We chat Swedish artists and gender imbalance with singer/songwriter Jane Weaver
Jane Weaver will perform at Substance Live: The Future Of The North – a groudbreaking festival celebrating the future of the north at Hull City Hall this Saturday.
Originally from Liverpool, Weaver has performed as part of the Britpop group Kill Laura, the Farfisa-fuelled girl groop Misty Dixon and now as a solo artist. She also runs the record label Bird Recordings, set up to give a platform for female artists to release music.
We chat to Jane about the importance of festivals like Substance Live and what she has planned for the performance.
Can you talk us through the main themes behind your latest album Modern Kosmology?
I’m really influenced by Hilma of Klint, a Swedish artist from a long time ago. (H>A>K’s title is a reference to Klint). She was one of the first abstract artists painters I stumbled across and was one of the main inspirations for the album.
It was lovely coming across her story as an artist. She used to have a group of women that sat around channeling energy together. I mean I don’t do that… but it was interesting to know.
For this album I didn’t want to feel like I was in a bubble with deadlines, so I made sure I didn’t feel pressure to release my music.
The album has quite a jazzy feel in parts. Do you have any jazz background at all?
Modern Kosmosology has quite a swing to it. I would say that’s inspired by the 60s, 70s swing jazz. I don’t really have a jazz background, but the album definitely has a groove to it. Perhaps American west coast music too, that influenced me.
Why did you decide to set up your label Bird Recordings?
I had a lot of female musician friends who were deciding they wanted to give up music and saying they couldn’t be bothered with it anymore. It wasn’t getting them anywhere. All around us were males moving from strength to strength and it just didn’t seem right.
There’s a massive gender issue, so I wanted the label to showcase female artists. It just didn’t make sense that so many male musicians in guitar bands were killing it. I also wanted the label to be an opportunity for people to listen to older music from a while back.
Why do you feel events like Substance Live are so important given the gender imbalance in the music industry?
Festival line ups are predominately male. Since I was a child it’s been that way and it’s odd.
I’ve always found it weird that the music industry is that way. I just used to think; why is this band so huge? They were rubbish, it used to confuse me. It’s really important to have events like Substance Live showcasing female musicians. It’s great also that we’re all doing something a bit different.
Do you have any special plans for the performance?
I work with a guy called Sam Wiehl for my visuals, he’s coming on Saturday to do a live mix. I can never see what’s going on behind me as I’m concentrated so much on what is going on, but they do look amazing. I’m looking forward to the audience having that visual experience and he’s a great person to work with.
Are you looking forward to coming back to Hull?
Yes! I think Hull has changed so much since I last came. I played at The Adelphi years ago and then came back for the Mind On The Run: The Basil Kirchin Story in February. It’s so different from what I remember. When I was asked to play it was definitely a place I wanted to go back to.
What do you have planned for the rest of this month leading in to the new year?
I’m feeling like I want to be back in the studio again, just creating. It’s always the most fun. Even though the record has only been out since May, I feel the urge to do more stuff. In the new year I’ll be releasing a few new B –sides and see what happens!
Is there anyone you would be interested in collaborating with in the future?
I will be collaborating in the new year, but I can’t tell you who yet! I like to try and work with people that other people don’t necessarily work with. I don’t want it to be the ‘go to’ person. It’s always a bit frightening when you collaborate too, it could work but it might not. Unless you’re happy feeling that way of course!
Jane Weaver will perform at Substance Live: The Future Of The North on 9 December at Hull City Hall with Nadine Shah, Hannah Peel, PINS, CHAMBERS, Lone Taxidermist and The Dyr Sister. Tickets are available now.