You might know EilisFrawley as the drumming powerhouse behind our favourite Berlin indiepoppers PartyFears. It’s her flipside solo project which is making waves across Europe at the moment – ‘spoken word meets drumming’ is the vibe and you can catch her this very evening in fact at Earth, Hackney, London (it’s free too – go!) The tour continues in Sheffield, Manchester, Leicester and Leeds. All info on Facebook.
Eilis’ single ‘illusions’ is out now on Reckless Yes records – a beautiful ambient soundscape to dive into, with home-hitting lyrics:
Busyness will kill us …
In the meantime, we asked Eilis 5 pressing questions …
1. For people who’ve not seen you play solo before, what can they expect from you on this UK tour?
Strong and off kilter with stories about growing up, living abroad, the fluctuation in mental health and thoughts on discrimination, merged in a soundscape of drums, spoken word and synths. On stage I’m creating a dark atmosphere broken by catchy melodies, all held together by powerful and intricate drum beats. My live set is diverse, brutally honest and should encourage women* with similar experiences to speak up.
2. Fill in the blanks …
“My sound is like the lovechild of Battles and BrianEno with a bit on the side from CameraObscura”
3. Give us your artist manifesto in no more than 20 words.
The newest kids on the block reveal all to Tony Rounce
If you’re looking for a brand new band to fall in love with, Breakup Haircut is available at a moment’s notice.
The London based four-piece is indeed very new, having only played their first gig in May of this year, but they are winning new fans and making new friends every time they play, and have just released their first EP “What Did You Expect? I Got It Off The Internet” – a fab collection of warm and witty Super-Pop that will appeal to anybody and everybody who loves the kooky quirkiness of early Television Personalities or Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers, with a side order of Shonen Knife.
The immensely likeable quartet recently submitted to LW’s 10 Question Interview (12 actually…) As you will see, they have a fair bit to say for themselves…
How did Breakup Haircut
Ishani, Delphine, and
Ripley: We started in a Facebook
thread on the First Timers group. Ripley put a call out for band members, and
that’s how Ishani and Delphine joined – and after a couple of museum dates, it
was locked in. It took a bit longer for us to find a drummer – but we ended up
doing a serendipitous swap where someone’s brother tried out with us, and then
he joined his sister’s band instead and we ended up with their ex-drummer
Jordan – we’ve been together ever since.
Jordan: I was sitting at work, and I got a message. A band I was
in for a few minutes had recommended me, BH’s previous drummer had split and
they wanted me to try out. I did, and the rest is history in the making.
Who or what inspired
you to take up music initially?
Jordan: I wanted to play trumpet like my granddad, but
didn’t have the patience, same with guitar. The drums were the only things that
I seemed to not struggle with.
Ishani: I grew up in the middle of nowhere, and never really had
any friends. I took up the piano when I was four because my brother did it and
I thought he was the coolest, but by my teens I’d started to realise that if I
wasn’t going to have friends I may as well make stuff, so I kind of set about
trying to learn as many instruments as I could.
Ripley: When I was a kid, lessons were too
expensive and none of my family is musical. I was big into emo, pop punk and
metal but all those bands seemed to be playing music in these big, expensive
inaccessible settings. Then I got into horror punk and seventies punk in my mid
teens. The bands were all quite small and DIY. The old-school punk attitude and
disregard for having had formal teaching and just picking up an instrument,
making your own clothes and art and just having a go, made me realise I could
just have a go too. And a lot of the small venue and DIY style music videos of
the horror rock bands at the time like Zombina and the Skeletones were a big
inspiration to me to save up for my first guitar.
Delphine: I used to learn music when I was small, and later learnt
to play the guitar when I was a teenager with the idea of being in a band. It
was all about punk and heavy metal for me. Cut a long story short: never made
it into a band, prioritised sports over music.
About a couple years back my pen friend Claire told me about the Rock Project, so I started learning the guitar again. I eventually realised that making music is good for the soul, so stuck with it and joined First Timers.
What motivates your
Jordan: I do the bash bash bash, not the la la la. I’m trying to
write something but it’s difficult when you can’t play guitar or sing or
formulate coherent ideas.
Ishani: When I was younger I tried to make more complicated and
structurally difficult music – now I just want to write music that people can
kind of relate to and chuckle at. I think of the songs I write as like a
musical version of the millennial dark jokes that have arisen as everyone’s
grown a bit more open about being sad all the time. I frequently semi-kid about
never using more than seven chords in a song.
