I don’t want to be selfish and think that this world is only meant for my lifetime, we need to think about the future beyond that. We need to stick up as individuals and realize that we are the problem, we are the solution, and we need to do our part. -Gin Wigmore
While other rockstars are trashing hotels and ranting on social media, Gin Wigmore is figuring out how to make a positive impact on the world. After three previous full-length albums, all of which topped the charts in her native New Zealand, she is now gearing up to release a brand new record. The currently untitled “fight back” album marks new explorations in themes and genres and is a self-assured exercise in empowerment and strength, starting with the first single “Dirty Mercy.” The rabble-rousing tune showcases the singer-songwriter’s signature raspy vocals and debuted with a video that features Gin as a badass babysitter whose radical ways inspires her young charge to dream up a rock ’n’ roll fantasy.
Keeping imagination alive isn’t the only way that Gin is trying to create a better world for kids and future generations. Unafraid to label herself a staunch feminist, the Blood to Bone musician is outspoken about gender equality as well as her passion for the earth and believes that research and understanding are key in enacting social change. She uses her platform as a musician to push these ideas. You don’t often see literature featured in a music video but that didn’t stop this rebel-with-a-cause from featuring the book, Rules For Radicals, in her latest clip.
We chatted with Gin about her latest music and much more. Read the full exclusive interview below and catch the musician this month on her “Let It Ride” tour right now. Look out for her forthcoming album in spring 2017!
The Untitled Magazine: How’s the tour going?
Gin Wigmore: It’s going excellently! I’m in Mexico City right now and it’s raining but we’ve had the best breakfast ever of custard donuts, coffee, and all kinds of deliciousness. So I’m feeling really good.
UM: That’s amazing, I love Mexico City and the food is definitely fabulous.
GW: It’s just such a vibrant city, it’s good to be back.
UM: You are about to play there in a few days?
GW: Yes! We are playing on Saturday at Corona Capital and then we are playing a little secret side-show on Monday night and then off back to the states to start the Let it Ride tour.
UM: How do you feel about embarking on the tour?
GW: Really good! There’s a lot of places that I have never played or never had a headlining show so I don’t know what to expect and I love that. I think that’s why I got into music in the first place – for that feeling of not knowing what is going to happen next. That’s the kind of feeling I felt with these shows. Who’s going to come? How are they going to relate to the songs and the new record? It’s really cool.
UM: Are there any stops that you are particularly looking forward to?
GW: I am particularly looking forward to playing in New Orleans and Memphis. I’m all about the experience of being on tour and what kind of activities you can shove in on the side of playing. This time we’re going to go to Dollywood and I’m pretty fucking pumped about that. Have you been?
UM: I have been there and I actually caught a surprise performance by Dolly so it was great.
GW: No you didn’t! Oh my God! Can you figure out when she is going to be there? Or does she just she just rock out when she feels like it?
UM: When I went they were opening a new part of the park so I think it was for that but I bet that sometimes she shows up.
GW: Oh my God! That’s so awesome. You’re so lucky. I’m hoping she drops in.
UM: So speaking of legendary musicians, who were some of your early music influences?
GW: My influences were centered around my parents’ record collection. I had no money and couldn’t buy records or CD’s or anything, so everything from John Denver to Bob Dylan, to Janis Joplin – all of that kind of music from my parents’ era. It was great because I was listening to some real musicians. My sister is nine years older than me and I always looked up to her. She was traveling and came back with records from the UK and David Grey was one of them. I really related to the album, White Ladder. For the first time I kind of heard this voice that’s raspy and and not your stereotypical singer’s voice so I thought, “Oh Fuck! Cool! Maybe there is a way for me to be singing as well, if this guy is doing it.” So David Gray was probably who I was most affected by.
UM: You’re from New Zealand, where do you live currenly?
GW: In Los Angeles. I’ve been here for three years.
UM: What made you make the jump? Did you go from New Zealand to LA or were there some other things in-between?
GW: When I was about seventeen I went and lived in Argentina for a year and then I fell in love with a Kiwi dude back in New Zealand and then he cheated on me. Fucker! So then I went to the Gold Coast for what I thought was going to be two weeks, it ended up being six months of me lying around on beaches. After that I moved down to Sydney and stayed there for about seven years. I have always had this real desire to live in America at some point of my life but I didn’t have the major catalyst to make that big jump, and then I met someone in the states when I was on Warped Tour about three years ago and fell in love almost instantaneously and I just moved to Los Angles. I was like “Alright, that’s it.” I’m packing my bags, sold my house, packed up my suitcase, I had no idea where I was going to live but I thought “Fuck it, I want to do something”. So I just did it.
UM: That’s awesome. You just released “Dirty Mercy” and I want to ask you about that music video. You play a bad-ass babysitter who influences and inspires the little girl in the video. What was the idea behind that?
