EXPERIMENTAL SPICE GIRLS!
Water are the ultimate ‘alchemical group’.
‘Alchemy starts with the evolution of the soul and comes into the material through things like music and making, turning lead into gold’.
‘Fun, ritualistic, kinky. demonic, divine, infinite. Water create music ‘for witches’.
Short story long, they are spiritual children of Throbbing Gristle!
I had the ultimate pleasure to interview these extraordinarily talented artists of multiple disciplines and ventures; including how they are bringing us back to the wilderness from the abyss of social control, once again trusting in the Mother Goddess.
Emer: Water are the experimental Spice Girls!
Water are a five-piece that formed out of Salford, in March 2015.
Water are a heady mix of artists, poets and musicians who’ve come together to create encounters which engulf the senses. Water have left audiences with a feeling of being part of something magical, intense and sometimes bewildering, but always powerful.
Water are: Amy Horgan (Zim Zum), Rachel Goodyear (visual artist) Louise Woodcock (Womb, Minny Pops, Anonymous Bash, Poppycock with Una Baines, Trish Dee), Lauren Bolger (poet, Locean), Emma Thompson (Fat Out, Samarbeta, GSY!PA).
Who came up with the vivid band name Water and why did it stick?
Lauren: Lou suggested Water. I like it because it defies having one fixed meaning.
Lou: it could be a puddle of piss or an ocean. It’s like our sound too – fluid. I like the neutrality and the immense power juxtaposed. It makes more sense the more we’re together.
Whom and what inspires you all creatively?
Lauren: Personally having the deadline of a show coming up always brings something out of us, we get excited, start practising more, and start to decide how we can collaborate with whatever conditions have been set up for the event. I think costume inspires us greatly too and is an avenue we will grow to explore further. I want to do a show in a swimming pool that inspires me.
‘My main concern is bringing us back to the goddess in the culture, everything got fucked up when they killed her’ – Lou
Lou: the ritualistic side of us and the freedom to improvise has inspired me to use language and freestyle words more too. There is a witch element and a love for Kali ma the goddess of destruction and creation which makes sense to the sound and the way we work. There is a violent element with a lot of love. Like Kali who is also the most maternal, she’s tough love to the max, the killer of demons. The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche was the biggest catalyst to my creative drive into the Dionysian spirit, Kali/goddess worship follows.
Which words would you use to describe Water’s artistic output?
Lauren: Fun, ritualistic, kinky.
Lou: Demonic, divine, infinite.
Emma: Music for witches.
Is the Avant Garde and Industrial music still in existance, or should we learn new superlatives for bands with that type of inspiration? Or is it just that labels, suck?
Lauren: Labels have a dual purpose, we rely on them to help us explain our thoughts and labels do make that easier. At the same time, they do reduce life down in a way which I am never going to be comfortable with. It’s important to have influences and to know the history behind certain practices of music making because they can be the stepping stones into defining your music. Personally, thinking in genres give me anxiety when I start taking them too seriously. You start thinking about all those dead artists who were really great. You think where do I fit in all this, you could feel an outsider?
Sometimes the best thing to do is to just leave it up to the audience because once I have performed or published, whatever it was, it is no longer mine anymore it belongs to the audience or reader. On the other hand, sometimes you’re crying out to be moved so you stick a record on, or open a book and your grateful all over again for the comfort of genres making it easier to access all your influences. The tension between criticism and art is funny, it’s crushing and necessary, stifling and it’s cyclical. It’s practical in that it makes shopping in a record shop easier or researching easier. You can just float over to the world music bit in a record shop and know your going to have a good night when you get home.
Lou: I think the avant garde can be problematic because it makes it sound like you’re trying. What we do is just nature, like connecting to the earth and to the cosmic. I tell people the only thing I can relate our sound to is early industrial music really as it’s as free feeling, like early throbbing gristle, but it’s more the vibe I suppose.
Does the band have any other creative outlets?
ET: Yes, we all do!
