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RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW GLASGOW BAND HER PICTURE 

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

Our relationship with our craft is incredibly special. I think all creatives probably find it hard to describe the bond they feel with what they’re making, it’s a very elusive feeling. There’s such a release that comes from songwriting and making music; it’s calming and therapeutic, but also stimulating at the same time. Even outside of creating, listening to music brings out such a profound and individual reaction in every single person. I think that’s what made us realise that music was what we loved most; we love the emotions and feelings it stirs up in us.

Introduce us to all of the members and your musical history.

The band consists of Anny Tahaney on vocals, Cat Reid on bass, Finlay Smith on drums and Lewis Docherty on guitar. Finlay and Lewis met in high school and struck up a friendship through interests in similar artists and genres, while Cat and Anny both played cello growing up and met through that. Both halves of the band were then introduced to each other through a music business education program called Behind the Noise and began writing together shortly after. We originally formed under a different band name and had quite a casual approach to the project. However, after the effects of the pandemic we realised that music was not just a half-hearted pleasure pursuit for us anymore, but a career goal. So, we underwent a rebrand in the spring of this year and have been pushing the band as hard as we can since. 

The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?

Being an independent, unsigned band has definitely come with its tribulations for sure. It’s easy to feel as though you’re not progressing as quickly as you should be or feeling as though your time is running out. However, we’ve come to realise that all these feelings of hopelessness and anger can be used as motivation and fuel for our fire. Our writing and lyrical styles are very much informed by our frustrations with the music industry, and how society treats creatives in general. We also touch a lot on the class divide within the music industry. It’s good to take all that negative energy and direct it towards something. Our upcoming single, ‘My Way’ heavily discusses the effects of the music industry and the class divide on the musicians’ mental health and perception of their worth. The track was just played on BBC Radio 1 and BBC Radio Scotland, so seeing results like that makes it feel like the struggle is worth it.

How have your song writing skills developed over time?

We were so young when we originally started writing together, so the development of our writing is massive. For starters, there’s a lot more purpose and urgency behind what we’re making; we’re adults now, so we have much more life experience being channelled into our music. We’re also more knowledgeable of our instruments and music tech, so we’re always keen to keep pushing the boundaries of what we can do.

I’m seeing a lot of debate about females not feeling safe at music gigs, any thoughts on what we need to do to help?

There are some incredible organisations already pathing the way for safer and more inclusive gig environments, such as Gig Safe and Girls Against. The first thing we need to do is stop normalising misconduct and inappropriate behavior towards women and gender non-conforming people, behaviours and actions that have been standardised and conditioned into us by patriarchal tradition. There is no room for the word ‘debate’ when talking about sexual harassment in the live music circuit. There is no counterargument that can be brought to the table against holding abusers accountable. We need to ensure that all music venues have the correct training to not only respond appropriately to instances of harassment and assault but also prevent it from even happening in the first place. It’s vital that all venues have visible support available to those that need it if they feel unsafe. We also need to deconstruct the tradition of the live music space being a male-dominated space, both on and off stage, from performers to gig-goers to technicians.

As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?

The music industry and media have always gone hand in hand. How we consume and interact with media is always shifting and progressing, so that reflects how we engage with music, both as an artist and a listener. Although it can be a bit of a pain, it’s important to be strategic in your promotion, paying attention to what people are most switched onto. You sort of need to become an expert in algorithms and how to best capitalise on them, whether that’s the Spotify editorial playlist algorithm, or being aware of certain platforms’ bias towards specific formats e.g. Instagram pushing reels rather than posts nowadays. With that being said, the power of a live show should never be underestimated. We’ve found that a good festival or support slot makes the world of difference in terms of getting your name out there.

Tell us a funny story from the road.

We played through in Edinburgh a week before the first lockdown, that was quite a strange experience. It was before anyone fully realised the gravity of the situation or how dangerous Covid-19 was. We were just like “Why are there disinfectant wipes and hand sanitisers all around the venue??”

Whats your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?

We were having this discussion with a non-musician friend the other day, and we were saying musicians and Spotify have a complex relationship. It’s criminal that Spotify hoards wealth at the expense of the artists that use their platform. However, as a young, unsigned band, you also can’t afford to not use platforms like Spotify to grow your listenership. It’s frustrating, to say the least.



Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?

No actually! I don’t think we knew anyone that really bought into the hysteria. Our friendship group was a panic buying- free zone thankfully.

What was the worst experience on stage?

We’ve had our fair share of technical issues on stage, from monitors going down to cables breaking. A couple of years ago, back when we were still quite new to performing live, Lewis’ string broke and we didn’t have a spare guitar with us, so he had to change the string mid-set. We sort of left Cat on stage, stalling for time by telling this long-winded joke. The rest of us look back on that memory with a lot of fondness and hilarity, but I don’t think the same can be said for Cat.

Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about.

I think our listeners would be surprised to find out that Lewis is really, really into jazz. It might be his favourite genre, despite him being a massive shredder in the band. 

What makes you stand out as a band?

We’ve had some really amazing comments on the individuality of our sound and style, which means the world to us. We go into every writing and studio session hoping to produce something that’s intricate and interesting. Producing a visceral sound is something that’s really important to us.

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

‘My Way’ is the last single of our debut EP, which will be released in January 2023. We wanted this track to sound as huge as possible, it pulls from quite a lot of cinematic influences. ‘My Way’ will be released on 25th November.

Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.

There’s tension in ‘My Way’. It engages with a lot of topics; the class divide in music, the weight of trying to grow a career on the artist’s mental health and perception of their self-worth etc. There’s also an undercurrent of general hopelessness. The lyrics of the first verse play with the idea of natural disasters, the idea that even if you get what you want, the whole thing, the world, is in a complete state of crisis. ‘My Way’ is an acknowledgment of all these struggles, but it’s a battle cry just as much as it’s a lament. 

What was the recording process like?

We recorded the track with Jamie Holmes in Castle of Doom Studios here in Glasgow. We worked with him previously on our last singles ‘The Nature of It’ and ‘I’m Still Here, and it’s always a pleasure. He’s such a skilled producer and knows exactly what a track needs and what it doesn’t. We really respect and value his opinions and input a lot. The song was mastered by Robin Sutherland of Esko Mastering, who always knocks it out of the park. We feel very privileged to get to work with such incredible industry professionals.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

I think we learned that you need to just throw all of yourself into every track, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and that’s fine. You need to write music that you would want to listen to. You can’t expect people to buy into what you’re making if you don’t even 100% back it. We’ve also embraced a lot more lyrical honesty in the new tracks, being open isn’t something to be fearful of.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

As you progress, you’re always going to look back and want to tweak things in hindsight with all the knowledge you’ve accumulated since, but right now we’re over the moon with what we’ve created and curated.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Thank you to everyone that has supported us so far in our short journey as Her Picture, we can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. 

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