It seems the spirit of riot grrrl is alive and kicking, and living in Leeds! Awesome newcomers Venus Grrrls released 'Hate Me' today and it's a hugely satisfying rage-fuelled anthem. We caught up with the band for a lil chat ...
So, what do we need to know about Venus Grrrls?
We’re VENUS GRRRLS and we’re an all girl rock band from Leeds, UK. We all met at university, and began gigging in early 2018. We started off as a riot grrrl band, but naturally have evolved to be more alt-rock with a bit of a pop edge; those riot grrrl ideologies are still at the centre point of what we do though, and we wouldn’t exist as a band without it. GK’s on vocals/rhythm guitar, Jess is on lead guitar, Hannah is on bass, Gabby is on drums and Grace is on synth, and we’re very much about sisterhood, empowerment and supporting one another both in and out of the band. Strangely, despite the past year bringing us further apart in terms of distance and being able to rehearse/record etc, we’ve never felt closer as friends and we’re firm believers that you have to go into this industry with people that you can rely on and confide in. A statement in our bio from day one has been that we sought to contribute to the elimination of age old or archaic attitudes toward women within the arts, which is something we try to do in our daily lives as well as within the band. We’re hopeful in the future to just be carrying on with what we’re doing, making music, playing shows (hopefully, soon), and meeting new people; most importantly, we just want to enjoy ourselves and have fun. Music is a huge source of enjoyment and reward for us, and we’ve all said that a career doing this where we can earn a living wage would just be a dream.
We love the single! Tell us more…
‘Hate Me’ began as a Garageband demo that was written during one of the lockdowns, where we really wanted to focus and hone in on making some memorable motifs and melodies. The song can be construed in a multi-faceted manner, tackling once again similar issues that exist within our previous tracks such as ‘Goth Girl’ and ‘Deranged’. An example of this being where women are continually judged for behaviours that their male counterparts are not judged for, and thus being looked at differently for no real logical reason. Correspondingly, ‘Hate Me’ is delivered in a story-telling fashion that focuses on unsaid emotions between people, where there is a complete lack of communication about said feelings and happenings. It’s about the internal complexities this can cause, and explores the desire to have clarity and closure. It’s one of our more simplistic songs lyrically, but with the punchiness of the song we wanted there to be an uncomplicated and bold dialect alongside it. We recorded it with our producers Ady and Lee (Sugar House Music) in St. Helens, we really have a good thing going with them. They really seem to understand what we’re going for sonically, and have helped a great deal to polish our growing and changing sound, which we’re very excited about!
Tell us about the Leeds scene.
The Leeds music scene is just fantastic, and we’re so honoured to be a part of it. Leeds has always had a fruitful and supportive scene and is enriched with some amazing bands. English Teacher and their new single R&B has been on repeat for us recently, as well as La Rissa who are a dark wave duo and have such a cool vibe. Edited People, Purple Thread, and Bored At My Grandma’s House are a few others to check out too!
What are your plans now we’re coming out of lockdown?
We’re very much looking forward to picking things back up again as soon as it’s safe to do so. The first gig back is just going to be so exciting, and we’re keeping everything crossed that it’s safe for festival season to go ahead. We do have a few things to announce very soon but we are headlining The Key Club in Leeds on 6 November this year, which by then will be our first hometown headliner in over two years which is so strange to think about. We’re also back in the studio this month with Sugar House Music working on some more exciting stuff, news on that soon!
Who or what do you hate the most?
We cannot stand the pre-conception that women can’t play their instruments well, or at least ‘as well’ as their male counterparts. People definitely put a stereotype onto female musicianship, and it’s just so boring and something we’re very keen to help break down amongst the other incredible female musicians past, and present. It’s desperately sad that it isn’t widespread knowledge that rock and roll was literally created by a queer black woman, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. We hate that she isn’t credited in the way she should be, at no point throughout our personal experience with institutional musical education, was her legacy taught and discussed.
All photos by Milly Hewitt