border. I believe this country is built on immigration and the exchanging and sharing of cultures and this government is quickly eroding that. Proud to be British? Not me.
Any profession outside of music?
Well, Sam is a music teacher working with young people with special educational needs. Joe works as a teaching assistant and as a One-to-One with children who need extra support at a primary school. And I am currently trying to work within addiction and drug abuse services, given that I’m currently in the early stages of my own recovery from addiction. So we very much have professions outside of music already!
We caught up with multi-genred Dizraeli for Earth Day, and talked about his Twenty Years Deep tour campaign, what the industry can do to change, and what keeps him driven to keep creating after two decades in music. Twenty Years Deep is more than just a tour, it’s a test to see what artists can do to tour with the world we live in in mind, and Dizraeli and his “crew of wonderful humans” are setting out to prove what can be done.
Congrats on your 20th anniversary in music! That’s quite a feat, and you’ve covered so many genres and styles in your time being an artist – what has kept you driven to keep creating and sharing your music over the years?
Good question. Probably for most of that time, my deep need for validation and to give my life a sense of purpose. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy on attracting attention to myself so I can feel loved. More recently, as it’s dawned on me how fragile that makes me (“if no one’s applauding, I’m not loved”) I’ve managed to rediscover the absolute need to makethat made me do it in the very first place. I need to make music like I need to run, breathe, spend time with family. And when I make from that place, my word it’s so much nicer, and I let go of it being about me and let the whole mad parade of life march through me and onto the page, onto the record. And I love it so much. I love music, and what good lyrics do to me, and how much the music I’ve listened to has educated me and expanded my mind over the years. As long as I’m allowed, I’ll keep swimming around in that.
The spotlight that was shining on sustainability and being eco-conscious has dimmed somewhat in lieu of the global pandemic – what do you think the industry as a whole can do to get itself back on track?
Oh Jesus. Well I don’t think the music industry has ever been on track in terms of sustainability. Just like all the other industries operating in the absolute madness of our culture, we’ve had a stupidity about resources and risk running through everything we do… Thinking we can just keep growing, using the earth up and pissing it away, flying to a different city every night to play one show and fly away again, etc.
There are some humans launching lush things though, like Brian Eno’s Earth Percent which channels money from the industry to charities doing important work in climate change and climate justice; like Music Declares Emergency which is at least making the climate breakdown more visible.
One of the problems we have is that the reality of our situation eludes us. We are in the middle of a profound crisis but we look around and everyone’s still eating nachos, and talking about Will Smith and educating their children to navigate a reality which will not exist by the time they leave school. It doesn’t tally up. Surely if we’re in an unfolding disaster we should all be running around clutching our jaws and pointing to the skies in disbelief, and then mobbing Parliament until the people in charge of the structure make the structural changes that scientists very clearly lay out as necessary to our survival.
Instead we have an occasional moment of clarity, but then it disappears under a pile of nachos and football stickers. I’m talking about myself here too. I find it very hard to hold the knowledge of the climate emergency in my mind for more than a few moments.
What can Music do to change that? Well one of the things is to help grow the courage in us to look at the truth as it actually is. Music that tells the unfiltered truth about whatever it sees, I think that’s necessary. And another direct thing is for us to use our platforms, our mics and megaphones as artists to spread the news of what’s happening, to gather people and move them to action, to be the fuel for us as humans believing in change, in integrity, in common f***ing sense.
Sorry that doesn’t answer the question, but I think it’s important.
Your Twenty Years Deep tour is essentially creating a blueprint for how artists can offset their footprint and tour sustainably – what advice can you give to those who want to try this themselves?
First thing to say is that I’m not trying to offset my footprint here, as far as I understand it carbon offsetting is a massive red herring that corporations and governments use to justify carrying on as normal. What we most need at this point is to not emit the carbon in the first place, so I’m doing my best to limit the amount of carbon that this tour emits.
It’s baby steps, it’s just the beginning for me, and I’m learning a lot about what to do and what my limitations are – I think I’ll be in a much better position to offer some advice once this adventure’s done.
Oh yeah though one bit of advice I can already give is that it takes a LOT more planning than just doing things as usual – just the process of booking trains for 10 people over 6 different dates, when players are coming from different places with different needs… I didn’t leave enough time to sort everything out in advance – don’t make my mistake… Get on it as soon as the tour’s booked and you’ll have a nicer time.
What challenges do you think you might face on the road?
Ah, I’m sure there’ll be many! We’re having to use a different drumkit and guitar amps in every town because we can’t bring our own on the train, and that’ll be a challenge for our soundman especially. Luckily he’s a don.
To be honest I feel confident we’ll be able to handle what comes up. It’s such a lovely team of humans I’m travelling with; everyone has love and consideration for each other, and that’ll see us through.
Whilst it may be possible for musical giant such as Coldplay to make statements by canceling their world-tour in lieu of more environmentally friendly pursuits, what do you think smaller artists who’s sole income is on the line can do and contribute to the conversation?
It’s really hard, not least because it costs a lot more money at the moment to travel low-carbon. For example the cost of travelling by train is INSANE, disgustingly expensive compared to just getting everyone in a van… This is in spite of the fact that the government is subsidising the rail industry at a level 3x higher than before British Rail got divvied up among private companies (Link for that : https://fullfact.org/economy/how-much-does-government-subsidise-railways/). Where’s that money going? Well a third of it is spent on the HS2 rail project alone, which is an unpopular, carbon-intensive, ecocidal scheme. Imagine if that was spent on reducing rail fares across the board by 30% instead – how much more of us would be able to leave our cars and vans at home and travel by train?
That’s partly why I’m having to do a crowdfunder campaign in order to raise the funds for this tour – artists like me don’t have any profit to spend on extras.
But what can us smaller artists do then? Well I hope that this experiment of ours does show that the support is out there for people doing things differently – I’ve been overwhelmed by how much love and encouragement the Twenty Years Deep tour project has had. So, reach out to your listeners, see what you can do together. I would not be able to do this without the support of the humans who care about my music. And know that whoever you reach is essential to this conversation moving forward.
If you could change one law, what would you change?
Ohhhh wow. The electoral system I think.
Finally, we can’t wait to see your unique TYD live show – what are you most excited about trying live for the first time?
I’m most excited about playing with this new band – they are insane, gorgeous players, the music is sounding new and strange and beautiful, even the old songs I hadn’t played in years. We had our final rehearsal yesterday and I came out fizzing. It’s such a blessing to be onstage with them.
Question left by: Tebi Rex
“Which artists currently in the charts would you collab best with, and worst with?”
Haha! I’d love to collab with Little Simz. I’m not very good at knowing who’s in the charts. I’ll leave it at that I think.