She’s In Parties: “None of us know what we’re doing… but it sounds cool”

Meet the shoegazers who can't be pinned down – and who want people to stop bringing cats to their shows

Most of She’s In Parties saw Paramore recently – Matt Carman (drums) on opening night, Katie Dillon (vocals) and Herbie Wiseman (guitar) the night after.

“It was f*cking amazing,” says Carman. Dillon is “still recovering”, she says. They’re all big Paramore fans and excited to discuss the setlist, talking over each other as they do. The three of them, along with Charlie Johnson (bass), are the new kids on the indie pop scene, daydreaming about a career that long and illustrious.

They’re off to a pretty good start. With just four Spotify releases under their belts, the group are already racking up the listens – latest release ‘Cherish’ has entered six figures. They’re also headed to The Great Escape in Brighton this May, the festival that has launched a thousand headliners. The four piece have garnered praise for their dreamy, shoe-gazey indie pop, with biting lyrics courtesy of Dillon and inviting, inventive instrumentation. We caught up with the group ahead of their upcoming live dates to hear how it’s all been going so far.

She's In Parties - Angelic (Music Video)

How did She’s In Parties form?

KD: I was doing solo stuff. And then I was like, oh, I want a band for this. I knew Herbie from school and I needed a guitarist to join. At this point I’m in college, and I’m in a music class and asking around: “Does anyone know a bassist?”. And then Charlie shows up on the scene. We had another drummer, but then they had to go to uni. So we’re asking around, and I used to skate with this girl that knew Matt. It kind of just really all formed from there. Rather than being a solo artist with a band, it was just totally collaborative.

Was it clear then that you weren’t all just messing around after school – that this was a career?

CJ: Oh, yeah. I heard all the demos for the older stuff and I was like, I need to be in this band.

So once you’d formed, what were the first steps?

HW: Waiting for the whole of Covid…

KD: We were together for maybe six months, and we were about to do a gig in April, but obviously Covid happened in March and that completely messed everything up. We had to wait a year and a half.

What did you do in that time?

HW: Zoom calls.

MC: Drink.

HW: We released a song. That was our first single ‘Mess’, right?

KD: Yeah, we recorded it remotely.

HW: I think we did it remotely in each of our houses, all doing our own separate things. But that was quite fun. An interesting experience.

Was that challenging back then? When you’re now so used to working collaboratively in a room together?

HW: It’s funny because we hadn’t really released anything at that point and we hadn’t recorded anything as a band. All we’d been doing is rehearsing the songs in a rehearsal studio in Witham. So that was our first experience of recording. It was a lot easier when we got to record together in a room, but because we didn’t know anything else, it was just really kind of standard.

Had you played live together before Covid?

KD: Never. So I guess it was good because we got to rehearse loads after things start opening up a bit, but it wasn’t straight back to shows.

HW: Our first show was to maybe 30 people. Sat down. Like they were all seated. It was a bit weird. But it was cool.

KD: I think it was probably better that way, in some ways. It was a good start. People that we knew were there.

What’s it been like since then?

CJ: Funky fresh.

KD: We’ve definitely improved since that first show.

Have there been any highlights?

CJ: Playing with James Marriot at The Concord [in Brighton]. The crowd there was insane. It was rammed.

MC: And there was a cat in the audience.

HW: Yeah, I don’t know why but someone brought this little cat in… I swear he was in a costume of some sort. Charlie spotted it. He was like, “There’s a cat out there…” And I was like, “There’s no f*cking way.” We walk out on stage and Charlie goes, “Where’s the cat? Where’s the cat?” And this girl is holding it up.

CJ: Like full on Lion King.

Did it look like it was enjoying the show?

HW: I don’t know. It seemed kind of cruel…

KD: It was really loud in there. We all felt it was more animal cruelty than anything else. Unless it was a deaf cat. It could have been a deaf cat. We will never know.

If anyone has any more information about the cat, please come forward.

KD: Please. We’d like to know.

She's In Parties - Cherish

Let’s go back to ‘Mess’. Tell me more about where that song came from.

KD: Oh, gosh. As the song kind of tells, I was in a bit of a sh*t situation. I think also with Covid happening, it just felt like nothing was going anywhere. As things were opening up, I just wanted to be out all the time, seeing everyone, not focusing on what I needed to focus on. So then I was like, oh, I’m falling apart. So that’s kind of where that came from. But I guess it’s good. I guess you kind of need those experiences to get songs out of them.