Rachel is a very renowned visual artist. You should check out her work as she is incredibly talented and has exhibited all over the world. http://www.rachelgoodyear.com/
Amy has a solo project of beautiful drones called Zim Zum. She has released her first tape on the french label ZamZam records https://zamzamrec.bandcamp.com/album/zim-zum
Louise has played in so many bands over the years; Womb, 2 Koi Karp, Minny Pops, Anonymous Bash. She has been the heart of Manchester’s experimental scene for many many years now. She is now exploring comedy through performing at stand up nights and her character Trish Dee. She also perform at Albert’s Schloss bar as a promonada, interactive theatre. I want to get into acting. I also write poetry and prose and have started doing stand-up. http://louisewoodcock.tumblr.com
Lauren has a PHD in poetry, an incredible classic poet and the ultimate wordsmith. She also fronts the band Locean who have been on the Manchester circuit for years. https://loceanonitsskin.bandcamp.com/
Emma is in a duo called Godspeed You! Peter Andre who make deep industrial witch techno. https://www.facebook.com/GodspeedYouPeterAndre/
Are you guys like the spirit children of TG?
Emer: YES!! We usually like to keep this on the down low as no child likes to gain their success of their parents’ credit but now the cat is out the bag – we are all the children of Throbbing Gristle!
Lauren: That is such a nice compliment. I love them. I said hello to Cosey at a reading Emma and I did at Durham book festival this year and looking into her eyes was just bloody magical. I felt like I was in the presence of a deity. The exhibition in Hull blew me away too, they had vision. Seeing their drawings, costumes and written manifestos felt no different to seeing William Blake’s etchings.
Lou: That is a complement by far! Yes, it’s the spirit although Genesis is a controversial character, give them props and massively to Cosey, she is underrated by far.
Her work as a sex worker and stripper is also a massive inspiration to me. Pushin art to its limits and celebrating the goddess in all forms, respect to the sex worker, they do important work.
Would you say that your music is quite poetically political with mentions of the NHS, addiction, sexuality and knickers which evokes feminine sexuality (make up), for example?
Lauren: These lyric themes are Lou’s; one for Lou!
Lou: Everything I and we do is political, we are pushing constructs of women just by being ourselves. Fully expressing the divine feminine that was robbed of us as far back as the witch trials. My main concern is bringing us back to the goddess in the culture, everything got fucked up when they killed her. I just spent 6 months in India where she is still worshipped and although misogyny is still rife, there is a different status in many ways women hold due to her worship. Meeting her was the greatest gift I’ve had and this will bring even more richness to Water in times to come.
Tell me how you have developed such vocal harmony. It is like the sky is in conversation with hell.
Emer: A mix of us all being very naturally gifted singers and the best vocal effects pedals on the market!!
Lou: Beautiful! It’s like that I suppose! It’s coming from a deep place, as above, so below. I’m all about alchemy and Water is the ultimate alchemical group. Alchemy starts with the evolution of the soul and comes into the material through things like music and making, turning lead into gold.
‘Slut up, or shut up’as a song, is the truth’! It should be like some mantra! How do you get into your knicker’s? (not trying to sound like a schmuck! Don’t have to answer!)
Emer: One for Louise!
Lou: That’s actually a song from film Life is Cheap I co-starred in by Kurt Dirt. I co-wrote the song for. https://youtu.be/QAuP2bg7MGY The film is now out on Troma NYC. It’s a bit rude to ask but not being a massive twat helps. I still fancy Alan Partridge though so I’m not quite there yet… Love, care, respect and kindness are the staples. And being hot of course. Bit of a weird question and kinda misogynistic but I’m letting you off!
What makes the band, all happy, or (and bummed out)?
Lauren: I don’t know it changes, like the David Bowie song.
Lou: Not being patronised when playing but we get a lot of respect, which makes us happy. Playing together and feeling totally in a ritual on a cosmic level we all buzz off… when it comes together and even when it falls apart are all valuable. Just being together is a huge buzz, we love each other loads, innit?
Emer: The energy when all 5 of us come together, and the freedom I feel when I play with Water makes me so happy. There are no rules, no boundaries, just space to create music free from Judgement.
How do you relate to human kind?
