Posted on: April 20th, 2022 by Steph Dickinson No Comments
Pie’s Emerging Artists launch the first single on their record label, Wantsum Music?
Vỏ Sò Alive Again released 29 April
Vỏ Sò’s Alive Again launches the first in a series of original new tracks presented by Pie Factory Music’s Emerging Artists – a collective of young musicians who are resetting the agenda for homegrown talent getting their music into the world, by creating the Wantsum Music? record label.
Vỏ Sò (voh-so) is a collaboration between Claire Pitt Wigmore (multi-instrumentalist and singer) and Liotia (duo Abi Hubbard and Matt Smyth).
This new dreamy, trip-hop, dub track Alive Alive symbolises starting afresh – what the collective of young musicians strives for with their new label.
“For me, the track is about turning over a new leaf. Saying goodbye to people who perhaps haven’t benefited you in the long run. It’s about self-reflection.
I want people to feel elevated when they first listen to it.
I originally set out to do a one-off collaboration with Liotia (duo Abi Hubbard and Matt Smyth), but it ended up becoming its own entity because we worked so well together.”
Claire Pitt Wigmore
Claire joined Pie’s Emerging Artists programme in 2021, during the pandemic, to hone her skills and work with mentor Kimberly Anne from Palm Bay Music to grow knowledge of music distribution and promotion.
Listen and Download
Alive Again is available on all streaming platforms and Wantsum Music? Bandcamp at
“It’s an immensely proud time for us at Pie as we see the release of the first track on the Wantsum Music? record label, especially as we enter our 20th anniversary year.
To not only bring a group of artists together, but to see them independently use their passion, skills and experience to inspire other young musicians is incredible. We know that this is just the start of what promises to be a unique, supportive and successful venture.”
Zoe Carassik-Lord, Pie’s Programme Manager
Wantsum Music? x Tonetic Records
Vỏ Sò and the WM? collective are joining forces with fellow youth-led Tonetic Records to present a showcase of youth music
Friday 6 May, 7:30pm Ramsgate Music Hall Tickets – £3 for under 18s, £5 for over 18s Pay on the door
Posted on: April 5th, 2022 by Steph Dickinson No Comments
This is a blog post I’ve written about the sexism and misogyny I have faced as a female guitarist. I am an instrumentalist and my new single with my band Vỏ Sò, Alive Again, is being released on Wantsum Music? record label I co-founded on 29 April 2022.
! Please note that some descriptions in this blog may bring to mind your own experiences of sexism. Please consider this before reading.
In 2002/03, when artists like Busted, McFly and Avril Lavigne were at their ultimate peak, I developed an infatuation with the sound of “rock” music and the electric guitar. An instrument that is very much associated with the genre, and one that I immediately took a great liking to after hearing Lavigne’s 2002 hit “Sk8er Boi”. It was from then that I wanted to learn how to play the guitar and master its intricacies. I was utterly determined to achieve this.
It wasn’t until late 2008, at the age of 10, that I started learning the guitar. I remember my Mum taking me to a pop and rock music centre in Ramsgate which is where I had my first proper experience of playing an electric guitar.
I remember learning the chord of G major – that may have been about it, but that was enough for me to want to embark on my journey as an electric guitarist. The one major thing that stuck out, that I initially did not even notice until I hit my teen years, was that I was the only girl in the guitar group.
By the time I got to my early to mid-teens, I was becoming invested in the lead guitar side of things. I’m not sure if I was conscious of the fact that each role model or player I admired, were all male. No other girl I had met, yet, was passionate about wanting to nail a Metallica solo from the And Justice For All album. It’s around that time that the sexist remarks started – when we were all becoming more mature and perhaps more self-conscious, wanting to conform to social norms.