How does that writing and recording process work for you guys as a group?

CJ: Complete chaos.

MC: Katie usually has most of the ideas as, like, a baseline. And then we go off that, really. But with ‘Mess’, Katie had most of the song already done.

CJ: Yeah, Katie came up with the guitar and the vocal.

KD: It’s a pretty basic song anyway. After that, once we got to know each other a bit more and were able to feed off each other, we were better at collaborating. And then better songs came from it.

HW: I think people started to add their own pizzazz a little bit after we were able to actually get in a room together. We became more comfortable sharing ideas, I think.

I’m assuming you’re working on new stuff at the moment?

KD: We’ve got a whole EP recorded and ready to go. Almost. But that’s very new. One of the songs was just completely changed so we could add it to the EP. I’m excited for that.

HW: We’re eager to get it out. We’re just waiting to see when we can at the moment.

No Windows - Shout (Red Song)

I wanted to talk about your main influences. You guys are named after a Bauhaus song – I’m assuming that’s not a coincedence…

KD: Yeah, I came up with that on the fly… No, we’re definitely inspired by 80s and early 90s shoegaze, that kind of stuff. Even a few other bands that are around now too.

HW: Wolf Alice.

MC: Katie loves Paramore.

KD: I love Paramore.

HW: Hayley Williams’ solo stuff as well. That’s more us, I think.

CJ: If we started putting out pop-punk I reckon everyone would be a bit surprised.

HW: I reckon we could and no one would bat an eye.

Is that something you guys feel like you might do, down the line? Switch up genres?

HW: Oh yeah. We write all the time. Like, every time we go to a session, if one of us has an idea, we’ll start playing it. Sometimes it’s just the weirdest sh*t ever, to the point of just saying, “that sounds cool, we should write a song!”. And then we write it and it doesn’t even slightly fit in with the whole She’s In Parties thing.

CJ: We have a really wide range of stuff that we’ve written.

KD: I feel like also, as a person, everyone’s always changing, right? In the summer, I’m always writing happy songs. But in the winter, that kind of changes. You just want to write darker stuff. Having to stick to one genre like indie pop is kind of difficult. I’m always freaking changing my mind. We’ve got a song like that at the moment, that doesn’t sound anything like our other stuff.

When you’re writing all this different stuff, what makes you decide if song feels right for She’s In Parties?

KD: I think everyone’s got their own kind of flair. If you’ve got Herbie on the track, and you’ve got Charlie’s bassline, Matt’s drums… it’s gonna sound like a She’s In Parties track.

CJ: I think the general sounds that we tend to go for, that are starting to become quite “us” are Herbie’s guitar tones that you find in quite a lot of the songs that we play, and similar synth tones…

HW: We’re all very steeply developing. So the nature of a She’s In Parties track is, I think, forever developing too, which makes it very hard to kind of put it in one place. And that’s actually kind of a mindf*ck for all of us. None of us really know what we’re doing. But we’re doing something, and it sounds cool.

That’s an exciting place to be in, feeling like you could go in any direction from this point.

HW: But it’s also extremely stressful. Like, you give your manager an EP and then you go, “Actually, no, we want to change the whole thing a week before we’re supposed to have masters done…”

Where do you want She’s In Parties to go in the next few years?

KD: I would like to sell out Wembley. No, I’m just kidding. Wembley’s like 90,000 people and I just I found that out the other day. We were in the O2, which is 20,000 people. 90,000 people’s like… holy moly. I’d just like to sell at least half the tickets to one of our local venues and just play what we want to play. As long as we do that, it doesn’t really matter, I think.

If you guys weren’t in this band, what would you be doing?

HW: I wouldn’t be in this country. I’d be as far away as I possibly could.

KD: I love psychology, and I love to know people’s minds, so I might be doing that. But I also really don’t want to go to uni ever, so…

HW: I watched this one documentary about surfing when I was a kid, right, I think was called Riding Giants. And there was this dude that lived in the sand dunes of this beach, under his surfboard. I said, “If I ever don’t do music, I’m moving to Australia and becoming a beach bum”.

MC: I’d be an astronaut, I reckon.

CJ: I don’t know, to be honest.

HW: I feel like Charlie’s the kind of guy that would look after sloths.

CJ: I’d be inside the enclosure. People would come to look at me, instead of the sloths. The sloths would look after me.

She’s In Parties are playing The Great Escape festival between 10-13 May, and Dot To Dot festival on 28 May. Find tickets here.