The pop-rock artist gets candid on females in the rock world, standing her ground and being so honest in her music.

The Kut
The Kut

When it comes to music, artists tend to look to all aspects of life for inspiration, whether it be a long slow-burning train journey or last-minute escape to a foreign country. For rising star The Kut, the devastating loss of Sarah Everard was on her mind. Recounting the experience in her latest song “ANIMO”, the artist takes us through heavy pop-rock anthem filled with building guitar strings and elements of electronica.

“‘Animo’ was really a total wildcard,” the artist recalls when discussing the single. “I released my debut album in 2018, so by the end of 2019 was starting to think about album two… we’d taken some potential tracks on the road in that time as well, so when I wrote ‘Animo’, I wasn’t sure if there was an ‘Animo’ shaped space on the second album.”

Known for her angst approach to music with a grunge pop-twist that has us reminiscent of the early days of pop-punk, the artist has already gained acclaim for her unapologetic debut album Valley of Thorns, climbing up the UK Rock Albums Chart and Independent Albums Chart. Sitting down with us virtually, the artist breaks down her 2021, being so honest in the music and why artists should be more candid in their music.

Check out the interview below…

Heya, how are you? How would you sum up 2021?
2021 has been so much better than 2020! In 2020 it felt like the world was about to end, and now there definitely seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Gigs are back on in the UK and things have really been getting back to a new improved normal. On the music front the last few months have been whirlwind… We got to headline the River Stage of Isle of Wight Festival, I signed a major US distribution deal and was awarded an Arts Council Grant to make my second album! The funding means I am now making my second album alongside my whole touring line up.

The pandemic hit everyone hard, how did it affect your creativity?
Oh, it totally knocked me for six. We were five days away from a UK tour supporting Canadian rock trio Danko Jones when the tour was postponed, but they hadn’t announced yet… so our crowd were all so excited about the shows and we knew they were about to be cancelled. It was our first major tour support despite all the touring we have done, so it felt like heartbreak on all levels.  On the whole, the pandemic has been really hard on musicians and everyone making events. I did hear of many musicians being really productive though, but honestly, I was more absorbed by anxiety about the state of the world.  I was also out of town when the lockdown happened, and didn’t bring any instruments, so what I thought was a short stint isolating in my sister’s annex turned out to be about half a year away from home.

How did you first get into music, what sparked the interest?
By the time I was four I started writing my first songs and poems. My parents loved this, and I would sing for their friends and later on guests staying at our hotel in Blackpool.
I remember it was the first gig I went to, at Empress Ballroom, where I knew I wanted to be a musician though. My older sister had invited the band James to stay with us on their UK tour, and surprisingly they did – turning down five-star accommodation to come and stay with the fans! They had a whole road crew with them – a sixty strong family of music lovers. After the show they gave their jackets away to fans who had missed their last trains and performed in the train station. As a child the whole experience was so inspiring.

The Kut
The Kut
The Kut
The Kut

Where are you from? Do you think your area impacted your sound in anyway?
I was born in West London, but I grew up in Blackpool, living there from the age of four to eighteen. Blackpool definitely had a massive impact on me and the music I make now.  I have so many amazing friends back home and they are a massive part of why I kept going as a musician and ironically moving to London to do that! Blackpool always had a very strong indie and rock scene that was underground, but in general it was known for dance clubs and hardcore. You had to pick a side though and guitar music won. I had bright colours in my hair and didn’t know where I fitted in – but the rock community welcoming and that’s still something I find wherever I go.

And now you have released your new single “Animo”, talk us through the single and production process?
Animo was really a total wildcard. I released my debut album in 2018, so by the end of 2019 was starting to think about album two… we’d taken some potential tracks on the road in that time as well, so when I wrote ANIMO, I wasn’t sure if there was an ANIMO shaped space on the second album. After making a couple of demos of it and sharing them one of them on my Patreon site, I put it to the vote and Team Razors loved it! We filmed the music video with director Mike Gripz’ at Smith Town Studios, who I’ve worked on a bunch of music videos with.  We filmed it on the roof of his studio and then out in the surrounding areas of N15. There was an awesome energy on set for it and all the girls totally smashed it. I think it could be my favourite video.

And it’s all in support of women’s rights, what made you focus on this topic? 
Performing with a predominantly all female line up, I never initially appreciated that we might also be asked to stand up for women’s rights. Maybe that was me being naive, but in the early days I would be so confused that we’d be considered to be punk or political, purely because we are female.  We’d get asked what it felt like to be a woman in the industry, and I’d never even given it a thought before… So somewhat, being a musician has shaped my views – and I’ve come to understand that being a woman in the industry is an opportunity to share experiences and speak up to empower other women.  My motivation to sharing our work behind the scenes, from rehearsals and from in the studio is that it is a positive step towards levelling up for women. We so often see the guys with instruments working behind the scenes, working on the songs and recordings, taking over the festival bills… but we rarely get to see women in the same technical roles to the same extent… even though that is still happening behind closed doors.  I wanted to shine a light on these things, because women are very much in the music industry too and we are doing it just as good as the men. Not even just in the music industry, women are smashing it in every walk of life.

What can we do to further support the cause?
Just know that you are enough. Call out bad behaviour and remember that you are fuelled by animal spirt and a huge amount of courage. The fact you are here right now, means you have overcome every obstacle you’ve ever faced! That’s impressive work right there. On the music front, we’d love if everyone was to check out the new video single ANIMO and join us over on our socials or our mailing list. We don’t send emails so often, but when we do it means things are about to go down, either with gigs or releases. Team Razors is a brilliant community.

Who would you say inspires you?
I’ve been able to work alongside so many talented musicians as part of Criminal Records. Setting up my own indie label has meant that I’m able to support and represent a small number of creatives that I love. I’m totally inspired by all of them, and I hope you don’t mind that I’d like to give a massive shout out to Lori, Weekend Recovery, The Last Siren, The Exits, Mike Walsh, Everett True, Argonaut and all the amazing artists on the roster. Please go and check them all out. 
I’m also really inspired by mothers and one day hope to see if I can balance working as a musician and also having a family. I guess a lot of that is about eventually being with the right guy.

What do you want people to take away from your music?
Really, I’m not sure. I want everyone to be able to listen to the music and get that we love making it… perhaps that we’ve worked hard to keep going… and to know we are a small part of a wider community of musicians and music fans, Team Razors, who are welcoming and passionate about music. Or if they are already a Team Razor, that we love them so much for all of the epic support over the years and have their back. I sometimes write music with the idea of… ‘Does anyone understand me, or this thought process? Has anyone been here before?’ and so many times I’m met with the feeling that others do relate to what I’m singing about, which is really magical. At the end of it, if everyone is having a good time, maybe singing along at home or dancing at a gig, this is the ultimate really.  

What’s next for you? What are you most excited for?
At the moment we’ve all been totally bowled over by the immense support for ANIMO and the forthcoming second album. It’s due to release in the summer. Very soon though, we will be announcing limited edition red and gold vinyl for our Christmas single ‘Waiting for Christmas’! I never meant to write a Christmas song but having released it last year and it doing so well in the charts and for charity, we are doing the same again this year. After that though we’ll be resuming our non-festive duties. I’m delighted to say that we have a UK tour in planning for January too, and we’ll be performing as part of the Music Venue’s Trust ‘Revive Live’ campaign. The series of dates seeks to kick start the return to watching live music, post pandemic.

@MikeGripz @smithtownstudios

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