The first remark experienced was around the age of 12, when I brought my guitar in to school. A boy in my year decided to kick me on the leg and sneer “You should grow a d!*k you guitar playing d$%e”. A series of incredibly misogynistic and homophobic comments ensued and I started to learn that my chosen hobby wasn’t safe territory for a young female. Comments from some of the older musicians at school came my way too… “What is she even trying to play?!” Still, I persevered and continued to study guitarists from the likes of Kirk Hammett, Slash, Jimmy Page, and many more. No women though.
Thinking back to when I had guitar tuition, I was never introduced to any female guitarists. They were all men. I don’t think I ever really consciously thought about it until I started playing in bands myself and became aware of the dynamics within the music industry. Female instrumentalists were somewhat of a novelty and it certainly feels that way still, at times.
During my late teens into early adulthood was when my eyes were really opened to the male/female divide in the guitar world. I studied Music Performance at college and I was met with a pool of male instrumentalists and female singers. At the time, I wasn’t a vocalist, so this really rocked the boat in some people’s eyes. I remember not long into my course, a man in the year above me wrote a post on Facebook which stated he found “female instrumentalists cringy and infuriating”, he then went on to proceed with “singers are fine though”.
The initial seed of the “Man’s world” mentality was starting to grow and it seemed to be thriving amongst a fair few people.
“She’s not even that good”, “she’s not the right fit for the band”, “you’re actually alright, for a girl”, “Girls aren’t sexy on the electric guitar, acoustic guitar is fine though.”Some of these comments came from people in authority (college tutors) so I really felt like I had no hope of being heard or being given a fair chance. I often felt like I had to prove my worth because there was no hope of being accepted into the “boy’s club” – even though those ‘boys’ weren’t masters of the instrument either and were at the same stage of development as I was.
I have been in bands where the line-up was predominately male and the conscious/subconscious underhand misogyny ran deep. Subtle remarks or even a lack of communication can make a person feel extremely unwanted or uncomfortable. We’re told to “ignore” or “dismiss” these kinds of behaviours, but I simply wasn’t prepared to let myself be second-guessed, sidelined, or even mocked purely because of the fact that my gender, attitude, and chosen profession was not a common occurrence in the music industry, especially in the area I’m from.
There’s been unfair pressure on women in the industry to appear glitzy and appealing. I know in recent years things have started to change, and there have been more female/non-binary instrumentalists making a name for themselves, but it’s still a struggle and it’s still fairly rare. I have never understood the terms “female-fronted bands” or “all-girl bands” like they were a genre of their own. Fast forward a decade and I’m now a music teacher, established artist, and an active member of the local music scene. I’m also part of the collective of Pie’s Emerging Artists who are supportive and share the same goals as I do. Although I haven’t managed to meet as many female instrumentalists as I’d quite like to, I’m striving to be a pioneer for the next generation of female guitarists. Hopefully, I can channel the frustrations and injustices I faced into creating a fairer and more diverse community, amongst musicians.
Like any embedded issue, there needs to be a systemic change. Starting with seemingly small things like birthday cards. If a family member wanted to buy me a birthday card with a guitar on it, they’d have to go into the “boys” section. Or posters with “legendary guitarists” on them and they only depict male guitarists. This, to me, is one of the reasons children are conditioned into believing there are “girls” toys and “boys” toys.
It’s encouraging to see companies like Fender showcasing talented women on their social media channels regularly. Female bassists and guitarists who I fear could easily go under the radar because of embedded societal views are now, hopefully, getting their chance to shine on major platforms. Locally though, I feel this could be something we strive towards. Sharing, supporting and investing in talented women. Not because they appear to “look good” or they’re “fitting the bill” but because people genuinely admire their talents and achievements.
It’s extremely important at Pie that we provide opportunities for young women and genderqueer people, upping representation in the music industry, which is still so very very needed, even today. We do this through all our programmes, and specific opportunities such as our Girls Programme and the Emerging Artists collective.
Need to talk to someone?
If you need to talk to someone about your experiences, Pie offers a free counselling service for 13 – 18 year olds, and you can also visit www.musicmindsmatter.org.uk.
