She Shreds magazine is dedicated to educating, inspiring, and encouraging future and current musicians by highlighting women guitarists and bassists from all over the world. We strive to raise awareness for under represented female guitarists and to cultivate the presence of women in the music industry. Although She Shreds is inspired by and created for women, it is our hope that our impact..
One lucky winner will get a S-200 Bird in Antique Burst Guild Guitar! Enter to win now!
This new guitar is a replica of the OG version created in the 1960s, but enhanced in all the best ways. It draws on its dual Guild LB-1 Little Bucker pickups to achieve a diverse palette. Below are some more details.
Body Top: Mahogany
Finish: Gloss Polyurethane, Antique Burst
Nut Width: 1 11/16″ (43 mm)
# of Frets: 22
Overall Guitar Length: 40″ (1016mm)
Pick up switches: Mode Selector Switch, Low-Cut Tone Capacitor ON/OFF, Neck Pickup ON/OFF, Bridge Pickup ON/OFF
List Price: $1,180
To enter, fill in the submissions form below and follow these three rules:
Follow @sheshredsmag @guildguitars
Repost + Tag a friend + #SheShredsGiveaways on the respective social platform
Guild Guitars may need to collect a W9 from the winner of the guitar, and will issue a form 1099 for the 2019 tax year. By entering the contest, you are agreeing to provide a W9 to Guild Guitars as a condition to receiving the guitar.
When the UK’s annual music mecca, The Great Escape festival approached, we caught up with two of the artists performing on the She Shreds showcase stage; Cumbia cool Los Bitchos and post-punk pairing Sink Ya Teeth. Sink Ya Teeth
Forming out of the respective fragments of the Norwich DIY scene – Gemma Cunnigham of cult art-rockers Kaito and Maria Uzor of solo endeavor Girl In A Thunderbolt – Sink Ya Teeth plotted their birth in the cosy back room of a local boozer. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind ride with James Lavelle choosing the band as part of his Easter curation at London’s Southbank Centre and live sessions at the coveted Maida Vale studios. Multi-instrumentalist and lead singer Maria Uzor speaks to She Shreds on scenes, surreal band moments and the importance of sounding human.
The band’s mission is to “write and produce good songs and have fun along the way”. Do you think the mission has changed at all over the last year or so? You’ve certainly taken in some impressive experiences as a duo!
Maria Uzor: Yeah, it’s been quite amazing. I don’t think the mission has changed though. For me, the most surreal moment was doing the Steve Lamacq session in Maida Vale last summer and just being in those studios. We were being interviewed through the headphones because I think Lamacq was in Wogan House and that was really surreal. I totally just lost my shit.
It’s weird to meet all these people you grew up with. It was another Maida Vale session when Paul Weller walked past and we got chatting to him. He thought we were called ‘Stinky Teeth’ but because he was in The Jam, you know, that’s fine…
Pitchfork commended your eponymous debut for its ability to “sound distinctly human despite modern dance music often being characterized by its computerized creation”. Do you think that’s true and why might that be?
I think we try to put personality into it. I love that stripped-down, mechanical, kind of caustic sound but it’s also important to remember that we are human. That’s what makes us beautiful and unique so if you can inject some of that, whether that’s through using live instruments instead of programming the bass or just in the way you swing the vocal melody a little. You’ve got these straight grids and then injecting a bit of imperfection in there gives it that human element and that’s what we try and do.
There are lots of references thrown onto you guys around the dance scene of the late 70s/early 80s. Do you think there’s a bit of a revival of dance culture now with bands like Confidence Man – who are also playing The Great Escape – and Bossy Love and do you feel part of that?
Dance music does seem to be really big at the moment. Confidence Man are brilliant. We played our first London gig with them at The Social a couple of years ago.
I think it’s just the technology. There’s just so much you can do without the standard two guitars, bass, and drums. You can knock up anything on your iPhone, so why not? Things are changing and the tools at our disposable are becoming more vast and varied and people are just picking up on that.
When we speak to Serra Petale of South London’s Los Bitchos, she’s whipping up some early morning eggs ahead of a little physio session later that afternoon. The multi-instrumentalist certainly deserves the respite, having already shared the stage with Sink Ya Teeth earlier this month playing percussion for alt-rockers Flamingods. But it was back in her former band days drumming as part of dream pop types Kid Wave where Petale would meet fellow Los Bitchos founder, Carolina Faruolo. Some four years on and the band has already shared the stage with Sussex troupe Toy and NYC’s Bodega, despite not having more than a home-recorded EP to their name. Petale talks to us about origins, Octavator pedals and owning that chicha sound.
