My Firsts: Girl Ray | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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My Firsts: Girl Ray

Falling Up the Escalator

Nov 20, 2019 Girl Ray Bookmark and Share

My Firsts is our email interview series where we ask musicians to tell us about their first life experiences, be it early childhood ones (first word, first concert, etc.) or their first tastes of being a musician (first band, first tour, etc.). For this My Firsts we talk to all three members of Girl Ray: Poppy Hankin, Sophie Moss, and Iris McConnell.

The North London trio are releasing a new album, Girl, this Friday via Moshi Moshi. Girl is their second album, the follow-up to their cleverly titled 2017-released debut album, Earl Grey (it was our Album of the Week and #3 on our Top 15 Debut Albums of 2017 list).

Girl was recorded at Electric Beach Studios in Margate with Ash Workman (Christine and the Queens, Metronomy). Whereas their debut album was a twee-pop gem, Girl is inspired by more modern and electronic pop sounds, in particular Rihanna and Ariana Grande, but still keeps many of the elements that made their debut beloved.

Each member of Girl Ray answered different questions and read on as Hankin, Moss, and McConnel talk about early musical and celebrity crushes, getting drunk the first time, laughing at dead fantasy characters, and a traumatic Pixar screening.

Poppy Hankin:

First musician you had a crush on?

Poppy Hankin: I was absolutely obsessed with the band Busted when I was about five. I used to write in this minuscule blue diary how I wanted to marry every member. I don’t know how they’d feel about the age gap but I seemed to have hope that it was possible.

First time you got drunk?

Poppy: When I was 14 or 15 I decided to throw a house party but I ended up being pretty nervous about it when the day came around. My brother’s girlfriend offered to buy me some booze and I asked for whiskey thinking I was hard as fuck. Ended up drinking most of a huge bottle and spending the whole evening throwing up while everyone was downstairs having the teen party of their lives.

First recording device?

Poppy: I used to record on this tiny half sized laptop my dad got me when I was about 14. I downloaded Audacity and used to record acoustic guitar and vocals on separate tracks through the laptop microphone. It sounded fucking awful haha. I remember one time propping the laptop up on a stool near a child’s drum kit to record a drumbeat through the internal mic. Real pro stuff.

First car you owed?

Poppy: Our beautiful band car who we called Cressy. She was a Fiat Doblo with many, many, many issues but we took her all over the UK on loads of tours. We put crazy fabric all over her seats and decorated her with dried tangerine spirals. It was weird and gross but she was so cute. Unfortunately she died because of a broken clutch. Awful stuff and still very much a sensitive subject.

Sophie Moss

First time your heart was broken?

Sophie Moss: I had a micro-slice of heartbreak when I was about 11 and had a huge celebrity fantasy relationship with Robert Pattinson. The main fantasy was that it all started when we woke up alone on a desert island together. A few months into this relationship, I was in a YouTube spiral and found a video saying he didn’t like kids much. This destroyed me because I realized, I WAS A KID and it really hit home that it would never work out, at least not for another 10 years. The pain I carried in my heart was so freakishly similar to feelings I felt in later real life heartbreaks.

First email address?

Sophie: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Not sure if KFC ever did expand to a banana family bucket range but maybe they should.

First time you performed in public?

Sophie: The first time I performed voluntarily I did a lip-sync rendition of “I Will Survive” dressed as Jesus at the school “talent show” we’d do every month for a while. I went on stage wearing a toga (???) at like 10 a.m. In the audition I kept my wrap on but on the big day I whipped it off in front of so many small children. I was still nine myself but it must have been pretty harrowing. In retrospect I was seriously channeling some Drag Race energy.

First movie you saw in the movie theatre?

Sophie: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. My Dad says I laughed every time an Orc was brutally slaughtered.

Iris McConnell

First band you were in?

Iris McConnell: Black Salad: a seasonal family band consisting of my dad on percussion (saucepans, Tupperware, miniature tambourine) my mum on melodica, my brother on ukulele, and myself on acoustic guitar. We played very inaccurate versions of Christmas songs for a couple of years running until me and my brother quit the band.

First professional recording session?

Iris: We got a chance to record one of our early songs “Trouble” before it was recorded properly, at Universal Studios. The excitement was very real and we took so many photos, but when we started playing it was a bit of a disaster as we couldn’t play the song in time and kept slowing down significantly after the first chorus. It was an extremely stressful situation.

First favorite band?

Iris: Kaiser Chiefs!!!!!! My bedroom was covered with homemade posters in which I spelled their name differently every time, and I used to have arguments with people at school about what their lyrics meant (I had absolutely no idea). Also had a low key fetish for drawing Ricky Wilson’s hair in my notebooks.

First movie you saw in the movie theater?

Iris: Finding Nemo. I fell up the escalator while holding popcorn on the way in and hurt my knee. Was crying so much that I had to be taken home half way through. Ever since have found it even more traumatic than it already is.

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