“Hello! This is ‘Two Point Nearly Zero’. Here’s a video of the inside of my brain… Boats, planes, pistons and thundering hooves. Data encryption and incorrect procedure.” And so we come face to (virtual) face with international woman of mystery, STEVE, describing the concept behind the video for her infectious second single.
Manchester’s latest export serves as an antidote to a predictable mass of homogenized, contemporary pop music. Indeed, listening to STEVE is like being catapulted into the belly of the beast. Her sound is a riotous cacophony of processed beats, bleeps and filthy synths and she exudes the warped energy of the Prodigy, with all the guts and grit of Peaches.
Perhaps the question on everyone’s lips is, “Why the name STEVE?” With a sound that defies convention and definition, mixing grime, electro and alt-pop, we seek to discover what inspires STEVE and her music, “STEVE’s ambiguity amuses me, in this modern technology, brand driven, data possessed, find me on the net age, STEVE seems so wrong. We are everywhere, though we are impossible to find. I am the Everyman. As a musical jack of all trades, ahem. I mean Master. I have varied tastes – quiet today, noise tomorrow. Beats guitars psychic noise fest swirls… silence. Let no man (lady) define me. I must hear all the noises… the inspiration is the noise.”
STEVE is the alias of Jane Parker, who, in a previous life was singer of 90s Manchester band, Rude Club. As she exclaims, “Music has always hung around me like an occasionally unwanted friend! But I will never leave it”. Her debut EP, Danger! High Failure Rate, was the first release on Snug Platters, launched by Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Jim Chancellor from Fiction Records. The rising popularity of vinyl in recent years is reflected in their choice to launch a 10′ vinyl-only label and Parker wanted in as soon as she was approached by Garvey, “I’ve known Guy for a few years now. And he stumbled in to a gig I did a while back. So he’s always known my music, but he’d never seen my solo plate spinning noise fest. When it came to a new artist for his vinyl EP, he knew I’d be good for it… I’m not a vinyl purist but the beauty of the covers, the artwork and the feel of it has always been more of a joy than CD or download. And after all, a lot of my recordings have the feel of something you may have found in the loft 15 years ago, so a perfect match!”
There’s an undeniably DIY feel to STEVE’s music and aesthetic. On Danger! High Failure Rate, we soar atop four tracks of fuzzed-out, electric airwaves. Like her videos, the songs themselves provide an opportunity to clamber around inside the artist’s proverbial mind. Speaking of the EP, Parker says, “I wanted to run through the EP as in life. Start with a bang (‘Emergency Art Rate’). Cruise the confusion highways (‘Two Point Nearly Zero’). Become more clear, more concise (‘Flik Flak’) and drift on a wash of retrospection and acceptance (‘Electric, Steam and Diesel’). They is all my babies, so I loves one more than I loves the others at times. But then it always changes… And that is that.”
So what comes next for STEVE? It looks like an album will be on the way soon and we expect that it will be no less intriguing and explosive than her debut EP, “I want to get an album out veering through a host of musical genres, though not jazz funk… the project of STEVE is to expand the noise. In the future of course that may change. Being a one lady band I takes it wherever I fancy at the time.” She assures us that there is more writing, music, and playing to come in 2016 and beyond, and we’re certainly curious to find out what else may be lurking inside the brain (and belly) of this exceptional lady.
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