She Shreds: Los Bitchos has such a distinct sound and definitely not one you would place in South London. When did your collective paths cross to create this cumbia cool sound?
Serra Petale: Carolina sent me this compilation called The Roots of Chicha, absolutely amazing stuff and then a little video with this riff. I took that riff and made our first song out of it, ‘Frozen Margarita’.
We got a message from the manager of The Parrot asking us to open for them in Oslo in Hackney (an 800 capacity venue) I remember the exact day that I said “yes” and Carolina was like “What the hell have you done, dude? We don’t even have a band. We’ve never rehearsed”. So I was like “Well, we’ll have to now…”
On a track like ‘Tripping Party’, there are a lot of layers, digital delay and maybe even vibrato happening on your guitar lines. Can you give us some highlights of your pedal board?
I’m a huge huge fan of ’80s hair metal and I love anything ’80s so chorus. I use a Nano chorus, a Boss Overdrive distortion and a Big Muff. I bought myself an Octavator pedal as well. It cuts out a little bit of the pressure to have that third guitar. I’m also aiming to get a little delay pedal because I want to sound like Eddy Van Halen.
Your guitar parts, in particular, are so intricate. Were you classically trained? Well, my Mum did make me learn violin from age 4-17. She got straight in there; outta the womb and onto the violin so I guess ultimately, I have my Mum to thank for that. My brother played the guitar so I always end up maybe try to noodle around a bit but mostly playing chords along to Pearl Jam or Nirvana. But to be honest, it wasn’t really until this project that I was actually able to solo anything or work out any scales. It’s me basically giving myself a crash course in the last three or so years to learn how to play the guitar properly.
Martin Guitars new Road Series keeps the “Martin Sound” authentic
For more than 180 years, C.F. Martin and Company have been producing some of the finest acoustic guitars available. They have made significant contributions that help define the instrument into what it is today. Notable examples include the invention of the Dreadnaught body and their popularization of “X-bracing.” Together these developments completely changed the entire industry. Though they are steeped in tradition, they continue to innovate even to this day. Martin provides a wide selection of guitars offering different shapes, sizes, and materials available to suit the needs of virtually any guitarist. The most prominent characteristics of what can be described as the “Martin sound” is the projection, bass, clarity, and piano-like sustain that embodies their guitars’ sound— making them a popular choice among musicians across the globe.
The Road Series
The Martin Road series guitars represent an excellent value at a lower price point than their core lineup. While these guitars are a fine choice for anyone looking to invest in a high quality acoustic, they are exceptionally tailored to the needs of touring musicians who look for features such as a full-bodied sound, overall comfort, solid wood construction, electronics suitable for gigging and recording, as well as a reliable case or gig bag.
Grand Performance Unplugged
The GPC-11E is a grand concert sized acoustic guitar. When compared to the size of a dreadnought, it’s more compact yet it still offers a strong bass response and wide dynamic range. The narrow waist of the guitar shifts the extended lower bout in such a way that makes it very comfortable to hold for just about anyone. The neck is joined at the 14th fret and the cutaway makes the upper notes easily accessible. Unplugged, the tone of the guitar is incredible thanks to the solid sitka spruce top and sapele back and sides. The advantage that this provides is a guitar that can resonate all over because it is not hindered by stiffer lamented construction, which can be made up of several layers of wood “sandwiched” together.
Instead, the single layer of solid wood allows it to have a faster response to the vibrations induced by the strings, which in turn help contribute to the amount of bass and sustain the guitar has. The top of the guitar is made of Sitka Spruce wood which is known for its clarity and is a popular choice across many acoustic instruments. The back and sides are constructed of Sapale wood which is often used as an alternative to mahogany due to its remarkable similarities both visually and sonically. The slightly absorbent nature of both of these woods is best characterized by a strong fundamental response with highs that are detailed yet soft enough to retain a nice amount of warmth. Together this combination of woods provides a sound that is very balanced and records well. I found the guitar to have a very generous amount of piano-like sustain that responded really well to how softly or loudly I played it. Every note popped without an excessive amount of brightness, and the overall character was quite inspiring. There is a warmth to the overall timbre of the instrument, largely provided in thanks to the thick bass like tone that is present. This is part of what makes the Martin Road Series suitable for both solo pieces and within the context of a larger mix.
