Big Joanie: 10 question interview

bigjoanie1Big Joanie are Chardine (drums & vocals), Estella (bass & vocals), and Steph (guitar & vocals), and they’ve been on our booking wishlist for ages – so we’re very excited that they’re coming to play this Friday 9th March at the Fiddler's Elbow at a very special gig. Based on the idea behind the book Under My Thumb (for which Big Joanie’s Stephanie wrote a contribution), it’s a night of ‘songs that hate women, performed by the women who love them’. LW's Cassie's new band I, Doris are playing too, and if that's not enough excitement for you, there's also a karaoke session after the bands so you can join in too. What a night! In the meantime, we wanted to get to know Big Joanie a bit better, so we asked them 10 questions ...

1. Who would you most like to cover one of your songs?
Steph: Well I’d love if Ronnie Spector covered our girl group song “How Could You Love Me”. It’s more a less a Ronettes song. I also love when local bands cover each others songs so I think it would be funny if Charmpit or Shopping covered on of our songs.

2. If you could add one member to your band – any person, living or dead, musical or otherwise – who would it be, and what would they play?
Steph: Kim Deal to play and sing everything.

3. If your music could have a superpower, what would it be?
Steph: Maybe the power of self-actualisation so people could see themselves for who they really are and who they could be.

4. What’s best: playing a big venue full of strangers, or a small pub full of friends? Steph: I find it hard to play in front of people I know so probably a big venue full of strangers. I prefer smaller venues though in general for fun gigs.

5. Recommend a record and a book that you think our readers might not have heard of.
Steph: For music history I love Cinderella’s Big Score by Maria Raha. It’s a great compendium of most of the women of the punk and indie underground, mainly in the US. A new record I love is Pillow Queens ‘Calm Girls’ EP as I love their Waxahatchee via Dublin vibe.  An old record I’d recommend is ‘Heaven’ or ‘Las Vegas’ by Cocteau Twins as it really is timeless.

6. One for the guitarists … bore us with the details of your set-up please.
Steph: I’m really bad at changing my set up though I recently switched it up a bit. I have a aqua green Squier Jaguar that I can’t imagine moving from as I love that early 90s Nirvana / Sonic Youth sound it has. When we go on tour I use my Red Fender Blues Junior amp as it has a great reverb sound. My pedal set up is simple as I’m lazy so I usually use a boss blues driver pedal, a Ibanez Chorus pedal and now I’m adding a simple boss distortion pedal to give my lead riffs more lift.

7. What’s the best thing about being in your band?
Steph: Everything really. I started this band because I wanted to link my black feminist activism with my love of punk. When we started there were very few bands who were doing what we were going. Now there are whole swathes of the punk scene talking about race and black and brown punks are organising to create their own space. It’s great to be in a band like Big Joanie at a time like this. It’s also great to have a sisterhood you can rely on and create music you love with people you love.

8. What are your band goals? 
Steph: Well, we want to release our album, we want to reach people of colour who might not know about us already and spread our message of solidarity with them. Also it would be great to act as a guiding light for young POCs who need an example of punk of colour getting things done to convince them that they deserve to be in this scene too.

9. What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now? Steph: We’re nearly finished recording our debut album and hopefully we’ll be coming to your town soon.

10. Give your top 5 contemporary bands.
Steph: It’s pretty impossible to only list five as there are so many fantastic bands around now. I’ll have to list the first five that come to my mind:

  • Solution Hours – I loved their first release ‘Into the Sea’ as it reminded of the best of experimental spoken word indie.
  • Current Affairs – I love them because I’m an Andrew Milk fangirl it seems and every band he’s in is immediately my fave. They have an amazing Siouxsie Sioux vibe without sounding like they’re just ripping them. 
  • Bamboo – They make the kind of introspective electronic music I’d love to make one day.
  • Wizard Apprentice – They’re the only person who I’ve seen use a hologram animation in their performance.
  • Secret Power: They’re super new but they sounds amazing, like a post punk Aaliyah.
Catch Big Joanie live this Friday at the Fiddler's Elbow ... also watch this space for more Big Joanie goodness coming to LOUD WOMEN stages this year!

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