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LGBTQIA+ Artists in Focus

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Photography by Maia Walker |

To celebrate LGBT+ History Month, Youth Music NextGen photographer Maia Walker captures portraits of three young, queer musicians based in Liverpool.

Traversing folk to punk and pop, the three artists discuss the music that shaped them growing up, their key influences now, and their favourite queer spaces to play live in Liverpool.



Guitarist / Lead singer for Piss Kitty / Oh Mother

a woman with dark hair stands in a black coat outside of a building. the light through the window glows red

What style of music do you create?

Melodic punk.

What music shaped you growing up?

Growing up the first band that REALLY got me into music was The Smashing Pumpkins. I then was obsessed with My Chemical Romance for a while. Discovered Joy Division, David Bowie, Patti Smith, and Crystal Castles which all gave me a different kinds of inspiration.

Who are your current inspirations? 

The bands I am currently inspired by the most are The Replacements, Pixies, Amyl and The Sniffers. I'm a big fan of Bad Nerves too.

What are your favourite queer friendly spaces to play in Liverpool?

Quarry and Kazimier Stockroom.



Guitarist for Trout / Harks

a person with blonde hair sits on a red cushion on a wooden stool and smles

What style of music do you create?

Alt-folk, alt-rock.

What music shaped you growing up?

As a teenager I played classical piano which I think shaped my initial relationship with creating music. I love the powerful yet subtle and intricate harmony and textures in pieces by the likes of Chopin and Brahms that really move me. I think this is something that has stuck with me to this day even though my music is so far removed from it on a surface level. After some years of piano I started to teach myself bass and guitar and got into the likes of Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, The Breeders and The Pixies. This is where my tastes in music really exploded and began to develop.

Who are your main current inspirations? 

Sonic Youth are still a huge inspiration to me with how diverse they can be. Switching from insane sounding noise and distortion to actually really pretty chords and melody is something I think is really cool and inspires me a lot. When writing now, I tend to make the simple pretty parts have some sort of more grating and dark element against it in some way or another. I think beauty is largely contextual and so having something a bit ugly in there creates the full picture an makes the pretty parts prettier.

What are your favourite queer friendly spaces to play in Liverpool?

Quarry is probably my favourite venue in the city. There's a very varying crowd depending on the night but it's always super welcoming and great people who run it who have a strong ethos of being non-judgemental and being here to learn from each other. Birkenhead Arts Palace is also great and has a very communal feeling.



Sole artist, Zara Smile

a woman wears a blue clothing garment, black glasses and holds a vase with flowers

What style of music do you make?

Alt folk pop.

What music shaped you growing up?

I grew up with many of the YouTube musicians, including Dodie, Orla Gartland and Martin Luke Brown, who greatly inspired me from the age of 14. I grew up listening to a lot of the pop music that was on the radio, as well as my dad's taste in punk! 

Who are your main current inspirations? 

At the moment, my current main inspirations are Joni Mitchell, Laura Marling and Mitski.

What are your favourite queer friendly spaces to play in Liverpool?

I think the venues in Liverpool are really what you make them! I’ve hosted lovely lovely queer friendly events at Heebie Jeebies and Round the Corner. A recent gig at 92 Degrees with James Jackson was super friendly and a wonderful space to share feelings.