Londoners Femegades just released ‘Not All Men’ – a stormer of an EP. Who better to guide us track by track through it than the band themselves: Emily (bass), Simone (drums) and Tom (guitar).

Speechless could’ve been called ‘Not All Men’ but as much as anything we didn’t want to step on the toes of Morgan St. Jean – and if you don’t know her track of the same name, you gotta check it out! Lyrically it is a collaboration with Gemma Aitchison of Yes Matters, and aims to challenge anyone hiding behind the phrase ‘but not all men’. For the verses we wanted to try to use down to earth, real-world experiences of the things men brag about to their friends. It is one of the benefits of the female/male writing combination we have, where we can switch perspectives easily and hopefully hit the mark with a song that is authentic from a female perspective but that ultimately is about challenging men’s attitudes.

We had some debate about whether to include the key-change at the end or not. In the end, we said fuck it, we may never have another song where we could put one in.
Then it turns into one of the most divisive things we’ve done musically!

Be Alone was the first song we wrote as a band. This one means a lot to us as (some of us are) parents and it was written when Em was pregnant. Surrogacy is a world that we’d not really given a thought about before. But the more we read about commercial surrogacy and even the potential for exploitation in more altruistic settings, the more it felt like a topic worth having a look at – and explore our own understanding and feelings on the subject through that.

Daddy Says is a song inspired by Bettina Flitner’s work photographing and interviewing sex-buyers. And the idea that ‘if the things they said were filtered by what they were happy to offer publicly, what must they really be thinking?’ really hit home.
You can see the influence visually in the video we did as well. Inspiration also came from the idea that only once some men have daughters of their own do they start to think about the need to protect them.

Like Speechless, it is a song where the protagonist is a woman but really the audience is men. In this case, calling out the hypocrisy of the father/husband sex-buyer.
For such a challenging subject, it felt like the easiest way to start the conversation was to take things to the extreme. As with any of the songs from the first EP that aren’t written with first hand experience, we were definitely conscious of making sure it didn’t miss the mark. And even (rightly) cutting the more explicit lines, it still feels a pretty dark lyric.
It’s clearly a change of pace musically, the trick of wrapping up something pretty bleak in that more acoustic, lighter sound to disguise it hopefully works well.
Also check out the ‘album’ version via download or CD for the “Okay” intro from Em that we left in – the streaming version doesn’t have it.

Big Plans (premiered here on on 1st Sept) rounds out the EP with a punk direction that we definitely want to take into the next EP. It’s not necessarily experimental per se, but hopefully somewhat unconventional in that it is almost 4 minutes long at that tempo. This one for us is much more about the music than the theme, and is definitely a live favourite. Although having said that, it is quite a fun storyline, a bit more autobiographical, with the protagonist trying to come to terms with the humiliation of a public rejection. It is a merger of ‘you don’t see the potential in me’ with ‘I’ll just put off doing things until tomorrow’ and the mess that creates!