On stage and in the studio with the Fishman MX-T
At first glance you might not even notice that the guitar is equipped with any electronics at all because the majority of the Fishman MX-T system is cleverly hidden inside the sound-hole, making it practically invisible to the audience. This clever layout minimizes the amount of wood that is normally drilled away to make room for such things. Inside you will find a built-in chromatic tuner with an illuminated color display. The display is nice and bright but most importantly very easy to see with a quick response. Engaging the tuner bypasses the output of the guitar making it easy to tune on stage without interruption, while also giving you direct access to a built in mute should you need to quickly turn off the guitar. The pickup captures all of the warmth and sparkle that this guitar has to offer and is controlled by one volume and one tone control located towards the top of the sound-hole. The controls are just as easy to reach as the tuner and can be operated without even looking at them.
These controls are useful for getting a good signal to noise ratio and fighting feedback when playing live as well as when recording direct in the studio. The battery compartment is also easy to reach as it, along with the input jack, is located towards lower right side of the guitar.
Tawiah talks going back to the basics, visiting her motherland and her favorite gear.
This article originally appears in the 17th issue of She Shreds Magazine. Available for purchase online.
Like many young hopefuls in the music industry, Beverley Akua Mansa Tawiah (who goes by Tawiah) found herself at the mercy of the pop machine at the beginning of her career. In 2007, following the self-release of her first EP, In Jodi’s Bedroom, Tawiah toured the world with acts like Mark Ronson and was signed to Warner Brothers. It was a life that seemed perfect, until creative differences proved irreconcilable and she and Warner Brothers parted ways. Tawiah soon found herself without a band, label, or any of the structures she’d grown used to.
Away from the spotlight and free from the pressures of the industry, Tawiah learned to connect with the guitar. She released 2017’s Recreate EP on her independent label Lima Limo Records, followed by a transformative trip to her familial home in Ghana that inspired her writing. Now ready to release her debut full-length album, Starts Again, Tawiah remains independent and determined to find the right label for her music. The debut is a stripped down, dreamy collection of neo-soul influenced songs woven with interludes of joy and laughter recorded in Ghana. Ahead of its release, we spoke to Tawiah about her time at the performing arts college BRIT School, how her great grandmother’s favorite hymn played a part in her album, and learning to work within limitations.
She Shreds: Let’s start with your childhood. You grew up in Battersea, right?
Tawiah: I grew up in Battersea, South West London. In my childhood, I always had music in my life. My Uncle Jeddy, my mum’s little brother, introduced me to a lot of soul music and hip hop. My mum is strict Pentecostal, so we listened to gospel in the house. When my uncle used to babysit was when I got my soul fix, and my big brother got his hip hop fix, and we’d listen to secular music.
You grew up singing in church. Do you think that influences your music?
My earliest memory is in primary school. I remember writing a Christmas carol and the school choir singing it. My music teacher was like, “Yes, the choir is going to learn this song.” That was the very first song I wrote. From there, I continued writing for fun, and when I got to the BRIT School, I met my musical collaborators, Blue May and Jodi Milliner. That’s when I really started getting into songwriting. I was 14.
You started at the BRIT School with contemporaries like Kate Nash and Amy Winehouse. What were your main takeaways from your time there?
I had an amazing time. I had my first-ever experience of life on the road when they picked a few students to promote the BRIT Awards album. We went on the road and performed in big shopping centers on little stages, and we sang covers from the album. That was in a proper splitter van; [we] stayed in a hotel. I think we did three nights, but little did I know that was going to prepare me for the next 10 years of life on the road.
You started out collaborating with other musicians when you were on a major label. How different is life for you now that you are creating on your own?
When I started with Blue and Jodi, they would do the music and I would do the lyrics and topline. Then I went through a period of my life where, after my first record deal and management went to shit, I was on my own. I didn’t have a band, management, a label, or anyone. I just brought it back to me. I picked up the guitar, started playing, and brought it back to basics. I didn’t used to play guitar. It was funny when She Shreds contacted me, I was like, “Oh my god, yeah, I guess I do play the guitar now.”
It was out of the limitations of not having a band anymore and reconnecting with music on my own terms and being like, ”What do I want to say? It’s me, myself, and this guitar; where are we going?” I’ve grown in that limitation. I would have never called myself a guitarist. It’s mad because I started doing solo shows [when] I wanted to reconnect and still sing. I was doing really little gigs with 30 people there, playing the guitar really badly but with all the conviction in the world. I just carried on, and now when I play shows, I have guitarists I really respect going, “Yeah, your guitar playing is wicked.” So that feels really good to me.
