Tag Archives: the ethical debating society

10 question interview: The Ethical Debating Society

teds1The Ethical Debating Society (TEDS, to you) are noisy, relevant, seitanic punx. Led by Tegan Christmas, with Kris on guitar, Eli on drums … we’ve not seen nearly enough of these lovelies in 2017, so we’re delighted to be kicking off our 2018 gigarama with them next weekend, 20 January, at The Amersham Arms. In the meantime, they kindly offered answers to our 10 questions …

1. Who would you most like to cover one of your songs? 

Kris: St Vincent or Comet Gain; Vince because she did such a good job with the Pop Group, and the Gain because there’s a song we’ve never used which’d only work if they did it.

2. 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?

Tegan: Virginia Woolf. I had a dream where I met her and said ‘Oh Ginny, how’re you doing?” and she told me “I’m good, I’m done with literature now, I’m running a women’s basketball team, they’re doing really well”. I think that if she had another lifetime she’d probably be up for a bit of rock n roll. We’d waive our ‘no bass’ rule.

3. If your music could have a superpower, what would it be?

Tegan: The power of persuasion.

4. What’s best: playing a big venue full of strangers, or a small pub full of friends?  

Kris: Tricky. We’ve enjoyed playing big rooms full of strangers, but it’s more fun when you feel like you’re making new friends out of them in the process.. and.. sometimes that happens!

5. Recommend a record and a book that you think our readers might not have heard of.

Tegan: Book – ‘The Collector’ by John Fowles. An us–versus–them novel that everyone should read at the age of 16. Album – ‘Radio Hits, Vol 1’ by Helen Love, which is perfect. Pure sunshine pop. I had it on yellow glittery vinyl.

Kris: Book – ‘Woman of the Dunes’ by Kobo Abe. Japanese socialist writes existentialist masterpiece. Album – ‘Bodies’ by Sidi Bou Said. Charley Stone from all-the-bands recently clued me into this brilliant album which I’d never heard before. Lifelong learning, isn’t it?

6. One for the guitarists … bore us with the details of your set-up please.

 Tegan plays a blue guitar with orange pedals that go fuzz, and Kris plays a black guitar with an ‘OCD’ pedal that we don’t know what it does. He was drawn to it, moth-like – but you have to keep it exactly perpendicular to the edge of the stage or it doesn’t work.

7. What’s the best thing about being in your band? 

Consensus decision making and an atmosphere of total criticism yet total support for each of us to try new things we haven’t done before.

8. What are your band goals? 

Finish the difficult second album. Stay ethical.

9. What’s the most important thing we need to know about your band right now? 

We’re working on a very special cover for a fundraising compilation and part of the song is in 7/8 time!

10. Give your top 5 contemporary bands.

Dream Nails: brilliantly charismatic communicators.
Guttfull: constantly-surprising collective of new talents.
ILL: art-punk, politics and everything unholy.
Petrol Girls: hardcore redemption.
Witching Waves: post-everything supergroup!


Find TEDS on Facebook and Bandcamp

Advent Galendar Window no.15 – The Ethical Debating Society

(Yes I know, sorry, I missed another one yesterday – blame the capitalist patriarchy for taking up all the time and making me work when I’d rather be doing fun stuff like this! Anyway …)

It’s most definitely time to open window number 15 of the LOUD WOMEN Advent Galendar … and what’s that unmistakable screaming I hear?

Iiiiiiit’s Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiistmas!

Tegan Christmas in fact! And her band, The Ethical Debating Society! Hurray!

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TEDS are a beloved part of the LOUD WOMEN family, with guitarist Kris (not pictured above – he’s too camera*-shy) as our very own New Music Editor, and Tegan is a key advisor to Team LOUD WOMEN.

Here’s just one reason to love TEDS at this time of year: they rewrote Chuck Berry’s christmas song Run Run Rudolf and made it a lot more punk, and a lot less sexist!

We can’t wait to see TEDS play on our stage again with our first gig in the new year: 20 January 2018 at the Amersham Arms, with Best Praxis, Personal Best and Dream Nails – unmissable, and exactly what we’ll need to shake off the new year blues!

*That camera, in this case, operated by James Indiehorse x

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UK riot grrrl: a second wave snapshot

Interview by Kris Smith
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Tar Baby

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 Candy Panic Attack and Actual Crimes, as well as current LOUD WOMEN: Bugeye, Ghum, Little Fists, The Ethical Debating Society and The Potentials!

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 Bikini Kill, 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.

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Tar Baby – 1st gig on 8 April 2001

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.

21729661_10159476386650151_467317679_oMy 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, Actual Crimes, 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 album launch

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What a day, and what a night! Our LOUD WOMEN Volume One compilation album launch party was a massive success. Undeterred by a last-minute venue switch, 13 of our awesome CD contributors rocked the very awesome New River Studios, played to a (at times) full capacity crowd, and thoroughly launched what is looking set to be a hugely successful album.

Pre-sales and launch day sales of the album now mean that we just need to sell 4 more CDs to break even on the cost of manufacture, then after that all profits will be going to Women’s Aid!

If you missed out on the launch party, here’s a quick round-up of goings on …

Lilith Ai and her new band opened the show with a poppier new sound. It’s Lilith’s stunning vocals that still makes your ears prick up and your hair stand up, so we can’t wait to see her playing again solo on the bar stage at LOUD WOMEN Fest in September.

