At a time in the music industry where the girl group department is certainly sparse, brand new Xenomania four-piece, Unperfect, are here to fill the gap.
Bringing a breath of fresh air to pop with their unique twists and unconventional yet pleasant R and B and soul accented tracks, the brand new girl group backed by Brian Higgins, the man behind the success of Girls Aloud and many more, definitely bring something new to the table and have a bright future ahead of them.
Made up of Chloe, Soipan, Siobhan and Tiah, Unperfect possess an abundance of talent, personality, drive and potential as they not only have the sound but also the looks and likeability to be the next big thing.
Their debut single ‘Gots to give the girl’ was only released at the start of this year, however, impressively since then they’ve already followed up with an incredible debut EP, received praised from industry icons such as Elton John and have collaborated with Robinson’s Fruit Shoot for their first-ever brand campaign.
We had the chance to sit down with the girls to discuss their brand new single ‘I’m A Dreamer’, brands sliding into their DM’s, dealing with the pressure of the industry and more.
Let’s start at the beginning, How did the band come together?
So me [Siobhan], Chloe and Soipan went for an audition in London but Tiah was already there. Brian had asked Tiah if she wanted to audition and Tiah was a bit unsure, but she auditioned in the end. We were all doing it individually so we didn’t actually know what we were there for, we were just sort of going in, writing, that sort of thing and then we were at a Christmas party one year, and we had all individually met Soipan at one point, so I went to sit with Soipan because I thought ‘oh I know you’. After I went over, Tiah and Chloe came over as well because we were like the only young ones there and we ended up chatting, eating loads of food and then we realised that we all sing and because we got on so well we said to Brian ‘we don’t actually know what we’re doing so can we maybe start something’.
How did you come up with the name Unperfect?
It was hard because some of the names we were thinking of were proper cheesy and we had to throw those out straight away. There was also one really scary one called earthlings and as a collective, that was the one that we all looked at each other and were just like hmmm no. We can’t remember who said it, but someone said Unperfect and the more that we ended up saying it we realised that it actually made sense. We like what it stands for and now we also play on it, for example, Tiah is now referred to as unsatisfied and we just keep playing on it and is something that we definitely know is going to represent us as we grow.
And on the topic of assigning names, the Spice Girls just wrapped up their reunion tour….. if you could be any spice girl for the day which one would you be?
Siobhan: I would be baby spice obviously.
Tiah: I think I would be scary spice, oh, in fact, I would be sporty spice.
Soipan: I’m not sure I think that I would be a mixture of scary and posh.
All: Chloe would definitely be ginger spice.
Who are your all-time favourite girl bands?
Destiny’s Child. We know it’s an obvious choice but all of their music is just perfect. It has to be Destiny’s Child for sure because all of their songs are perfection and every time we go out and there’s a Destiny’s child song on we just can’t help but dance.
And you’ve received praise from highly influential industry individuals such as Annie Mac, Clara Amfo and even Elton John, how does it feel to have the response from huge names this early on?
We’re shocked it’s totally mad, it kind of feels like one of them has decided to kick and pay significant to us and we’re just like…..you know us? It’s so flattering as well because you bring out this music not expecting anything and people are actually listening to you and your kind of like what? We think it’s even crazier because the people are so influential and it’s really cool that someone as big as Elton John knows about the little people. It definitely makes us feel like what we have is substantial and that it’s worth all the time and effort we’re putting in.
How does it feel to know that the songs that you’re writing such intimate settings can be heard by anyone around the world once they’re released?
It’s definitely weird. We think that we’re all our worst critics so it’s nice to get other people’s opinions on the music and when we write we always ask each other does this sound good, so we’re kind of writing together not just by ourselves. It felt really real when we released the first track because it was the feeling of we can’t take that back now and that’s one thing that’s daunting about the music coming out. Once is out it’s out.
The first single was ‘Gots To Give The Girl’ and obviously that was your introduction to the world, how did you decide that track would be the first thing people heard from you?
To be honest, at first we thought the track was too laid-back and we thought we needed something that’s really going to have some kind of punch. You think that you need that song that’s going to be so out there but it turns out we didn’t need that. I think we played it safe in terms of it wasn’t like a wow, banger beat drop song but ‘Gots To Give The Girl’ just represented us so well. One thing in particular about this song is that it’s good in terms of the way it sounds because it not only appeals to young people but also older people and if we were to bring out something so commercial they wouldn’t have even given it a listen which would have meant completely writing off all of those potential fans – of course, we had some guidance by Brian as well and we trust him completely.
