Get In Her Ears founders Mari Lane & Kate Crudgington chat to Gurls Talk about their amazing platform!
Explain the reasons behind your platform “Get In Her Ears’, why you started and the ideas behind it.
Mari: We wanted to start Get In Her Ears to create a platform dedicated to promoting womxn and non-binary people in new music. Though some of our favourite bands may be cis white men in rock, we just felt there’s so much more to music than those guys, and – with the industry’s ongoing ingrained sexism and underrepresentation of womxn/non-binary artists – we didn’t feel the world needed another organisation dedicated to promoting these kinds of bands. Our general aim is to promote new music from all genders and genres, with a focus on supporting women in the industry.
Kate: Through a combination of frustration, foresight, and ferocious love for new music; we’ve created a radio show, live night, and website dedicated to promoting and supporting women and non-binary people in music. We want to show the music industry that female musicians work and perform as fiercely and skilfully as their male counterparts, and that female (and male) fans are equally as committed to pushing these girls and women to the front. It’s a non-profit organisation and a total labour of love, and because of that we’ve managed to build this small but dedicated DIY community that makes us feel safe and supported in all that we do.
Who is involved in the team?
Mari: At the moment we still have a pretty small team. Myself – Mari Lane, Kate Crudgington and Tash Walker co-founded the organisation, and work together to keep things going, with my partner Paul Dawes helping with the digital and artistic side of things. We also have the super talented Jon Mo regularly taking photos for us at various gigs and events, and a small number of regular dedicated writers. As we still can’t pay anyone helping out, we totally understand that it can be difficult to recruit a bigger team. However, we’ve been extremely chuffed with the number of people getting in touch recently wanting to be involved, and we’re always open to more collaborations and help!
How do you decide what gets published on the site?
Kate: Our main “rule” is that you have to have at least one female-identifying member in the band to be featured on our platforms, especially on our live nights. We have, however, occasionally featured male bands or artists on our website and our radio show, but these are usually men who we know personally, and who are great advocates and allies for what we do at Get In Her Ears.
Mari: Generally if we like the sound of something by any of the new artists or bands who’ve got in touch with us, we’ll do our best to publish something or give it a play on the radio show.
Any advice for young girls wanting to make music?
Kate: I don’t make music myself (I’ve tried and failed to learn guitar and drums over the last two years!) but I think a good place to start would be to listen to loads and loads of different types of music, decide what instrument you want to play, and try to find like-minded people to help you create that music. Then, send it over to us and we’ll put you on our website and maybe even book you in for a gig when you’re ready.
I know I lacked confidence when it came to learning an instrument and found it difficult to persevere when I didn’t understand the technical aspects of music. There are brilliant initiatives like DIY First-timers Festival and Girls Rock London who are dedicated to helping young women learn to play instruments regardless of skill or income, so I’d recommend checking them out if you want to start a band!
Mari: Not being a musician myself, I can’t speak for them, but something I would say is just don’t give up. Don’t let the bulls**t from this male-dominated, and often sexist, industry stop you doing what you’re passionate about. In the words of Margaret Atwood – “don’t let the bastards grind you down.” You’re wonderful and deserve to be heard.
What your 5-year plan for ‘Get In Her Ears’
Kate: I’m pretty happy with the way things are going for us right now. Over the next five years, I’d like to host a Get In Her Ears festival in London, and potentially become a mentor-like platform for women who would like to start a career in music journalism and live promotions. It would be good to have girls or women shadowing us on our radio shows, learning how to promote gigs effectively on social media, and of course, having their own opinions voiced in reviews on our website.
I guess another goal would be raising funds to pay our contributors for their hard work, but money is not something that dictates where we want to go with Get In Her Ears, and I know Mari & Tash feel the same.
Mari: Our plan is just to keep going, keep doing what we do; promoting as much fantastic new music by womxn and non-binary people as possible. We’ve got a few exciting things up our sleeves for this year; for example, helping out with and DJing at Cro Cro Land – an amazing new festival in Croydon on 6th April. We love collaborating and working with other like-minded people within the female/non-binary DIY community, so would hope to be doing more of this over the next few years.
My absolutely favourite thing to do is putting on our monthly gig nights at The Finsbury in London, which have been running for two and a half years now. I’d love to develop this by putting on more gigs around the country, or potentially curating a stage at a festival, or even organising our own festival one day… keep your eyes peeled!
And of course, as I mentioned, we’re currently a complete labour of love, so sometime in the future it would be really great to be able to get some funding so that we’re able to pay those who help us and are able to dedicate even more time to expand, and promoting worthy artists and equality in the industry.
Do you think the landscape for women in music is better than it was 5 years ago? Since the #MeToo movement, have you seen progress within the industry?
Kate: I’ve been a music journalist for four years now, and I feel like women in music are definitely being more vocal about the dark side of the industry. Women like Kesha, Alice Glass and Lady Gaga are publicly talking about their traumatic experiences of sexual assault at the hands of colleagues and band mates, and as disheartening as it is to read their stories, I also find it really defiant and important that they’re sharing their experiences. On a smaller scale, I’ve seen the popularity of DIY feminist punk bands like Dream Nails and The Menstrual Cramps grow because their 90s Riot Grrrl inspired message of “Girls to the front” creates a safe space for women at gigs to enjoy music without the fear of being harassed. I think there’s still a long way to go, but the fact that these conversations are remaining in the spotlight is progress in my eyes.
