Stealing Sheep talk festival lineups, inspirations, and equality

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Stealing Sheep (photo credit: Warren Millar)

As fans eagerly await Stealing Sheep’s new album, Getintothis Rebecca McGrath catches up with guitarist Emily Lansley to see how the trio are helping pave the way for future female musicians.

Stealing Sheep were born – or lambed, if you like – in 2010.

The threesome – Rebecca Hawley (vocals), Emily Lansley (bass, guitar, and keys), and Lucy Mercer (drums) released folk tinged debut studio album Into the Diamond Sun in 2012. The follow-up Not Real, more electronic based, came out three years later.

A third long player is due soon.

The women have long been vocal supporters of female empowerment, their much acclaimed Suffragette tribute performed at festivals during the summer underpins their feminist credentials and beliefs. That belief system goes to the very root of the band.

“The three of us are really supportive of each other and how we work, I think we feel empowered generally. Over the eight years we’ve been together we’ve had different experiences and I think there can be confidence issues that emerge sometimes,” says Emily.

Despite the introduction of the Keychange initiative which empowers women to transform the future of music and encourages festivals to achieve a 50:50 gender balance by 2022, and an increased awareness of an inequality in the industry, the balance of opportunity is still way off.

There is no denying that there is a lack of support for women in the music industry. According to a recent BBC study, women only made up 26% of festival line-ups in the UK last year. So there’s a lot of work to be done to reach that 50% goal.

‘I’ve looked at lineups when there’s only been two women on there and I’ve actually commented on it to the people who run it and they’ve been shocked and embarrassed that they’ve let that happen,’ she says.

This year’s Suffragette inspired performance is described by Emily as the biggest project they’ve done so far, and she is especially pleased ‘we got to see it come to life at Sound City.’

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To celebrate the centenary of women’s votes, Stealing Sheep joined forces with Edge Hill University and Brighter Sounds to bring together dancers, percussionists, and production students to help with music and costume.

Emily hopes that more women will get involved in music, but Stealing Sheep want to be able to empower everyone through their performances. She says, ‘we want it to be inclusive of everybody, we want to be equal.’

Describing themselves as ‘three leaders within one band’ Emily tells us, ‘a lot of our material talks about all kinds of problems and feelings that we go through. Some may be related to how we feel towards men, but a lot of it is probably about us existing and how we feel in this world and you can read into that however you want.’

Emily hopes that Stealing Sheep can empower women who may feel like they are just the norm to have more confidence to get involved.

‘I do think it’s changing, but I think it’s a gradual movement. I think if more people were inspired to do it then it would become more normalised.’

She adds, ‘but I think it’s amazing that everyone is becoming more aware and able to gradually change things!’

Delia Derbyshire, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey and Bjork are just a few of Stealing Sheep’s inspirations when it comes to making music. The band have been working on their new album for a couple of years.

‘We don’t know what it’s called yet we are still working on that and the artwork and everything for it,” Emily reveals. ‘It’s got live drums, live bass, it’s quite electronic, it’s more of our vibe. So hopefully it’s a step forward from the last one.

‘We are looking forward to playing it at the live shows, especially now we’ve met all these new women who we would like to take with us to perform. The more the merrier really!’

  •  Stealing Sheep support Ladytron at Liverpool O2 Academy November 3. The play a special stripped back performance at 24 Kitchen Street on November 27 supporting LUNA.
 

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