Do What I Want…
Combining elements of hard-rock, grunge and a hint of math rock, Soeur have managed to carve a sound of their own in an oversaturated sound space. With a unique twin vocal attack, riffs that go from pin-drop to wall of noise and rhythmic, pounding drums, Soeur create a sonic soundscape that is as spacious as it is substantial.
With a new single out and an EP coming in September alongside some fantastic festival dates, Dawsons spoke to Tina, Anya and Jim during a rehearsal to get the low down on their latest release, as well as getting some in-depth info on the gear they’ll be using for their upcoming live shows.
Hi guys, thanks for speaking with us! How’s the practice going?
Anya – Hi! Yeah it’s going good thanks, we’re just writing some new material and getting everything ready for festival season.
You’re playing 2000 Trees Festival, is that your biggest festival slot?
Anya – It’s the biggest tent we’ve played, I think it’s a 2000 capacity tent. We’ve played Reading and Leeds before but that was on the BBC Introducing… Stage, so there was a few hundred people there at that, but this will be our biggest festival audience to date.
You’ve also been invited back to ArcTanGent for an acoustic set, how do you find having to strip back your sound?
Anya – Yeah it’s one of our favourites, we’ve been many times helping out and as punters and our drummer Jim has played there many times with his old band Maybeshewill. We’ve done acoustic sets a few times before, we don’t get asked to do it much but it’s always fun to rework the songs. Sometimes we’re too loud as a full band so it works really well for those kind of shows!
Later this year you’ll be touring the UK with St Agnes, including some stops where Dawsons is based in the North West. Have played much up this way before?
Tina – We’ve played Liverpool and Manchester a couple of times. Manchester last time was one of my favourite shows when we played at Soup Kitchen. We were really well received which was quite surprising as we’d only played there once before.
You’ve got an EP coming out soon, can you give us some details on that?
Anya – Our last single ‘No Show’ is the title track of the EP which is coming out in September. We’ve got another single called ‘Do What I Want’ which is out now with a video! We actually recorded the EP last year but it’s taken us a while to get everything sorted.
And whereabouts was the EP recorded?
Tina – We went to Seamus Wongs in Leicester to get the drum sound, and the room sound and did the guitar work and vocals at Silk Mill near Stoke. It’s gonna be a bit more polished production-wise, the last EP was really raw, so we’ve reigned it in a little bit for this one.
Let’s talk gear! Tina what guitars are you playing at the moment?
Tina – I’ve got two Telecasters, American Standard and a baritone. I’m not sure exactly how it happened but I just really liked the Tele sound and so went with it. I combine it with heavy gauge strings and I love the sound it makes.
What kind of strings do you both use?
Anya – I use the Ernie Ball Beefy Slinkys, it’s a 54 at the top and 11 at the bottom.
Tina – I use Ernie Ball Not Even Slinky, 56 top, 12 bottoms.
Anya, what’s the story behind your Gibson guitar?
Anya – My guitar is a Les Paul Zoot Suit which I got back in 2012. I’ve struggled to get along with single coils for a lot of my guitar playing life but there’s something about the pickup configuration with the P90 that’s not too screechy. I pretty much play it exclusively on the middle toggle-switch setting.
It’s got a really cool finish, did you do that yourself?
Anya – No I haven’t done it myself it came that way! They dyed individual layers of wood different colours, glued them together then carved the body out of that piece of wood. Tina’s laughing because I get asked that a lot! I never get bored of saying it though because I love the guitar!
You recently gained a Laney Amplification endorsement, how did that come about?
Tina – I think we got recommended to them by their social media guy and a good friend of ours, Rich, and Laney invited us in to try some amps out. We really liked them so they sorted us out! They’re a lovely bunch of guys who make some really good amps! I’ve got the GH50R-212.
Anya, you’ve got both the L20T Lionheart and NEXUS-SLS Bass Amp, how are you using those live?
Anya – I’ve got an ABY pedal to switch between the two, sometimes we use it to add an extra kick, sometimes I play it on its own when I’m doing a more bass orientated part. Tina covers a lot of the low end with a Crate 4×12 that’s really bassy, and her Laney combo makes it sound amazing.
Have you got set ends of the spectrum that you both occupy?
Anya – I tend to fill the high end of the spectrum and Tina the low, with the bass amp doing the really low sub depth stuff. We do switch it up though depending on the song.
What are you both using on your pedalboards?
Anya – The main pedal I use is the Vox Straight Six, it’s pretty much on all the time and I love it, it works really well for me. I do have a Big Muff Pi and a Micro POG but I very rarely use it. I’ve got a Marshall Reflector pedal and the Akai Headrush Delay. On the Bass Amp I’ve got a Bass Big Muff.
Tina – My main pedal is the Big Muff Pi with the Tone Wicker, even though I don’t use the wicker. It’s pretty much my favourite pedal of all time, I use it with everything! I’ve recently been using the Laney Amp distortion which is really cool, I’ve only just discovered. I’m looking for a Reverb pedal actually if you’ve got any recommendations?
I just got the Boss RV-6 for my board which is an incredible pedal, it’s got multiple ‘verbs, a Delay setting and the Shimmer setting which is like glitter for your guitar tone.
Tina – Oh yeah I’ve heard that on YouTube. It’s difficult because I want to hear how it sounds on with my amp and guitar but I can’t bring them both to the shop! I’ll try that out next time I’m in a guitar shop.
What were your first pedals?
Tina & Anya – Big Muff Pi!
Tina – With Tone Wicker!
Jim, sorry to leave you until last! Can you talk us through what shells you’ll be using for your next dates?
Jim – I’ve got a Tama Superstar drum kit, it’s the 24-inch Kick Drum. My snare is something that I got off eBay, it’s an old Tama one from the 80s that I got for about £30 cos no-one else bid on it! It’s brass snare drum so I was really lucky to get it.
How about your cymbal set up?
Jim – I’ve got an endorsement with Dream cymbals, so at the moment I have a 15-inch Dark Matter Hats, two 20-inch crash rides from the Energy series, and a 22-inch Energy ride. It’s quite a big cymbal set up!
What’s your first choice for sticks?
Jim – It’s got to be Vic Firth 5B, they’re pretty standard and they’ve been the sticks I’ve used for years!
And how about your kick pedal?
Jim – I really need to upgrade, I might speak to Tama and see if they can help me with a nice new pedal, like the Iron Cobra or something since the girls have gotten some new amps! I did have a double kick pedal and recently decided to go back to single as I wanted to get away from that typical double pedal sound, not that I do that sort of stuff anyway.
No more easy doubles then?
Jim – No! It became a comfort zone where I felt a bit lost if I didn’t have that second pedal to the left. I’m going back to the traditional way of doing it. I think with each EP you evolve as a musician and you always play differently, growing around how you do things and going into another phase by trying out something new, so this is one of those phases I guess.
Thanks so much to all of you for speaking with us today! Just one last question, have you ever been into a Dawsons Music store before?
Tina – I know the one in Reading though I’ve not been in! But we’d love to come see you guys next time we’re in the area!
Soeur, Soeur, Soeur
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