Interview by Tim Forster
Formed in 2008, Beverley Kills describe themselves as an ‘all-girl punk-rock attack’ Comprising Georgie (lead vox), Juliette (drums), Kate (guitar and b/vox) and Elisa (bass and backing vox) the band released their debut EP ‘No Cash Value’ on 9021GO! Records in 2010 with their eponymous debut album released the following year to positive reviews. A second EP ‘On the Trail’ was released in late 2014. The band has toured the UK, sharing bills with some notable acts, including The Slits – who dubbed BK ‘Best Support of the Tour’
Tim interviewed Kate via email.
Could you give us an overview of Beverley Kills? How did you meet? When did you start?
We all used to drink and go to gigs at the same pub, the Portland Arms in Cambridge, where Georgie and Elisa also used to work. Juliette was looking to start a new band and having heard each of those girls sing and play there, she set her sights on recruiting them. I joined after a mutual friend suspected I was the missing piece and introduced me to the others. Turned out we all knew loads of the same people but somehow our paths hadn’t crossed before. Which is weird because Cambridge is pretty small.
Had any of you been in bands before?
Juliette used to play in a much-loved Cambridge band called The Saffs and I played guitar and bass in various bands over the years, in Essex and Cambridge. Georgie and Elisa had both performed solo in the past.
Who would you list as musical influences?
It depends which one of us you ask! There’s a mix of pop, punk, alt-rock and grunge running through our veins. From The Who to early Green Day to Mega City Four to the Runaways to Veruca Salt to Heart. Elisa also thinks Dio is her spirit animal and has a penchant for classic rock but we try to rein her in!
Did you have a fairly clear idea of the sound you were aiming for from the start or has it evolved?
We had no idea we would end up sounding like this; none of us had played together before and although our tastes overlap we’ve all had differing musical ‘educations’. We planned to only do punked up cover versions to begin with but we realised pretty quickly that we had more in us. Especially once the harmonies started coming into play and we all got delicious chills.
What sort of subject matter do you explore in your music?
Whatever we feel like singing about. And we all find we’re more prolific songwriters when we’ve been annoyed by something or someone.
How does the creative process work in BK? Is there one main songwriter or is it very collaborative?
We all write our own songs which we then bring to the others for various tweaks and touches; that’s when songs really start to sound like us. It’s very supportive and very collaborative and we love it that way.
What is the music scene like around Cambridge? Are there plenty of opportunities for bands to play?
It’s changed quite a bit over the years; like most other towns across the country, we’ve lost venues, such as the legendary Boat Race (now just another trendy wine bar). However thankfully there are promoters who are working hard to make sure gigs still happen and we have been part of some really great shows here. We mainly still play at the Portland when we play in Cambridge but the Corner House and the Boat House are also busy with gigs (perhaps it’s to do with having the word ‘house’ in their names).
Do you think BK are at their most fully realised live?
Yes, whether it be a full on, plugged in gig or a ‘stripped back’ acoustic set. We have different sides to us, both of which go down well live. Plus playing live is the most fun, empowering thing we can do all together.
Does it seem like the musical terrain has changed for female musicians/bands in the time you’ve been going?
We talked about this and think maybe the fact there is still a need for events and compilations featuring female bands only shows the terrain hasn’t changed that much. It’s still seen as a bit of a spectacle. Although it’s always great to see women getting together and starting their own bands but the same old problems which have nothing to do with the music aspect still rear their ugly heads, as well as newer ones. We all know groping at gigs is a problem. We all know there’s often a creepy guy there just staring or taking photos (the Petrol Girls know all about that one) or remarking on what you look like on a Facebook band page photo. There’s also the men who come up after you play and tell you what they think you should have done differently. ‘Oh you should smile more on stage’, or ‘you need to turn your guitar up’ (despite having been hounded by the sound guy to turn it down). Finally, a comment I overheard about another female band:
- “they’re beautiful young women; what have they got to be so angry about?”
What bands have you been enjoying lately?
Between us, music-wise, bands like Bully, Doe, Natterers, Werecats, The Lawrence Arms, and Wimps.
What are your plans for 2017?
Well, we have two weddings to play at (one belonging to one of us!). We also have a few gigs between now and the end of the year, including of course LOUD WOMEN fest on 2nd September. We’re on a split flexi single with another wonderful Cambridge band called The Baby Seals, which is again being released by R*E*P*E*A*T Records, whom we love. The launch is on 21st October, at the Blue Moon, Cambridge. We’re also intending to work on songs for a 10 year anniversary album!
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