Anyone who was at our The ZineUK music social back in March 2018, would remember our ace line up, and the impact of our headliners The Nyx. Since then, there have been many changes for the band. First and foremost, their name has changed to…
Becky and Simone are currently on the road travelling Europe with their trusty Snail (home van). These two formidable women, got in touch with me last week, and asked if TheZineUK would like a conversational update about what has been going on. Of course, we were happy to oblige! Thanks to technology, they were able to park up on the side of a road in France. Their drummer Kayleigh (still in the UK), was kind enough to free up some time during work and join us too.
This doesn’t follow the usual flow of our interviews. This is very stripped back, profound and…weird??
Okay… First question I have to ask..how long, do you plan to explore on the road around Europe?
Becky: As long as possible, until our money runs out. Our MOT on Snail runs out in July.
Simone: …and our money is running out fast, we just had to do some heavy repairs on the van.
B: Snail could honestly keel over at any moment. And since all these problems, we’ve actually realised the benefits of NOT planning. Just rolling with it, living in the moment init. I’d like to make it until May, that would make me very happy.
Oh no! The unexpected can throw a budget in the air. May would be great, as Summer would be starting then too.
S: Yeah, I can’t feel my toes right now at all!! Praying for the Sun.
B: Well, we’re currently heading South (Portugal, Morocco) so our Summer, should hopefully becoming a lot sooner than that!
What about the music? Travelling must definitely increase the inspiration, and ideas in ways you hadn’t thought?
S: We’ve been setting up the studio in the van, at some sweet spots on the road. Being able, to swing the van doors open to a lake or a forest is so rewarding when we’ve been trapped in a small space making music all day.
Yay, great news! The nights when you can see the sky must make it that little bit special.
B: Definitely feeling inspired and, not having the drain of working a 9-5 job, paying extortionate rent to a horrible landlord for a mice-infested house. But, to be honest, we’ve been struggling to get as productive as I’d hoped because we struggle without plugging in at a campsite. I’ve actually been finding creative outlets in other ways – writing and illustration – and when I do make music, it’s usually just for the joy of it rather than trying to create something e.g:I’m learning piano since living in the van. I think it’s because we are in control of our own time, so the little time we had for creative endeavours before were very much put under pressure of – we’ve gotta come up with something we can share. Now we’re just doing it for the sake of it.
Maybe you and Simone, are paving the way to make changes to how we all live, one bit at a time. If you can find a way somehow on the road, then as people, we definitely can when we’re at home.
B: I think when you’re “at home” – living in a city in a comfortable rented house etc, it’s very easy to get distracted. We felt it. Weekends came, and went in a blur or going out with friends. It felt like a constant trade off – do we put time into our band, or do we spend time with friends and family? Now it’s just me and Simone, no distractions haha.
Kayleigh, how do you manage to coordinate finding the time to practise, with Becky and Simone being in another country?
Kayleigh: Working remotely is a challenge for sure. But, it’s just a different set of factors to overcome – such as different time zones and schedules – to the factors that make face to face band life in London difficult too. We are just figuring things out, as we go along and I’m finding it really fun to try a new online based approach. Hopefully I’ll be able to fly out, and meet up at some point so we are getting the best of both worlds. In the meantime, it’s really interesting watching B & S develop in a different direction to myself musically, and hearing the results of that. It’s taught me that environment, really does affect music making in some ways, and that’s something I’ve overlooked up till now for sure.
B: I guess we’ve all just stripped everything away. Both by, actively becoming very minimal – quitting our jobs, selling all our stuff – and mentally, by removing all restrictions once imposed upon ourselves.
I can relate to that, the constant need to allocate energy into your own artistic pursuits, without feeling guilty. As humans, sometimes we are far too stimulated to break things down and focus mindfully.
B: It allows us to realise what really resonates with us.
S: A lot of our friends, send us so much love for making this life choice. People have told us, that we are living their dream and that’s inspiring for us to keep on trucking. Living in a small space, and driving from place to place is so freeing.
Kayleigh, hopefully you will get to fly out. Do you think the differing environments will add a new layer to your music?