You recently released your EP ‘yeah, why not’, how was the reaction to that?
We were working on that project for quite a long time about a year because we actually wrote that EP between October and February so when it came out it was nice to actually hear something that we had all written together.
And how did you go about the process of choosing which songs made it on the EP, I’m sure there are a few which didn’t make the cut?
The songs in our EP had to fit in with what we first put out but then also had to start evolving into a slightly different sound so we could start merging our way. It’s going along the scale because after we released ‘Gots To Give The Girl we took the time to think okay what’s next and what’s going to be another good representation of not only us but also where our music is progressing. The songs on the EP are definitely working around that sound of ‘Gots To Give The Girl’ because that is our beginning identity but then it was also about showing people our evolution and what other songs are to come.
Tell me about the Fruit shoot partnership for your new single ‘I’m a dreamer’. how did it come about? what was the process like?
They basically slid into DM’s. we got a little message from then one day and they were just like ‘hey we like what you guys have got going on over there, would you be up for the new campaign?’, so then they pitched us the new campaign and we were just so into it, and with Soipan being a mum as well, being part of a campaign about kids achieving their dreams we couldn’t think what of something more relevant to where we’re at in our lives. Especially because we are Unperfect, it shows that you don’t have to be perfect to achieve your dreams and you don’t have to be amazing at something to succeed, you’ve just got to have the drive.
The song is about being a dreamer- what would be a dream to achieve as part of this band?
Global domination. It’s not about how famous we get it’s more so about bringing out songs that we write which resonate with other people who will listen to it and take time to buy into our stuff because I think that’s the most gain that we will get from it. That’s exactly what achieving is – doing something that you love that other people appreciate which could potentially resonate or make a difference them. With me [Soipan] as a mum as well I know I attach music to moments so being a backdrop for people’s memories would be really special.
And in the video the children are living out their ‘Dream’ roles….when you were younger do you remember what your dream job was?
Soipan: Singer baby.
Tiah: Mine was a mixture of stuff, obviously a singer but also the typical jobs like being a doctor.
Siobhan: I used to make bands all the time and I would make him watch them all only because my favourite band was S Club 7 but I would just re-write terrible songs to their instrumentals. I wanted to apply for S Club Junior’s but my mom told me I was too young.
How has it been working with Brian Higgins? With seven videos already recorded, Xenomania obviously has huge faith in you. How has their support benefited you as a group?
We’re really grateful and it’s so reassuring because we’ve all come together and it’s almost as if one person is painting this big portrait but only he knows what it’s meant to look like, we’re all here with our pens and our papers but he’s like I’ve got this. We don’t even know it looks like but we just keep putting more strokes and he’s like this is great so it’s really good to have that because then all of that creative energy just flows out of us and one of the great things about Brian is that he never judges anything. In terms of working with Brian, he only ever really worked with established groups so for him to have so much faith in us starting from scratch is incredible.
With the backing is there also any pressure knowing the success of the previous girl groups?
We don’t see as a pressure we see it more as a goal. It’s nice that we’re so different and aren’t trying to follow in somebody else’s footsteps but instead trying to create our own. Obviously, we would love to be as successful as those artists but if we try to be them then it wouldn’t be successful because we wouldn’t be us. We definitely think it’s more of a standard that’s been set because we have the Xenomania brand attached to us, but from having the support from the inside we don’t think that it won’t be too hard to achieve that standard and we’d rather have the pressure because the people all want you to do something big.
What do you think distinguishes yourselves from other girl groups?
We already touched on the music and that it’s not standard pop, we can’t comment on values because we don’t know if other girl groups think the same way as us, but I think the important thing which makes us different is the right here right now. All other previous groups have been around in a place where they didn’t have this space in society that women do right now, so our music I would say is definitely unapologetic but it’s because we’ve been allowed as women to project that into society and not be judged compared to when bands such as little mix were starting. There are even so many LGBT communities that allow us to express ourselves in so many ways on different platforms. All those people before us have allowed us to do what we do now effortlessly because they’ve already broken down barriers so we’ve been given a lot more opportunities as women have the place in society they do now. We think that’s the biggest difference and it’s not by any fault of their own, but we’re grateful they paved the way. Oh, we also still have day jobs.
