Up-and-coming Essex based four-piece She’s In Parties are positively dreamy…
Words: Jack Press.
Photos: Patrick Gunning.
When your options every day feel to be studying at college or staring out your window waiting for a global pandemic to go away, starting a band seems like a dream scenario. Why stop there, though? Why not leave this messy world behind and hop in a time machine to the late eighties/early nineties? That’s exactly (almost) what shoegaze newcomers She’s In Parties have done.
So, long story short – vocalist Katie Dillon woke up one day wanting to start a band, so she roped in guitarist Herbie Wiseman who she knew from school. Someone in her college music class suggested bassist Charlie Johnson, who she didn’t know and was in the class across the hall. Then their drummer went off to uni, so a friend of a friend from skating saw them bring in drummer Matt Carman. They hung out, they jammed, they made demos… then the world fell apart.
“We’d just formed, and then Covid hit. We were still getting to know each other, so that was a difficult point where we didn’t know each other and what we wanted,” remembers Katie, huddled up with her bandmates in their poorly lit rehearsal space.
“As soon as we were able to practice again, that’s where the collaborations started to happen with us; we started going out to the pub and actually getting to know each other. It’s a weird experience, but it’s good now we’re out of it.”
If it wasn’t for the pandemic, though, She’s In Parties wouldn’t sound like they do. Imagine Wolf Alice wandering through the Cotswolds with The Cure, listening to NewDad, Slowdive, and The Cranberries. That’s their vibe – so far, anyways.
“You’re in a dream state where you don’t know if you’re dreaming or if you’re in reality, and you’re taken on this ride with different stories,” beams Katie when asked what She’s In Parties sounds like to them. “This is what She’s In Parties do; we create different stories and different sounds for you to listen to and relate to, or just escape to. We like to take you on an adventure.”
She’s In Parties are as picturesque as it gets, with glimmering guitars and honey-soaked vocals dripping through your eardrums. But ask Katie’s bandmates, and it’s a collision course of experiences.
“It’s just a wall of sound,” asserts Charlie, as Herbie declares: “If you lucid dream or like weed, then you’ll like this band.” Before long, they’re pitching billboards and t-shirts and collaborations with Snoop Dogg. Don’t worry, readers, no matter how you hear it, it all boils down to escaping reality.
“I think escapism is very much something we all relate to,” says Herbie on their approach to writing music. “We formed as a band, and then Covid hit, so every time we wrote a song, we’d be like, this is great, taking us out of that shitty scenario.”
History has taught us well that shitty scenarios send us the greatest songs. But with just four to their name – ‘Mess’, ‘Angelic’, ‘I Follow You’ and ‘Cherish’ – they’re still a band going through growing pains. So, while they’re riding the shoegaze wave, are they planning on surfing to different islands?
“We’re finding it quite difficult because we had a lot of music, so we just put it out, and people started listening to it. We’re still developing as a band, and with Covid as well, we had all that time where we couldn’t do a lot of the shit we wanted to do, and now we’ve come out of it, we’re something completely different.”
With a backlog of songs building up more quickly than the country’s debt and their debut EP on its way sometime this year, what exactly are we in for as She’s In Parties announce themselves?
“I would say it’s very 80s coming of age, like The Breakfast Club,” Katie pitches, all smiles and sunshine for their next steps. “Imagine all these 80s coming-of-age films you’ve watched, and we’ve written songs that put you in the feels for that.”
They’re all on the same page for the future, too. Charlie says it’s “80s coming-of-age mixed with nineties shoegaze,” while Herbie’s convinced it’s even deeper than that. “If you listen to the music and you watch a video, we want it to be like you’re watching one of those films.”
They reckon it makes sense cause they’re all “coming of age” – “except Matt,” they all shout, “he’s of age!” There are few moments in our time together where there’s not a wry smile or bursts of manic laughter, their youthful exuberance tie-dying their band’s timeless sounds. And then there’s their name.
Named after goth-rock pioneers Bauhaus’ final single, She’s In Parties weren’t spiritually resurrecting the cult act as much as they were proffering playlist suggestions. So, why this name, why this song?
“We should change our fucking name,” grumbles Herbie, like an old man telling us to get off his lawn. But it’s not all bad; Katie connects the dots. “Because it’s from the eighties, it’s us making an instant homage because our music is quite reminiscent of that time and the music in that era, so having that instant ‘okay, Bauhaus, they’re from the eighties, so they must have an 80s flair’ is a big reason”.
They were previously called Velveteen before another band slid into their DMs threatening cease and desists, but it’s worked for the best; they’ve got a band name fans have fumbled with – “it’s really hard to get people to say She’s In Parties, we’ve had ‘Cheese and Panties’ before.” In the end, Katie came to it. “I just went through songs I had on my playlist, and luckily that one’s an eighties song; it all just worked.”
While Herbie’s convinced it’s gone so far, they “might have to walk out to that song at gigs” like a darts player approaching the Oche, their music and their message goes far beyond eighties movies and nineties vibes. There’s a method to the madness. Take the upliftingly spirited shoegaze-injected indie anthem ‘Angelic’, a call-to-arms aimed at the world’s men to stand up and respect women.
“I don’t like confrontation, but if you’ve got a platform, you should always absolutely say something because if someone can’t be heard, be that voice for them,” Katie declares when reflecting on the song’s meaning. “I get a bit torn because sometimes I just like to escape myself, and I write songs to escape into, but it’s important having songs like ‘Angelic ‘and using art as that voice for people. It’s a mix of escaping and forgetting about all those things, all the shit that goes on in the world, but also being like, ‘oh yeah, we should talk about this’, because you can always change someone’s perspective.”
She’s In Parties won’t shy away from saying how they feel, but at the same time, they’re still figuring things out. With ‘Cherish’, the song they feel resembles their next chapter the most, it’s all a little simpler. With everything falling apart outside, they’re making safe spaces to write soundtracks to.
“It does depend on the situation you’re in when you’re writing the song, but positivity is very important right now, especially in the fucking world that we’re in that’s absolutely nuts,” says Katie as she thinks about their overall mission statement. “So, for someone to have a bit of positivity and take that on and embrace it is great, but I do myself like more mellow, more chilled out songs.”
She’s In Parties are bringing the positivity party to a scene swimming in melancholy. And quite frankly, we’re here for it. ■
Taken from the March 2023 edition of Dork.