Ripley: What we do is quite collaborative, and I like how we
support each other’s ideas. A lot of the time someone brings some an idea,
riffs, a composition, some lyrics, into the room, and then everyone starts
writing their own parts and we form it into a finished song as a group. It’s
really fun. And sometimes you bring an idea and it ends up different to how you
expected it, but usually in a totally awesome way you might not have thought of
yourself. I’d never written songs before this band, musically or lyrically
(only a few riffs and a few lines of lyrics here and there), now I’ve done
Delphine: A mix of fear, anger, anxiety and PTSD from my music
theory-learning years. Mostly it’s about putting feeling somewhere other than
bouncing between my chest and my brain. Also, proving wrong quite a few people
I met along the way. I haven’t written a song yet; I’m hoping to finish my
first one before 2020. It takes me quite some time to write.
Who do people tell you that you sound like? And who would you be happy to be compared to?
Jordan: Literally no one has ever said anything to me about who
we sound like. I don’t even know who we sound like. Can someone please tell me
who we sound like so I can listen to them?
Ishani: We get called pop punk a lot. We’ve been compared to
Martha, Martha and the Muffins, Skating Polly, Slutever – loads of people. I
personally aspire to write songs that are kind of a crush mix between the
simplicity and catchiness of blink-182, and the vulnerability and relatability
You’re still at a relatively early stage with your gigging, but what would you say is your best/most favourite gig you’ve played to date?
Jordan: I don’t have a favourite but every gig we play has a
memorable moment or something that you remember. It’s strange how you don’t
really remember the show but remember the toilets of a venue.
Ishani: I’ve really enjoyed loads of them! I really liked playing
the Imaginary Friends Collective – it was a kind crowd, the sound guy had a pun
for a name (Paul of Sound), and I brought this cute little tub of bubbles on
stage to blow periodically.
Ripley: Most gigs have had at least one element I’ve enjoyed a
lot. To be honest First Timers Fest is probably still my favourite, just for
being one of the most overwhelmingly positive experiences of my life, not just
Delphine: Our most recent gig with Panic Pocket, Talulah Paisley, and Charmpit for For The Sake Of Tapes. It was just sooooo much fun!
Your dream line up on
any show you might play in the future would be?
Ishani: Camp Cope would be super cool to play with, some of our
friends have played with them recently and that seems wild. Sleater-Kinney make
for a really aspirational support slot. The Mountain Goats, just to exist near
them for a little while.
Ripley: Sheer Mag, Worriers, RVIVR and Screaming Females (I would like faint with excitement – ultimate fantasy dream line-up). Also I’ve really gotten into ARXX‘ smusic since first hearing their music at Loud Women Fest 2019, and would love to play on a line-up with them someday.
Delphine: It might be crazy and unlikely, but I would love to
be sandwiched between AFP, Bad Cop/Bad Cop, and First Aid Kit.
First record you
bought? And the most recent one?
Jordan: I think it was ABBA’s Greatest Hits; I bought it as
a present for my mum. I wasn’t very interested in music as a child and just
listened to what my mum and grandma played, which was mostly various disco
tracks and Elvis. Does anyone buy music nowadays? I mean, buy our EP, because
it’s great. I think the last music I paid direct money for was the Goodtime
Boys EP: Are We Now or Have We Ever Been. You can tell it’s post-hardcore, because
the name is long and brooding.
Ishani: The first record I ever bought was Green Day’s Dookie. My
brother had it on constantly so I bought my own copy when I was like, 11. More
recently, the last thing I spent money buying was actually a copy of our EP for
Ripley: Smile by L’ Arc~En~Ciel on CD was my first. The last record
I bought was Compilation (I, II & III) by Sheer Mag on vinyl.
Delphine: My first buy was AC/DC’s Ballbreaker, and my last
purchase was one by Efa Supertramp.
First band you saw? And
the most recent one?
Jordan: I think the first gig I remember going to was the
Taste of Chaos tour when I was 13/14. It was Gallows, Killswitch Engage and The
Used. I think the first band on was We Are the Ocean, so they’re the technical
first. I remember getting punched in the stomach by a large bald man and having
beer spilled over me. I can’t really remember the last gig I went to either. I
think it was Don Broco. I punched a large bald man and threw beer on
Ishani: The first band I ever saw was Busted! A friend of mine
kind of dragged me into it, but I do remember having a good time and standing
on a chair, and I think I was nine. The most recent band I saw was Instant Bin.
