Smoke and sleepers
Our Girl is a dreamy three-piece that flits between Brighton, London, and an ethereal world. The group came together in 2014 and, just a year later, are releasing their debut single Sleeper with B-side Level on Cannibal Hymns. Although Soph Nathan is notorious for being in umpteen bands at any one time, this is her first as a songwriter. She’s happy to have a band that can take what she writes on guitar, and make it “proper” or “something else” or completely different. After bonding with Josh Tyler in a basement while trying to figure out an Anna Calvi song, they recruited Lauren Wilson, and have since embarked on a journey to try the best pizza and burritos in each city. Alongside, of course, making beautiful music. Golden lo-fi sounds for wintry days, but never far removed from the seaside. Ahead of their single launch tonight, we hung out to hear more – and below share an exclusive first listen of the record’s b-side track, Level.
Clementine Zawadzki: What can you tell us about your debut release?
Soph Nathan: Sleeper is mainly about friendship, and how having good people around you helps to make things that make you sad feel easier to deal with. I wrote Level in the basement (which we called the dungeon) of my old house in Brighton. The first half of the song came out very quickly, and I wrote the last verse a couple of months later. But it very much feels like a whole to me, like a big snapshot of a feeling.
CZ: And you recorded with Andy Savours?
SN: Yeah, we heard of him through the management company we’ve been working with, and Andy had also produced one of The Magic Gang’s tracks, and has been working with My Bloody Valentine for ages, and he was an engineer with a producer called Flood, and then he worked on Warpaint records and stuff. We were all brainstorming what kind of production we wanted, and I think we all separately said him, but for different reasons. It was really refreshing to work with someone and develop something that maybe you couldn’t have fully realised before.
CZ: Are your influences quite varied?
SN: St. Vincent, who has a lot of interesting different parts going on, which I really love, and a two-piece from Canada called Cousins, who are just really driving and kind of shouting and heavy guitar. Both really influenced my songwriting, so it’s like a combination of those. I remember when Lauren joined the band. I hadn’t met her yet and we were emailing, and she sent me a list of bands she liked, and Thee Oh Sees was one of them, and I’d never heard them before, but I listened to them and was like, “This is amazing! Where’s Lauren? We need to meet her. She loves cool music. Let’s hang out…”
CZ: ‘I love your emails…”
SN: ‘Let’s do this in real life…” and with Josh, he really loves Sigur Rós and more ambient stuff, which is nice because Lauren likes punk music too, so it’s a good balance between us all. Josh has this really cool pedal called a Strymon reverb pedal, and you can make this infinite, really warm, shimmery sound with it, and he always incorporates that kind of thing, which is nice. Lauren’s a bit rockier, but she also likes Elliot Smith. I think we just balance each other out.
CZ: What’s inspired your live shows?
SN: We played with TRAAMS a couple of times, and they’re a three-piece as well, but it’s bands like them that made me more excited to play live shows. There’s a band called Yak, who are just amazing, like hypnotic-driven stuff, and the screaming stuff Oli does, after seeing them I just wanted to have parts of a set that were more heavy.
CZ: What do you get up to before a gig?
SN: Not a specific ritual, but we always hug now. It’s so lovely when people come to the shows, but then you find it hard to talk to people properly, it’s like “I want to be having a conversation with you, but I’m really nervous.” Josh and I have recently been sharing a whiskey, because I feel like that’s a thing that’s going to help my throat, but I don’t know if it’s really true.
CZ: What would your dream rider be?
SN: The thing with riders is you always ask for the same thing and then you get really bored of bread and cheese. Roller blades in each different city would be great. When we walk together in a three, Josh does this thing… you know when people try to walk straight, but they always lean in? We did the music video for Sleeper where we push each other around on skateboards, but you can’t see them, so we just look like we’re floating. Lauren absolutely nailed it in just one go. She also got a really bad headache. We basically just ran around a dark room for a day with loads of smoke and lights. There was just a strobe light on my face for about ten minutes while I sang the song ‘round and ‘round. I actually felt weirdly Zen and calm. It was fun to just be locked away from the world and do something different. You just feel far away from everything in a nice way.
Our Girl launch their debut single in London tonight, 8th December, at Birthdays in Dalston. Tickets here.