Steph Sweet – ‘The Hag And The Whore’ (Track By Track)

0
steph sweet the hag and the whore

The Hag and the Whore  is Out Now.

A freak folk, psychedelic singer song writer, Steph Sweet sings songs about, “hags and whores, paedophilia, the selfie-generation, a beautiful girl, a break-up, teepees, death and spamsters and wolves.” Her music is as unsettling as it sounds. Combining traditional folk like vocal melodies with psychedelic organs and guitars, it can at times sounds like The Doors covering The Fairport Convention. She shows more restraint on other occasions, creating melancholic songs of brutal tragedy.

She recently released her third album The Hag and the Whore. She stopped by to go in depth about the songs, exploring their inspiration and conception.

The Hag and the Whore

I wrote and recorded this album in seven weeks. All songs are written, performed, recorded and mastered by myself. I use a half-broken and dented to hell Shure SM58 (you have to sing in the non-dented side) and an electro-acoustic with a dodgy jack and a pop-screen made from a wire coat-hanger and a pop-sock (new!) as well as a cheap keyboard from a budget supermarket and Goldwave and Cubase. Oh and there’s a crusty Overdrive pedal that I bought second-hand for a fiver, it has survived several bands and years of abuse. I think of it as the family pet.

1. Ellen

This is the most beautiful, poignant and sad film that I’ve seen for years. It was part of Channel 4’s commitment to finding and developing new talent and marked the incredible debut of both writer Sarah Quintrell and director Mahalia Belo. I haven’t seen a portrayal of the working-class/underclass with such dreamy cinematography and brutal realism since Dead Man’s Shoes by Shane Meadows. I was profoundly affected by this film and transfixed, I felt like Ellen was in my head. I wrote this song in a day, starting with a couple of thousand words that were eventually whittled down. I wanted a real minimalist production to emphasize the lyrics, so that it became almost a spoken word piece, but with the chimes of the glockenspiel adding a child-like accent, because ultimately, Ellen is still a child.

2. Wolf’s Eye.

This was the first song that I wrote in nearly a year due to writing commitments and this song just exploded out of me. I wrote it in August, in a rare English heat wave and I wanted it to be an optimistic song. It’s all in major chords, which is another rarity for me, but I’m as shallow as a gadfly when there’s sunshine. It’s about feeling like a lamb amongst the wolves of life, but also about refusing to give in misery, to keep doing the things you love, which for me is dancing.

3. The Hag and the Whore.

The title came before the song. There is a large part of society that still only views younger women as whores and older women as hags. It seems to me to be such a medieval attitude, that I wanted to write a folk-rock song with archaic language as a metaphor for Millennial attitudes and modern-day chauvinism.

4. Dance of the Sand.

The lyrics and vocals were written on the day of a funeral for a close friend. I find grief particularly hard to deal with, it always feels like a punch in the solar plexus. I’m a big wuss.

5. Teepee Valley.

This is a really old song that I wrote while living in a Tipi in a ravine in Andalusia for three months, whilst learning to play the guitar. But I revisited this song and wrote the second verse because it still seemed so pertinent to modern life and the multi-national corporate walls of horror and slavery. Also it was delight to return to psychedelia. My first proper band when I was seventeen (I had to lie about my age to get the gig,) had a sixties vibe.

6. Cutting The Ropes.

This song is about having the courage to end a psychologically abusive relationship. It’s hard to stand up for yourself if you love someone, but if all they do is belittle you and stab you in the back, then they don’t really love you. But it’s always hard to walk away, even when a person’s spitefulness and malice is wounding you. But in the end you have to cut the ropes.

7. Glitterati.

This song is about the selfie-generation and the new breed of music-industry spamsters. There are so many fakers and thieves and dinosaurs in social media right now. Soundcloud is a perfect example of what was once an amazing underground musician’s community, that has been taken over and ruined by commercial dance music and scammers and bots.

8. Your Grave.

A song of sorrow and loss and grieving and autumn leaves. Having lost two close friends in the last 18 months, I have been visiting graves more than usual.

9. Sunshine Girl.

This is a song that I wrote for a brilliant, talented and beautiful friend of mine. She lives in the woods with her beautiful daughters and brings light to the lives of everyone she meets. Like an Angel.

Follow Steph Sweet on Facebook.

Follow Overblown on Facebook, and Twitter.