Ripley: The first band I ever saw was Bullet for my Valentine, and I was at a gig last Sunday featuring Cecilia and our First Timers mates, Bitch Hunt, Trouble Wanted, and Temps Sec.
Delphine: The Rolling Stones for their 40 Licks tour was my first
ever gig. Most recently I saw Tacocat!
Your all time favourite
Jordan: Everytime I Die (The Big Dirty is why) and Primus,
they’re varied enough where you can find a little bit of what you need at any
Ishani: Right now one is probably Kimya Dawson. I think she’s
spectacularly honest and cool, and influenced me a lot in realising that being
genuine can be a really good thing that people actually like and enjoy. Quite
similar to the Mountain Goats. I am also in a really big Boney M phase right now;
I like a good bop as much as anyone else.
Ripley: Pat Benatar, because her eighties rock was the soundtrack
to my early teens when I lived in America. I love their guitars, and they’re
such badasses – I desperately want to see them play live. And MCR, because emo
was a huge part of my musical development, and their music has aged pretty well
over the years (in my opinion). I also love the horror and fantasy concepts in
some of their songs, as well as their energy.
Delphine: Green Day and Yellowcard. Both had albums that I
discovered at times of great darkness (respectively American Idiot and Ocean
Avenue), and both got me out of difficult times in my life.
As a not-yet-full-time band, what do you do when you’re not being Breakup Haircut?
Ishani: Outside of my day job, I run a book drive for London’s
homeless shelters, work in a music and arts centre for adults with learning
disabilities, run music making and karaoke sessions in inpatient wards, and I
did Girls Rock London this year. I’m also in a couple of other bands, and I
swing dance and am also in a classical choir.
Ripley: When not doing band stuff, I like drawing, practicing kung
fu and being an archer in medieval re-enactments over the summer. I work in
tech. I think most of my colleagues are mildly bemused by my band stuff in
general, but overall supportive!
Delphine: Being the one scientist always coming to work with a
guitar. I juggle a lot of hobbies, but between the band and roller derby, my
life is full!
Can you offer some sage advice to other young singers and musicians who have the will to make music, but can’t yet find the way?
Jordan: Practice, and practice things you’re not a fan
Ishani: I think for us, and maybe for others, it’s important to
keep the focus on having fun and making noise and being around each other and
trying new things – and delegating or outsourcing the things we have to in
order to keep this a happy place for us. I’ve grown a lot as a person in this
band – it’s been my first actual positive experience with teamwork maybe ever,
because loads of the time teamwork as an adult is just segmented and ugly.
Finding the right people is integral to that.
Ripley: If a situation
isn’t working for you and is making you unhappy, it’s OK to bail. It’s not
failing, and you will be fine. No matter how talented and motivated the other
people are, if they’re not treating each other right, it’s not worth it and you
shouldn’t have to put up with it. What I like so much about this band is that
we’ve got a good mix of commitment and motivation, but also most importantly,
we prioritise looking out for each other and check in to make sure everyone
feels included and happy. It means we can trust each other, and also have lots
of fun together.
Delphine: Don’t worry about what others say – think about your
music as telling your truth. Just take that leap.
How would you like
history to remember Breakup Haircut in 100 years time?
Jordan: As the premiere hairstyle worn by the richest and
most powerful elites who live simultaneously on the Earth and the Moon. When
searching all the unique and powerful styles to choose from, they see a small
link to our music.
Ishani: Fondly. As people who provided a laugh and a
shoulder to cry on and maybe even a place to go, if you need it. It would mean
a lot to be a comfort blanket band.
Ripley: Like all bands from times past, in BBC4 music docs.
But also hopefully just as music that people can enjoy and hopefully relate to
and associate fun times and good memories with.
Delphine: The band that talked about feelings and vampires, and had the most fun. Fame and fortune would also be nice…
BH are playing at the Finsbury in London on Friday October 11th and Weenfest at DIY Space For London on October 26th, More gigs will hopefully be forthcoming soon! The ‘What Did You Expect? Etc.’ EP is available digitally from Bandcamp (https://breakuphaircut.bandcamp.com/releases) and as a limited edition physical CD from the band at their gigs.
