All Ears Avow are the pop rock band the UK needed. We sat down with frontwoman Claire and guitarist Jake to discuss what it’s like to be a female-fronted band in 2019, and the importance of keeping your music taste varied.
There aren’t really many women making music in the alternative music scene, compared to other genres; I’ve always found that a bit strange. Do you think that there’s a reason for that?
Claire: It’s a difficult one because yeah, I do, but I’m not sure where exactly is the root cause. But I think there are so many different things that you hear – and I’ve experienced some really sexist attitudes from some people – that I think a lot of girls, particularly when they’re younger, are too afraid to approach being part of that world because they think, “Oh, I’ll just be laughed at,” or they start, and somebody does say something to them and they go, “I’m not gonna do that again.” You have to have thick skin. Some of the things people have said to me or treated me in a certain way… they treat me like I’m an idiot.
Like, I’ve been talking to a sound guy before, and he’s asked us as a collective – we’ve been stood together, and he’s gone, “What’s the details of your set up?” And I’ll start talking – because I’m a producer outside of the band – so I know the tech stuff, and I’ll start saying something, and I’ve had [someone] literally go, “No, no, no. I want to hear it from him.” Like it’s irrelevant if it’s coming out of my mouth.
Jake: You went to explain something, and he went, “Listen, I’ve been doing this for 20 years, I know what I’m on about.” And we were explaining the specific way we do stuff, and then I told him, and he was like, “Yeah, no worries, man.”
Claire: And then I said, “That’s literally exactly what I just said to you,” and he was like, “Oh right.”
Jake: I just don’t get it.
Claire: We get treated amazingly most of the time, but it is there, and I think that really knocks some people.
How would you describe All Ears Avow to someone who has never heard anything you’ve done?
Claire: I always just describe us as pop rock nowadays. We are a rock band at the heart of it, but we have so many influences that are like- I listen to Radio 1 all the time. There’s not a lot of music that I don’t like. We wanna do something a little bit new, and I think you can only really create new things if you spread out. We’re a rock band with other twists, I suppose.
That really shows in the music. You have a sound. It’s rock, but you want to dance to it.
Claire: Yeah, it’s got a groove to it.
A lot of people pigeonhole themselves. Like, “We have to do rock,” or, “We have to do this.”
Claire: I think most of us, as human beings, take a long time to let go of those kind of, “Oh, I’m only into emo music,” or, “I don’t like anything that’s not death metal.” Nowadays, all of us – probably me especially – are just like, “You know what? I just don’t care.” If it makes me feel good, I don’t care if that’s death metal or if it’s Kanye West.
Jake: Yeah. We have a tour playlist on Spotify. It’s all over the place. But we just like music, and I think that’s the way you should be.
When I was younger, I was like, “I only listen to rock, I’m so cool; pop is so shit.”
Jake: I was totally like that!
Claire: Yeah! Somebody releases a good album, and you’re like, “Oh, they’ve sold out, they’re so mainstream now!” Basically, you’re just criticising someone for being successful. I don’t get it. What is that?
But then when we grow up- for me, it was One Direction. All I listened to was rock, and then when One Direction came about, I was like, “Actually, I like this.”
Jake: Mine was The 1975. I was like, “Ah, this is little girl’s music, basically.” Every song is incredible; they’re so talented. “I don’t care, I’ll put on Slipknot.”
Claire: Little Mix are a big one for me. Their harmonies – oh my God.
When you start listening to more things, you realise there shouldn’t be any boundaries on what you listen to.
Claire: It should just be, “This makes me feel good, or it doesn’t make me feel good.” That’s it. And that’s how we try to be about writing, as well now.
Jake: I think it’s very apparent with a lot of popular music in general. What’s the girl’s name who did a song with Bring Me? Grimes? One of her latest tracks sounds like Rob zombie or something. And it’s like, Radio 1 pop. It’s awesome. It’s exactly how music should be.
I remember we were doing a bunch of shows and [for the] pack-down music there was a Rammstein song on. I’m not a massive Rammstein fan, but it was basically a pop tune. If you replaced the guitars – it was a guitar drop, riff sort of song – if you removed those for synths, it would be like a tune that you would hear at Revolution or something. You can picture all these metallers like, “I only listen to metal!” and it’s basically a pop song.
Yeah, I don’t get that. A heavy band will do something heavy, but in the way it’s structured, it’s so pop, and people will like it. But then if there’s a pop song that’s similar in structure, they’ll be like, “I hate this song; pop is shit. And when heavy bands get lighter as well, they don’t like it anymore.
Jake: Especially Bring Me.
Yeah, Bring Me is the perfect example of that. It’s like they’ve had a whole kind of generational shift in fans, and I don’t get why their fan base can’t co-exist. And when people get to a certain age and still only like one genre of music, I don’t understand how.
Claire: I feel bad for them. They’re missing so much that’s out there, because it’s just so closed off, isn’t it?
Jake: It’s sad.
Claire: Most of the people that I know that are like that are a little bit boring and miserable as people.
Jake: Like Joe, our bass player.