Out of the material you’ve recorded so far which is your favourite and why?
Soipan: Champagne. Champagne I feel like, not only because of the video, that was the song that I liked the fastest and we did it so early on as well. We finished the song before we shot all the videos in LA and when we did that song and I just knew that if we kept it, it would definitely be a favourite.
Siobhan: It’s such a fun song as well.
Tiah: We have such good memories from the video day too.
Siobhan: I was drunk.
Soipan: We were all drunk and it was because of one continuity error. We had to film this one take over and over again and we had to keep drinking champagne but you can’t take away champagne once you’ve drank it so we would just get popping bottles and it went a bit mad. We ended up drinking three bottles of champagne.
Nobody’s life is perfect, and a lot of people have down days….. when you’re feeling a bit low or are having an off day what’s your favourite thing to do to try and boost your spirits?
Soipan: I love spending time with my son because kids, in general, have no malice in them, they’re just pure so even when you’re around them you just get the best version of life. I feel like that’s one thing my son’s really given me and he’s given me a lot of peace. Besides that, I draw, I recently bought a bike so I go on bike rides but ultimately I think it’s very much an inner happiness thing. People get confused between feeding their inner happiness and feeding their external happiness and how much happiness it will give you and how long for. I think for anyone trying to find peace and trying to find true happiness they should feed their inner happiness’s rather than their external.
Siobhan: For me, I live away from my family, because they live in London and I live in Hampshire, so if I’m down I always like to talk to my family and friends because it’s nice to almost get that home feeling. I also really enjoy writing, I just sit and chill in my room and play my guitar and write even if none of it makes sense.
How is it being females in the music industry and how do you deal with the pressure of having to be and look a certain way?
Siobhan: I think the pressure is always there and I think we would be lying if we said we don’t feel the pressure because everyone is going to see our Instagram and have opinions and probably be negative about something at some point. Sometimes you have to be careful to not get lost but in this industry, you have to just disregard some opinions and I think it’s good being in a girl band because I think we would all be quite lost if we were doing this solo. It’s nice because I’ve got the other girls and they give me that reassurance and that kick when I’m down and we will always support each other. I think that the friendship we’ve created since the start of the band is key for us.
Soipan: One thing I learnt as well, which came more apparent to me being a mum, is that when I had to start being present for things, such as being at the school gates, I was so conscious of what I should look like so I started dressing in a way people would think that I was a ‘good’ young mum. It honestly started killing me, I was diluting myself as a person and as soon as I started dressing expressively and buying from charity shops I actually got better at being a mum because I found myself and one thing I’ll always say now, is never keep up appearances.
Let’s talk about collaborations, would be your dream person to make a song with?
Soipan: Oh, if we can choose someone who has passed then definitely Prince. I think he would definitely be there for the women’s revolution and I know he’d probably be sad about missing it because he was all about empowerment. Not to mention the LGBT movement too, I feel he would’ve just thrived off it and with us being Unperfect I’d love it if he was here for it.
Siobhan: I think mine would have to be Stevie, Stevie wonder.
Are there any plans for a tour this year?
We’re doing some live sessions in the next few months but in terms of touring, we’re not too sure because we’re really focusing on establishing ourselves. We are still fairly fresh.
What are you most excited about for the rest of the year?
Bringing out new stuff and we’re definitely excited for ‘Champagne’.
Lastly, if you could give any piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Soipan: Never take bad words personally! Sometimes you can analyse yourself very unnecessarily and it takes up a lot of your time so just don’t take everything personally. Just know what you’re doing and don’t worry about anyone else.
Siobhan: I think mine would be to stop putting yourself down and just accept who you are. I spent my younger years being someone I’m not, comparing myself to friends and I used to focus on the little things and I wish I hadn’t and I want my kids to grow up not worrying about what anyone says to them. I think I would say just accept yourself and don’t waste all your energy on the small things which stress you out which don’t actually mean anything in the big picture.
Unperfect’s brand new single ‘I’m a Dreamer’, along with their debut EP ‘Yeah, Why Not’ is available across all major streaming platforms.
Be sure to check out their music and let us know what you think over on Twitter @CelebMix