1. For people who’ve not seen Rabies Babies play live before, what can we expect from you on 12 October?
Loud, fast & fun. Rabies Babies will put a smile on your lovely face with full-on angry punk tunes about lost weekends and smashing patriarchy. We will be dressing up in fancy outfits and doing covers of songs by the Primitives and the Runaways and playing our new song ‘Girl Band’ which is our comment on how women in bands are often treated by (not all) men on the gig scene (‘And the boys give us friendly advice – smile more, smile less, don’t be so aggressive’). This is our final gig of 2019 as our drummer is being Brexited out of the UK so we will make it extra special!
2. Fill in the blanks:
“Our sound is like the lovechild of L7 and Black Flag with a bit on the side from Joan Jett”
3. Give us your band manifesto in no more than 20 words
It’s all about having fun, not conforming and smashing the patriarchy.
4. Who’s your favourite band playing on the DIY circuit at the moment?
The Menstrual Cramps and Hagar the Womb! We are so excited to be playing with them on 12th October.
5. Draw us a picture.
Catch Rabies Babies Saturday 12 October at the Hope & Anchor, and check out this gorgeous poster also designed by Rabies Babies’ Lorna Tiefholz!
Hagar the Womb are punk legends, and they’re coming to play our birthday party on 12 October – we are beyond excited! We asked singers Ruth and Karen them 5 questions in the meantime …
1. For people who’ve not seen Hagar the Womb play live before, what can we expect from you on 12 October?
Karen: Great tunes with angry yet hopeful and funny words. Wild outfits and a lot of passion. Thrilled at long last to play a Loud Women gig because half the band are loud women. Ruth: The usual chaos that comes from 6 people living in 5 different parts of the UK including 3 different coasts in 2 different countries who rarely get together. Added to which we’re very old and forgetful.
2. Fill in the blanks…
Karen: “Our sound is like the lovechild of The Shangri-Las and UK Subs with a bit on the side from Bikini Kill” Ruth: “Our sound is like Fuzzbox, with St Trinian’s at break time (John Peel said we sounded like a bunch of shouty schoolgirls) with a side order of unfiltered fun.”
3. Give us your band manifesto in no more than 20 words.
Karen: Have a good time all the time, unless you need to drink cider and shout angrily. Ruth: Be happy, be aware, be optimistic, think! That’s what it was when we formed in 1981 anyway – I think it still has legs.
4. Who’s your favourite band playing on the DIY circuit at the moment?
Karen: Mine is The Menstrual Cramps for the tunes, bravery and mullets. Plus a great name. Ruth: Ooh that’s between The Menstrual Cramps and The Baby Seals – both have sounds, words and sentiments right up my street but have to say the MCramps edge with the in your face live shows.
The Other Ones are far from Other – they are the Ones. I’m One too. These Ones, us, have the cat worship, the interview paralysis (…until the last minute – ‘Punctual’, Francis calls it), the gig tomorrow I think, the next gig I can’t remember where, and the social ability of Other with really makes them the Ones. The music is pretty great too.
The band themselves consist of Steph, who is once, twice, three times a fantastic lead singer; Vicky and Nick on bass and guitar and lead cat duties (name: Socks, check him out on insta) and Francis; drummer, politely sarcastic at all times.
Hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did, and I’ll see you at one of their shows soon (once we remember when, and where they are).
Who would you most like to cover one of your songs?
Vicky: Marina (Marina and the Diamonds). She’s an incredible musician and she puts so much passion and heart into everything she does.
Steph:Lana Del Ray, I think that would be interesting to hear. Or Kate Nash!
Nick: This might sound really weird, but I am gonna say ABBA. I know that sounds bizarre, but it makes total sense in my head!
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?
Vicky: For stage presence – Ron Mael and his death stare. Bez for dancing!
Francis:Frank Sidebottom on banjo
Nick:Little Richard – he played some pretty punky piano and wore big pink suits. He would fit right in!
What was the last song you wrote, where were you when you came up with the idea, what inspired it, and how did it turn out?
Vicky: Last full song was Sticker – the idea came from the amount of sexist, patronising comments Steph and I get at every gig. It’s SO close to being finished and we can’t wait to get it in our set.
Steph: We’re in the works with a song called Sticker which is from the girls (Vicky & Steph) point of view of how shitty things can still be as a female musician. A lot of people assume we aren’t in the band, even with a guitar on our backs! They assume we are just girlfriends or fans. It goes as far as being thrown out of a greenroom as a bouncer didn’t believe we were in one of the bands. It’s amazing how shit like this still happens, but it does, so we wrote a song about it. Lots of anger in it and should be a cracker!