K: Yes, definitely! I believe diversity in music, is only ever a strength, and experimenting like this with different members of a band living in different environments, has been an exciting and beneficial process of all of us already. So, I’m confident that the resulting music that we are starting to make, will be both different to our past sound, and also stronger for its fusion and variety of input.
B: It’s a tough pill to swallow, but as well as our music, our direction has changed “politically” I guess. We chose The Nyx as a band name 3 years ago, because we were very much invested in being an “all-female band”, and with that somehow needing to prove ourselves. The Nyx = female Goddess of night. And everything we had done under that name, was very much in that direction. It’s not that I’ve stopped being passionate about women’s rights, and equality because it still rattles me up, but we realised that we were focusing far too much on that, and not enough on the music.
K: Boom, yes Becky!
B: In that, we were separating ourselves, and the image was preceding us. Our experience in being the “female music scene” if I’m honest, was a feeling of separation. Music has power by uniting us. So, we were effectively pulling our own power plug. If you’re wanting equality, then you’re not going to get it by focusing only on female rights. It has to be balanced.
I think a lot of people miss that. They think in order to improve something, you must only focus on that one thing. When in reality, you have to see the whole picture in order for real change to happen.
B: It’s funny, these questions are just tapping into this part of myself, that I used to fire so much – and now I realise how unimportant it is as an artist. I allowed myself to feel hard-done by. What a waste of energy. “There are only 2 women on the Reading & Leeds line up –DISGRACE”. Yeah it is but, I’ve realised shouting about the problems, ain’t gonna change anything fast.
Exactly, and don’t see it as a waste! It was important, for you to feel into that anger to realise where your energy can be better invested for change.
B: We’ve got to focus on solutions.
S: Absolutely, and I think we got lost with that in The Nyx. We felt the anger, of inequality and felt like to fight hard to be heard.
Anger can do that. It can be a great motivator, but can also make you lose sight of why you were angry in the first place.
S: Be the change, you want to see in others init.
B: And in my opinion, the solutions have nothing to do with gender… Everything to do with waking up spiritually.
K: We also felt that, if we didn’t want to be limited BECAUSE of our gender, we needed to question why we were happy to be given opportunity, BECAUSE of our gender.
B: And this is why we me and Simone live in a van!! We changed our name to “Weird Ears”. The original definition of weird, is to be in control of your own destiny. Ears = music. With a nod of respect to the female
Originally spelt “Wyrd”. She was one of the sisters in Norse mythology.
B: Exactly, still female infused. But not female focused. We’re still an all-female band. We’re the band right now, that I always envisioned. For 5 years, through 5 drummers. It’s incredible how our music has transformed, since that energy once put into being OUTRAGED all the time, has gone into the sounds we’re making instead. When we play now, it’s a spiritual practise.
S: We’re now using energy, as a way of creating sounds which we hope will resonate with the people, who listen to our music.
B: We often find a state of flow when we’re playing now.
As you’re coming from a profound place of empathy, I think you’ll definitely attract those on the same vibration as you three.
S: We’re focusing, on being present in every moment we are writing/recording so the energy we put into the music, in that moment is captured.
B: Vibration –exactly- is everything. We’re seeing music, from an energy perspective – understanding how we’re able to transfer feelings into the music as a mode of communication. Trying to all get onto the same “frequency” ,when we play together.
Energy, frequency and vibration as Tesla said…
B: Fucking love Tesla. Fucking genius.
S: Love him!!
B: Did you know he wanted to try to photograph thought? What an incredible idea. Actually, that idea sums up what I’m trying to say here.
S: He’s a “weird ear” haha
B: We know music, has a profound effect on people. Because it literally vibrates on a frequency. In a moment in time. We’re kind experimenting at the moment, and finding ways of capturing something within the frequencies of music. Be that in the production process, or songwriting. In production – making sure we’re really present when recording or literally just putting down the guitar and not bothering if we’re not vibing. God, I’m such a hippie. But before, we’d squeeze a song into a classic structure.
S: This is what van life does to you haha
B: Our songs are usually 4-5 minutes minimum length now. Crazy transformation.
I think that’s best though, that way you’re not forcing the material to come out.
B: Then there’s connecting when performing as a group – the energy between people and being aligned in that way. I’m excited to one day, be playing live again, and seeing what we can do with the energy within a room. Energy of an audience, feeding off each other. Isn’t that exciting?!
Absolutely! So, where is the van parked up now? When would you like to play live again?
S: We are somewhere in France, and currently for Andorra for a little ski holiday. I’d honestly love to play RIGHT NOW. I miss it so much!!! Feeling that connection between band members, and the audience is the best buzz ever! When Kayleigh gets her butt on a plane, then we’ll talk. We could turn Snail into a small music venue!!
B: When it’s warmer, and we’re completely broke, we’ll be buskin’ on the streets baby.
That would be amazing! Do you also see yourself recording and putting singles out again?
S: Yes absolutely, but under Weird Ears. We are currently writing, and producing our own stuff at the moment and making Van Jams.
B: The Van Jams, is where Simone and I record within Snail, and Kayleigh has been drumming on top, wiring in from London. We’re also putting out these self-produced tracks.
Yes, We saw the one you posted the other day. Really enjoyed it.
B: At the moment, we’re very much linking everything back to creating within the van. This is a whole new field for us.
S: Basically, doing everything ourselves, and incorporating the van where we can.
B: Before, we found ourselves in a restrictive realm. Of planned EPs, release dates and PR. And headaches. …And heartaches. Now we just release whatever. We’re testing the waters, and experimenting.
K: I think we are in a “process not product” phase at the moment, whilst we explore new ways to communicate ideas, make music and release it. We are in no rush.
B: For the very reason of – because we love it and because we can.
It’s a very good ethos to maintain as a musician.
B: Eventually – yes, I see us doing proper singles. I miss Kayleigh so damn much! We found each other in the most unbelievable circumstance.
B: We thought The Nyx was over because our 5th drummer wasn’t vibing – so she stepped in as a session player in a recording session. After, me and Simone decided – it’s over, we’re done with all this, we’re just going to live in a van happily ever after goodbye. We were just planning, on finishing that recording that we’d started and that was it. We were DONE. Then Kayleigh walked in, and we fell in love immediately. We vibed like crazy. The passion we’d lost for music, amongst trying too hard to “get it all together and be an all-female band and get somewhere”. So, she stopped us from quitting. That was around March last year, but we’d already made the van decision by then.
S: We’d never experienced that musical connection before. Like we became musical sisters, within one song haha!
B: We weren’t prepared to wait around for music anymore, and we couldn’t do the life we were doing any longer, or jobs we hated, being stuck in one place etc. We were evolving spiritually, and that lifestyle was keeping us stuck in a box. So, we spent the next 6 months, making musical love together. And we sadly, had to leave, just as it felt like we were getting started. But it was okay, the musical connection was made.
It’s good that you didn’t limit yourself to fit into another person’s image.
B: I can’t wait to make more musical love. Because, that connection, is so important to actually be in the same room together. So, I feel proper singles will come then. We don’t have any deadlines, or people chasing us for anything at the moment. We have the freedom to write.
Wicked, plus your approach is not the usual one which I think, also goes in your favour.
S: Yeah, we are allowing ourselves the space to create, rather than feeling rushed into writing an album too early you know?
B: I also think, we’ve changed in our approach in that before, we were stuck in the classic musician headspace of “I’ve got to get somewhere. I need to be noticed.” Now, we’re honestly just interested in making the best music we can. And having fun!! This approach seriously alleviates pressure.
Well ladies, thank you so very much for taking the time out on your adventure to have a chat and catch us up, on all that’s been happening for you since March last year. Kayleigh, thank you for taking the time out during work. Can’t wait to see, and hear what you have in store in the future.
Catch Weird Ears below:
Multi-talent Monefa is Caffy’s assistant PR Princess at ArtBeat and a piano playing star. A regular contributor to The Zine UK both online and at our socials.