For the indie love:
Piney Gir

“I’m an American living in London and I moved to the UK over 10 years ago. I had just earned my music degree and didn’t know what to do with it.”

“I knew I didn’t want to stay in Kansas and I didn’t want to go to New York, Chicago, or LA because that seemed to be where everyone went after uni. I had spent a semester in the UK on a foreign exchange programme and I loved it, so I came back, took some evening courses at St. Martin’s and worked in a cocktail bar to meet people and just figure things out. I ended up in a synth-pop duo called Vic Twenty, which was my first band. It was then I realised indie-pop music is something I wanted to do for real. I had carved a niche for myself in the indie music scene here and it felt natural to stay and see what would happen.

It took me about 2 years to really find my feet here. When you first move somewhere (especially somewhere as huge and diverse at London) you meet all types of people and you sometimes end up hanging out with people you have nothing in common with, simply to have a person to hang out with. Especially when you’re super-young, it feels more important to hang out in packs… I’m more comfortable with my own company now, but in the early days I was out all the time with random friends I had little in common with.

The music scene was actually what enabled me to feel like I really fit in somewhere. Sometimes it blows my mind where I’ve ended up—a girl from Kansas and now I feel like a real Londoner with friends and a scene and all sorts. But it’s a tough city, London, it’s very expensive and ultra-competitive at times, but generally in the music scene you can find friends and people with genuine common interests, even if you’re just geeking out about analogue synths.

It’s funny because I get asked to compare the US and UK music scene a lot, but to be honest I only really have expertise on the UK side of things. I wasn’t really in bands much when I lived in Kansas City, I was a classical musician with a church background (my parents were super strict and I was sheltered from secular culture until the ’90s) and when I discovered rock music I just feel in love with it!

I became obsessed with indie music and obscure stuff. I dabbled in bands, wrote lyrics for a friend’s band, did some guest marimba playing with a jazz trio, sang a bit, but it wasn’t until I moved to London that I really found my stride! Since then I have played in the States, SXSW, CMJ and done a bit of touring, I know that there are logistics that are different—like in the UK people will generally share backline for a gig (drums/ bass amp, etc), and in the USA if you suggest sharing gear people will look at you sideways.

I think touring is harder in the USA too because everything is so spread out, but USA and UK are similar in the sense that the fees rarely cover costs, the rider tends to be small to non-existant, sometimes you’ll get the odd promoter that really cares, and I tell you what, that makes a great difference! Gigging in Europe means you are treated much better, I’m not sure if they have more arts funding, so people take it more seriously or?? To be honest I can’t second guess why that is, but I like it!

And of course, if you’re an indie musician, you simply aren’t doing this for the money or even to be treated like rock ‘n’ roll royalty… so in that sense you will drive 500 miles and play a gig to a few grateful fans and it’ll be worth it, whether you get a warm can of Carling or a 3-course feast. You do it for the indie love.”
Piney Gir

Piney Gir Official | Twitter

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