Francis: A song called Midnight Swims and a-Cocktails, about midnight swims and a-Cocktails. Basically just about my life ethos
Nick: I am forever writing songs, so I can’t remember the last one! The last good one was called “On Top Of Me”, and we’ve just added it to our set. I got the idea for the chorus while I was out for a walk, and I had to wait a few hours to get a guitar and actually work it out. It was inspired by one of us having some real struggles with our mental health at the same time as one of our friends. We’ve all been there at some point in our lives, so it’s very cathartic for us to play.
Which was your favourite gig you’ve a) played and b) watched?
Vicky: My most recent favourite gig we’ve played was at The Fiddlers Elbow; we had a great night with amazing bands, Nick only broke two strings and we did a very impromptu Tay Swift performance!
b) Bikini Kill because it was like nothing else. You could feel the entire arena fill with female energy from the word go.
Steph: The last gig we played at the Fiddlers Elbow! Was a great vibe with some great bands (Spit Sisters & Lambrini Girls) – it’s the first time we’ve ever had an encore! It was pretty amazing to have people singing back the words to your songs! And watched… probably all the emo bands I used to go and see and have the absolute time of my life!
Francis: a) I used to enjoy mime playing trumpet in a school orchestra. Easiest gig ever. b) The Tubes at Clapham grand a few years ago – still killing it in their 60s
Nick: Our last gig at The Fiddlers Elbow was a banger, hearing the audience singing our lyrics back to us was an incredible feeling. I’ve seen so many great gigs, but I think one of the most memorable was seeing Paws Supported by The Spook School a few years ago.
Recommend a record that you think our readers might not have heard of.
Vicky: I really want to put Spirit in the Sky by Keiino because ITS SO HAPPY but Nick might disown me…! So, Bats in the Attic – King Creosote and Jon Hopkins. Why? It’s beautiful and it’s not just haunting the song sounds HAUNTED. It’s one of those songs that forces your brain to stop and just breathe. 100% brain scooper song.
Steph: Dating In Old People’s Homes – Arthur in Colour. Such a cute song about finding love in an old people’s home, well kinda cute. Francis: Moodswings by Harem Scarem. Would have been huge had it been released a decade earlier. Pure 80s hair rock Nick: Under Branch and Thorn and Tree by Samantha Crain, or her 2017 album, You Had Me At Goodbye. She’s just an incredible songwriter, one of the very best around I think.
What’s your best piece of advice for young musicians?
Vicky: Try. Try. Try. Even if you end up playing to the sound engineer and a random punter – YOU ARE OUT THERE DOING YOUR SHIT AND YOU DON’T KNOW IF YOU DON’T TRY
Steph: Don’t be scared to just go for it.
Francis: No matter how much you owe in student loans or credit card debt, and no matter how low your salary may seem, it’s wise to find some amount – any amount – of money in your budget to save in an emergency fund every month.
Nick: Follow your passion and be absolutely relentless. Don’t ever stop. Also, don’t listen to people on guitar forums. You don’t need £300 drive pedal.
Your top 3 most beloved albums ever – go.
Vicky: Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman, The Smiths – The Smiths, Funeral – Arcade Fire
Steph:Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge – My Chemical Romance The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars – David Bowie, Hounds of Love – Kate BushFrancis:The Tubes – Remote Control, Roddy Frame – Surf, Propagandhi – Supporting Caste Nick:Hatful Of Hollow – The Smiths, Raw Power – Iggy and The Stooges, Dusty in Memphis – Dusty Springfield
What are your musical goals?
Vicky: Coherently play the Holiday in Cambodia and December 1963 on the bass. Oh and also be a rock and roll Queen. No seriously, if one kid said to me a song I’d written made a difference to their lives, that would be the ultimate dream.
Steph: To make an impact, to have people take something from our songs. Music has always played a huge part in my life, being able to scream and shout about stuff along to a song knowing that you’re not alone. It’s always made me feel a part of something.
Francis: To not embarrass myself too much or spend too much money on gear!
Nick: I want to be a better songwriter, particularly with lyrics. But what I really want is for our songs to connect with people, the way my favourite songs connect with me.
What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now? Vicky: We put on a kick ass show and are not afraid to look like total tubes on stage – we just want you to come have fun with us!
Steph: That we put on a damn good show (if we do say so ourselves). Come see us live for loud noise, shit banter, cheese jokes and back bends. We like to make sure people have a good time.
Francis: We are pretty good to listen to and quite nice company, we are always very punctual to gigs and in our private lives.
