Ahead of their LOUD WOMEN Fest debut this September, London DIY pop sheroes Bugeye stopped by for a chat with legendary music journalist Ngaire Ruth ...
I want a forever relationship with gang of four Bugeye. I want to sit up until 5 AM with them cutting out stuff for a home stop/motion music video like they did for the song ‘Don’t Stop’. I could get very used to shouting: “Where the hell did that idea come from Angela/Paula/Kerrie/Grace?”
Punk at heart, pop at play, eyes wide, intersectional, smiles all round, and more songs than the Ramones produced in a lifetime. Bugeye is prolific, a comment which makes guitarist, singer, and songwriter Angela Martin blush, and so much fun live. This year’s LOUD WOMEN festival goers are in for a treat.
“We come off stage drenched in sweat,” Martin explains. “We don’t rehearse a performance because we love being random but we prepare for a fun experience, one that is totally different from sitting at home listening to our songs.”
Whether the content is personal, political, or observational, each song is a slave to the 3-minute radio pop song.
“We always have a hook in our songs” she reflects.
Talking about the Bugeye show Martin becomes edge-of-her-seat, animated, explaining what happened when they last played ‘Sunday Monday’ (off the Ready Steady Go debut album), which involves samples and silliness. Also, how the band has outgrown their attachment to wearing sequinned outfits from the charity shop. (It’s so scratchy.)
LOUD WOMEN readers were treated twice, by separate journalists, to reviews of the debut album because they were inspired to write them before checking if it had already been commissioned. For Bugeye, it was the start of a new relationship with the ethical and independent Reckless Yes label and their super cool roster. (Second album is ongoing but not yet scheduled for release.)
That said, ‘Summer in the City’ will be released on their own Cro Cro label, (out 19 August – pre-save here) in order for them to be able to put out music from the lesser well-known bands featured at the Cro Cro Land festival, which supports new artists and put them onstage with established bands from the Croydon area; a project they started and continue to organise with aplomb. (Also check out Angela’s Croydinist website).
“We work with promoters, fanzines, other bands – anything we can do, just by going to their gigs, putting them in touch with DJs…”
If you listen to their Podcast, a feature of their fab DIY website, a couple of new bands get a mention every time. Today Martin wants to talk about Naz and Ella’s fanzine WEIRDO, which champions the Asian rock community, Crossfires, and Fraulein (who are also playing at LOUD WOMEN fest).
The conversation is a rollercoaster ride because Martin is a renaissance woman and Bugeye is all about Calls to Action, both at the grassroots level and on a national and global level with an altruistic and “just be curious” agenda. The director of the ‘Summer in the City’ music video for the single is no less than award-winning filmmaker Laura Jean Marsh, who struck a chord for Martin with her 2021 film Giddy Stratopheres. (The standfirst: Loss and Love in the storm of Guitars and Broken Glass that was the mid 00’s UK Indie Music Scene.) How did they meet? Martin read about her plans and the film’s content and thought she would be interesting to have as a guest on their podcast.
“I think bands and artists are way too focused on being famous, rather than asking themselves, ‘Am I enjoying this,” she points out, accurately.
“When I first started in a band I wasn’t clued up about anything and I don’t think I necessarily surrounded myself with good people. It is such a toxic industry to be in.
“Don’t put up with any crap. Even if they’re music execs, people who say they can help you. Do you really want to hang out with sexist, racist, arseholes? Don’t do it to yourselves. We would still hang out as friends, even if we weren’t in a band together.”
Self-managed, pro-active, democratic as a band, and keen to make good choices for the benefit of the environment, and themselves. These are pioneering ideas and are difficult to manifest in the music industry.
At some point, we disappear into a rabbit hole discussing ethical choices for record labels, including a replacement for vinyl.
“Obviously we don’t want plastic covers for our CDs. And then, did we even want to produce CDs? All our merch is sourced ethically, a more expensive option and not popular with a lot of bands.”
There are three explanations for the Bugeye name and I’m going for the inspired by the Blondie song because of the much loved random line in it which rings true of BE sensibility: I still wonder why the Monk in the garbage had only one eye?
Pop punk, and the opportunity to disco with wild, guilt-free abandon: see you there.
Catch Bugeye on Saturday 3 September at LOUD WOMEN Fest – tickets on sale now.