I first heard Keel Her on an online mix sometime in early high school. Somewhere between the monotonous surf riffs of Wavves and the catchy tones of Shannon and the Clams, Keel Her’s lo-fi and distorted track “Riot Grrrl” caught my attention. “Fuck me in the backseat, I’m so bored” the voice sang. A woman claiming this sort of self-confidence and independence was totally new and unfamiliar to me. I was infatuated. The music was weird, the recording quality was like nothing I had heard before, and I couldn’t get enough of it. I immediately downloaded Keel Her’s extensive discography and haven’t stopped listening since.
photo by Brian Echon
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU START PLAYING MUSIC?
When I was a teenager my dad bought me a ukulele and I started staying in writing songs to make myself feel better. I stopped playing that and moved on to guitar...then it sort of became an obsessive therapy where I wrote a song every day and started to put them on Soundcloud. I used to listen to it, imagining I could play the guitar in a band but really never believing it would happen.
WHAT INSTRUMENTS DO YOU PLAY?
At the moment, I play guitar, bass, violin and keyboards in a few bands, and I sing.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE A SONG?
If I sit down to write a song, it’s usually when I am feeling really low, sorry for myself or very angry. But at work/when I’m out I sing into my dictaphone; like about the dullness of my real working life, things that people say, do, crazy things that happen. Even the sound of the photocopier, it sounds like a fog horn, and then I sing along. Music, reading, cycling around, there are times I get stuck and uninspired (and tired), mainly because of working, but it comes in waves.
HOW DO YOU RECORD YOUR SONGS?
I usually record my songs at home with a 16-track recorder, but sometimes I go into a practice room and record them live with a drummer. All the ones I do at home are ‘demos’, with the view of re-recording them in the future.
YOU'VE PUT OUT SO MANY DEMOS EVERY YEAR ON BANDCAMP, HOW DO YOU FEEL THEY HAVE CHANGED OVER TIME?
I think they’ve improved in recording quality (slightly), and I have definitely experimented a bit more and generally I like my newer songs, and I spend more time on them. I find almost all of my old songs embarrassing if I hear them a few months later. I have such little time to fit recording in now which is a shame, but I will never stop.
HOW MANY PEOPLE PLAY WITH KEEL HER ON RECORDINGS?
HOW MANY WHEN YOU PLAY LIVE?
Currently nobody; it’s just me, but I am in a band called The Administrators and we play some Keel Her songs; my friends Tara, Nikki and Rob play, and I am hoping they will play on my new album. I haven’t done a full Keel Her live show for a while, but it was previously a five piece band.
HOW HAS PLAYING IN ANOTHER BAND INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC FOR KEEL HER?
It’s made me realise I can take on a lot more than I had previously thought, and I’ve gained more confidence, which is ironic as I haven’t done a Keel Her show in over a year, but it’s sparked a desire to play live again.
You’ve done a lot of collaborations and split tapes with other people, do you have any upcoming collab projects?
Currenty I am working on my album which will include collaborations (like my first one, e.g. with Hot Sugar and R. Stevie Moore) on it. I’m also doing a few bits here and there, just did some singing on a TDA track (Henry from the band Sidney, and previously in Lovvers). I wish people would ask me to do more! I have lost touch with the internet/real life/everything. I find it hard to go on the computer nowadays.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN 2017?
I am playing with The Memories in July, which will be my first Keel Her show of this year (unless I book anything before that). I’m looking forward to my album being finished and released, possibly going on tour, and making more music with The Administrators, The Bin Bags and the Honkies.
WHAT MUSIC HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING TO LATELY?
Aside from all the others I mentioned: Infinite Men, Throbbing Gristle, Mort Garson, Margo Guryan, Haruomi Hosono, Rocky Lorelei, Orange Juice, Midori Takada.
ROSE WITH FREQUENT COLLABORATOR R. STEVIE MOORE
WHAT INSPIRES KEEL HER?
Androids of Mu
The Space Lady
R. Stevie Moore
Weird Paul Petroskey