Ahead of tomorrow’s International Women’s Day event, Claire sat down with Izzy Hobbs, to talk through all things Womxn, arts and Yorkshire.
Izzy recently launched her platform, Girls Can Play Guitar, showcasing the best of female musicians in the Leeds music scene. Pledging to ensure that all their live events feature female musicians, Girls Can Play Guitar have teamed up with Bloom Sessions and Oporto to bring you an epic celebration featuring Laura Kindelan and ZAY!
If you would prefer to read the interview, please see below the video.
C: Hello everyone! It is a Sunday Harvest… welcome! I am joined by the lovely Izzy Hobbs who has joined me for this quick little interview. Let’s start off with a nice, easy icebreaker question…
Sunday Harvest was a feature we started to talk about things on our minds this week, so I wanted to know Izzy, what’s been on your mind this week? What’s been preoccupying those grey cells?
I: Well, that’s a very good question, you know what… I’ve actually been thinking a lot about post-lockdown because I think I just thought, that’s it, there’s never going to be gigs again – we’ll be living in this dystopian world. But actually, I bought my first gig ticket today and I’m very excited about it, so I’ve been thinking about that this past week!
C: Ooo that is big news! What’s it for? What’s the gig?
I: It’s for London Grammar in Manchester, in November.
C: Exciting! London Grammar, their new stuff has been incredible – really liked that.
I: It’s very good, the kind of stuff I put on to have a little cry whist doing the washing up in the kitchen.
C: Yeah! Music that’ll make you cry but also feel warm and fuzzy inside, it does both.
I: Weirdly euphoric!
C: But, the reason we’re here today is and the reason we ever got introduced is around International Women’s Day 2021 and so we’re going to talk about all of this, music, Leeds and loads of wonderful things.
A nice place to start, especially because it has all been recently released on social media, would be Girls Can Play Guitar. Where has this come from? You are the mastermind behind this, what was the inspiration behind it?
I: I think I just found, because I’m a female guitarist, that although there are loads of spaces for women in music, which is great, these spaces were for acoustic stuff or singer songwriters (and no shade there!) But I found that I maybe didn’t fit into that and there’s been a few times where there was a space for women in music but people were saying ‘a space for female-led bands’ but thinking… I’m not the lead? I’m the guitarist? Does that count?
So, it felt like there was a gap in the market for female instrumentalists as well as females working behind the scenes. I just feel like this has still not really been spoken about.
C: Yeah, there’s definitely been a move in that direction. Even looking at somewhere like Leeds, you’ve got Girl Gand, Grrls Do That Too, the work Eva’s been doing and Come Play With Me – we’re moving in the right direction and the more the merrier in my opinion.
C: So, you study as well at Leeds Conservatoire, how does that work with Girls Can Play Guitar? Do they link together?
I: Yeah, I think so. Studying at Leeds Conservatoire, you meet so many like-minded people. I’ve met so many amazing female musicians and they’ve definitely been a reason why I wanted to start. It’s made me think that people will actually support this, there’s loads of friends I have who are so talented and I just wanted a platform to show them off!
C: For sure, Leeds as a city, the North in general, Yorkshire as a county is such a hotbed for amazing creatives. For example, I think the International Women’s Day event showcases two fantastic artists, Laura Kindelan and ZAY.
You knew of Laura before the event, how did you come across her?
I: We actually had the same class together last year, with Nick Simcock who runs Oporto! I heard of her through posters that I saw, you get to know people through how much music they play outside of the uni rather than inside. I had seen her a couple of times and thought she was brilliant, super excited that I got to work with her on this project.
C: I’ve had a sneaky preview of what’s coming out on Monday, and you won’t be disappointed because both Laura and ZAY have killed it. It’s really interesting, works really nicely together but also separately, on their own, they’re phenomenal artists.
I: Agree, so different! And I really like that.
C: You mentioned that you already knew Nick, but was Oporto a venue you frequented often? What does the Leeds scene look like to you?
I: I used to go to Oporto a lot in first year, especially for the Gaslight Club – I loved going there! In terms of putting on gigs, because the other events company I had before Girls Play Guitar was called Groovy Shoes Events. It’s still going, you can still find us on social media, and we put on drag shows and stuff like that. We’ve always used Wharf Chambers because we wanted that grungy, DIY scene, like with Wharf you can do whatever you want with the venue. But this was my first time putting on a gig at Oporto, so that’s exciting.
I think Wharf and Oporto are up there with my favourites, I do miss fuzzy logic at Wire as well.
C: Well, we’re all so excited to get back out there and into those live spaces. Hopefully this International Women’s Day event will be a sneak preview of what we’ll be experiencing again later in the year.
Tell me, are you from Yorkshire? Are you local to the Leeds area?
I: I’m afraid not! I come from Norfolk, different to Leeds.
C: What brought you up here?
I: I’d always had my heart on Leeds Conservatoire, to be honest, and I didn’t really apply for anywhere else. Also, for me, all my favourite bands played Leeds! I’m used to being in the middle of nowhere, no one comes here. So that was a selling point for Leeds, you can actually do stuff!
C: Yeah, I think Leeds is a great city for that – not just for music but all aspects of the arts. Our jobs of trying to convey such talent to the masses is exciting because there’s just so much of it!
But I do have a final question for you, do you have any recommendations for Bloom Sessions? Whether that be music, art, TV or film. Any pearls of wisdom?
I: That’s such a difficult question, you’ve put me on the spot!
C: I know, sorry! I can give you one of mine if you’d like?
This week I’ve been binge watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, trying to catch up before the final. It’s incredible, I don’t know what day it is – I just know what episode I’m on!
I: I’ll take you up on that! We’ve been watching Homeland, as a flat, from back in 2011. We’re on… season 4? Powered through 4 seasons in a week. Or, if you want something that’ll give you a laugh, Kath & Kim is also a good shout!
C: Binge watching Homeland?! Sounds intense.
I: You can watch Homeland, get all intense, and then watch Kath & Kim to wind down.
C: A lovely balance, and then RuPaul’s Drag Race afterwards!
Well, thank you very much Izzy for joining us and having a little chat. Don’t forget that International Women’s Day is taking place tomorrow, March 8th, and we’ll be having a full day of fun on social media as well as at 8pm the wonderful Laura Kindelan and ZAY will be performing on #OportoTV.
Izzy, before we leave, do you have any socials to plug?
I: If you like groovy events, or RuPaul’s Drag Race, check out Groovy Shoes and if you want to see more women in music then check out Girls Can Play Guitar!
C: Amazing, thank you!