What kind of guitar do you play now?
I used to sing in a praise and worship team. They had a red Fender Strat and I still have it to this day. I’m definitely on the lookout for buying my first guitar, so send me good vibes. I [just] found a 1973 Fender Mustang, and it looks incredible.
Starts Again sounds more stripped back than your previous releases. Was that intentional or is it just how you’ve changed as an artist?
I think it has to do with how I’ve changed as an artist and how this record was made. It’s been a proper labor of love, out of my own pocket. These things take time to get done. Sam Beste [who co-produced Starts Again] and I mixed it ourselves. It’s a raw record, but I love that about it. We did add a lot of additional production in the beginning, but it lost a bit of the essence of the intentional live energy. We stripped a lot of it back for that reason.
How would you say you’ve changed over the decade that you’ve been in the music industry?
I want to have fun, because before I wasn’t necessarily enjoying the direction the label or my management was taking me in. I didn’t feel like I had a voice. It was weird. It was like, “You’ve signed me because you loved my vibe but now you’re trying to change everything about me.” So it was an upward battle. Whereas now I’ve created this record and I’ve got a team of amazing people around me. I started an independent label [Lima Limo Records]—that’s how I put my [2017 Recreate] EP out—with a group of musicians that love each other and encourage each other.
I read that a family trip to Ghana was a huge catalyst for the record. What did you experience while you were out there?
I went to Ghana to celebrate my great grandmother being 100 years old. There’s a track called “Mother’s Prayer” on the album. When I was out there, I got my Dictaphone [voice recorder] and we had a whole conversation. I asked her what her favorite song ever was and it was a hymn, obviously. She sang it for me and when I got back it was in the same key as “Mother’s Prayer.” It’s the intro to that song. It’s one of those magic moments.
All the interludes on the album are from my trip to Ghana. At the beginning, I’m having a conversation with my papa; we’re listening to a highlife record and I’m asking him what the meaning of it is. He was like, “Many people have prospered, but your time will come. God’s time is the best time.” It was quite profound for me at that time because I was going through a dark period, and I was like, “What’s happening with my music?”
It was an amazing trip for me. I learned a lot about my great grandmother’s history and about my family. After that trip, I went back home, phoned Sam and was like, “Look, let’s do it. I want to record these songs.”
I enjoy the interludes on the record as they showcase other parts of black British culture. Do you feel you now have the freedom to show different sides of yourself, like your heritage?
Yes. It feels like there’s been a big shift in black British people really discovering their roots and where they come from and taking more trips to the motherland. I went on Instagram today and it feels like everyone’s in Ghana.
When I used to go back, I used to be “other.” Not quite Ghanaian, because we’re from Abrotsri [England], which is what they would say. And then being in the U.K., you’re not quite British because you’re black. But now I feel like there’s a lot of talk around that and having that identity—black British African—and living with it, having peace with it, and celebrating that.
When you were recording the album, were there any guitars or pedals you used that you really liked?
I only use two pedals: a Boss RC-20XL Loop Station and a Boss DD-20 Giga Delay. Sam just bought me a JHS distortion pedal for my birthday, which is very lovely. I do feel like my setup is about to grow. I’m really finding my feet with the guitar. I’m always like, “Ooh, what pedal’s that?” when I play with other guitarists. I’m excited about getting into the world of pedals and growing.
I want to touch on the song “Queens” from the Recreate EP, which focuses on how society overlooks black female beauty. What led you to write this song?
It was an important thing. It was a conversation I was having with a lot of my friends, and I wanted to write something that would empower us. When I was growing up I had dark-skinned friends who would say, “I wish I was lighter.” You grow up and think it doesn’t still exist, but colorism is still real, even within our own community. I wanted to say, “You are who you are and you are beautiful, whatever your complexion.”
For our Summer Playlist, we gather our favorite tunes to start summer off just right.
It’s finally warming up and She Shreds is ready this summer. So much amazing music is out and we gathered some of our favorite tunes for you all. Listen to what the She Shreds staff is listening to these days and let us know what we should check out!