Posted on: April 5th, 2022 by Steph Dickinson No Comments
As an organisation, we have grown considerably over the past few years and are now in need of an Operations Manager to complete our Senior Management Team, and who will manage operational processes to ensure the success of the charity.
The ideal candidate will have a sharp mind and proven track record of managing multiple departments toward maximum productivity whilst upholding our organisational values. They will be highly skilled in human resources, organisational systems and IT management. Additionally, they’ll display a proven ability to develop and maintain an environment of trust, diversity, and inclusion within our team. Their ultimate responsibility is to increase our operational efficiency and efficacy across the organisation.
You will be part of a creative, dynamic team that provides the operational backbone of PIE. This team supports the delivery of safe, positive and inspirational experiences for children and young people attending our sessions.
Please click on the link below to download the Job Description and application form:
Posted on: January 6th, 2022 by Steph Dickinson No Comments
At the end of 2021, our Emerging Artists took to the stage to launch their new Wantsum Music? record label. Our aspiring music journalist, Molly from Canterbury College captured the night in this fab review.
Molly came to us bursting with passion about music and wanting to learn more about music journalism to complement her studies, so we’re working together to develop her experience of interviewing artists, writing and social media content to complement her studies. We love seeing young people grow.
We hope you enjoy her first piece.
On Thursday 2 December Pie
Factory’s Emerging Artists hosted an intimate and energetic night to remember
for the launch of their brand-new record label Wantsum Music? At the
small-but-perfectly-formed venue of choice, Tom Thumb Theatre in Margate, each
artist brought their own individual music style to create an exciting and
eclectic evening of live music.
I was lucky enough to arrive at the venue early to interview each performer and listen to them sound check. As soon as I stepped foot in the door, everyone welcomed me with open arms. The vibe that concentrated the room was already buzzing. It was clear that everybody was excited for this night ahead, and its safe to say I was too.
I started off my series of interviews with Maxine Scott and her guitarist Oren Valek, who together create a mix of R&B and Neo Soul music with a little inspiration from jazz. Their music has a raw and authentic feel to it, and really comes to life when performed live. Maxine brings a unique and catchy twist to the neo soul genre, by adding a contemporary mix to her music, which is exciting to watch and groove along with.
Maxine and Oren met at school. They had always wanted to collaborate as they were both into the same music and wanted to produce similar things. For them, lockdown was a blessing in disguise, as in some strange and magical way it brought them back together, to fulfil their school dreams of collaborating. You could tell this on the night– they were ready and raring to go and there was even talk of an EP on the way in the new year, and then releasing music with Wantsum Music? It was great to see that they were both already accomplished artists and seemed one step ahead with the release of an EP coming soon.
I was interested to find out
what the most memorable gig Maxine had ever been to was. Her answer was not
“The most memorable gig I’ve ever been to must be one of the first ones I ever went to when I was about 17. I was seeing The 1975 and I was so young, like when everyone would wait outside for hours on end and I was in a tiny little mini skirt, freezing cold, and I was just so obsessed with them and obsessed with their lyrics and all their instrumentation.”
Now I am sure many of you
reading can relate to this, as I know I certainly can!
When talking about the record
label with Maxine it was obvious that she had a fiery passion and enthusiasm
about Wantsum Music? She was really excited about what is to come for the label
and even mentioned that in the near future she is going to be releasing a song she
has recorded on the Wantsum label. She said it will bring “R&B Soul and
acoustic guitar vibes”. Oren was smiling and nodding in agreement, his passion
for their partnership evident.
I loved talking to Maxine and
Oren, and I was thrilled to see their live performance a little later that day.
The mutual connection they shared both on and off stage was inspiring, they
seemed to be communicating almost telepathically, and when performing they
would just bounce off each other. As Oren would rear off into a soulful guitar
solo, Maxine’s energy would seem to bounce off both of them. It was clear to
see she was very proud and grateful to be performing next to him.
Maxine said being a part of Wantsum Music? is a great experience, and that being an artist creating a record label as well as releasing music on it is giving her an opportunity to work with some amazing musicians and share her passion with others. Being in charge of what goes on with the label was another factor of the process which she loves.
I then spoke to Claire Pitt Wigmore, who is a multi-instrumentalist and plays blues music with inspirations from trip-hop and indie.
As I was still getting a feel for the drive and passion behind the launch of Wantsum Music? I was interested to see what drove Claire as an individual to release and be a part of this amazing opportunity.
“I think we have all come from quite a creative area, Margate and Thanet, and we felt we wanted to have a platform to showcase our talent and how we work, and everyone in our local art scene is very supportive. There is also something about home-grown talent that’s not getting heard and I think Wantsum Music? will be great for that.”
Claire described the process of being an artist and creating a record label as “different” she said, “in the past, if I have worked with smallish labels – it’s always them doing admin work and I can focus more on the music side of things whereas with Wantsum we are in control of more or less everything, like how we’ll promote and showcase the music, so it’s really great to be in control of it all.”
I was in awe of Claire’s talent when watching her set that night, her skills when playing guitar and using the loop pedal looked effortless and made me believe that I would be able to do something like that (when really, I know, just how difficult and technical it is to use, and be good at loop pedals!).
The host Elz introduced Claire’s music as ‘beautiful’ and ‘dreamy’. I have never heard two words that described something so perfectly, as that really was Claire’s set summed up. She seemed to have the whole audience in the palm of her hand and the room seemed to fall silent in absolute awe during each song then break out in an explosive round of applause after. Claire played a song called “Dreaming” which was very personal to her, it was about a friend who had passed away, and the emotions and energy that Claire was feeling seemed to be lined through everybody standing in the room, it was emotional yet beautiful and very inspiring to see.
After a well-deserved dinner break (an enormous spread of pizza and cheesy garlic bread) where we all relaxed, laughed and chatted a little more, we all got straight back on with the task at hand. Sound check being a prominent ‘mission’ to complete for all the artists. In some ways I might even go as far as to say that this was one of my personal highlights of the evening, I loved seeing how all the artists came together and shared a real mutual respect and appreciation for one another.
I continued with my interviews upstairs speaking to Zico, who informed me that he goes by the name ‘Zkay’ in the music world (catchy – I like it!). It was obvious that Zico is very passionate about music and has been influenced by his family members from a young age – his grandad was a drummer, his mum is a jazz singer and his grandma was part of Motown. He creates a wide range of music and doesn’t like to restrict himself with genres. He refers to his tracks as ‘vibey’ and says he produces different music depending on what he’s writing about and how he’s feeling.
I asked Zico how it felt to be
an artist and creating a record label at the same time. He said
“It’s amazing really, as we get to decide where and what happens with our music, instead of someone using us as a by-product. We’re using everyone’s collective knowledge to build something bigger than us.”
Zico’s smile throughout our
chat suggested that he was very excited and passionate about Wantsum Music? He
is clearly enjoying the whole process.
“The best thing is that
everyone is passionate, they all have a goal which will always be achievable
with a group of people with the same mindsets.”
Zico is hoping that the next
steps for him with Wantsum Music? will be recording and releasing a new music
video so everyone should “Keep watching for new updates”.
Listening to his set in the
evening, I could definitely agree with the description of his music being
‘vibey’. I could see the audience felt the same too as they were swaying and
bopping along to each track, with the occasional ‘wooo’ and ‘oh yeahhh’ from
people at the back. This was amazing to see, and I know it must have felt great
for Zico too. Although the crowd didn’t know the words to his music, they still
created this amazing, bubbly atmosphere that could have easily filled out an
arena full of people.