Lou: I have love for all, I’m on a path to unconditional love and I feel Water reflects that. We are all empathic women who can put our foot down when needed. As the Buddha teaches, compassion with wisdom. Don’t forget the wisdom! I have in the past but it’s coming…
Where did you record your songs and why have you decided upon more ‘live’ songs for your jams online (sound cloud)
Emma: Most if not all of our recordings on our soundcloud are from live shows. We recorded back in 2016! We need to get those recordings out!!
Lou: We did a few days recording with Chris Haslam of Gnod and Darren Kaskie (Death of Money and Godspeed you Peter Andre with Emma) and we intend to finally release them soon! We move around a lot creatively and physically with many projects so it’s hard to pin Water down at times! It will come together soon…
What ornaments of equipment does the band use for shows, amps, etc?
Lauren: We use glitter, sage, salt. Depends on the event. We have played with and without amps but more often than not there will be amps involved and a kit.
Lou: I have some beautiful Chinese Gongs that now make an appearance! Sometimes I play drums, sometimes just clean vocals, sometimes both. We play what we feel is right for the show and the time.
Emma: I have a TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2 vocal processor which basically turns my voice into a synth. 200 different effects which can be
Rah, man! I mean, Mother is such an emotional song! Well done!
What was the inspiration behind legit truth lines, such as ‘Into the darkness, and ‘as mother’s we milk‘?
Lauren: One for Lou!
Lou: Wow, thanks! I felt it was important to talk about bringing us back to the wilderness again, away from social control and trusting the mother goddess rather than the war mongers. That’s pretty much my schtick! It was inspired also by a Leonard Cohen line from my favourite song by him, Last Year’s Man –
‘And we read from pleasant Bibles that are bound in blood and skin
That the wilderness is gathering
All its children back again.’
He’s my number one lyricist and guy. He’d defo get in my knickers!
Does the song feel like a cathartic wonder to play ‘LIVE’?
Lauren: One for Lou!
Lou: Yes, well we’ve not really ‘played it live’ maybe I’ve repeated some lines but much of the time at the moment I just freestyle and forgot what I’ve said. If I’ve not recorded it I can be a bit annoyed if I think I came up with a good one! Letting go is always the best way, then things can flow… Like Water!
You guys seem very special. What, or whom is special to you in aspects of your life?
Lauren: Having faith in yourself and loving yourself and others is special.
Lou: That’s nice! Love is the most important thing… I was brought up well! Kindness and forgiveness, making good work with great people, spending time with loved ones.
Fat Out Burrows, as a whole has inspired our blog heaps, so thanks! Your events are fun, edgy and humour filled.
Emma, on what basis do you all select artists and musicians for your events?
ET: Thanks so much. Hearing that means a lot and keeps me inspired to continue with Fat Out. Often the artists I invite to perform at Fat Out events are based on me seeing them live elsewhere and I have loved their live performance. I am definitely a promoter who books artists after witnessing their live performances rather than being in tune with tour circuits on the back of album releases. I try to make it to as many festivals/shows as I can on the hunt for exciting artists who have live shows that make me dance, cry, trip, transcend, sing …
Do you have any tips for aspiring promoters?
ET: COLLABORATE! It was only after about 3 or 4 years of putting on shows on my own that were pretty badly attended that I started working with other promoters to make shows happen. Not only does this half the financial risk but it is also a great way to get to know other humans doing similar things in your city and build a scene that supports each other.
Lauren: Go with your instincts when arranging bills and take risks. Sometimes it is nice to leave the DJ at an event to chance sometimes as you never know who will walk in. Always take good care of the acts, feed them, nurture them and pay attention to their sound requirements.
Lou: Have faith in what you’re doing and do it for the right reasons. Unless you are a capitalist… Each to their own!
What inspires Water and members of Fat Out?
Lauren: I think the shows inspire me because I go away thinking I am one step closer to getting to how I want to sound with an instrument, I am not there yet, but I am chipping away at it.
Lou: A gathering of strong poetic, loving and passionate energy is always a winner!
Emer: I am inspired by people’s energy. Whether that be watching a live band at a festival, jamming with my Water witches or a drunken conversation with a new human in a toilet! I love meeting new people and your worlds collide and make each other live more exciting.
