Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Irvine – aka Brave Little Note – is certainly no newcomer to the music scene. She’s a member of Idlewild Rod Jones’ The Birthday Suit, and has also collaborated with artists such as Kenny Anderson of King Creosote.
Now, however, Jack has gone it alone to voice her “visceral emotional response” to the election of Donald Trump and her own personal experiences of misogyny. A glitchy, electronic anthem, ‘Grrrl Trouble’ is propelled by thundering beats and brutally honest feelings of anger.
We caught up with Jack to talk inspiration, emotion and tax returns…
Hi Jack, how are you today?
I’m very well thank you! Having a mellow day.
Your new single ‘Grrrl Trouble’ is out now – it’s wonderfully intense and politically charged. Can you tell us more about what inspired you to write it?
I almost feel like I didn’t have a choice with this song. I was so angry the week after Trump’s election, I needed somewhere healthy to put the anger. I’m generally a pretty mellow sort, and I haven’t experienced a feeling like that, probably since I was a teenager. Waking up to that news, I almost simultaneously re-experienced every time I’ve been on the end of misogynist abuse – whether verbal, physical or situational. It shocked me when I realised how many times it had happened in my life, and when I did the maths – multiplying my experiences by the female population – the profoundness of the issue floored me. I felt like I had been complacent, that I had felt ‘thing’s were moving in the right direction; the feminist conversation was taking place, it was all going to be ok.’ But here was damning evidence to the contrary. We still have so far to come.
And what generally motivates you to create music?
I need to create music! Obviously, that’s not true, I wouldn’t die or anything… It’s not like food or oxygen. But I never feel so absolutely at home and myself as I do when I’m making noise. Haha. It’s other things that I need motivation for, like tax returns (this week – gulp). I’m inspired though, by sound and by feeling. And it can be either way. Sounds evokes feeling, and I’ll build from there, or feeling inspires me to search out sounds which express that.
‘Grrrl Trouble’ is a pretty unique fusion of sounds. Who or what would you say are you main musical influence?
I’ve been considering what unites ‘Grrrl Trouble’ in ANY way with my other work as it’s an ugly aggressive noise, and the answer to that is (like I was saying before) emotion. I have so much respect for such a broad range of musicians and genres from Rachmaninov to Laura Marling, Hendrix, Bjork and Kraftwerk… Old music and brand new stuff. I guess, for me though, the thread is enjoying an emotional connection with the noise.
I’ve know that you work with Rod Jones from Idlewild in his band The Birthday Suit, what other musical collaborations have you been a part of recently?
Yes! Rod is an old friend and actually the person who really turned me round and faced me back in the direction of my music after a period of being away from it. I’ve collaborated with a few composers and producers for my work for film and TV which has been fantastic. Last year, I was very lucky to be asked to re-work a version of one of Kenny Anderson’s songs (King Creosote) for his record Queens of the Brush County alongside some other amazing female musicians. It’s a BEAUTIFUL record. You should go buy it! My most recent collaboration though, was with The Tinderbox Orchestra (now Collective) for Hidden Door festival. It was amazing to work with a live orchestra, such a BIG sound. I worked on the orchestration for that with my son Sam, which was really lovely.
As an advocate for women’s rights, do you plan to continue to incorporate this into all the music you create, or do you think ‘Grrrl Trouble’ will be a one off in that respect?
I didn’t anticipate this song, it was just an honest response to my feelings on that day. I expect I’ll always work that way, and I certainly don’t plan to limit myself to just expressing myself on this one issue. I do however expect my view on the world to permeate the record and, given the current political climate, there’s every chance I’ll have some things to say!
Can you describe your sound in three words?
Erm… Electro Instrumental Emotion?
And what else does 2017 have in store for Brave Little Note? Will we be able to catch you live any time soon?
2017 is going to be the year I finally write my record. I’ll be launching a crowd-funding campaign later in the year and hopefully playing some festivals. Watch this space! (or social media!)
Huge thanks to Brave Little Note for answering our questions!
‘Grrrl Trouble’, the new single from Brave Little Note, is out now.