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Janine Booth gave a poetry set full of characteristic bite and warmth, opening with a brand new poem about the ‘Disaffected middle-aged woman’ which really hit home with this one! Janine is such an inspiration – travelling across London to give her time to our cause (for which she donated her fee to Women’s Aid), not complaining for a moment about her early slot in the line-up, and telling me moments before she went on stage that her boob was ‘still cooking’ from the course of radiotherapy she’d had that week. Massive love and solidarity with our shero Janine.

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Madame So played next, accompanied only by a drummer, giving a stunning and heartfelt performance. She then stuck around to enjoy the rest of the day’s music – an artist who knows the importance of supporting her fellow musicians. Awesome attitude.

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(Sorry Solange, I failed to get a photo of you – instead, here’s Bagel, the resident cat at New River Studios.)

Fightmilk joined us next, having stepped off another LOUD WOMEN stage only 16 hours previously! They’re always a joy to watch – they’re a rocking party and everyone’s invited. Top fun.

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GUTTFULL played next – my band! We were on great form, if I say so myself … our singer, Moe, is proving herself to be a total natural at the front of a stage. She left the audience  raised-up/chastened as appropriate, and also covered in ‘cum’ from her party cannon orgasm. Dead proud of my new band!

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The Tom Boys from Japan were a last-minute addition to the bill, as they happened to be over in the UK staying with friends of friends and were looking for a gig. What a treat! They gained a lot of new fans in London yesterday.

The Potentials hopped on next and, bouyed up by the Tom Boys’ awesomeness, decided to scrap their planned set list, and instead play all of their old favourites that they haven’t played for ages. They announced this as their “disaster set” … but it worked brilliantly!

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Nervous Twitch came all the way from Leeds, in the rain, with a dodgy windscreen wiper, to play a stonking set. I’m always blown away watching Erin playing bass and singing *so brilliantly*, such a hard thing to do and she makes it look easy.

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Little Fists played next, reminding us all why we love them so much. Alternating catchy tunes with fierce rock;  and alternating melodic vocals with visceral, well, shouting. They switch between instruments with ease (well, ease, apart from Soph falling off the drum stool a few times, but done so elegantly of course!)

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The Ethical Debating Society were introduced by Scene Queen Pearl Pelfrey, who rightly described them as her favourite London band. TEDS were on top form – possibly the best I’ve ever seen them play – and they debuted some very exciting brand new material.

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DOLLS joined us next with their storming pop-rock, catchy tunes, stunning vocals, infectious smiles, and perfect teeth. How are these two not playing stadiums yet? We’ll just make the most of getting to see them in small venues while we can because it seriously can’t be long before they go stratospheric.

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Argonaut were also on top form – playing as a full band for LOUD WOMEN for the first time in too long! Lorna wowed us with her powerful voice and tigger-like dance moves, and Abby won herself a LOUD WOMEN ‘multi-tasking’ badge by playing keyboard, guitar, singing, and shouting down a megaphone during their set. Top work.

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Gladiators Are You Ready? however, won the badge for most memorable live show. Jose and Ste entered wearing terrifying masks, and if that didn’t scare the shit out of us all enough, a bare-chested, kilted bagpiper entered from the far end of the hall, playing through the room and on to the stage, then piping in the entrance of ‘Vulvarine’, aka Hana, looking hot AF in an outfit that looked like she’d just rode in on some kind of winged fetish pony. She then produced a cape emblazoned with several pairs of pants, with letters on spelling out ‘TOO LOUD FOR TOOTING’. They could have just stopped at that, to be honest, they’d made their point. But they then played an awesome set of spectacular songs. Couldn’t really tell you what they’re about – between the masks, the bagpipes, and the corsetry, I was pleasantly distracted – but we all had a bloody good time dancing along to them. Must see these lovely mad bastards play again soon.

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Then Deux Furieuses played their headline set and showed us all how it’s really done – a stunning set by two women with awesome talent, energy, and passion for their music. They were the perfect end to a perfect day’s gigging.

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Special thanks too to the awesome Alice of the Glitter Girls, who came along to paint glittery shit all over our faces, in aid of refugee charities. Glitter makes everything better, even these beauts!

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18 March – LOUD WOMEN album launch party

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LOUD WOMEN are holdling a party to celebrate the launch of a new compilation album, with all profits going to Women’s Aid.

Tickets £6 in advance (£8 on the door) from https://www.wegottickets.com/event/386676

Under 18s free – please obtain a child ticket so we can monitor numbers https://www.wegottickets.com/event/386677

Live performances from some of the 21 acts featured on the album, including:

Argonaut
Bugeye
Deux Furieuses
Dolls
Fightmilk
Gladiators Are You Ready?
GUTTFULL
Janine Booth
Little Fists
Madame So
Nervous Twitch
The Ethical Debating Society
The Potentials

LOUD WOMEN: Volume One – Preorder now!

Out on 18 March 2017 – a compilation album of 21 of the loudest women who’ve played our shows! All profits from the sale of the CD going to Women’s Aid.

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21 track CD with zine

£10 (plus £1.50 p&p)

Pre-order now!

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  • Dream Nails: DIY
  • Bratakus: Pollution Evolution
  • Petrol Girls: Touch Me Again
  • Dolls: Audrey
  • 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
  • IDestroy: IDestroy
  • Madame So: Black is Beautiful
  • Fightmilk: Chaperone
  • Bugeye: Hey You
  • Argonaut: Not Rich
  • The Wimmins’ Institute: Nando’s
  • Lilith Ai: Riot
  • Janine Booth: Real Rape

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