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Anna Acquroff

Musician — Glasgow

Name, where are you from?
My name’s Anna Acquroff, and I live in Glasgow.

What do you do? 
I front the band Medicine Cabinet, model, and I study a lil’ bit of sociomusicology and music psychology.

Describe your style in three words? 
Playing dress up.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Me and Eilidh in the band saw Bikini Kill last year at the Brixton O2 Academy in London. I was sobbing before they even played a song, it was the most visceral and surreal experience ever. I watched the documentary called ‘The Punk Singer’ about Kathleen Hanna when I was like fifteen, and was the first time that I realised singing didn’t need to be pretty if it didn’t communicate what you meant.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
I could die happy if I opened for Blondie. I’ve seen them twice, and they’re legendary all-time favourites of mine. I’d also love to play a gig with Björk. The mix of orchestral music with DJ sets at her gigs is brilliant, and I love how physically expressive she is onstage.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Punk, ska and two-tone is what I was played as a kid, and I think that’s where my obsession with really danceable music with a strong message started. Riot grrrl helped translate my identity into that punk world in ways I’d never seen before, giving me a sense that I had creative autonomy and currency in taste-making spaces. I also grew up in the glittering pink world of electronic pop of the early 2000s and was really into indie and new wave over the years, which are probably the most obvious musical references in what I make.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
That’s a really hard one! Probably Kate Bush. There are very few examples of *producers in popular music that don’t represent traditionally hegemonic forms of masculinity and are acknowledged as credible and authentic artists, particularly female pop stars who self-produce. Grimes and Beyonce are really good current examples of that, but Kate Bush is the first one I came across. There’s this weird sticky view that *the feminine is somehow ‘fake’, or that *feminine people don’t write their own stuff, or are overly commercial, and she had to contend with that *her whole career. I’d like to talk to her about it. And learn how to do *proper theatrical mime.

Of all the independent venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
St Luke’s in Glasgow! It’s a church-turned-venue that was built in 1836, and when you play, you’re literally on the alter. We played there dressed as a wedding party once.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Sheila Whitely was an educator and musicologist who wrote ground-breaking texts on gender in popular music, rock and Britpop. She was the first ever professor of popular music studies in the UK, and wrote some amazing stuff on gender’s role in music, like 'Sexing the Groove' and 'Too Much Too Young: Popular Music, Age and Gender'. She’s inspired a lot of my own research into how credibility and authenticity of artists is formed by the social world. I know a lot of people who really strongly believe in advocating artists who don’t affirm hegemonic ideals, and I just wish people knew that there’s some amazing stuff out there to read on it!

The first track you played on repeat?
It’s maybe not the first one ever, but the song that springs to mind is ‘Nobody’ by Mitski. I listened to that song seven or eight times in a row the other night. The tonality in it is obscene, and it changes and moves and shifts all the time. You just can’t pin it down. She mocks us with her mastery of melodies. I love it. More.

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Deceptacon' by Le Tigre. First song I ever played with a band. It’s on YouTube.

One record you would keep forever?
I have a 45 of 'Strange Little Girl' by The Stranglers that’s particularly important to me.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
"I have your back more than I have mine,
I want you to feel good all of the time,
So I'll say it till he understands,
You can love somebody without using your hands."

It’s from the song 'Head Alone' from Julia Jacklin’s 'Crushing' album.

A song you wished you had written?
'Hollaback Girl' by Gwen Stefani.

Best song to turn up loud?
'Violence' by Grimes.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
I know most of the words to most Proclaimers songs… the amount of times I’ve seen them is probably in the double digits now. I don’t even really like '500 Miles', but I love the rest of it. 'What Makes You Cry' is particularly heart-wrenching.

The song that would get you straight on the dance floor?
'Boyfriend' by Confidence Man. Everything by Confidence Man.

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
I’ve been getting really into an artist called Darcy Day. Also a guy Jerskin Fendrix. He’s been releasing stuff since the end of 2019 and all of it is wonderful.

