Monday 8 February 2021

LISTEN: Lucy Leave - 'Pea Costume' (Despicable Zee reimagining)

I've been entrusted with the task of helping to spread the word about some exciting happenings in the Oxford music scene, in Lucy Leave (ace band from Oxford) and Divine Schism (ace label from Oxford) world. So here I am - spreading love, I hope! Lucy Leave are a constant source of joy on the Oxford scene - delivering brilliant music, unending support for fellow local artists online and (when legal to do so) at gigs, and not being shy to voice their (spot on) opinions. They're refreshing both in their music and their Twitter feed. Just over a year ago, they released their aptly titled second record Everyone Is Doing So Well

A year on and everyone is doing... well, alright, and Lucy Leave are back to share a reimagining of the equally superbly titled track Pea Costume by local legend Despicable Zee, featuring Just Emma, Valentine and Team Drum. Despicable Zee, AKA Zahra Tehrani, is a force to be reckoned with on the Oxford scene, and is currently the director of the brilliant Young Women's Music Project. They're an incredible Oxford project, described as "an educational charity that offers free workshops for women aged 14-21, which provide an inclusive and supportive space for young women to make music together, learn new skills, express themselves, and grow in confidence." 

Artwork is by Rosalind Jane - check out more of her work here.

I could ramble about the brilliance on show, but Lucy Leave and Zahra have much more important things to say, so over to them, first Lucy Leave on the origins of the track:

Pea Costume was originally written for our first album, but despite it coming from a jam like a lot of our songs we found it very tricky to play in the studio, or to reproduce the energy of a rough demo we made, so the version you hear on the album was recorded over several years… in the end, it’s one of the pieces of music we’re most proud of. The lyric sung by Mike concerns a couple of things that were in the news around #metoo, the first being an interview with the guitarist from INXS when he said that he missed the 1970s when women just loved being touched on the bum (why are men compelled to say these things? Besides, he wasn’t born until 1970)… the second was when the right-wing journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer recounted being repeatedly grabbed on the knee by Michael Fallon, who at the time of the story was Defence Secretary. Hartley-Brewer said something like ‘2002 was a more innocent time’.
I (Mike, guitar and vocals) really was walking down Museum Road when I came up with the line… As a disabled person, I have been shouted at etc. in the street, so I felt like I could readily bring to mind what it’s like. But the circumstances are not the same, and while there may be intersections, I also knew it was problematic to assume the position of a woman in a kind of #metoo situation. Hopefully the irony in the song accounts for that somehow, but anyway these mixed feelings that I have, in this case about doing any kind of advocacy for a group to which I don’t belong, became a theme of the album.

Zahra, Team Drum, and all of YWMP are incredible artists that enrich cultural life in Oxford so much and do brilliant campaigning work. We are so thrilled and excited to have have them rework one of our songs and bring their perspective to it.

And Zahra Tehrani on the reimagining:
I started work on Pea Costume Reimagined last year. Firstly Team Drum which is the Young Women’s Music Project drum troupe began to record different layers of percussion over the original track. We recorded bowed cymbals and big marching bass drums. Actually way more than I used on the track. I sliced up parts of the bass and drums that had a cool groove, decided to reverse a guitar lick and put some vocal lines down to add some textures which I usually do when creating a loop for Despicable Zee tracks.
When Mike approached me to remix the song he mentioned the meaning behind the lyrics and as someone who has experienced a lot of sexism off and on the drum kit I was super excited to be involved and put my own spin on it. wanted to adapt the lyrics to incidents that are relative to me and many marginalised people in music, it only felt right to invite a couple of friends to come and sing them with me, featured on the track is Just Emma and Valentine who have also both been big part of YWMP.
YWMP is a project that prides itself in being an active feminist organisation, we continue to create safe-spaces for young womxn and non binary people to feel comfortable to express themselves through music.
As a last note - if you grab a download of the reimagined track on Bandcamp, all profits go to Young Women's Music Project. Go go go.

Follow Lucy Leave - Facebook | Twitter | Instagram.

Follow Despicable Zee Twitter | Instagram.

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