GW: The idea was that I wanted to feel like I could be a good influence in a way. It feels more rebellious but I see it as showing young kids to be cool with their freedom of self expression and to not feel conformed or held in or restricted by rules, to feel like they can be creatively expressive. It’s about just fucking the system and being somewhat rebellious to figure out who you really are and if that means you stand alone in who you are, that’s awesome. That’s unique and beautiful and wonderful. That’s where my head was at, I loved the idea of me not being in the music video predominately and playing a very small role in it because I’m not much of an actor and this little girl was so awesome. She was so beautiful on set and wonderful to watch. I really like that naïveté and how children seem like they are untainted by society. I feel like society is losing that, kids are losing that a lot. Everything is presented in front of you and you don’t have to use your brain so I wanted to play around with imagination. I wanted to find an onion ring and have it turn into a magnificent ring, and chocolate pudding turn into this awesome hair gel, and a little bike turn into a big bike, and a toy dog turn into a real dog in order to have your imagination be expanded and wonderful.
UM: I got a big “girl power” message from the video.
GW: Hell Yeah! Totally! We need more of that you know. I think that anyone who has any sort of platform to reach many people should be doing that – especially as a woman in this day and age. There’s lots of times that we’re taking many steps back as women, in the way that we’re trying to fit into this weird, classic, over-sexualized, dumbed-down type of woman and I don’t agree with it and I really think there needs to be an opposition to that. If I can be fighting that fight then I am so down.
UM: I think that everything that is happening politically around the world and in the United States right now leant the video an extra layer of meaning. Going with that message, do you consider yourself a feminist?
GW: Hell yeah! I think every female should. Absolutely, without a question.
UM: That’s amazing because there are a lot of people who say “Yes, I support girl power, and I support women,” but then they are afraid to put that label on themselves.
GW: Fuck labels. As a female you should be a feminist. I think our goal is to get more women on board with that and not be concerned about labels. It’s all about how you perceive and how you contribute and what you believe in. I’m not afraid to wear a feminist label, I think it’s a privilege, an honor, and something to be proud of.
UM: Are there other causes that you are currently passionate about?
GW: The world in general is something that I’m really passionate about. I want to have it stick around for a while! I don’t want to be selfish and think that this world is only meant for my lifetime, we need to think about the future beyond that. I want to have kids but I want them to live in a world that is good for them and is functioning and is livable. We need to stick up as individuals and realize that we are the problem, we are the solution, and we need to do our part. We can’t wait for someone else to take the reins and figure it out. We need to realize everyday the ways that we are impacting the world negatively and flip it so we can interact with the world positively. We need to research, we need to be educated – we need to figure out what are fossil fuels, what is the meat industry, what can we do to lower our footprint?
UM: Speaking of being educated and doing research, in the “Dirty Mercy” video you are shown reading the book Rules For Radicals, why did you choose to feature that?
GW: I really like the simple look of that cover and I also think that you need to have simple, digestible information for people if you are trying to reach a large audience. The cover of that book spells it out, there’s not some sort of convoluted meaning. The other book that I was considering was How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. It’s a really good book, it’s blunt and to-the-point about the feminist movement. If you ever want to have a daughter you should give it to her. It explains everything.
UM: Back to your forthcoming album, what has the process been like in creating that? Are the themes going to be similar to your last album, Blood To Bone?
GW: It’s completely new, it doesn’t really hold many similarities to any of my previous records. The thing that does tie in with all of my records is my voice, I feel like it gives me the freedom to play with a lot of genres. I’m constantly trying to challenge myself. This time I was listening to a lot of Breakbot, Tuxedo, and a lot of things that were more like funk, which is a genre I never thought I would be playing around with. I listened to Biz Markie and funky, groovy, hip-hop samples so I was exploring different veins. This album is more of a “fight back” sort of record, it feels solid and sure of itself which is really nice because there’s no sort of hesitation with it. I had no real intention to make an album this year, I was writing for other people and I was subconsciously putting songs aside for myself and then it got to like eleven songs from me doing that. So I kind of threw everyone into action and had this record ready to go. There was no pressure or no drama with so it’s not a sad record, it’s strong and empowered, I’m really proud of this one.
UM: It sounds very fitting for the times. Do you have a title yet?
GW: I would tell you if I could. I have no fucking idea! I need to have one in the next month so I’ll figure it out.
UM: What about a release date?
GW: We’re thinking March of next year, we’ll put out a couple more singles before then.
UM: That’s huge! Other than that, what else do you have planned for next year?
GW: I think after the release we’ll just be touring a lot. We got an offer the other day to play in Antarctica. I don’t want to jinx it but if that happens I can die happy. We are also branching out into some other things – opening a store, writing for another artist, and writing more for film and TV. I’m expanding what I can do within music and how to be a good part of the world.
UM: Do you have any words of wisdom or a life motto?
GW: Consider the impact you have on others and on the world and if it’s negative figure out how to make it positive.
-Interview by Jasmine Williams for The Untitled Magazine