Melodies reminiscent of an era long gone, colliding the emotion of 90s shoegaze with dreamy reverberation, OUR GIRL continue to enthuse listeners countrywide, note by note. After several years of touring and a series of releases through their manager’s independent record label Cannibal Hymns, the band’s move from Brighton to London has not only elevated them to the top of the bill at shows, but has secured them a dreamy album produced by cult hero Bill Ryder-Jones.
It’s hard to ignore the effort and raw talent of a group who openly talk about how much they cry. Through the streak of emotivism caught up in the band’s instrumentation, Our Girl have been able to instil a sense of authenticity into their craft. They are a band who know no boundaries in expression; within that, we see their humble honesty to be especially pure.
Sat after a run of country-wide headline shows sits a place in the billing of this years Sound City festival. Ahead of the gig, Brit Williams chats to lead singer Soph Nathan about Stranger Today, working with Bill, and just how much vulnerability played a key role in the construction of their first album.
Hi Soph! Your highly anticipated debut album Stranger Today was released in August of last year. Looking back at this feat, how do you feel that you’ve matured as a band since you first met several years ago in Brighton?
Hello! It’s hard to tell, really. The album seems like a big step for us. Having a record that we’re proud of, that finally sounds the way we always hoped it would, is a big achievement in our eyes. I also feel like our confidence has grown a lot in terms of live shows. I didn’t use to be able to eat for hours before we played because I’d feel so sick. I get nervous still, of course, but now there’s a much higher ratio of pure excitement in there.
Stranger Today is such a beautifully composed, yet emotionally driven album, notably in a song like Josephine. Is it important for you to conceptualise this sense of raw feeling in your music?
Ah, thanks very much. We definitely try to mirror the emotion of the lyrics through the music as much as possible. Writing songs can be really cathartic for me, especially when I’m feeling something strongly and don’t know what else to do with the feeling. It’s a really good release, and we always try our best to match whatever the feelings are sonically and with dynamics.
Is it difficult, perhaps straining, to project feelings of melancholia in such a stirring and uplifting way, as demonstrated on the record?
It is sometimes. I noticed that especially when the album came out, it’s like I suddenly realised that the songs weren’t just ours anymore. Obviously, it was inevitable and it’s a really exciting prospect! But it hadn’t quite sunk in that people were actually going to listen to the songs and to my lyrics up close and personal in their headphones. And the thought of that does make me feel kind of vulnerable and squeamish sometimes.
How did the opportunity come about to record with Bill Ryder-Jones?
It was our manager Tim’s idea, actually. As soon as we heard what Bill had done we were on board, and Tim managed to get hold of him and luckily Bill liked us too!
Can you tell us how the experience of recording with Bill has helped to shape you musically? Was there any advice he gave you that helped you during this process?
Recording was quite an intense process, just because we only had 12 days to do it, and it was so incredibly important to us to get it right. About halfway through the recording process I started freaking out about whether we had enough time and Bill gave me a good pep talk which basically consisted of, “Calm down, it’s all going to be fine, we’ll have enough time and if we don’t it’s not the end of the world.” It sounds simple, and I probably could have told myself that, but in that moment I couldn’t. He taught us other stuff, too, mainly about guitar sounds, learning how to make your guitar sound amazing with a shitload of distortion, reverb and a screwdriver.
Now that the album is out and you have a string of shows ahead including two different dates in Liverpool, what can we look forward to from Our Girl in the future?
Festivals! And we’re starting to write new songs, so that’s exciting…
Stranger Today is available now via Cannibal Hymns. Our Girl play Liverpool Sound City 3-5th May.