Suzy Harrison


Monday 28th October 2019

Name, where are you from?
Suzy Harrison, I live in York but I’m not from here originally. Growing up we moved around because of my dad’s job. 'No Roots' by Alice Merton is probably one of the only songs I’ve found that I can relate to when it comes to not having a home town.

Describe your style in three words?
Casual, prints, wallflower.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Oh wow, that’s so difficult. I've been to more than 450! Discovering Yeah Yeah Yeahs ('Pin') at Leeds Festival 2003 was pretty cool. I just wandered into the Radio 1 tent and they were playing. I'd never heard them before but I couldn’t stop watching Karen O. I've seen them four times since and I’ve never been disappointed. Such great stage presence and style. Photographing their 2009 show at Leeds O2 Academy was a highlight - I’d love to do that again.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
If I was still in a band, it'd have to be No Doubt ('Trapped in a Box' has to go on my playlist!), because I have never seen them but really love their music. Gwen is an inspiration. And also Mad Caddies (love ‘Mary Melody’ because I can play that!). Mad Caddies have been a huge influence. Their music made me realise that as a trumpet player, jazz and classical are not the only options.

Which Subcultures have influenced you?
Punk, hardcore, straight edge, ska, reggae. I only discovered these subcultures and their values, style and music when I was about 20 so I was a bit late to it, but it was a discovery that helped me realise who I am. It made me feel that being different is actually a good thing. It’s pretty cool. I feel like I'm still learning too - there’s so much music I have yet to discover. Unsurprisingly, being called 'Suzyska' started thanks to my obsession with the genre. At uni I joined an 8-piece ska-punk band, playing trumpet. I was the only woman, but thankfully I never felt like I shouldn't be there. More recently I was in a ska/punk/reggae band called Copasetics. Despite being a classically trained trumpet and piano player, I've managed to find my place in reggae and ska-punk music. I’m really proud of the album we made in Copasetics ('Gladiators and Lions') - it took us 2-3 years to make it but we did it all ourselves with hardly any money. Being in that band was a great experience for me because I got to contribute properly to the song-writing process for the first time.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
Can they be living? I'd probably say Lady Gaga because she's a huge inspiration to me ('You and I' is the best song to sing along to!). She always comes across as being so down to earth despite being amazingly talented and powerful. Or Katy Perry because I just think she's so funny and confident ('Pendulum' is another good one to sing). Both are such great performers. I'd like to have a singing lesson from one of them or work on some music together!

Of all the venues you've been to, which is your favourite?
Probably Wharf Chambers in Leeds because it’s a small, safe space venue which champions DIY music. I've also taken some good gig photos there! I recently went to Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds for the first time and that’s a pretty cool venue. I got the feeling that it’s got a similar ethos to Wharf but I'll have to go to some more gigs there to find out for sure!

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
There are so many - everyone in my documentary ('So, which band is your boyfriend in?'). If I have to pick one I'd say Ren from Petrol Girls. She is so passionate, intelligent and supportive - she's just a gem of a person. She's taught me so much. Check out their track 'Big Mouth'.

A musician, photographer and former webzine founder, Suzy Harrison is also the director of ‘So, which band is your boyfriend in?', a new documentary which addresses the imbalance of gender equality in music. Find out more about the film at and find out more about Suzy's music photography at

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