Nick: We are loads of fun live! Honestly, I think we’re pretty fun musically too. We’re not just a straight ahead, thrash and power-chord punk band (well, sometimes). Our EP we’re about to release may surprise some people, that’s all I’m saying!
Give your top 5 contemporary bands/musicians (and say why)
Vicky:Samantha Crain – she is so under appreciated but magnetic, and her guitar playing it out of this world. Charli XCX – GODDESS. Literally anything she does sounds like its been dropped from another planet and it’s incredible. Marina – Because everything she touches is golden and she truly engages with her fans. Panic Pocket – cos they’re the most cynical sarcastic bedroom babes you’ll ever meet. The Cribs – the guitars, the riffs, the songs. Everything. Will never forget singing my lungs out to Be Safe during the Men Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever tour. Steph: Panic Pocket – what’s not to love about them? Melodic and funny, absolutely love going to see them live over and over again.
Nick:St Vincent – She’s such a great guitar player, and she knows how to make some NOISE. Paws – A Scottish punk band that were a big inspiration for Vic and I kicking this band off. Panic Pocket – AKA The Best Band In The World. If I could write songs half as good as these guys I would be so happy! Also, they are lovely people with a lovely cat. Self Help – These guys have really perfect the concept of noise-pop, and they are brilliant live. Go and see them! Charli XCX – Sorry Vic, gonna copy you! I LOVE Pop music, and I feel like Charli XCX is the best pop star. Her stuff is crammed full of catchy hooks, but still remains deeply weird, and I feel that is so hard to pull off. Francis: Jai Paul, Roddy Frame, Mitski, Propagandhi, Richard Dawson (Nick adds: “Here are my policies, I won’t say why. Franny for PM.”)
Seeing Petrol Girls perform at the first LOUD WOMEN Fest back in 2016 was an emotional experience: rage, celebration, comradeship, and pure exhilaration. Punk as fuck. Since then, the band have enjoyed righteous success, including touring with War on Women, and even capturing the interest of the musical High Street with a recent live session on BBC Radio 1. Still punk to the core, they kick off their next UK headline tour this Saturday at LOUD WOMEN Fest. Do not miss! Here’s singer/force of nature Ren Aldridge’s 5 Question Interview …
1. For people who’ve not seen you play live before, what can we expect from you at LOUD WOMEN Fest?
Arguably too much ranting in between very loud techy post hardcore tunes about intersectional feminist, anticapitalist and antifascist stuff. And a pair of piss soaked sequined hot pants. And also a new stage backdrop which we’ll be making in 4 different countries on our way to the UK out of cut and stitched national flags…
2. Fill in the blanks:
“Our sound is like the lovechild of Petty Bone and Refused with a bit on the side from RVIVR”
3. Give us your band manifesto in no more than 20 words.
Ideas like the gender binary/ nationalism are maintained through culture: so music/ culture is one front to attack them on.
4. Who are you most looking forward to seeing play at LOUD WOMEN Fest?
PHHHH that’s really hard because there’s so many incredible bands that we’ve played with before and also a load of new bands that we’re dead keen to check out! I’m gunna say The Baby Seals because they always make me so fucking happy and that nipple hair song is an absolute banger. I also think that a bunch of people singing along to a song about nipple hair is a beautiful thing.
5. What made you want to play at LOUD WOMEN Fest?
We’ve been lucky enough to play Loud Women Fest twice already, and its an absolute honour to be part of it again as it grows bigger and bigger, and makes a meaningful difference to the wider music scene by proving just how sweet a line up can be made from women and non binary people dominated acts. We’ve also discovered some of our favourite bands through this festival – especially Dream Nails who we went on tour with after meeting at Loud Women Fest! Can’t wait to discover more great bands this time round.
This interview took place a few weeks ago, and sadly since then it’s been announced that Beth will no longer be playing with The Menstrual Cramps for practical reasons (but they’re all still best buds – this FB post explains it). Beth is cool with this interview still being published today though, and you can come say hello to her/wave/buy her a pint at LOUD WOMEN Fest this Saturday as she’s kindly stepped in to help our crew so look out for her in a groovy high vis vest!
Part-time solo artist and full-on Menstrual Cramp, Beth White has a lot to say! Beth White is a busy woman.
