Meet – The Gin Birkins


Perfect music for a Sunday in October. Give a listen to The Gin Birkins today, cool stuff and we are all looking forward to hearing more tunes from them in the months ahead.

Can you give us a little of the bands background, bands that you’ve been in…..

Charlotte – I was in a grunge band when i was a teenager called Aneurysm, influenced by Babes in Toyland and Smashing Pumpkins.

More recently, formed a band with friends that sounded like a cross between Shangri-La’s and The Stooges…we never gigged so didn’t come up with a name.

Phil – I’m also in a band called Dear Light, a piano/bass duo which i can best describe as ‘celestial pop’…70’s singer-songwriters like Harry Nilsson and Judee Sill with a little Arvo Part. I have also been a member of The Weary Band for 15 years.

How did the formation of The Gin Birkins come about …

Well…we met outside a Dead Meadow gig in Bristol and quickly discovered that we had a lot of musical influences in common. We started seeing one another, and amidst playing Syd Barrett or Supergrass songs in bed, we found ourselves jamming and writing our own songs. We also kept on coming up with joke song-titles and band names in email conversations, and these ended up being turned into songs. Such as ‘Clingy, clingy, needy, needy’.

What is your process like for writing?

It often involves Gin and glitter…sometimes writing in the garden, once inside a duvet-fort that we built in Charlotte’s lounge. We usually write facing one another with guitars and just follow each other’s lead. We mainly write as we record – adding tracks, new ideas, first take…which give our songs a rough edge but they’re very light on their feet. There’s no stress about getting the ‘right’ take, we just do a take…done….move on.

What song made you want to start a band?

Aneurysm by Nirvana.

Phil – during our first meeting…i said ‘My favourite Nirvana song is Aneurysm’

Charlotte – and i said ‘that was my teenage band name!’

But this band is specifically more influenced by Serge Gainsbourg/France Gall, Nick Cave/Kylie, Mark Lanegan/Isobel Campbell

Can you tell us what albums you all listened to back when you were at home , high school days.

Charlotte- I had a three disc CD player in my room at my Mum’s house. For about four years, two of those discs were The Smashing Pumpkins – ‘Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness’ then the third album would be whatever phase I was going through at that time, I loved 60’s psychedelic music; I had a compilation album called Nuggets that I loved. I also love pop music like Kylie Minogue, Beyonce and The Sugababes so that has influenced my songwriting from an early age. I was born when Nirvana had just come out so my parents played them a lot when I was growing up. When I was about 12/13 I started listening to them in my room rather than it being “my parents music’. I was obsessed.

Phil – i had a tape cassette recording of Nirvana ‘Nevermind’ one one side and The Beatles ‘Help’ on the other that was overplayed on many long car journeys. I also listened to a lot of ambitious, grand psychedelic albums like The Flaming Lip’s ‘Zaireeka’ or ‘Soft Bulletin’, Mercury Rev’s ‘Deserter’s Songs’ and Spiritualized’s ‘Ladies and Gentlemen…’ So i think The Gin Birkins is very much a meeting of our shared love of Grunge, Pop and Psychedelia

How would you describe your sound and singing style.

Charlotte – It varies as our songs can be so different. Some sound like Spiritualized / My Bloody Valentine, but our most recent song, ‘Mary Unfaithful’ sounds like Josh Homme’s Desert Sessions….newer, as yet unfinished songs are sounding like early Cardigans/60’s girl groups. My singing style is somewhat soft like The Breeders, or My Bloody Valentine….i love reverb!

Phil – My voice is the sound of someone aiming at being Harry Nilsson or Roy Orbison…but missing. By a long, long way.

any new bands we should be paying attention to

There are some great new Bristol bands…these are some of our friends… The Jesuits

Velvet Waves Tim, from The Weary Band…now residing in Norway

if you could hit a time machine button and end up in any music scene , what year would it be and more importantly where would you be.

Charlotte – it’ll probably have to be 1968, psychedelic-era. Though i would have loved to have seen Nirvana live.

Phil – 1794, Vienna…hanging with Schubert and Beethoven. Nah, definitely the 14 hour technicolour dream at Alexandra Palace in 1967…Syd Barrett, Yoko Ono, John Lennon and The Soft Machine all in one room!

plans for late 2015/early 2016?

Our first gig is at Department S, Bristol on Saturday 24 October…we’re also making a video for ‘Tea Total’ with an animated Gin bottle, inspired by Blur’s ‘Coffee and TV’ video. We’re recording some new songs, ‘press you against me’, ‘The Lime Song’ and ‘Automatically Thinking of you’. We’re also going to the Pitchfork festival in Paris, so will make a video for Désolé je ne peux pas chanter en français… Ooh La La


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From Pittsburgh, now in Florida, Cool Canadian artist wife , 4 great kids and two granddaughters!! I'm a lucky guy!

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