The first thing Laura Jane Grace, founder and frontwomen of Against Me! and solo project Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers, asks me is —is this article is exclusively about moms. “I’m still very much my daughter’s dad, but I’m female identifying transgender,” she says. “We’re not traditional at all.” And traditionality is not to be found in any of the stories featured in this piece; but rather, the realities of parenthood as a touring musician.
Grace has been touring since the late ‘90s, so with the birth of her daughter, Evelyn, in 2009, it was a matter of working parenthood into her schedule rather than giving up music. ( By the way, the birth was perfectly scheduled around making Against Me!’s fifth studio album, White Crosses.) Grace’s life has always revolved around a musician’s cycle of work: write an album, record it, go on tour. But those early years when Evelyn was still a baby weren’t easy. “It was excruciating, such a sacrifice,” she says. “You’re gone and missing such formative years. But at the same time, with it being the reality of how you support your family and pay the bills, that’s the toss up.”
Before Evelyn attended school, Grace would bring her on tour as much as possible, hiring friends to come along as nannies. Grace and Evelyn had plenty of time alone, but as every touring musician knows, figuring out what to do with your free time can often be a challenge. “Most of the time you’re at a venue that’s not in a convenient part of town, so you’re limited to what’s in walking distance,” Grace says. “You make games up in the venue, and explore around that.”
Today, tour is the everyday reality of both of their lives—Evelyn’s mother, artist Heather Gabel, tours as well. But when Grace isn’t touring, she is unconditionally at home: “I wake up at 5 a.m. so I have an hour to myself before I wake my daughter up, make her breakfast, and drive her to school. I have a little studio space around the corner from her school that I work at all day. And then I pick her up from school, drive her home, make her dinner, and we do it all over again. And then I go on tour.”
While on the road, Grace is sure to stay organized and in touch with her daughter. She’s found that making short calls often works best for them, instead of having really long conversations. The two also write letters, send packages for fun, and FaceTime. And opposed to touring ten years ago, new technology makes it much easier for Grace to be connected to her daughter’s daily loop. She places an order for Evelyn’s pizza lunch on Wednesday’s, and knows what lessons she has and when. “Kids are really routine-based,” says Grace. “So having it where the tour is also part of that routine and they are accustomed to it, then it’s nothing out of the ordinary.”
Similarly, Canadian musician of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous descent Lido Pimienta needs balance. She finds that staying organized and finding a supportive community has made touring with children much easier. As a mother of three, she’s had to get creative with childcare: her close friends have moved into her house to watch her children, she has a budget for caretakers, and she creates a shared Google calendar so everyone knows her children’s schedules.
Pimienta gave birth to her 11-year old son Lucian when she was 21, followed by taking in her 8-year-old nephew Orlando, and then she gave birth to her 8-month-old daughter Martina last year. With her first child, she knew she wanted a baby but without fully understanding what that would entail. “You can’t do this by yourself,” she says. “You need a tight community that you can trust, who are able to either stay home with your kids or go to the shows with you and stay side stage or in the greenroom. You need to have really good friends, and you need to be a good friend yourself, because these aren’t just favors people are going to give you.”
Following her 2010 debut, Color, and her 2016 album, La Papessa, that won the Polaris Music Prize in 2017, Pimienta will be releasing her third album, Miss Colombia, later this year, and plans to bring someone trustworthy on tour to watch Martina. “When you make this decision to bring life into the world, you need to be someone who understands healthy choices,” she says. “Not just smoking or drinking, but surrounding yourself with people who only have good intentions and the best interest for you. And you for them.”
While venues consider lighting, sound, drinks, and environment, Pimienta points out that they don’t often consider their booked artists bringing children along, and that musicians are often unaware of the power they have in asking for what they need. “We are afraid of burning bridges, and asking for too much,” she says.
“Especially if you’re a woman.”
Pimienta lets venues know ahead of time that she’ll be coming with her family. While she assumes all of her needs can’t always be met, she does expect that they venue take care of some of the accommodations that she requires. And in return, she can provide her uppermost performance.
“In an ideal world, all venues would cater to regular people,” Pimienta says. “A lot of us have families, and it would be great if there was a safe space for them to hang out while we’re performing. And we shouldn’t have to get to this upper echelon of fame to have all of these accommodations. But we should expect it, demand it, and at least normalize it.”
Jacki Warren, singer and bassist in the Grand Rapid’s band Major Murphy, stresses the importance of all-ages venues, especially for touring parents—she once had an experience where her son Benji was not allowed in the very venue Major Murphy was playing that night.
In her career thus far, Warren has had a much different experience than Grace or Pimienta. In 2015, neither Warren nor her partner (and father of Benji), Jacob Bullard, had jobs when they first met. Phasing out of her previous band, The Soil and the Sun, Warren started Major Murphy with Bullard that same year, followed by Benji’s birth a year after their first show. With the parallel growth of her band and child, Warren hasn’t had a particularly easy time establishing the two at the same time: “I’ve struggled with my identity as a parent. It hasn’t been an easy transition. I struggle to know where I fit in the music community, but also in the mom community.”
Touring with Benji was easier for Warren when he was younger. Following the release of their 2018 debut album, No. 1, Benji slept a lot of the time while on tour, and friends would watch him in his stroller (wearing sound-protecting headphones) while Major Murphy played. But now that Benji is almost three years old, Warren has to navigate his changing needs. “As soon as we figure something out, like what kind of rhythm he needs, Benji changes,” she says. “It’s constant adapting.” And related to Warren’s experience, Pimienta learned the importance in acknowledging your child’s needs as they grow: “The baby’s not a baby forever, you’re going to cross this threshold. It’s up to you how to integrate this childhood in your work. You need to have this openness in your heart; you cannot be selfish. And that’s very hard, because artists are narcissistic.”
Warren is still breastfeeding her son, but realizes that in order to do longer tours she will have to start weaning him. “If there was a Buzzfeed quiz, ‘What Parenting Style Are You?’ we’d be classified as attachment parenting,” laughs Warren. While breastfeeding has enabled her to provide her son with a constant in an ever-changing environment, saying that it’s a safe space she can create for him in a green room or dive bar, Major Murphy recently had to turn down a European tour. “I’ve never stayed a night away from Benji,” she says. “One day at a time.”
This one-day-at-a-time mentality is also being followed by soon-to-be and new mothers, respectively, Shana Cleveland and Mirah. Cleveland was on tour with her band La Luz shortly after finding out she was pregnant and is due this June; Mirah gave birth to her son at the end of last year, after the release of and tours surrounding her 2018 album, Understanding. Currently, Cleveland is on tour supporting her solo debut, Night of the Worm Moon, released in April, and is highly focused on finding healthy food options while on the road, while Mirah is using her first two shows since giving birth as a trial for the future. “It’s the test run of, ‘What is this going to look like? How do you do bedtime,” Mirah laughs. “How does that fit in?”
Mirah feels lucky that she can ease back into touring with a baby, since she’s not in the middle of an album cycle. She plans on asking advice from friends like Kimya Dawson and Laura Veirs about their own experiences, and she also plans to remain realistic about her resources. “For those of us who are still renting minivans and just trying to piece things together so that the shows can happen, it takes maybe just a little more creativity to figure out how it’s going to work.”
While there are many factors that go into being a touring parent—including so many more we couldn’t fit here—finding a supportive community seems to be one of the key elements that weaves together the experiences of Grace, Pimienta, and Warren, and is something being seriously considered by Cleveland and Mirah. However, Warren would love to see more spaces where she could connect with other touring parents for advice and resources: “I’m craving conversations with other people who are in this new wave of, ‘We can still have families, we can still be musicians in our 30s, we can do whatever the fuck we want.’ But how do we connect with each other?”
Our hope at She Shreds is that this article, and these experiences, will spark more dialogue and opportunities surrounding the personal stories of parents, the support they need, and necessary changes the music industry needs to make in order to show up for those who are bringing future shredders into this world.
For the last six years, She Shreds Magazine has been a source for guitarists and creatives to share a platform that educates, inspires, and develops quality content met with a groundbreaking aesthetic. Through the relationship of knowledge and design, She Shreds aims to create a book that reinvents the culture, education, and visibility of guitars and womxn in music.
The Print Designer and Director holds the responsibility of developing a forward thinking, high end, lifestyle and artistic perspective on guitars, womxn in music, and education. You are responsible for aligning the ethos of She Shreds Magazine—as a movement bringing forth a new era of visibility—with a visual, artistic, and creative aesthetic that drives the point to anyone who picks up the magazine; not only musicians and guitar lovers. Playing the guitar is a plus, but is not necessary. You must showcase prior experience in publication design and have a passion for reinvention through design as well as a passion in telling the stories/history/and perspectives of womxn.