Having vacated the position of drummer for our beloved The Menstrual Cramps earlier this year, Beth now plays rhythm guitar and adds her voice to the group’s front line – a change that has added a further dimension to their always vibrant and totally compelling sound.
as being part of one of the best bands on the planet, Beth also has an
occasional solo career that she somehow manages to work around the group’s busy
Gregarious, outgoing and all-round good person that she is, Beth was only too happy to submit to LOUD WOMEN’s 10 Question Interview, upfront of TMCs’ upcoming appearance at LOUD WOMEN Fest 4. Here’s what she had to say:
1. How do you find time to create your own music while being a full member of one of the busiest and most popular bands out there?
To be honest, the vast majority of my material was written during the ages of around 13 to 19 – new songs can occasionally fall out while I’m practicing but these days I don’t usually set out to write an entire song – initial ideas might come out and I’ll work on them at a later time. Sometimes if I’m really lucky, a really good idea or hook will fall out of me that makes me need to write a whole new tune from start to finish then & there. I love when that happens.
As a teen I used song writing as an outlet for pretty much any emotion I felt, so I have a repertoire of about 50-plus songs at my disposal from that time! I’m bad with dating my songs but I must have written at least 15 more between the end of that time & now.
Lately I’ve felt it’s been a shame I’ve not ever been 100% happy with any demo records I’ve made throughout the years, so I’m finally working on an album. I give credit to being in The Menstrual Cramps for giving me the confidence to do it.
2. When/why did you decide to move from behind the drums to a more upfront role in the MCs?
Our drummer AJ became available and, as a much more skilled drummer than me – try 15 or so years, compared to the matter of months I had when I joined TMC – it was a no-brainer to get AJ on board and for me to switch to guitar.
Sometimes I miss the feeling of nerves and not knowing necessarily how a show would go that made me feel sick when I was the drummer – but being on guitar is a much better fit, having played rhythm guitar for 14 years now. It’s been cool to help out with backing vocals too – especially on Cull The Tories, the song that by that point in the set never fails to convince any reluctant factions of a TMC audience.
3. Does being based in a different part of the country to the band ever present any logistical problems?
Absolutely!! Being in London, I don’t get to be with the band as much as the rest do with each other – which can be expected as they’re all in Bristol. Between working full time and being in two different cities we don’t get to practice together too much, but honestly as we’ve been on the road playing gigs, we’ve gained the confidence we need playing with each other at shows week in, week out.
I’ve also had to adjust my life as far as expecting to be on a coach to Bristol most Friday evenings after a full week of full time work, and scheduling anything else in my life around that – it’s been tiring stuff, but worth it to be in this band with my best friends. Working Mon–Fri in London means there’s been shows midweek that I couldn’t attend, but the other four made it work without me.
As I see it, having fun with your buds should always overcome any logistical problems, so we all do what we can to make the band viable even though we’re in different places on the map.
4. That’s a very nice T-shirt you’ve got there. Could you envisage our unelected ‘leader’ as a fan of the band?
Boris saying he’s a fan of TMC would truly be the first sign of the apocalypse – the simulation would have to go very, VERY wrong for that to happen.
Formore info regarding my shirt, please see these articles:
4. Can you name two other bands that you would like to be, or would like to have been, a member of, if TMCs had never existed?
In another life I stayed in Brighton after university and joined ARXX. I believe I was at the first everARXX show, and have followed them since, I love Hannah & Clara loads, and will forever wish I’d asked to join as a bassist or something while I was still living in Brighton. Hannah has asked me to manage the band a number of times as well – but as I’ve not done the best job managing my own solo career, and ARXX are destined for world domination, I thought it would be best they go for someone who knows what they’re doing…!
I also nearly became a Cosmic Something with Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something shortly after I switched to guitar for TMC, as I also dabble in smashy untidy piano playing, though I have never performed on piano live – unfortunately I couldn’t commit, due to TMC’s schedule.
5. The best and worst gigs you’ve played to date are…?
The best has got to be with Kate Nash, supporting her on tour – she’s a really exceptionally talented artist & singer/songwriter and a really amazing, kind & warm human. Our shows at The Fleece in Bristol & Concorde 2 in Brighton will be experiences I will never forget and always be grateful for. The worst that comes to mind is an open mic gig I did solo once, where they stuck me on at the end of the night – the night was busy but by the time my set came around it was only me, my friend, and the sound guy. I was happy to pay my dues in those days, but those kind of shows are completely disheartening and can make you seriously question why you put yourself through performing or being an artist. It’s all good though – that show inspired my song ‘Gigs’ which is about people actually coming out to shows instead of just clicking “Going” or “Interested” online!!
