Just before Christmas, Bugeye popped in to Cassie Fox’s kitchen, to play a couple of songs, and have a chat about releasing their new album, a career spanning the 90s DIY scene, Wembley stadium and everything in between, and how to play a guitar with a baby bump!
Video features live performances of ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Hey You’. Look out for cameo appearances from Abby Werth, Ernie the cat, and baby Beth.
We heart Bugeye’s new single and accompanying video big time – not least because those superbabes have dedicated it to DIY collectives fighting to make a difference in their local communities, such as The Zine UK, This Feeling, The Music Trust, Northern Exposure, and, yours truly, LOUD WOMEN! Right back atcha with that lovebomb, you lovely Bugeyes you.
Our ego-flattery aside, this is a top class disco-punk track which showcases everything that’s brilliant about this Croydon threesome. Their roots as a 90’s riot grrrl-tinged indie-pop band of note are still proudly on display, but fused with a modern DIY attitude. The groovily animated video (by Philippe Blaine) features Theresa May and Nigel Farage cage dancing … don’t let that put you off though, it’s a cute watch.
The band, who are made up of Angela Martin (Vox, Guitar), Paula Snow (Bass) and Jack Houston (Drums), formed in the late 90’s playing at some of London’s most notable venues; taking in The Astoria to Wembley and everything in between. Having returned from their hiatus in 2015, Bugeye played a number of shows in and around London (including the second ever LOUD WOMEN show, at the Silver Bullet, fact fans!) before releasing their EP Never Let You Go in 2016.
Wake Up by Bugeye is out now via Marwoo Records. Follow Bugeye on Twitter and Facebook
As an occasional feature we promise not to call ‘How I became a Loud Woman’, we interview musicians about their inspiration, beginnings and career in the DIY scene. Here, Sophie from Little Fists gives us a glimpse at a riot grrrl scene linked to much missed bands such as CandyPanicAttack and ActualCrimes, as well as current LOUD WOMEN: Bugeye, Ghum, LittleFists, TheEthicalDebatingSociety and ThePotentials!
It was weird being a teenage girl in the late 90s / early 2000s – feminism was apparently dead, grunge was dead too (and I was too young anyway), and all that seemed to be on offer was ladette culture and magazines like Kerrang! featuring female musicians as hot novelties. As a teenage feminist I felt like an oddity, but thanks to the serendipity of the internet, I discovered riot grrrl and suddenly a whole world blossomed in front of my eyes: women with guitars, contorting their voices into every sound imaginable, filled with rage and pain, singing about shit I cared about? This was so fucking REAL. I immersed myself in BikiniKill, Babes in Toyland, Hole, Heavens to Betsy and every other riot grrrl record I could get my hands on. I discovered zines and the concept of riot grrrl chapters, and, well, that was it.
My first band Tar Baby (named after a lyric from a Breeders song) got together in 2000.
None of us could play our instruments, but we learnt as we played, writing songs about fucked up beauty standards, and battling misogynistic rehearsal studio bros along the way.
Later that year, I started a riot grrrl chapter in London with my bassist Clair and suddenly we were surrounded by like-minded people. It was an explosion of creativity: everyone was in a band or writing a zine, and zines led to pen pals, which led to more zines and a whole UK network of amazingness. There was something so vital about holding a zine in your hand, written by someone your own age, and being able to read about stuff you could actually relate to – sex, feminism, body image, relationships, mental health, just how it felt to be a fucking teenager in this bullshit world. I started my own zine – Antisocial Scarlet – in 2001, and I still have all the zines from that time: Sister Disco, Twinkle Eye Fizzy, The Hand That Cradles The Rock, Dead End Doll, She’s Not Even Pretty, Spilt Milkshake, Firefly, Pussy Star, as well as my chapter’s collective zines and so many more. Ink from teenage hearts/minds/souls, spilt onto paper, photocopied and preserved forever.
My chapter, Riot Girl London, wasn’t really an activist group – as the Guardian wrote about us at the time: “they are not plotting to picket Spearmint Rhino” (as if we would have wanted to?). More importantly, what we did was meet regularly and created a space to, well, just be. To go from being bullied at college for being a feminist, to being surrounded by political, fierce, creative peers was invaluable. We had picnics, went to the pub and got together to see bands like Le Tigre and Sleater Kinney play. I think we may also have managed to put on a gig (which I can’t take any credit for!), which seemed almost insurmountably hard at the time – thank god some things are easier these days.
