Photo: Holly Whitaker
Name, where are you from?
My name's Liv Wynter and I’m from a place called Hurst Green, grew up kicking around Croydon and bunking school in Camden and now I’m settled in South London where I’ve been for the last seven years.
Describe your style in three words?
Emo never died.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
I would say that the best gig I ever went to was maybe ScHoolboy Q at House of Vans, tickets were free drinks were free and the pit was heavy! It was amazing to see him in such a tiny venue. Also, I saw Have Heart’s last UK show nearly 10 years ago, that was amazing and very emotional - they’re doing a comeback show this year and I’m devastated I don’t have tickets. I also saw Trash Talk in a tiny venue in Brighton a few years ago - everyone should go to a hardcore show at least once in their lives! When me and my boyfriend first ever met, he bought me tickets to see The Beat support Toots and the Maytals - I was so excited and we went for a few drinks before, got to the front just in time to hear The Beat do two rounds of 'Mirror In The Bathroom' and say THANK YOU LONDON GOODNIGHT. Missed the entire set. Unbelievable.
If you could work with any artist in history?
I would love to write with Brecht - he’s an amazing super political playwright who's heavily influenced my writing style. My new work, which is based on music of The Specials and debuts at Free Word on April 4th (tickets ere) is very heavily based on the practices of Brecht. He basically believed that when you see theatre, you should be reminded that its a play and to not get so emotionally involved in the work that you miss the political message. He’s a big inspiration to me. To be honest, I’m quite satisfied working with the people in my life at the moment! My friends are my biggest inspirations.
Which Subcultures have influenced you?
I first shaved my head at 13 - skinhead and 2 Tone have always been huge influences in my life, it’s what I grew up listening to. I did the goth thing for a while but it’s bleak being a goth in the summer. Then I got into punk, which massively affected both my aesthetic and also how I approach life. I got into emo and hardcore in my late teens, and now I’m a bit of an amalgamation of all of the above, still listening to ska and 2 Tone, but also still listening to My Chemical Romance. No shame.
If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Amy Winehouse. I just wanna tell her that I love her and that she cures my heartbreaks and that it’s a horrible loss to the world we couldn’t cure hers. She’d probably be really uncomfortable and hate every second but I’d just like her to know she felt like a sister when I was growing up. I’ve got an Amy Winehouse x Fred Perry polo from the first ever run - doesn’t fit now so I’m gonna get it framed with a Frank vinyl I think.
Of all the places you’ve shown your work, which is your favourite?
That’s a good question! I don’t know the answer! I will say however the space that I feel most supported and valued as an artist is at Wysing Arts Centre - a little gallery outside of Cambridge. They have a mad country house you can stay in and a recording studio and I was there in November writing a musical - they really care about who they work with and also just let you develop your most ridiculous and impulsive ideas. Artists need spaces where the people with the money and resources trust them! If you get a chance to go see the gallery definitely do.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on a mad commission from Free Word in Farringdon. It’s discussing hostility and surveillance in relation to bodies and gender identity, and uses the music of The Specials with a live band. There’s a skinhead choir and it’s something totally new and exciting and challenging for me. It’s on April 4th so get ya tickets and come see!!
Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Someone who I adore that I am always surprised more people my age aren't also obsessed with is Skin from Skunk Anansie! Queer as f*ck black skinhead woman who has one of the most iconic rock voices of all time and writes beautifully empowering and furious political tunes. She’s also from Teeside where I’ve worked a few times, you get a real sense of that industrial background from Skin’s aesthetic. Go and watch everything she’s ever done.
Liv Wynter has become a notable voice in the political art scene and was Artist in Residence at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, until they resigned in protest of the institution's inequalities. Liv was recently in residence at Wysing Arts Centre, and performs in punk band Militant Girlfriend.
Liv's latest live performance 'And So The Choir Gathers, Before It Is Too Late' will take place on 4th April 2019, exploring the fury and rage that stems from the policing of bodies, and assumptions about trans and queer safety. The work will feature music from The Specials alongside new material by Liv and The Choir – expect the unexpected!
Find out more, and get tickets at freeword.org/event/liv-wynter-live-art-commission