Tell us about Single Bass. It's a very pared-down sound
- no band, no drums,
just your voice and your bass guitar. How did you come
to that combination and
how would you describe your music?
Well for me it's all about the songs. The fact that I
ended up accompanying myself on bass was partly just chance:
there was a point where I wanted to play some gigs and I didn't
have a band! But I have enjoyed exploring solo bass guitar -
it can do much more than the kind of basslines you normally
How long have you been playing and writing
I don't really remember starting, but one of the first ones I
remember is from when I was about 8. It was in Dutch, because
I lived in the Netherlands at that age, the verse was about men
wearing skirts and women smoking cigars, and the chorus translates
as "It's the fashion". An early scepticism about gender roles
showing up there...
What are your songs about now?
It's probably about 50% love situations and 50% other stuff, but
all about people and how we live our lives.
Some of it's from things I've experienced, some songs are more
from what I've wanted to say to a friend. But also I love
reading! So I get a lot of ideas from books and blogs and
online discussions, and those influence how the songs turn
out. Like the song Heavy Woman - I'd never have written that
if I hadn't been reading about fat politics.
to Heavy Woman here
You're an activist and you identify as queer and
bi. How does this relate to your music, if at
At first, the music and the activism seemed separate, but over
time they've become more and more interlinked - I've taken my music
to places like Prides and the bi
get-together BiCon and stuff that's happened has fed into the
One of my songs, Sand, is actually about trying to change the
world, and how you sometimes feel like all you've done is moved a
couple of grains of sand in a huge mountain :-)
You're organising a mini festival in Nottingham this
Saturday (9 June 2012) called Wovenfest. Tell us about that! What
will it be like and who else will be part of it?
It's partly a Single Bass gig, but it's got other dimensions
We've got some people bringing "Health At Every Size" stuff, and
a "guess the carbon footprint of your food" game, and textile art
from Dee Fairchild inspired by the myth of Medusa. We'll have
a book-browsing table based around my micro-reviews at @BookTrail,
and a storyteller with diversity-friendly children's books.
There's mats and the "Yoga pretzel" cards, a few co-operative board
games to try, and an area with toys for younger children. And
there won't be background music - it's either music for really
listening to (or dancing to!), or space for play and chatting.
I've talked a lot with my collaborators about how to make it
accessible, and how to not have mainstream values creeping in that
we don't really believe in.
Basically I hope there's something for all ages to make or try
or read or hear, and that a lot of different people will enjoy
Your songs are available to download from your
website for whatever sum the
buyer chooses. That's novel (and nice!). What made you
decide to sell your songs this way instead of charging a set
Well, you know, money is funny stuff. To some people, a
pound is a lot of money, and to some people, a thousand pounds
isn't much. So it's fairer to take that into account, and
then money doesn't stop people hearing the music. (In fact
you can download stuff for free to see if you like it, and come
back later if you want to contribute.)
I'm by no means the first to think of it, though! There's
a lot of musicians nowadays trusting the listeners to find what
feels like the right amount for them.
Wovenfest is the same - it's "set your own value" admission.
Do you get many bi/gay women at your gigs? (Might we
If by "pull" you mean "get into an interesting chat with
someone", then at Wovenfest I think there's a very good chance
One of the things we're including is an optional "meet and
mingle", done in a strictly non-embarrassing way, to start off some
chatting for the people who want to. The idea is to flag up a
couple of things you like talking about - could be knitting, could
be computers, could be almost anything - and find the people you've
got interests in common with.
Of course people don't have to have anything to do with
that! Some will have come with their friends, or would rather just
browse around by themselves and listen to the music. But if
you want to get that little boost to socialising, just be sure to
turn up by the end of the first music set, around 2.30pm.
More about Wovenfest: http://www.single-bass.co.uk/wovenfest
More about Health At Every Size: www.healthateverysize.org.uk/faq.html