Since emerging in 2011, the London four-piece Woman’s Hour have been moving at a perfectionist’s slow pace, releasing a short single of quiet, contemplative electronic pop only here and there. It’s all been quite good. Similar to their approach to releasing music, the band’s FADER mix seems more about memorable tracks than what’s of-the-moment. They’ve casually mixed a few of today’s most beguiling voices, like Laurel Halo and Holly Herndon, with tracks from five, ten and 30 years ago, so they’re all part of a fabric of sensitive, brooding voices. Download below, followed by an interview with lead singer Fiona Burgess, about playing in a band with her brother, poached eggs and Woman’s Hour’s public reading habits.
Download: Woman’s Hour’s FADER Mix
Why did you call yourselves Woman’s Hour? And have you gotten any flack from the radio program? When me and my brother, Will, first started writing music, we didn’t know what to call our songs—well, they were more like demos—so we used the titles of BBC Radio 4 programs as namesakes. So when it came to our first gig, we had a set list of Radio 4 programs—”World at One,” “The Today Programme,” “The Archers,” “PM” etc.—and then we realised we didn’t have a band name, so we chose Woman’s Hour. We haven’t had any flack from Radio 4, only occasional Facebook posts from people thinking we are them.
What’s the best part about having siblings in the band? Everything. It’s great.
The ‘Reading’ section of you site is something I haven’t seen before—why did you decide to include it? The ‘Reading’ tab on our website was a conscious effort to show something about ourselves. We enjoy reading, and it’s nice to share this with others. The books we’ve chosen for the site are things that have either influenced us lyrically, aesthetically or intellectually. They are often extracts that inspire us in some way, like the Patti Smith book, which I read in January and couldn’t put down. It was comforting to read about how she survived as an artist in the ’70s and didn’t just see herself as a musician but as a poet, a painter and an artist. I found her curiosity really inspiring. The Isabelle Eberhardt extract is from one of her diaries I was reading last year which totally transfixed me. Her nomadic lifestyle and hunger for loneliness was oddly reassuring—we often think of being alone as a negative, but she saw it as the ultimate freedom. We also want to share things that influence our aesthetic identity, so the Susan Sontag/August Sander extract and the opening pages of the Women’s Code for Self Defence (where our original artwork was from) was a direct link to this. Will and I began a book club last year as well, which made us realise that it would be nice to share what we were reading.
Why did you delete your old songs off Soundcloud? We did this because after putting our first single out we realised we still had a lot to do to create our sound, we weren’t ready at that point and everything felt a little rushed. Those tracks we recorded in two days with Richard Formby in Leeds, which was a great experience, but by the time we put the tracks out it didn’t feel like a good reflection of who we were. That’s why we spent the next nine months in the studio working on defining our sound.
What’s your favorite food to cook and how do you make it? Probably poached eggs with ham, rocket and mustard on a Saturday morning.
HTRK, “Eat Yr Heart”
Laurel Halo, “Carcass”
Holly Herndon. “Fade”
Aphex Twin, “Rhubarb”
Bjork, “Crave (Odd Duck Mix feat Matmo)”
Amon Tobin, “Kitchen Sink”
Oneohtrix Point Never, “Meet Your Creator”
Grouper, “Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping”
Young Marble Giants, “Eating Noddemix”
The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Just Like Honey”