Zico and I wrapped up the interview as it was now time for his soundcheck. He was performing upstairs, so I made my way back downstairs, to have a chat with Connor Beerling.
Connor is another solo artist who sings and accompanies his vocals with an acoustic guitar and harmonica. Speaking with him, he told me that his biggest influences were; Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie and Leonard Cohen. Hearing him perform after, I could definitely hear each of his musical influences peeping through his own unique music.
Connor had said that his music was about Peace, Protest, Love and Progress which was very inspiring and warming. When he performed, these four words transformed into music and it made the hairs on my arms prick up and even made my eyes water a little (no of course I wasn’t crying, but even if I was, it would’ve been in a cool way).
One of the songs Connor wrote and performed that evening was about the working class. I’m not sure what was more emotional about this song, the meaningful, powerful lyrics, or the reaction of every single body in that room.
It seemed to bring everyone together and it was heartwarming to see that I was in a room full of people who all agreed, as Connor’s song stated, that “the system should be bought down”. These lyrics caused an uproar of applause, that was so loud it drowned out Connor and his guitar.
Connor also performed a song that was quite close to his heart called “How could I ask for more?”. He wrote it about a homeless man he used to talk to every day. Despite the fact that he had nothing, he was so full of life and happy. His song talked about the irony that someone can have nothing yet be so happy, whereas someone else could have everything and be miserable.
Bringing an end to the interviews, I finally managed to grab Malpractice for a chat before people began to arrive for the evening ahead. Malpractice are a four-piece post-punk band from Whitstable. I loved the energy the four of them radiated, so I didn’t hold back with the questions. They spoke to me about ‘happiness drowned’ – “It’s a great song. It is about life over the last year and a half as you know, Covid, it’s not specifically mentioned but that’s the theme”
Malpractice met when they were at school and have been together for three and a half years, and are very excited for the next steps with Wantsum Music?. As a collective, they seemed passionate for WM?
“It’s great to give local and smaller artists
the opportunity to grow and learn. It’s not necessarily about being big, it’s
just being able to learn. Everyone involved will gain experience, they’ll learn
things with Wantsum Music? that they won’t with other, bigger record labels.”
Malpractice headlined the launch event and ensured the night went out with a bang. The heavy drumbeats rippled through your body, to the deep soulful lyrics. They topped the bill in a fantastic way and meant people left with feet tapping, heads still bopping and hearts still racing. What a great way to end a great day!
The crowd were amazing, they
were cheering after each song, going up to the artists after every set to
congratulate them and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. It
was beautiful for me to see, as someone who is also so passionate about music,
an intimate venue brimming with other music producers, enthusiasts and people
just wanting to have a good time all bought together through these young
artists striving for the ‘unsigned to be heard’.
The energy in the venue that
night was uplifting, I left feeling very positive and excited to see what’s to
come for the future of Wantsum Music? Throughout my conversations I had with
each artist I was consistently asking what their most memorable concert was,
and if after that night someone was to ask me the same, this would definitely
be at the top of my list. Each element of that inspirational evening made it
one that will stick with me forever.
Posted on: December 16th, 2021 by Steph Dickinson No Comments
2021 – what can we say…
We came up for air after holding our breaths and power-paddling through the murky depths of 2020, when momentarily the live music stopped.
We clung on to our raft, made up of strength, tenacity and experience, clinging on through whirlpools, tidal waves and strong currents, that had us – frankly – with our noses just above the water. But land ahoy! We continued to hope, and our young people continued to thrive through it all – despite it all. And we’re here, stronger than before.
The music never died for us, we just had to find a new way to play, to retune, to equalise.
There have been some incredible moments of light, like bright yellow buoys bobbing on top of the dark water…
A.C.T! – our own RNLI of youth-led community social action, scoped the coast for worthy causes to raise up and extend a helping hand like a buoyancy aid.
