On the floor of a pub in Dalston in February, a hundred people grooved to Jenny Moore’s Mystic Business stripped-down set, supported by bands all cats are beautiful and Potpourri at a gig hosted by platform Get In Her Ears.
This was the first gig the platform hosted in 2022 and it was evident in the crowd that community was found through what they value the most: good music and good people.
Music has never failed to bring people together, whether it was through a cathartic album or dancing in the pit at a show. But multi-platform organisation, Get In Her Ears, brings artists and audiences across the music scene together even closer with their vision to make the industry more inclusive.
Get In Her Ears, a non-profit platform dedicated to promoting and supporting artists in marginalized communities in the music industry, has put on about 5o other gig nights like this one, bringing people from across the DIY music scene together.
Founded by Mari Lane, Tash Walker, and Kate Crudgington in 2016, the platform dedicates its space to being a beacon for marginalized people within the music industry.
The organisation uses its website and social media as spaces for promoting artists of all genres and backgrounds. The site is filled with everything from thoughtful artist interviews to album reviews and their socials are always engaging with artists by sharing their work.
Get In Her Ears, or “GIHE” as the founders commonly abbreviate it, was born out of a common vision of inclusion and equity within the music industry.
“As much as we love lots of cis, straight, male bands, we just kind of felt that there's enough to them at the moment,” Lane says. “We’d like to put the focus on the slightly more marginalized people within music.”
– – –
– – –
Lane and Walker initiated the multi-platform organisation back in 2016. The two met while working for Gigslutz, an online music magazine, where Lane was an editor and Walker was a writer and host on the magazine’s radio show.
It didn’t take long after the two met to form Get In Her Ears. The pair was at a pub one night when they felt a calling to start their own platform dedicated specifically to the voices and sounds they wanted to hear more of in music.
“We understand what it feels like to fight for your space and your voice,” Walker says. “I think we were pushing against an immovable object and we were tired of pushing against that immovable object…and it was like ‘you know what, we should just do something ourselves.”
With a similar love for their communities in the industry and a similar eye for activism, the vision for the organisation and organising the ethics came effortlessly, they say.
“We have really aligned ethics and morals and beliefs in the music world that wasn't specifically just about women,” Walker says. “We felt a wider gender issue to include transgender and gender non conforming people and non-binary people and also LGBTQIA+ people.”
The Get in Her Ears radio show was born shortly after, followed by live gig nights in pubs across London.
Shortly after, Crudgington, another fellow Gigslutz contributor and frequent listener of the GIHE radio show, joined the team and completed the trifecta.
The platform took off with an energetic start, with all sorts of sounds flowing through the radio stations and pub floors bumping to the beat of new artists. Soon after its start, its live nights became a popular hit for London’s DIY music scene, filling venues to max capacity, and its website filling with artist interviews and track reviews.
The platform not only exists online but through the airwaves and on the dance floor of pubs across London as well.
The Get in Her Ears radio show, which catalyzed the multi-platform organisation, is produced entirely by the central team and is hosted on Soho Radio, an internet radio station, which Walker says gives them the freedom to expand their playlists and what they can talk about.
“It does allow us to have that wider platform and that wider voice and to talk about music and also what people turn to music for and what music means,” Walker says.
Without the censorship restrictions of the BBC and Ofcom, GIHE is able to introduce listeners to artists of all styles and genres that may not be allowed on typical radio. – “Music is so powerful and some of the stuff that we play on our show, it won't ever be mainstream radio-friendly, but that's where the power lies,” Crudgington adds.
The now-monthly show, which was once weekly prior to the pandemic, is hosted by the founders where they feature a “genre-less” tracklist and lineup of guests. From playing artists from Bikini Kill to Big Joanie and interviewing artists like Prima Queen, the team never plays music they don’t enjoy.
“We don't play music that we don't love,” Walker says. “It’s like we play it because we love it.”
Aside from playing tunes, they love to groove to themselves, the team also hosts live conversations about pertinent topics within the industry, standing in solidarity with marginalized communities.
“I certainly consider myself to be an activist in certain areas, and we try and bring that out through the radio show,” Walker says. “It’s a platform to uplift those people, those voices, and to also make statements while doing it all wrapped up with love and care.”
“Sometimes it is a shame when things have to be watered down or censored, I guess, for mainstream radio, but there’s always the alternative, you can tune in elsewhere,” Crudgington adds. “I think it’s nice to be the alternative.”
– – –
– – –
GIHE listeners follow the team and their favorite artists beyond the Soho Radio station airwaves and to the stages around the pubs throughout London, notably at The Victoria and Shacklewell Arms.
With over 50 gigs in their repertoire, including a Sofar Sounds session back in 2020, GIHE has continuously put on shows that have brought communities together for the past six years.
The events are put on with as much care and intention as their reviews or their live interviews on the show. They research and meet with each venue, making sure they align with their values and will provide the best experience for everyone involved, the team says.
When picking a spot, a team looks beyond just the space and capacity of the venues but looks deep into the intricacies of the space. Before putting on a show, they look at its accessibility, scale of its inclusivity like gender-neutral bathrooms, the atmosphere of the space and crowd, and the ethics of the staff, Lane notes.
“We're always happy to take feedback from people who want to come to our gigs about making this space more inclusive, more accessible,” she adds.
Lane, Walker, and Crudgington attend every show, standing at the front of the venue greeting everyone who comes through the door and keeping a watchful eye on everything. But for them, it’s not just about managing the gig but about actually being a part of the community.
“Everyone should feel safe to be where they want to be,” Lane says.
The team poises themselves as points of contact for both the artists and attendees at their shows. Whether someone needs a chair at the front of the crowd or needs to report something, the team is present and available to make everyone feel safe and have a good time.
The first show they organised featured an iconic lineup of artists headlined by HAVVK. Feeling the crowd come together for the first time while dancing in the pub together, Lane remembers this as a revelation to a new passion.
“That night, having people come together and enjoy live music and know that I organised it was a great feeling,” she says.
Through their readers, listeners, and fellow concert go-ers, the team has found community throughout the music scene since starting the platform.
Within the few years of starting the Get in Her Ears website and filling venues to the brim with good people and good music, the team has created a sense of community that felt across artists and music lovers.
“Music is… such an amazing tool for making friends, community, also just for forgetting the fact that you exist in a world that isn't always on your side,” Crudgington says.
Although the team works with artists from an eclectic mix of genres and scales of following, artists from within the DIY music scene naturally form their gigs' setlists and fill their crowds.
“I think, bands with the DIY ethos, we generally are drawn to and are a part of the same community because we are a DIY organisation ourselves,” Lane says. “We’ve kind of come together with them and support each other, which is nice.”
With the team’s priorities set on promoting artists across marginalized communities, followers of the Riot Grrrl movement have naturally flowed into GIHE followers as well.
Fans of Bikini Kill and inspired by the Riot Grrrl movement themselves, the team embodies the same essence and spirit online, in the air, and in the pit.
“We exist in a patriarchal world that tells us such conflicting messages about what we should be as women, as non-binary people, and I think the Riot Grrrl movement, still till the day, says ‘there’s a space for you, whoever you want to be, and we’ll support you in that,” Crudgington says. “That’s an ethos that a lot of the bands we support have.”
Music has historically brought people together, artists and listeners alike, amidst adversity–political or not. Largely inspired by the most recent political and human rights conversations across the globe such as the #MeToo Movement and Black Lives Matters, GIHE has made itself a vessel for those who feel isolated by bringing them together through good music in a supportive environment.
“If Mr. Patriarchy is going to push down on us in this way, what they're doing is they're squeezing us out to the fringes, and that's only going to make us stronger and more solidified and find each other,” Walker says. “We find each other in the dark corners huddled together in a corner because we feel safer but we feel safer there because we’ve been pushed away. It’s shared trauma, isn’t it?”
– – –
– – –
Aside from watching the crowds coming together on the dance floor, the team knows they had created a safe community after the shows and are being thanked by the artists.
“I got a message from one of the bands saying ‘it was the safest and most comfortable I've ever felt at a gig,” Lane remembers. “It’s just creating that kind of atmosphere for both the bands and the and the people that are attending the gig that’s of the utmost importance.”
But what really solidified their faith in themselves was when Kathleen Hanna, lead singer of Bikini Kill and a leader of the Riot Grrrl movement, reached out to them personally on Twitter with a DM reading: “Congrats thank you so much for supporting great music. I’ve learned about a lot of great bands through yr site and twitter.”
Being a non-profit, the team’s work is driven by their passion which makes it easier for them to connect with both their artists and their audiences.
“It’s more of a collaborative thing,” Lane says. “We always feel like they're doing something for us as well by like letting us listen to their music or by playing for us or by talking to us on the radio.”
Throughout the years of running their platform, the team has found that they’ve helped fellow music lovers find their next favorite band that they may not have found through the mainstream media, Lane says.
“I think being smaller, it's kind of made it easier for some people to navigate or access bands and artists that may be streamlining,” Lane added.
For Walker, they believe that being a small organisation has also helped to keep them stay grounded and connected with their roots.
“There’s a humanity to it that gets lost in big corporations,” they add.
With all of the care and love that’s put into the multi-platform organisation, the team has integrated that humanity into their ethos, bringing together countless people by uplifting the voices and sounds of those we don’t hear enough of and giving them a space where they know they belong.
“I wish I had something like Get In Her Ears growing up,” Crudgington remembers.
Even so, the team believes there is still quite a ways to go in terms of creating full equity and inclusion in the industry, but that’s not keeping them from moving forward.
“There's still so far to go and I think that's why we feel that like organisations like ourselves are still so important especially with regards to lifting up queer voices,” Lane says. “So we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and push forward.”
“The older I get, the more draining I find it but also the more necessary I think it is to speak up about historic abuse within the music industry,” Crudgington adds.
The team had endless planes to keep pushing forward, highlighting unheard voices, and putting on shows where we can all go to escape while still being with one another. With more shows on the bill, a radio show that won’t quit, and a space to go to find a home, Get in Her Ears will continue to be a rock in the DIY community.
“That’s what it’s about,” Walker says. “It’s about listening to good music, it’s about being in that supportive, loving environment, and just living.”
– – –
– – –
Words: McKenzie Morgan
– – –