Get To Know: Get In Her Ears
Like so many modern day friendships, that between radio show Get In Her Ears and The Tung began on social media. We'd been listening to the show via their Mixcloud while we worked, and so when we became Twitter mutuals, drinks obviously had to be scheduled. We caught up with GIHE presenter Tash Walker to talk broadcasting, gender inequality, and her favourite tunes.
Tell us about the birth of Get In Her Ears.
It all started through Gigslutz, a music website that I used to write for many years ago. Gigslutz had an occasional radio slot on Hoxton Radio, and one day I was invited to co-host the show. Shortly after that we were given a slot for a female focused new music show, and that was it - Get In Her Ears was born! Mari then joined me as the Editor of Gigslutz and a year or so later, Kate came on board too as Assistant Editor. We now host the show every Thursday on Hoxton Radio from 8 – 10pm.
What’s in the name? Have you noticed a gender imbalance in radio?
We chose the name Get In Her Ears because we wanted to convey that the show is hosted by women with a strong female focus throughout, be that the music we play or the topics we discuss. In a world where the default pronoun in law is masculine, we felt this was our subtle nod to the feminine.
And yes, there’s certainly a gender imbalance in radio. Back in 2011 Sound Women, a lobbying / mentoring / issue-raising group for women in audio was formed, and they shone a light on some really terrible statistics - an example being that only 2% of BBC local radio breakfast shows were presented by a solo woman, compared to 82% being presented by a solo man. Unfortunately they had to shut down due to a lack of funding which I think is a strong enough statement in itself, but during their time they made a difference and more importantly they raised the issue. Resolving the gender imbalance across many industries is an ongoing process (see the BBC’s recent release of salaries, highlighting a significant gender wage gap), and it doesn’t stop there. Equality in general is a significant issue, particularly when we also take into consideration the representation of people of colour, but one which I feel more and more people are engaging in.
Do you see a shortage of female musicians, or a shortage of opportunity for visibility?
I think there is a definite shortage of opportunity for female musicians as well as women in the music industry as a whole. Speaking to female artists, there’s definitely a trend where women who write and produce their own music are faced with utter disbelief that they are capable of constructing their own songs. In addition, sexual assault in the music industry is rife. Recently a few cases have been called out and received press attention. Take PWR BTTM for example, who, following allegations of sexual assault against the lead vocalist, were dropped from their label and had their music removed from iTunes. Hopefully the reaction of the music industry to these allegations will set an example for the future.
Music has always been such a strong driving force behind change – take the underground feminist Riot Grrrl movement which started in the 90s as an example. It had a huge impact on the music scene and it’s amazing to see at all the groups popping up now in the music industry focused on putting women first. There’s a real GRL PWR revolution! This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was Be Bold For Change so in the words of X-Ray Spex – “some people think little girls should be seen and not heard. But I think ‘Oh bondage, up yours!’”
What is it about the show that keeps your listeners coming back for more?
I think people are genuinely interested in new music. Listening to and finding out more about new and emerging artists is exciting, from politically charged anthems to chilled out electro beats, we really play the whole range.
Where do you find the music you play on the show?
We get sent quite a lot of music from artists, PR companies, record labels etc and I listen to every single track I’m sent, but we’re also music obsessives. I spend a lot of time reading music blogs, and often while away the nighttime hours as I fall into the depths of Soundcloud and Hype Machine.
What song best encapsulates your sound of 2017 so far?
Very good question. I would have to say ‘Please’ by Rhye, who are one of my all time favourites. After a four year hiatus they have come back with not one but two new tracks and ‘Please’ is the first of the two singles. It is so incredibly gentle, sensual and intimate, I can never get enough of the gender-fluid vocals of Mike Milosh, now more so than ever.
Do you listen to much radio yourself? Do you have any favourite shows?
Yes I do, I love the radio and am a big fan of 6 Music, especially Cerys Matthews, Steve LeMaq and Marc Riley. I’m also obsessed with Podcasts, current favourites include 2 Dope Queens, Reply All, Fresh Air and Hidden Brain (to name but a few).
How important is it to you to have broadcasting role models? Is there anyone you particularly look up to?
I think it’s really important to have role models, especially female role models; they’re the key to changing perceptions. The more women we see succeeding, be it in their career or other aspects of their life, the more women and girls will be able to recognise their own aspirations as attainable. It’s about visibility and accessibility. Within the broadcasting world, I would say one of my role models would be Terry Gross, a host and executive producer at NPR. Now in her 60s she’s been broadcasting for 30 years, won several awards, is so well respected within her field and I think possibly one of the greatest interviewers of our time - incredibly incisive, calm, engaging and intelligent with such a great wit. One of my favourite interviews that she did was with Zadie Smith who I also love.
Tell us a little bit about Gigslutz Live.
The second Friday of every month we do a takeover at The Finsbury in Manor House where we invite four artists to join us. They are always people we think are worth shouting about and this is our chance to give them a platform for others to come and see how great they are too. After the live show we DJ into the late hours and, depending on how I feel, things might get a little techno. Oh and its completely free - no excuses.
QUICK FIRE ROUND
Song to soothe your soul?
Mounika 'I Feel Love'
Song to break your heart?
Antony & The Johnsons 'Hope There’s Someone'
Golden oldies or brand new?
This is dependent on how creaky my knees are feeling.
Prince or Bowie?
I feel truly torn, but if pushed I would say Bowie.
Lager or ale?
Ale, specifically a deliciously hoppy IPA.
Live gig or listening party for one?
Live gig always