Name, where are you from?
My name’s Anna Acquroff, and I live in Glasgow.

What do you do? 
I front the band Medicine Cabinet, model, and I study a lil’ bit of sociomusicology and music psychology.

Describe your style in three words? 
Playing dress up.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Me and Eilidh in the band saw Bikini Kill last year at the Brixton O2 Academy in London. I was sobbing before they even played a song, it was the most visceral and surreal experience ever. I watched the documentary called ‘The Punk Singer’ about Kathleen Hanna when I was like fifteen, and was the first time that I realised singing didn’t need to be pretty if it didn’t communicate what you meant.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
I could die happy if I opened for Blondie. I’ve seen them twice, and they’re legendary all-time favourites of mine. I’d also love to play a gig with Björk. The mix of orchestral music with DJ sets at her gigs is brilliant, and I love how physically expressive she is onstage.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
Punk, ska and two-tone is what I was played as a kid, and I think that’s where my obsession with really danceable music with a strong message started. Riot grrrl helped translate my identity into that punk world in ways I’d never seen before, giving me a sense that I had creative autonomy and currency in taste-making spaces. I also grew up in the glittering pink world of electronic pop of the early 2000s and was really into indie and new wave over the years, which are probably the most obvious musical references in what I make.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
That’s a really hard one! Probably Kate Bush. There are very few examples of *producers in popular music that don’t represent traditionally hegemonic forms of masculinity and are acknowledged as credible and authentic artists, particularly female pop stars who self-produce. Grimes and Beyonce are really good current examples of that, but Kate Bush is the first one I came across. There’s this weird sticky view that *the feminine is somehow ‘fake’, or that *feminine people don’t write their own stuff, or are overly commercial, and she had to contend with that *her whole career. I’d like to talk to her about it. And learn how to do *proper theatrical mime.

Of all the independent venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
St Luke’s in Glasgow! It’s a church-turned-venue that was built in 1836, and when you play, you’re literally on the alter. We played there dressed as a wedding party once.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Sheila Whitely was an educator and musicologist who wrote ground-breaking texts on gender in popular music, rock and Britpop. She was the first ever professor of popular music studies in the UK, and wrote some amazing stuff on gender’s role in music, like 'Sexing the Groove' and 'Too Much Too Young: Popular Music, Age and Gender'. She’s inspired a lot of my own research into how credibility and authenticity of artists is formed by the social world. I know a lot of people who really strongly believe in advocating artists who don’t affirm hegemonic ideals, and I just wish people knew that there’s some amazing stuff out there to read on it!

The first track you played on repeat?
It’s maybe not the first one ever, but the song that springs to mind is ‘Nobody’ by Mitski. I listened to that song seven or eight times in a row the other night. The tonality in it is obscene, and it changes and moves and shifts all the time. You just can’t pin it down. She mocks us with her mastery of melodies. I love it. More.

A song that defines the teenage you?
'Deceptacon' by Le Tigre. First song I ever played with a band. It’s on YouTube.

One record you would keep forever?
I have a 45 of 'Strange Little Girl' by The Stranglers that’s particularly important to me.

A song lyric that has inspired you?
"I have your back more than I have mine,
I want you to feel good all of the time,
So I'll say it till he understands,
You can love somebody without using your hands."

It’s from the song 'Head Alone' from Julia Jacklin’s 'Crushing' album.

A song you wished you had written?
'Hollaback Girl' by Gwen Stefani.

Best song to turn up loud?
'Violence' by Grimes.

A song people wouldn’t expect you to like?
I know most of the words to most Proclaimers songs… the amount of times I’ve seen them is probably in the double digits now. I don’t even really like '500 Miles', but I love the rest of it. 'What Makes You Cry' is particularly heart-wrenching.

The song that would get you straight on the dance floor?
'Boyfriend' by Confidence Man. Everything by Confidence Man.

Any new bands you are into at the moment?
I’ve been getting really into an artist called Darcy Day. Also a guy Jerskin Fendrix. He’s been releasing stuff since the end of 2019 and all of it is wonderful.