You must also be able to commit to issues 18, 19, and 20 (May 2019 – May 2020). This position begins May 25th, 2019. Applications end on Tuesday, May 14th. Please send your resume, cover letter, and work samples to email@example.com
Print Designer and Director Responsibilities and Duties
Communicate with Managing Editor about pieces
Layout design for each issue
Brainstorm art/photos for each piece
Research artists/photographers for each piece
Project manage each shoot/art piece to completion
Emailing editor to make sure I have the correct information I need for each piece
Emailing artists and managers to coordinate details
Sourcing Hair and Makeup when necessary
Providing creative direction for each shoot
Making sure each artist is photographed with their guitar
Making sure art is provided by deadline
Collecting invoices from creative contributors
Having artists/photographers sign contracts
Create new design/creative theme for each issue
Assigning minor design layouts to Junior Designer
Choose final photos to use
Editing final photos/art to specs needed
Communicating with sponsors if ads don’t meet specs
Getting files print ready
Getting the files to the printer
Proofing final issue proofs
Making final changes from printer
Creating promotional assets for each issue’s digital release
This includes but not be limited to:
Up to 3x Instagram assets
Homepage asset update
Website sidebar GIF
Shopify product assets
Compensation is determined and discussed in the application process. This is a freelance/contractor position.
While each print issue has a time frame of four months to get developed, the creative director/lead designer spends most of their time during the last two months of production. It’s up to the designer themselves to decide and plan according to the amount of time they believe it will take to design the print issue in order to meet the print deadline.
Ex Hex is making more than waves this year. They’re testing their own creativity with their new album.
Washington D.C. trio Ex Hex couldn’t have picked a better title for their 2014 debut album, Rips. The power trio—comprised of vocalist-guitarist and indie rock legend Mary Timony (Helium, Wild Flag), bassist-guitarist Betsy Wright (Bat Fangs), and drummer Laura Harris (Aquarium)— assembled a collection indebted to the Ramones and Def Leppard as much as each member’s own time-tested creativity. The band’s cohesion is an act of trust: “If somebody [has] a really strong opinion, everyone [gets] on board,” Timony says of their songwriting process. And you can hear that faith all over their adventurous second album, It’s Real, released in March via Merge Records
Like Rips, It’s Real was inspired by the group’s love of Mutt Lange and Heart, but was a more exploratory endeavor, resulting in a collection representative of everything the group likes to listen to. But they aren’t just polyglots when it comes to their sound influences—speaking to She Shreds, Timony and Wright recounted that the group was just as voracious when it came to gear. “At one point, we had literally 10 or 12 amplifiers lined up in the studio: Gemini, AMPEG, Orange Rockerverb, a Fender amp,” they explain, almost in unison. But it’s that curiosity and willingness to try new things that makes Ex Hex, well, rip.
She Shreds: It’s been almost five years since Rips. Why was now the time for a new record?
Mary Timony: We toured Rips so much, it was hard to get right back into writing songs. It took a little bit longer than we would have liked.
I’m glad you mentioned songwriting, Mary. In a lot of the press you did last year for the Helium reissues, you mentioned that being in that band forced you to unlearn a lot of traditional guitar techniques. Betsy, you are a guitarist who plays bass specifically in Ex Hex. How do you both refocus yourselves creatively when it comes to writing these power pop style songs?
Timony: We try to write songs that we want to listen to. It doesn’t sound that complicated but, to me, that’s actually one of the hardest things to do. The easiest thing to do, for me, is just pick up a guitar and feel my feelings.
Betsy Wright:You have to be critical and edit a lot. We would all come to a consensus about things that were up in the air. And usually, weirdly, we would all agree on things.
Timony:I’ve been in other groups where there’s a general sense of distrust. With this band, you trust that if somebody doesn’t like something, even if you do, you believe them.
I’d love to know more about the evaluation process, as well as the earlier phases of the Ex Hex songwriting process. Are you bringing things from home that you’ve demoed, or writing together live?
Wright:Mary or I would have either a seed or a fleshed out song and then we would bring it to the group: me, Mary, and Jonah Takagi, our collaborator and producer of the record. We would get together and jam on it—playing guitars, somebody would be playing drums. We’d switch instruments, record a demo and rearrange things, pick everything apart, move parts around and add parts. I had songs without lyrics in certain places, and Mary would come up with lyrics, which was really cool because I’ve never actually worked on songs like that before.
Timony: I try not to freak out about lyrics. I really freak out about writing the music because, to me, it’s harder.
Wright: I feel the opposite.
