Interview by Kris Smith

We are delighted to welcome punk legends Hagar the Womb to LOUD WOMEN Fest this year. Buoyed (or perhaps grrrled) by a resurgence of interest in the anarcho scene over the last few years, the band are back in action and have released a new EP, 'Hagitate', with a track included on LOUD WOMEN Volume 3. Karen and Ruth from the band joined us for a mini interview: 

What are you looking forward to at LOUD WOMEN Fest?

Ruth: Looking forward to seeing EVERYONE at LOUD WOMEN – this will be my first gig since the first lockdown and I’m so happy it’s LOUD WOMEN Fest where I can dine out on such an eclectic mix of bands all day – heaven!

Karen: Like Ruth am so excited after 18 months of no gigs to play at LOUD WOMEN Fest. To see the Hags, friends, the great bands playing and to be part of an event with all the people there. Was not in a band for 25 years but have found this enforced break so painful. 

What can the audience expect from a Hagar the Womb set?

Ruth: Chaos. Especially as we haven’t seen each other since last March as we live far away from each other – and are likely to come together for an impromptu rehearsal just before the Fest. So LOUD WOMEN will be responsible for the uniting of the Hags and I’m sure Karen can expand on just how unleashed we are likely to get… 

Karen: I think we will be even more idiosyncratic (or chaotic) than usual as we have not yet had any opportunity to rehearse. But we will practise and on the day will be carried by the excitement of being back on stage too. I cannot wait to decide what sweary T-shirt to wear, have my hair dyed pink, buy new fishnet tights and listen to as many of the bands who are playing. After 18 months I will be so excited to see Mitch, I may even not attack him on stage. 

Can we expect a greatest hits Hagiography or might be you be trying out any new material?

Ruth: I’m guessing we get quite a short set-time given the amount of bands playing so it will be faves and raves with some newer tracks from ‘Hagitate’ chucked into the mix – definitely ‘Visible Woman’ our ode to the elders amongst us which obviously include ourselves. Last we counted we had a combined band age of 320! I’m hoping that other band members have used their lockdown time more fruitfully than me and come up with new stuff. I spent far too much time on Netflix.

Karen: As Ruth says our set will be made up of new and old. Which reminds me I need to print off and laminate a crib sheet. Have written a whole song in lockdown and cannot wait to play it to the Hags. Would have been more if Ruth had not converted me to Below Deck Mediterranean.

What’s next for the band?

Ruth: We have a few gigs lined up this year to celebrate getting back together..

Karen: Gigs in the next few months include Brighton on 30th October, with Zounds in New Cross on 12th November and excitingly going to Belgium and hopefully Leiden at the beginning of October. It will be a lovely shock after no live music for so long.

For any readers unfamiliar with Hagar the Womb, how would you explain your slightly-unusual name?

Ruth: We had to come up with a name in a hurry, there is no other excuse. We were given a gig shortly after we decided to form a band so we had to sort out who does what and get songs together and find instruments in a couple of weeks. The band name was just another thing on the to-do list and for some reason (probably exhaustion) it didn’t get shot down when I suggested it. It didn’t have a meaning and I’ve often wished we’d gone with a more mundane choice so as not to face all the “why?” questions from our inception in 1981 to now. However, in our dotage we are rather fittingly known as the Hags so I’m embracing said moniker at last!

Karen: Glad Ruth explained the name and we never thought that we would still be using it decades later. As a middle-aged woman I love being a Hag ❤️ and so have finally come round to our strange name. Lots of love xx

Hagar the Womb are 1 of 20 bands joining us for LOUD WOMEN Fest on 18 September 2021 at venue 229, London.