6. Who inspired your original ambitions to make music?
I distinctly remember being inspired by seeing Britney Spears in her video for Oops I Did It Again… I wondered as a 7 year old how to get into the TV by singing and thinking I wanted to do that too.
I also should say in part my brother inspired me too (for fans of thrash metal check out Overthrow, as I got it into my head that I couldn’t just be a singer without also knowing how to play an instrument so I could write my own songs – my brother Jay lent me his first acoustic guitar, with two strings missing, and I began to teach myself from there.
7. Name three current singers/bands who you think that LW readers and gig-goers should check out, as well as the Menstrual Cramps?
If you don’t check out ARXX and Jemma Freeman and the Cosmic Something then who even are you?? They get featured in LW quite a bit though, so I’m hoping they’re already covered, trying to think of bands perhaps outside the London scene…
Werecats are definitely one to watch/check out, saw them at Boomtown and played with them at Toxic Wotsit fest – they’re a great band & a really nice bunch.
Amyl & The Sniffersfor a proper punk fix – TMC supported them on their UK tour at The Louisiana in Bristol and they were just featured on the front page of Kerrang!! So that’s pretty cool. Again a great bunch of humans too.
Another TWO I’d like to recommend are Pussyliquor and Peach Club – I’ve had the pleasure of seeing them recently, both are a bit younger than me/TMC I believe but they carry themselves with a similar energy to when I first discovered TMC as a fan – I have every confidence those two are gonna go places!! LW, if you’ve not already, let’s have them on the same line up please?? Make it happen!!
Can I name two more?? Check out Brighton bands Sit Down & Lazybones – both put on absolutely incredible live shows that will change your life, if you can catch them live you won’t be able to comprehend why more people don’t already know about them.
Another one to check out is The Baby Seals: Kerry, Amy & Jaz are all really exceptional people who are great fun to hang out with, and I remember thinking when I first discovered them that they so brilliantly make serious feminist topics accessible through humorous but totally relatable songs. They do this so intelligently – because of the topics they cover and how they go about it, in this really obvious way they don’t explicitly need to mention feminism or even identify as a “feminist band”, just a band made up of three wonderful women writing songs about their experiences as women and the wider patriarchal world beyond. They have such brilliant energy on stage and make you feel great when you see them – another band to check out that will totally change your life.
Sorrynotsorry – that was nine bands not three, go run check ‘em all out!!!
8. Your all time top three favourite albums are?
again three isn’t at all a big enough number… but three albums I’ve been
listening to on repeat since approx age 14 are:
Riot! – Paramore
A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out – Panic! At The Disco
Speak For Yourself – Imogen Heap
But other all time lifelong fives include Take This To Your Grave/From Under The Cork Tree by Fall Out Boy, American Idiot by Green Day, Songs In The Key Of Life by Stevie Wonder, For All We Know by Nao… there’s more to that I’m sure… like there’s just too many, Tony! Three isn’t enough haha…
9. And three current favourite tracks/albums that you would recommend without reservation?
Dreamspace (album) by Glacier Veins – AJ showed me this band and I’m in love with the lead singer’s voice
Outrageous (track) by Calva Louise – saw this performed live at Boomtown and my body went full fangirl
Same thing happened at Boomtown when I also saw Bassline Bitch by Nova Twins – an oldie of theirs now I must’ve seen a bunch of times live but there’s no arguing with the fangirl feels!! Their track Devil’s Face is more current & more evil though, definitely another one to check out
Also highly, highly recommend Daughters of Daughters EP & Iron Lung from ARXX, thank me later x
10. Finally, do you have any closing words of encouragement for any Loud Women who have the will to make music but might be struggling to find the way?
Please please please please please for the love of God, do it!!!!!
miracle of time and space that you even exist as you are – if the randomness of
the universe culminates in a desire within you to pursue music, you can’t shy
away from that & I can promise you – it will never go away.
an instrument, or if you’re too nervous to or can’t sing, front a punk
crap is not an excuse, as everyone has to start somewhere. “Goodness”
or “ability” is relative and meaningless anyway.
not an excuse and it’s never too late to start.
excuse yourself from trying it because of self doubt, imposter syndrome, lack
of support from anyone else around you – just follow that musical desire in
you, pick something up and get playing! See it as a gift from you to you and
treat yourself to it.
And if you or your band need further encouragement, get in touch with me @WRTWUK on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so I can hype you up!!
Beth’s solo shows are always worth catching, and there will hopefully be more to come later this year.
For all those who support putting women on stage, and turning up the volume