THE CONVERSE RUBBER TRACKS MUSIC EXPERIENCE:
IN CONVERSATION WITH SEA GIRLS
The Converse Rubber Tracks music programme is currently offering free studio time and a live music event to the four boroughs of London. With an aim to give something back to the music community and to provide a platform for emerging talent across the city, Converse Rubber Tracks – launched by the infamous Converse – is giving an irreplaceable opportunity to a carefully selected bunch of talented musicians. Having kicked off in Ealing this April, ten artists were handpicked by a prestigious judge panel to be given free studio time at Kore Studios with the award-winning producer Al O’Connell. We were lucky enough to speak to one of the bands, Sea Girls (Olly, Rory, Andrew and Henry), to find out what it’s like to be picked as one of the Capital’s top new artists.
Tell us a bit about Sea Girls.
Olly: We started Sea Girls about two months ago. As a band, we’ve been playing music together for about 6 years. We used to be two separate bands, but both drummers bailed. So we had a break from music for about two months and then thought we should merge together.
How’s it all been so far?
Olly: Pretty good! Converse has been a great platform for us all and sped it up for us a lot. We had only just planned our first practise, and then we got a call back a week after and realised it had all just started. Converse has definitely pushed us to work harder and faster.
Rory: At first, we thought we would set music aside for a few months while some of us finish University, and then practise as much as we can in our spare time. But here we are! It’s a big kick start. If we weren’t given this opportunity then perhaps it all would have begun in a month or two, or even longer than that.
How would you describe your band to those who haven’t heard of Sea Girls?
Olly: We describe it as rock music but a bit grungy in places and a bit shoegazey too. It gets quite noisy but it also gets quite soft – so basically all the adjectives. We want to incorporate lots of things and be a bit experimental in the way that we all use our guitars and push it a bit further. It’s still early days, so we’re still trying to figure it all out still. But at the moment it’s kind-of like ‘ethereal grunge’ – that’s the term we like to use.
Tell us a bit about your first track
Rory: It’s called Kiss me…and it’s one for the ladies.
Andrew: We recorded it at Rubber Tracks and it’s just been released on SoundCloud – but we haven’t got an official video yet. We’ve also got a new song coming out in the summer which is very exciting!
Who’s your inspiration?
Rory: It’s really hard to say because we’ve gone for so many different styles of music. We started off as a three piece folk band, and then we went for a more traditional rock and roll kind-of vibe, then indie pop and surf. Our music has reached an organic point and that’s what we’re having fun doing.
Olly: Everyone likes different music. What we like is that you can’t listen to our music and think: “oh it sounds like this genre.” We’re trying not to think about it too much. When you’re rehearsing you just have to do it, see how it sounds and then run with it. Our music grows from playing it live and from getting that emotional response from the audience. It’s a very organic process. We always want to leave our audience in a different state of mind.
Did you all grow up with music?
Andrew: My mum and dad are both brass band musicians, and my dad used to be in a blues brothers tribute band. So I grew up around my musical parents.
Olly: I decided to form a band when I was twelve. I didn’t know how to play anything, but I played the bass and I have played the bass ever since. I picked up a lot of other instruments – the drums, piano, and guitar – so in every band I play a lot of different things.
Rory: My family aren’t particularly musical but I’ve been playing the guitar since I was eight. I was only fifteen when I realised that I wanted to do it properly. I moved schools, met these guys and thought: “these are some cool guys to play music with.”
Andrew: When we first formed the band, Rory was quite shy when we met him. He didn’t want to sing in front of us so he got in the shower, closed the curtain and sang Razorlight. This was when we were about fifteen, and we’ve been playing together ever since.
How do you come up with the lyrics?
Andrew: Henry, our singer, has a good talent for hitting on personal notes that we all have. I think that’s a good quality for a lyricist. He breaks up with his girlfriend so that he can write songs – that’s kind-of his thought process.
Rory: He likes writing about personal experiences but they’re kind of universal. With our song Kiss Me, Henry drunkenly cheated on his ex-girlfriend and somehow the girlfriend’s mum found out about it. Then, while they were all together, the mum confronted him. He had a sentence in his head that said “kiss me lord” – and that’s a prominent lyric in the song. The way he comes about things is quite interesting!
What do you think about the current state of the music scene?
Olly: It’s pretty interesting at the moment; I think lots of people are coming up with lots of interesting ideas. Since there are so many people putting their ideas across, you can tailor yourself to music and there will always be music. It’s kind of over-saturated in some ways, but that’s not a bad thing.
Rory: Young Fathers once said: “if you know the genre of music you’re playing, then you’re failing as a band.” But I think people have realised that you can do what you want now.
What does Rubber Tracks mean to Sea Girls?
Olly: It’s such a great opportunity; it came along at the right time. It was like our genesis.
Rory: It also sets the level of professionalism for us all. Al the producer was amazing and to work with such a great producer for our first song was incredible. Now we know what’s expected – and it was the biggest (and nicest) studio we’ve ever recorded in. It’s an amazing programme; it reaches out to bands and gives them the chance that they wouldn’t have necessarily had in the first place. I love that kind of stuff; it’s like giving something back to the community.
Rory: We’re going to do a shoot with a photographer from the studio which is all really new to us. We’re sick of bands looking gloomy in photos – if you’re playing music then what’s the point in being so serious. Expect to see some really awkward photos!
Olly: Our main thing is finishing the studio sessions. Within about a month of two we’ll have our first gig. Our first gig will be a big deal – so we’ve got a lot to look forward to. We also really want to incorporate some more visuals in our gigs too, some projections and stuff. You have to have a hook to catch people and draw them in. We think with the way you perform and the way you present yourself is really important.
Rory: Two of us will be finishing University in a month. Our main priority will be getting a job, but also to focus on music and to start gigging as much as possible…and a tour would be nice. We’ve been through all the other bands, so we know what to expect and how much to practise. We’re just going to go for it!