Mari: I definitely think it has improved somewhat, but there’s still so far to go. Sexism still sadly prevails throughout the industry; whether it’s simply men ‘mansplaining’ to their female peers, and treating women in music as a sort of novelty, or more disturbing instances of abuse and harassment. However, things do seem to be improving gradually. There seems to be an increased recognition of women in the industry, and a more inclusive attitude surrounding LGBTQ+ and non-binary artists. Within the DIY community at least, there’s a number of really great organisations doing a great deal to change the cis male dominated landscape – organisations such as Loud Women, Punka in Bristol, Girl Gang Leeds, Girls Go Boom in Europe, for example, are all doing loads to promote inclusive gigs in safe spaces. It’s just a shame that it seems to be taking longer for bigger organisations to catch on and do more to change the industry as a whole.
Do you think women are still overlooked in festival line ups and award ceremonies?
Mari: Yes! Again, it may have improved slightly, but there’s still a long way to go; you just need to look at some of the bigger festival line-ups that are starting to be announced this year. It’s generally same old, same old – cis male bands grabbing a majority of the bigger festival headline slots… Each year I hold out hope that we’ll see more equal representation on festival line-ups; more female/non binary artists on the bills. And not just in teeny, tiny fonts towards the bottom of the posters, but at the top – headlining. And not just one or two thrown in for good measure, but an EQUAL representation at best.
It should not be (and isn’t!) hard to find plenty of female bands and artists worthy of headlining festivals, so why it’s still seen as rarity or novelty, I’ve no idea. However, the launch of PRS Foundation’s Keychange Programme last year was a huge positive step. An initiative that 45 global festivals have signed up to, promising that by 2022 they’ll have a 50/50 gender ratio in their line-ups, it’s a very welcome step forwards, especially given that in 2017 a whopping 80% of festival headliners were men. Good on festivals such Blissfields, BBC Introducing stages and Kendal Calling for signing up to the initiative, but still some of the worst offenders have refused to take part.
Some of the smaller festivals have been putting on inclusive line-ups and offering better representation for years though; city-based festivals like Visions, Field Day and The Great Escape, and more boutique festivals such as Indietracks, stand out as consistently balanced year upon year. Despite being smaller, these festivals are essential in giving female/non binary artists a platform.
Kate: Primavera are leading the way this year with their gender balanced line-up, so that’s great news. As always, Reading & Leeds is a bit cock-heavy and repetitive, so that continues to disappoint me. As for award ceremonies, I only really keep tabs on the Mercury Prize, and Wolf Alice – one of my favourite bands – won that in 2018. I think women in pop often win big at awards ceremonies. I’m more concerned about festival line-ups though, as I know there are plenty of great female-fronted bands out there who are capable of headlining.
Shirley Manson once said ‘fighting for someone else’s rights is the same as fighting for your own’ – do you agree with this?
Kate: I actually saw Shirley Manson accept the Icon Award that she won at the 2018 NME Awards, and her speech was hugely inspiring. I completely agree with Shirley’s statement. I know that as a straight white woman, I have a level of privilege in society that many other women don’t, so I’m happy to start listening to conversations led by other women from different social and economic backgrounds, and use the platform I have with Get In Her Ears to support them if I can.
Mari: Well, Shirley Manson is one of the coolest people alive, so yes I agree with her! I guess what she means is that we all have to work together, and not constantly rely on someone else, if we want a change to happen. That’s why in the fight for equality, we need allies – even if you do not identify as female or LGBTQ+, if you genuinely want things to improve for the better, you need to use your voice to help create a more inclusive and equal world.
Can you tell us 5 new bands our community should check out?
Kate: You absolutely have to check out Queen Zee, Dream Nails and ARXX. They’re all making riotous, infectious guitar music right now. Sink Ya Teeth are also fabulous, and on a more obscure level I’d recommend Gazelle Twin. There’s no-one else quite like her at the minute.
Mari: Scrounge – South London duo Scrounge deliver immense, genre-blending post punk. Their live show is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, and their unique colossal sound marks them out as definite ones to watch.
ARXX – Having supported the likes of Dream Wife and Slothrust, Brighton duo ARXX released their debut EP last year, creating a riotous, punk-infused power and gritty energy. They’re an incredible force, and I predict big things for them.
Fightmilk – Releasing their truly fantastic debut album ‘Not With That Attitude’ via Reckless Less at the end of last year, London based Fightmilk create utterly life-affirming, and completely addictive, slices of uplifting indie-pop.
Sit Down – Having last year played an epic set on the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds festivals, the noisiest power duo around – aka Brighton’s Sit Down, have been blowing me away for some time with the intensity of their thrashing garage-punk sounds, and their sheer dedication to their craft (they even make all their stage outfits) marks them out instantly from other bands .
Nova Twins – If you haven’t yet come across the explosive force of Nova Twins, I highly suggest you become acquainted with them. Propelled by frenzied hooks, snarling vocals and a tenacious energy, they deliver an entirely unique and hugely empowering wall of sound. They’ll be supporting Prophets Of Rage on tour later this year, and they’re also playing new festival Cro Cro Land on 6th April.