Why did you all journey to Manchester, as some of you came far and wide?
Water are originally from:
Emma – Milton Keynes
Louise – Hackney
Lauren – Manchester
Rachel – Manchester
Amy – York
Is Manchester cool? How would you improve the city?
Lauren: No more than anywhere else! I wish we had a seafront to make the streets smell fresh and salty.
Lou: I would knock half the buildings down and make more parks. There’s too much building at the moment. Yes, a beach would be nice… And a semi-tropical climate wouldn’t go a miss. The people are the best though, hence us sticking around for so long!
Emer: I LOVE my adopted home. Have so much love for Salford/Manchester and all the exceptional humans who make it what it is.
Is there any ‘original’ guitar music out there, or indeed individuals who deserve more attention?
Lauren: The guitarist DBH especially what he does in Nasdaq. Working with Thurston Moore was cool too because he operates a guitar like no one I have ever seen, when your in a jam with him he just has this natural gifted authority and it has this weighted quality like walking into a church. I love Kozelek, and Malkmus too. I also have taken influence from my fiancé, David McLean’s guitar playing in his project Aging, his playing is brutally slow. I hear him practicing around the house when I am writing upstairs and the riffs are unsettling but in a good way. I like seeing how Water approach guitar too because we all play it differently. Amy is quite classical and driving, Lou is rhythmic and has loads of range, Emma plays it with a violin bow in one breath then shreds the shit out of it in another. Manchester-wise, I would check out how Jefferson Temple plays guitar, Luca Corda, Thomas Long, Tim Schiazza, Nick Mitchell, Tim Horrocks, Harry Taylor, Lois Macdonald, Darren Kaskie, David Birchall, Kiran Leonard, Edwin from Irma Vep, Julie Campbell.
Lou: Locean Lauren’s other project definitely needs attention! There are some special players around… Lauren has mentioned Jefferson…
Emer: Jefferson Temple for sure! Love his style of playing guitar in Locean & Anonymous Bash. Also Ex Easter Island Head prepared guitars – they are always funding new ways to make sounds from a guitar that do not sound like they are guitars.
Why do you think there is an element of feminists whom deny trans people as females still?
Lauren: I think it is because the person giving the hate is unhappy with the person who they are inside.
Lou: I feel some women think it’s a threat to the ideas of the ‘original’ feminist ideas about being threatened by those with penises. I think it’s part of the alchemical evolution that we now can’t assume someone is a female just because they have a vagina. I am pro trans and am willing to debate and talk about these issues to encourage progress around gender ideas. Things are changing slowly but surely, there’s also a lot of trauma that women have had due to abuse from ‘men’ so I can understand some of their anxiety but it’s really misplaced. There are also ‘women’ abusers and that’s another thing we have to face.
Emer: I think it has to do with ignorance and a lack of understanding of the trans community. Gender conformity is drilled into us from birth and peoples hate and non acceptance of someone who was born into a body that they do not identify with I think comes from them growing up in a society that only identifies two genders.
What does the future hold for you as a bad and individuals?
ET: For Water we need to get our first release done!! We recorded in The Burrow in January 2016 and still have not mixed the recordings let alone and released them. 2019 is our year to get that out and get back on the road again!
For me, I have some really exciting Fat Out things happening next year which I can’t reveal yet but it’s gonna be by far the biggest and most exciting project I have worked on in my career thus far. I am also in another project called Godspeed You! Peter Andre. We have been touring with AJA this year in the UK and hopefully gonna get out to Europe next year and again RECORD!!
Lauren: I agree with Emma, we are ready for the Water Watersports tour 2019!
Lou: I am excited about Water getting back into working together regularly after my big break away. I’m also excited about my budding comedy career and the return of the goddess which is happening at a rapid rate! If you submit to her, you will not lose your masculinity, The Divine Masculine will just be cleansed!
Bands drug of choice?
ET: Haha! Mine is certainly Ketamine!
Lauren: Right now I am loving anything metallic and with ruffles. Just picked up a French eighties jacket for a gig I am doing in London for NYE. The shoulders are very David Byrne.
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