How We Met: Lou Hayter & Anita Blay

'I asked her how she was so confident on stage, and she said, "I just pretend I'm Madonna"'
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The Independent Online

Anita Blay, aka thecocknbullkid, 23, is an emerging singer-songwriter whose electric synth-pop has impressed the music critics. Her debut EP, Querelle, is out now. She lives with her father in east London

My first thoughts when I met Lou were, "Might she be a bitch?" She's beautiful-looking and you always want really beautiful people to be really horrible, but she was lovely; softly spoken, easy to get on with and a real music junkie. She came up to me while I was watching a gig at the 100 Club, in London, about two years ago and she was like, "Hey, my ex-boyfriend [Joseph Mount from electro-pop group Metronomy] played me your track and I thought it was great." We hung out, talking about music, for the rest of the night.

It's funny that although she'd been with New Young Pony Club, she wasn't used to being a frontwoman [which she was about to be with her new project the New Sins], but I'd been doing it for a few years. So when we first met, she was quite nervous about going live. It was incredibly sweet when she asked my advice about her performance; I suddenly realised she valued my opinion and it really connected us, and we started hanging out together.

When we first went out for drinks, as an ice-breaker I brought a bottle of vodka in my bag for us to share. I remember saying, "Now this is how you have fun." Lou holds herself quite well and is a very respectable woman, but I think she was quite impressed that I was smuggling in booze.

I really like that she's so cultured; every time I hang out with her, I learn something; it's inspiring to be around someone who's always talking about new things to listen to and new places to go. She often invites me out to places I wouldn't necessarily go to on my own; heaving basement parties with 200 people crammed in that rely on word-of-mouth. So she gives me a peek into a different world; she's well connected.

Music defines our friendship. I recently put down some vocals for the New Sins, so we've been hanging out a lot. We'd work on a track then go back to hers and drink, and at silly o'clock in the morning we'd watch Steely Dan music videos, which is quite a coupley thing to do. We've also discovered a shared love of Talking Heads, so we went to a David Byrne concert together; it was a great giggly girly experience.

We're different in a lot of respects, though. She's more reserved and a bit more smouldering then I am. I'm scattier and a lot chattier. What does she like most about me? I think she respects the stance I take in music, and she thinks I'm quite bold, as I never look nervous when I'm on stage.

Lou Hayter, 27, is keyboardist for electro-rock band New Young Pony Club, whose debut album, Fantastic Playroom, was named album of the month by NME when it was released two years ago. Hayter is also vocalist for her solo project the New Sins. She lives in east London

I knew about Anita before I met her. She was working with Metronomy and I was listening to one of their demos over at my ex-boyfriend's studio when I heard her voice. I loved it straight away; there was an incredible sweetness, and she does this thing at the end of sentences where she pitch-bends her voice into a trill; I don't know how she does it. We started communicating occasionally on MySpace, then two years ago we finally bumped into each other at a live gig at the 100 Club. We formed a bond instantly; we both knew and liked each other's stuff, so we had a lot in common musically. I mentioned her to my band New Young Pony Club and she came and supported us at a gig in Camden.

After that, we started hanging out. Most of my friends live around Old Street, and Anita doesn't live far away, so we'd have a lot of drunken nights out at places such as the Cave Club, or [alternate disco night] Private Party. She's a lot of fun to go out with. Before she got signed, she'd always smuggle a hip-flask-sized bottle of vodka in with her, which wasn't the sort of thing I was used to, but I really liked that about her – it was rebellious. Although I'm not so good at handling my alcohol, so I'd get wasted.

She's been to my house a lot, too. I have an electric drum kit and piano so sometimes we just get really drunk at mine and mess around on them till late.

But what really connects us is our love of music. I work whenever I can on my songs, and she's the same. She's probably one of the hardest-working artists I know. She's always got new demos on her MySpace page, but when I spoke to her the other day she told me she wasn't going to use any of them on her new album; she just loves making music for the sake of it, and I'm similar in that respect.

It's also nice having another female I can talk to about the industry. I remember that when I met her I told her how nervous I felt about being a frontwoman for the first time, yet she seemed really confident, even though she hadn't be playing live for that long. I asked her how she did it and she said, "I just pretend I'm Madonna." It really worked for me, too.

Since she's been signed, she's not changed at all; Anita's a very constant person and I like that in a friend – I can't imagine ever having a big argument with her, she's just so chilled.

ActionAid's cover of "I'm Every Woman" (featuring various artists including thecocknbullkid) is available to download for free at www.actionaid.org.uk/6degrees

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