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In Conversation With: Soeur

Math rock influenced grunge triplet Soeur sat down with Peanut Mixtape’s Chris Greene before their penultimate show of their current tour at The Garage to discuss their lives and their music. Having played Reading & Leeds Festivals in 2017, the band just released their Fight EP over the weekend, with the eponymous single being the highlight of their setlist that night.

 

Introduce yourselves:

Hi, I’m Tina, I sing and play guitar.

Hello, I’m Anya, I do the same, I sing and play guitar.

I’m James, I don’t do the same, I just play drums.

So how did you all come to know each other?

Anya: Me and Tina used to run our own separate bands in Worcester, and both our bands broke up around the same time, and I decided to move to Bristol as I felt like there was a lot more going on there and I wanted to start a new band and give that a go, and then we got drunk one night and the next morning she was like “oh do you remember saying you wanted to be in a band with me?, Well do you?” and I said “Yes”, and then we pretty much went from there.

We tried quite a lot of drummers out before we found this one; it just happened that James’ band of ten years was also splitting up, and we just asked him “could you come and drum for us please!”, and he said yes.

How was it to play Reading & Leeds last year?

James: It was a bit of a surreal experience, because growing up as a kid you’d always see Reading & Leeds as the major festival apart from Glastonbury and so getting the opportunity to actually be there and do it is pretty incredible really. Even now, I wonder, did it actually happen?

Tina: Although you can’t use your own gear, and for us it’s pretty important that we use our own gear, especially with no bass player.

Anya: BBC Introducing have done so much for us, they’ve been really instrumental in getting us to where we are now.

What are your plans for the future and where do you see yourselves in the new few years?

Tina: Well we’re releasing this EP tomorrow, and in about two weeks time we’re going into the studio again to record our next EP which we’ll release in about May next year, and in the run up to that we’ll probably be writing and finishing off an albums worth of material and we’ll see where that goes. I think the next target for us though is to be able to make a living out of the band, because as you know… …it’s expensive.

James: I think that’s pretty much every musician’s dream, to be able to earn a living off just being in a band, but yeah, that’s where we’re sort of projecting ourselves, and I don’t there’s any harm in having that as a place we want to get to. It’s a lot of hard work, but I think we’re all willing to do that.

So what are your current day jobs then?

Tina: So I busk, but I do gigs too, at weddings mainly. It’s good money and it’s really really flexible, so I’m a full time musician pretty much.

James: I just work part time for a charity, and then fill in doing extra jobs here and there… … though I wouldn’t say I’m an ‘odd jobs’ man, it sounds a bit old fashioned. But it can be a bit stressful at times because Bristol is becoming an expensive place to live. It’s not easy trying to be a musician whilst trying to live a normal lifestyle, it’s a juggling act, but I’d rather be doing this than sitting in an office doing a nine till five.

Anya: I’m unemployed at the moment, but I’ve done lots, I’ve done lots of bar work.

So how did you get to where you are now then?

Anya: Hard work. And networking, not in like a formal way when you’re giving out business cards, I mean like going to gigs, making friends with people, linking up with other bands that are on the same level as you, working together to promote shows, and make sure you give everything to it.

Tina: Specifically, if you’re in the city, it’s good to get down to the sort of ‘free for all’ gigs that they put on, where they’re actually asking for bands to come on, because even though you might be on in the middle of the day you get to meet all the other bands, and the headliner is probably a pretty big deal in that city, and you can ask for support slots, as asking bands that are just a little bit bigger than you for support is always a good way to go, as if they have control over who they can pick for support then they’re not going to go looking for people.

James: It’s just about getting as much attention towards what you’re doing and if that means working with other bands that are on the same level, then if you work together you have a much bigger draw between the three of you, than maybe even supporting a bigger band.

Perhaps this is a bit of an odd question, but how old are you all?

Anya: How old do you think?

Tina: I’m 30.

James: I’m 31, yeah I’m a bit older than the others.

Tina: Hey, you’re only a year older than me!

Anya: Am I 25? I’m pretty sure I’m 25. Actually no I might be 26… …Oh nevermind I’m 25.

When did you start Soeur:

Anya: We started it when we were in our early to mid twenties.

James: But I think we’ve always had a passion for music since our teens.

Tina: First time I did a gig was when I was 22.

James: I started ‘pretending’ to be in a band in secondary school, doing gigs in dinner halls and all sorts of stuff. The band thing is just something I’ve always done, hence why it was really hard when my last band broke up.

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After a brief conversation, we finished up and I left them to prepare for their show. The two support bands were solid choices, and Soeur performed an interesting set with a mix of choices from their first EP and, as well as a taste of some of their new material.

Thanks to Anya, Tina and James for allowing us to interview you, you were really made a lasting impression. Go check out their new EP here.

Featured Image: Ania Shrimpton Photography

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