The bands I remember most from that time are Hooker, Valerie, Bugeye (guitarist Angela came to chapter meetings) and Linus (whose guitarist Andy Roberts was also a member of RGL, but sadly passed away in 2005). I’m not sure if I ever saw any of these bands play live – surely I must have?? (anxiety and vodka do weird things to one’s memory). But I do vividly remember giving a member of the band Angelica one of Riot Girl London’s flyers and her being most unimpressed… ouch. Some of the RGL bands were The Cherry Bombers and Witches of Oz, who Tar Baby played our first ever gig with (along with The Lollies and The Blue Minkies) in April 2001. This gig introduced me to the fact that being in a band is mostly about extreme nerves, waiting around for hours and drinking tequila, but seeing Witches of Oz play made me forget about all of that; they were fierce and intense and seeing their drummer Vicki beat the shit out of the drums was utterly inspiring. Women can’t drum? Yeah right, fuckers.
Like so many bands, Tar Baby didn’t last – we split up right before we were meant to play Ladyfest Glasgow along with The Gossip (which I am obviously not bitter about at all, 16 years later), but it did lead to more bands and more connections…
I ended up in an early incarnation of Candy Panic Attack, which led to the short-lived Emily’s Values, whose singer was of course the amazing Tegan – now in possibly the best band ever, The Ethical Debating Society. Aaron from my riot grrrl chapter ended up in a band with Vicki, whose bands (both together and apart) include Left Leg, ActualCrimes, Ghum, Ex People and Jane Doe Ensemble.
After a 7 year gap of not playing music, I joined My Therapist Says Hot Damn, which broke me out of terrified monotony and into a world of screaming, crying, guitar smashing, amps-on-fire chaos and joy….which finally led me to Little Fists. And in another twist of fate and serendipity, a few years ago I ended up on a night out with Holly Casio – the writer of much-loved early 2000s zine Angel Food – who now plays in the awesome Buffycore band The Potentials. It feels so heartening that 17 years later I am still surrounded by the people who created this second wave riot grrrl culture in the UK, and to know that even though the world is still fucked, we’re part of this huge community of musicians, writers and activists, trying to create a small space where things don’t feel so bad.
LOUD WOMEN – Volume One will be released on CD on 18 March 2017, featuring tracks by 21 of the UK’s most hotly-tipped female artists:
Dream Nails: DIY
Bratakus: Pollution Evolution
Petrol Girls: Touch Me Again
The Empty Page: Deeply Unlovable
The Ethical Debating Society: Poor Liam
Gladiators Are You Ready?: I Want to Love You
deux furieuses: Out of My System
Fight Rosa Fight!: Sick of You
GUTTFULL: Keyboard Warrior
Little Fists: Tyler is Not a Feminist
The Potentials: Moloch
Nervous Twitch: Something Wrong With Me
Madame So: Black is Beautiful
Bugeye: Hey You
Argonaut: Not Rich
The Wimmins’ Institute: Nando’s
Lilith Ai: Riot
Janine Booth: Real Rape
All artists have played at the LOUD WOMEN monthly live music nights or the annual festival.
Organiser and musician Cassie Fox says: “It’s 2017 and women are still struggling to get their voices heard in all arenas. LOUD WOMEN is about putting women centre-stage and turning up the volume. There are hoardes of massively talented female artists out there, hopefully this CD can bring a few of them to a wider audience.”
The album will be officially launched on 18 March with a special all-day gig at the Sound Lounge in Tooting, featuring live performances from 12 of the artists on the CD.
The patriarchy has had his chance to run things, and he’s just made a complete dog’s breakfast of it, 2016 being case in fucking point. Time for revolution woman-style … and here’s how the LOUD WOMEN are planning on doing their bit.
Step 1: The LOUD WOMEN compilation album – out in March!
We’re putting together a CD featuring some of the amazing acts that have played LW nights so far, and we’re going to be selling it far and wide to help spread the word, and music. All profits from the CD will go to Women’s Aid. And I can now exclusively reveal that the artists contributing to the CD will be: Argonaut | Bratakus | Bugeye | Deux Furieuses | Dolls | Dream Nails | Fightmilk | Fight Rosa Fight | Gladiators Are You Ready | Grace Petrie | GUTTFULL | Janine Booth | IDestroy | Lilith Ai | Little Fists | Nervous Twitch | The Empty Page | The Potentials | The Wimmins’ Institute
Step 2: Friends of LOUD WOMEN
Sharing is caring, so we’re teaming up with awesome friends to curate our regular London gigs, keeping the nights varied and bringing along new friends on the way. See the gigs list for details of gigs coming up with ParallelMagazine, Abigail’sParties and Who Run the World.
Step 3: LOUD WOMEN on tour
With London gigs rocking away nicely, it’s time to turn our attention elsewhere. We’re going to be holding gigs in major towns and cities around the UK throughout the Spring. Dates and locations coming soon … but if you would like to get involved and help put on a LOUD WOMEN show in your home town, drop us line at email@example.com
LOUD WOMEN describe themselves as “a DIY collective that champions women in music by hosting live events that are fun, friendly and frickin awesome”. The gigs were launched in October 2015 by Cassie Fox, of The Wimmins’ Institute and Thee Faction, as part of the ‘We Shall Overcome’ weekend of anti-austerity gigs staged all over the UK.