Timony: That’s why we’re a good match. Betsy comes up with super catchy melodies really easily. It all balances out.
What kind of guitars are you using? What ended up on the album?
Timony:Let’s see if we can list all of them… I have a guitar made by Saul Koll over in Portland. It’s the best-sounding guitar I’ve ever played. That’s on the album a lot. It just sounded great all the time.
Wright: I have a newer [Gibson] SG that we used a little. We also used a 2002 Gibson Flying V.
Timony: I found it so hard to play because the body shape is so weird.
Wright: It sounded good, though [laughs]. If I ever wanted to play it live, I’d have to really figure out how you’re supposed to do that. The body is so narrow.
Timony:I ended up using, finally, my Paul Reed Smith guitar. I’ve had it forever. It’s pretty embarrassing. I never play it live anymore, although I did at one point. We used it for some dive bomb stuff. I was pretty excited that it finally worked out that I got to use that thing.
Betsy, are you still using your 1978 Fender Mustang bass that you talked about with us last year?
Wright: Yeah, I love it. It reminds me of the Beach Boys. But I’m actually going to be playing guitar now when we tour. There are a lot of guitars on this record, a lot of layered stuff. There are actually a lot of guitar parts on the last record and when we play live we omit them because we’re only three people on stage. We’ve decided to bring a bass player on tour, so I’m going to play guitar.
Timony:There’s really a guitar focus in the band. We’re both playing on the record, so it made a lot more sense to have Betsy play guitar live. We can do so much more as a four-piece.
Wright: It’s kind of like a fun experiment, too. It’ll be fun to try this.
Mary, you’ve said before that Ex Hex is the most fun band you’ve ever been in, so it sounds like you’ll be adding another element of fun to your tour. It’s such a stressful time, so to speak, and if you have an outlet where you can express yourself and feel good, be with your friends, and do something that’s meaningful to you, that’s kind of ideal.
Wright:We’re not a political band, but having a voice and trying to spread positivity and give people some relief from their everyday lives—I feel good about that.
As with some of the writing, are there parts that are harder or maybe aren’t as fun?
Timony:Well, we made one version of the record that we threw out.
Wright: We tried a weird technique that we thought was going to make things sound really cool. We recorded everything isolated. We tried to do isolated drums and it was a really bad idea. One track was only the snare, one track was only the cymbals, and so on. It didn’t work.
Timony:It took a lot of time and effort and it sounded bad. We put so much work into it that we didn’t want to admit that it sounded shitty. Finally, we just were like, “You know what? This makes us feel very uncomfortable because it sounds so bad.” Then we had to start over.
What inspired you to record that way?
Wright: Jeff Lynne, Mutt Lange. I think we read that Jeff Lynne did that on Tom Petty’s records.
Throwing work out is so difficult and so painful. How did you cope?
Timony:It took a lot of time to record that way. Then Jonah spent hours and hours and hours trying to move things around and edit it and get it to sound good. You know when you’ve heard something a million times, and you can’t tell what it sounds like any more? Betsy and I hadn’t really heard it. He sent us some stuff and we were like, “Oh, this sounds kind of like a demo.” It was scary and it felt horrible. We spent a bunch of money and time on [it]. It was intense, but I’m glad we decided to do it.
Did you have a new relationship to any of your songs when you were doing it the second time around?
Wright: It just felt better. It was more fun because the drums were live and they sounded really good.
Outside of Mutt Lange and Jeff Lynne, were there any other inspirations for the album?
Wright: It’s such a mixture of music that we really love a whole lot. There are some things that sound sort of psychedelic. “Cosmic Cave” reminds me of an early Beatles song. But then you’ll have another song that has more of a Def Leppard feel. The last record was a little bit more uniform, more of a punk, Ramones sound.
Timony:What I like about this record is that we weren’t trying to force it. It was more like, “What do we have? What do we like?” The answer to, “What do we like?” was definitely late ’‘80s Heart, but we also had a bunch of songs that definitely didn’t fit into that. We also used this headphones amplifier called the Rockman. We read somewhere that Mutt Lange used it a lot on [the Def Leppard album] Hysteria. Tom Schultz from Boston invented it.
Wright: If you listen to the guitar sound on “More Than a Feeling,” it’s the same guitar sound on our song “Good Times” [laughs]. It’s just this little box you plug into and it goes straight into the computer.
Timony: And it’s got that great blend of chorus and distortion that’s so ’‘80s.