Who is Gaggle?
Classically trained, Deborah Coughlin came up with the idea for Gaggle as a response to a male dominated music industry, which she believes depicts female artists as overtly sexual, way too much. Meaning a flock of geese in flight, Gaggle is made-up of twenty-three ballsy women and is fundamentally a performance-art choir with a feminist axe to grind.
Their stage garb is designed to “de-shape and de-sexualise” the female form with hooded gowns at first and now headdresses and face painting to disguise their feminine characteristics. Made up of an eclectic bunch, all with different Gaggle names and very different stories, their lively blog depicts this and fans avidly follow Gaggle goings-on.
My earliest fashion memory is... buying a baseball cap which had the word ‘Rat’ written across the front. I thought I was so cool and I used to wear it with my high-tops. I must have been about eight.
Our style is... always evolving. We’re doing something a little bit against the grain. Our first outfits were cowl-necked cloaks with African prints. I had just been looking at the Soweto Gospel Choir and they wear really bright colours, and also Bjork’s Wonderbrass, which was an all-female brass section that she took around with her. I collaborated with Emily Bosence to make costumes based on these ideas. Our February outfits are warrior-esque and were made by one Gaggle and one ex-Gaggle. There’s obviously this tribal, army element to Gaggle and now we’ve got these massive headresses with war trophies and other things we’ve collected in the Gaggle character.
We sound like... a unique instrument. It was shouty, aggressive, dubstep punk at the beginning but now we’re moving towards something a lot more powerful and beautiful: somewhere between Arcade Fire and Bjork, if I am modest. I didn’t want all classically trained voices because it would just sound like a choir! It’s much more raw than that, our voices are the kind that you wouldn’t traditionally hear in a choir. I think there’s something much more beautiful about putting lots of different voices together anyway.
Our musical influences are... incredibly varied! When we were writing our last batch of stuff we were listening to things like Dizzee Rascal and Micachu And The Shapes but we've moved on from that.
The key to success is... having confidence and a strong vision. We know who we are and we produce really good art.
Words by April Welsh
Big Chill Festival 2010