Jenny tingle is back with another Women Underground Interview as part of her exploratory series on woman working within the music scene, and this one stars the excellent Best Girl Athlete! Check out the full interview below, then keep your eyes peeled on the page for more Women Underground interviews and a Best Girl Athlete review!
The Best Girl Athlete self-titled album must have been an ambitious project! There are violins, cellos, a brass section and percussion! How did you manage to record all those parts? Was there a collaborative element to the recording process?
We were clear from the start that we didn’t just want to churn out the same album as the previous one. Having said that, there wasn’t really any pressure and the songs came fairly quickly. Fortunately, my dad has been involved in music for a while now and knows a lot of people and was able to identify which players would be best suited to making a contribution. All those parts you mentioned were done latterly and in different studios but the basic song parts were pretty much recorded in our house.
What was your favourite part of recording your new album? Were there many unexpected challenges along the way?
My favourite part was probably hearing what other artists had put on the tracks. It’s always interesting to see the way that other musicians interpret your songs and put their twist on it. I think that because we’ve already recorded one album I already know what’s to be expected and therefore, nothing really got in the way of making the album.
What inspired the subject matter of songs on the album, Best Girl Athlete?
The subject matter throughout the album is actually pretty varied. It ranges from space to Trump. As well as this, my dad and I probably wrote half each, and co-wrote a few, so the writing style and subject changes on each song. One thing I really like about this album is that every song is unique to the others and I think that it really keeps a listener engaged.
Who inspires you as a musician and as a person?
I love taking inspiration from strong female artists, such as Lana Del Rey, Christine and the Queens and NAO. It’s very motivational to see women thrive in the music industry and always inspires me. I would say that Héloïse Letissier of Christine and the Queens is one of my role models as she is quite unique and stand out with her androgynous style and openness about her sexuality and thoughts about gender equality and it’s very cool to see someone actually have the balls to be so themselves under such a big spotlight.
Your favourite bands and artists.
My favourite bands and artists change all the time, but at the moment my favourite are Cigarettes After Sex, Everything Everything and Tyler, The Creator.
When did you start playing/showing an interest in music?
I was always interested in music, but it turned into actually writing and playing after I started singing with my dad, who was already somewhat of a name in music in Aberdeen. I realised that it was something that I was good at and enjoyed and knew my dad could guide me through getting started. 4 years later and here we are!
What advice would you give to other young musicians from your own experiences?
My advice would really just to make realistic goals for yourself and work to achieve them. There is nothing that is really unattainable if it’s something you’re willing to work for. As a young person it can sometimes be difficult to be taken seriously, but just have the knowledge that age doesn't matter if you have the skill.
Many musicians face the challenges of having money to exist, versus keeping free time for songwriting. How do you navigate that difficult divide?
I’m a student so it basically means I am constantly skint. Fortunately, we had some very warmly welcomed funding from Creative Scotland to make the new album, so it consequently meant that the pressure was off in terms of finance. However, at the time we were recording and writing, my dad was at a full time job and I was doing my Highers and Advanced Highers at school, so in that way we were pretty tied down by time.
What was your best gig so far and why?
The best/favourite gig I’ve ever done was probably at Jupiter Artland just outside Edinburgh. The landscape was incredible as it was on the grounds of a beautiful 19th century house which had a luminous art installation outside. The venue was lovely and the crowd was equally lovely. I really enjoy doing stripped back sets with just me and a cello or bass player, and this was me and a cello player so it was really my vibe.
Where can we see you next live?
I recently moved to Glasgow to study, so gigs in the near future will work a little differently since my band live 3 hours away. I played a sold out solo show at The Hug and Pint in Glasgow recently with another young artist, Billie Marten, which was lovely. At the moment I have nothing else lined up but once I’m a bit more settled into my course, I’ll start to look at getting some more gigs.
What are your dreams for the future?
I’m a go with the flow kinda gal music wise, but if I had to say my ultimate dream it would probably be to go on tour with one of my favourite bands (if the manager for Christine and the Queens sees this hit me up). Otherwise, I would like a first in my law degree and a cute dog which I will call Noodle.