NAZ & ELLA – No (Doesn’t Mean Convince Me)

I know my mind and I won’t play…

North London duo Naz & Ella have carved out a musical path that showcases an alternative folk approach, which also focusses on social issues. Of which, haunting new composition ‘No (Doesn’t Mean Convince Me)’ is a fitting example.

The song revolves around a central theme of the normalisation of sexual harassment that many women experience, particularly in bars and clubs. According to a 2017 YouGov poll, 63% of women have experienced inappropriate sexual behaviour in a pub, club or bar and 79% of women expect this to happen to either them or a friend.

“There’s a level of politeness expected, particularly of women, on the receiving end of sexual harassment,” says Naz. “If you don’t follow those rules, you quickly go from being sexually appealing to being demonised, which can potentially put your safety at risk. This song is about not tolerating that behaviour and taking your power back.”

“No one should feel worried about or expect harassment during a night out,” says Ella. “No matter how you say it, no means no, and it shouldn’t be seen as playing hard to get.”

Naz & Ella have been writing music together since 2009 after meeting at school. Known for having their “beady eye on social issues,” the duo channel their anger and frustration at the world through tightly wound harmonies and intricate guitar riffs, showing there’s power in vulnerability.

The pair cite the likes of Nirvana, PJ Harvey and The Raveonettes among others as influences, a diverse combination that songs such as ‘No (Doesn’t Mean Convince Me)’ hints at. There’s a simplicity to the song’s structure, driven by Ella’s evocative guitar with its subtle grunge vibe and matched by Naz’s clear and direct vocal.

It’s also a composition that builds on layered effects and a good use of vocal harmonics that are warm and engaging – something thrown into stark contrast by the lyrical narrative. Lines such as “Sexualised then demonised when we don’t reciprocate” drive home a sobering observation. On that basis, ‘No (Doesn’t Mean Convince Me)’ is a song that’s compelling, but also unsettling.

This new composition heralds Naz & Ella’s new EP (DE)HUMANISE, due for release next month which the duo suggest will take a “moody and gritty direction while still retaining their raw and intimate sound”.

‘No (Doesn’t Mean Convince Me)’ is out now.
(DE)HUMANISE is out 7th May: