Gaggle Interview

Originally published in August 2009

Gaggle, a 22-piece London based female choir, creatively infuse powerful, fast paced evocative music with an almost intimidating air. Though Gaggle are only new on the scene, fronted by Coughlin formerly of 586, these girls definitely know what they’re doing, and it’s not to be missed…

Where’d the idea for Gaggle originally come from?
People who know me well know that Gaggle is the only logical outcome of my interests and talents. There’s more music than ever, more bands, more MySpace, everyone is in a band but most of them are just boring, ineffectual, limp splutters into space. I wanted my next music project to be powerful, warrior style burst of excitement, strangeness and something to annoy people who dream of being Johnny Borrell.  I couldn’t think of anything more powerful than 22 scary, smart women in evil monk-hoodies stomping and chanting about what it’s like being a drunk, or being lied to, or the disappointment of being politically apathetic.

You all seem to be quite a diverse bunch of people, how did you get to meeting each other?
Some of us have been friends since childhood, some of us have worked for others, snogged each other, got drunk in the George Tavern – our spiritual home.  Every gaggle is unique and brilliant,  each with their own super power.  No one was auditioned for Gaggle. In fact I found out the other day that Kumari had practiced some audition pieces, she hadn’t imagined she would walk into a strange theatre, be greeted by a dozen women oh oh-ing and me grabbing her arm, pulling her into the middle of them all and shouting “just do the oh-ohs”.  I don’t think we even said hello. It was obvious form the beginning she was a Gaggle – and that’s the same with all of them.

Does it ever get difficult having such a large amount of people?
We have a large number of people because it’s difficult with a small number. We can do gigs if 3 people are in bed with swine flu, hardly any other act can do that!

Surely there must be some tension?
Yep. I would be worried if there wasn’t.

Coughlin, while you were in 586 you shared a stage with 4 other people. How does it compare to sharing a stage with 21 others?
I conduct and direct Gaggle in live shows. I have my back to the audience most of the time. It’s amazing – it’s like playing the biggest, wildest, loudest instrument in the the world… one with 21 minds of its own and 21 voices. They are a force to be reckoned with.

Will there ever be a 23rd member? Will Gaggle be ever-growing or is it now settled?
For now we are settled, but we have an ever growing waiting list. We will do something about this. We have plans – good ones.

You wear some alternative clothing, where’d the idea for that come from?
Gaggle isn’t about women competing on normal levels, it is the opposite of ego-manic vanity. And a place to change the way in which people can judge us. We have a uniform like any army, religion or postman — we are Gaggle and we are different, together.

Who are your main influences?
Too long to list. There’s a lot of creativity and culture and learnedness in Gaggle. Other all-girl projects we love and have loved include Iceland’s Wunderbrass and Weird Girls, Wunderbrass first toured as Bjorks army of brass and the latter is a brilliant visual/video arts cult lead by Kitty Von Sometime. Then there’s everything from Spare Rib magazine to the Slits, to Jazz Domino’s Shoreditch Sisters WI. If you want to know about the music that has influenced our sound I write lots of it with a chap called Simon Dempsey (also from 586) and we range in tastes from Micachu to Dizzee Rascal to slave songs to minimal house. Gaggle love a bit of Spotify and if you were to leave us alone with it we will get through Bavarian Choirs, La Lupe, Courtney Love, Take That and Selfish Cunt in the first 20mins.

What can we expect from Gaggle in the future?
More. Much more. Gaggle gigs. Gaggle records. Gaggle blogs. Gaggle clothes. Gaggle books.  Gaggle schools. Gaggle dance. Gaggle ready meals. Gaggle driving schools. Gaggle cocktail.  Ronald McGaggle. Cirque de Gaggle. War on Gaggle…  stuff like that.

If you could describe your music in three words, what’d they be?
Come and listen.

  • You can listen to Gaggle here.
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