They delivered care packages to young people at home, held a Big Sleep Out for Thanet Shelter and an in-person summer fun day for local families raising £300 for the MPS Society, and have just made and delivered Christmas cards to seniors in care homes 💛🤗
Sirens – our 2021 girls programme group – sang out a chorus of hope.
Lighting up our screens at the opening of the POW! Thanet arts festival in March, they proved that you can create a gig at home, that the music keeps going and musical talent keeps growing, with expert help from musician Daisy Beau.
There was no stopping their creativity as they worked with songwriter Francesca Ter-Berg to write their own song together – Chocolate Box Full of Swordfish – recorded it at Palm Bay Music then performed it live at The Art 31 BounceBack festival at the Gulbenkian in June. Watch their journey.
Our Emerging Artists’ channelled their energy and talent into a musical shakedown.
They refused to let restrictions restrict their opportunity to perform by showcasing a live-streamed post-lockdown gig Revival from Margate’s Tom Thumb Theatre in May. The shifting sands of the pandemic and mentoring by music industry professionals became a catalyst for creating a platform for fellow young musicians, from which their new Wantsum Music? record label emerged. The channel into the sound of young Kent is making waves and making music in 2022 – follow @wantsum_music on Instagram to hear and see more.
A Summer of Fun and Opportunity
We celebrated the return of in-person sessions and events with DJ’ing, looping, animation and graffiti workshops produced with our partners Arts Education Exchange, cinema trips, youth centre activities and a trip away for some to the Arete outdoor education centre to throw themselves into daring challenges and the revivingly cold water of the Welsh coast.
The journey young people go on can be unexpected and amazing. Coming to Pie through a love of music, Bunni then joined our Bike Project, led by our team member Luis, to learn bike maintenance, gaining a qualification that has since led to them becoming a bike mechanic at a local sports shop. Watch what they have to say about the experience.
As we saw families get hit by the pandemic tidal waves, we created our own lifeboat of support.
In the summer, we gave over 270 food and uniform vouchers for those with a low income in the Thanet and Dover districts, so that they could enjoy eating out and stave off rising costs ahead of the new school year.
Soundcheck, our flagship pastoral project that offers free professional counselling for young people, has provided an anchor for those struggling with their mental health.
So far, we’ve helped 63 11 – 18 years in East Kent access support and creative sessions to soothe their minds. All thanks to the generous support you gave our Crowdfunding campaign last year.
You rose again this winter to raise a further £1500 to fund support for an additional 30 young people, and provide a lifejacket for them as the pandemic continues to rage, referral numbers rise even higher and we take on our duty to try and plug the gap locally. Thank you!
We have the most incredible and skilled counsellors on board who are not only able to support the many young people who are recovering from an incredibly traumatic couple of years but also have the skills and experience to help young people navigate racial trauma, issues of identity and sexuality.
We continued to learn and to grow, to think about us, our team, and the culture we build.
Everyday Racism brought us together to learn, and challenge our societal and subconscious biases. We called on Mermaids to help us be, talk and act more inclusive and welcoming of members of the LGBTQ+ community. This work continues as we take our role in fighting for social justice and equality seriously.
From all of us at Pie Factory Music, a huge THANK YOU.
Thanks for your continued support and encouragement. We couldn’t do what we do without the support of everyone who champions us – our funders, followers, partners and collaborators. You help us to be more and do more and for that we thank you. We’re excited for 2022, our 20th anniversary year, when we know there will be more rays of light and we will continue to celebrate and champion our young people.
Posted on: November 23rd, 2021 by Steph Dickinson No Comments
At Pie, we’re offering the opportunity for young people aged 14-25 years to work towards achieving a Duke of Edinburgh Award.
DofE and the process of achieving the Award is a great way to build your confidence, communication, productivity, skills and it looks great on your CV (win-win!). Whether you’re looking at applying to college/university or applying for a job, DofE is another way to show people what amazing things you can do, and achieve. Pie can help you to train for the Expedition part of the award in particular, but also gives support across all Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.