She says, “I looked at the list of gigs – hundreds of them – all starring men with guitars, male DJs, male organisers, and I thought I’d try putting on a women-led live music night at the Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park. I was bouyed up from having organised a big show (with Thee Faction), at Union Chapel, a fundraiser for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership campaign, which raised nearly £10,000. The first LOUD WOMEN night was a massive hit! The place was packed from the start, we raised loads of money for our chosen charity (Women’s Aid), and some awesome, unknown bands got a platform.”
Most notably, this was Dream Nails’ first ever gig, a band involved with feminist direct action groups. Without even a demo to their name they were booked by Cassie, as the bill’s opener, and delivered an infectious Ramones meets Bikini Kill for the 21st Century. News of this fire, feminism and fun travelled fast: since then they’ve released an EP, ‘DIY’, live shows are always sold out, and they’ve secured a slot at this year’s Glastonbury.
“That’s what LW is all about: putting talented and committed women on stages who might otherwise have struggled to get heard.”
Anya of Dream Nails describes LOUD WOMEN as “our fairy punkmothers”.
Since that first gig, LOUD WOMEN have showcased 42 women-led acts via 17 shows, and raised nearly £1,000 for Women’s Aid, through a regular raffle (prizes often include rare records and books). Shows are mostly in London, where Cassie Fox is based, but not exclusively so: recent dates included cracking events at Newport and Brighton.
In February, the LOUD WOMEN eZine was launched to over 1,000 subscribers, featuring news, interviews, videos and music reviews. A festival is planned for September. Bob Oram wrote in The Morning Star that “Loud Women will undoubtedly be the beacon for all the best new female talent in 2016”.
Tegan Christmas, of The Ethical Debating Society, says LOUD WOMEN are the “Best shows in London for grrrl fronted guitar action! Inclusive, friendly and inspiring.”
Angela Martin of Bugeye says, “Awesome crowds, amazing bands and one of the most supportive promoters you’re likely to meet.”
Artist Diane Goldie describes the nights as “Real feminism and sisterhood in action with a rrriotous score”
Behind the scenes is a group known as ‘Team LOUD WOMEN’ – a group of musicians, gig-goers, music journalists and writers, willing to support Loud Women, as and when required in areas such as marketing, writing for the E-zine, organisation, door duty, stage managing, social media, design. Women who join the Loud Women team are committed to DIY music, and want to support Cassie’s vision and share their experience or knowledge, others want to work or study in a particular field, a feasible very part time internship.
What type of bands is Loud Women looking for?
“Officially, the genres we put on are punk, pop and indie,” says Cassie. “But in practice it’s just ‘stuff that I like’. And, to be fair, that seems to be working pretty well for us so far! My favourite bands are those who have something to say for themselves, but want us all to have a good time while they’re doing that. That’s the kind of atmosphere we love at LW shows: one minute we’ll have tears in our eyes because someone on stage has just been so open and honest about something that’s hurt them, the next we’re down the front jumping about with our friends, laughing while we’re dancing and singing along to some badass music.”
LOUD WOMEN also host regular all-ages matinee gigs, the first, at the Lexington, Islington and the next on 18th June at the Half Moon, Putney, with acts such as Piney Gir and The Priscillas providing entertainment for grown ups and kiddies alike. Children are encouraged to take part in music making and bands adapt their set for the mixed audience. There is face painting for children and the usual raffle. Parents need to provide their own ear-plugs or headphones for children but the sound level is not as high as a normal live show.
Highlight of the LOUD WOMEN calendar this year is their first all-day festival – Saturday 3rd September at the 700 capacity venue T.Chances in Tottenham. 25 acts will appear across two stages (with no slot clashes), in a line-up that mixes established artists, such as Desperate Journalist, Louise Distras and Grace Petrie, hot new stars like Vodun and Dolls, and DIY favourites such as The Ethical Debating Society, PetrolGirls and DreamNails. There will be stalls, zines, clothing, poetry and speakers. The event is all-ages until 7pm, then the louder bands get going until 2am.
Ngaire Ruth wrote for Melody Maker for 15 years, as well as presenting Transmission TV, in the ‘80s and ‘90s. More recently, she’s moved into online journalism as Live Editor for thegirlsare.com, and continutes to freelance and teach at UCA.
CHARLEY’S CLASSIC COVERS
Charley Stone from All-The-Bands with exuberantly lo-fi interpretations of classic pop hits. Expect distorted guitars, dodgy drum machines and fragile vocals together with guest appearances from other Minor Indie Celebrities.