Seamripper

Two seamstresses making music from the rhythms of sewing

Rose Gingher and Jade Husqvarna have a band. And no, they don’t sound like every other band you’ve ever heard. Seamstresses by day, they create music inspired by sounds of their work: needles dropping, scissors swishing, electric sewing machines buzzing steadily. They record and collage the sounds together in a style they’re calling “stitchcore.”

The band is looking to record its debut album, Experimental Sewing Music, this summer—and is in the midst of fundraising via Kickstarter. The A.V. Club caught up with the girls to talk summer camp, inspiration, and riding bikes in heels.

The A.V. Club: How long have you been sewing and making clothes?

Rose Gingher: We’ve both been sewing since childhood and studied fashion in school. My first projects were tiny, hand-sewn outfits for my Tooth Fairy [doll], Ambrosia, who was about the size of Barbie. I distinctly remember a hot pink felt coat with a faux-fur collar and a wrap dress. I never got into making clothes for full-sized people. 

Jade Husqvarna: I started in 4-H and went to sewing camp a couple of times (both as a camper and a counselor). I did lots of fashion reviews (sewing clothes for yourself and modeling them), and I continue to make clothes, including doing tailoring for others. 

AVC: When and where did you meet each other?

JH: We met almost six years ago at [Old City boutique] Viv Pickle Custom Handbags, where we were both seamstresses and sat across from each other. After a few months of making eyes at each other over our industrial machines, we got brave enough to start spending time together outside of work, and we’ve never looked back!

AVC: How did you decide to form a band? What inspired the project?

RG: Industrial sewing machines are very loud, so instead of socializing we spend a lot of the day together but separate, wearing headphones and listening to music. After a while sewing becomes as natural as breathing, which gives the mind plenty of room to wander. There’s such a rhythm in physical labor, sometimes I’d find myself playing percussion in time with my iPod. I mentioned this to Jade, and the ideas just came pouring out of us. We talked about our favorite sounds—the swish and tink of a pair of Gingher shears, the rat-tat-tat of an industrial machine—so much percussion! We thought, sewing is something we are passionate about, why not devote an album to it?

AVC: Do you envision Seamripper using solely sewing-related sounds, or will you use traditional instruments (like guitars, drums, etc.) as well?

JH: At first we thought that it would be strictly sounds of the studio but, as we delve into it and experiment, we are opening up to the possibility of additional noises from traditional instruments as needed. We’re just going to try to stay open and let the sound steer the project. We have some great ideas for tongue-in-cheek lyrics about sewing, but we definitely want to keep some songs strictly “instrumental.” We’ll try to fill in as much as we can with vocals, but for cover songs, we may need to employ a guitar for clarity. We’re pretty sure we’ve got the percussion covered!

AVC: What other bands are you listening to right now?

RG: We love a good homemade sound, and the atypical instrumentation found in bands like Maple Rabbit, Pianosaurus, The Blow, Björk, Tilly And The Wall, Pomplamoose, and of course Einstürzende Neubauten. We also really enjoy the straightforward nature of ladies’ rock groups from the ’60s.

AVC: What do you do when you’re not working on Seamripper?

JH: I am currently training for the Broad Street Run; there is a lot of rhythm in running, and it gives me lots of time for inspiration to take hold. I’m a rock climber, biker, and lifeguard—I’m looking forward to the summer, where I work at a rooftop pool. I also have a bunny, a cat, and a dog that I play with, and am always working on a sewing project.

RG: I spend half of my life sewing and the other half studying biology—eventually I’ll teach middle school science. I’m an avid vegan baker, writer and brain-stormer, and I like to ride my bike in big lazy circles while overdressed (lipstick and high heels). At home I am overrun with cats and heavy metal. Life is sweet.

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