Interview and photos by Keira Cullinane, exclusively for LOUD WOMEN
The Nyx are incredible. They are also known as Collette (on drums), Becky and Simone (on V’s and G’s) and Ruby (on bass), and they’re playing for loud Women and the Veg Bar in Brixton on Friday december 2nd.
First of all – the first date stuff. Where did you meet, when did The Nyx get together and is it an equal relationship??
Becky: We used to be in an old band called Rouge, wanted something different and added Collette on drums. That’s when it became The Nyx and got really exciting!
Who, or what, was your inspiration for being in this band and when did you realise you wanted to do it yourself?
Collette: Not necessarily a drummer, but, Annie Lennox for me? She is so inspirational – not even just music; politics, social stuff – she was just such an icon.
Becky: I think i’ve always just loved Janis Joplin. It’s not even really from a musical perspective, she’s an amazing musician, but it’s not that aspect that attracted me to her. More the attitude, the emotion and rawness and authenticity. She’s just being herself, she doesn’t give a shit what everyone thinks, she’s gonna do it anyway, a sort of ruthlessness! Just completely being herself and expressing herself which made me think, ‘that’s what rock ‘n’ roll’s about.’ Not necessarily about writing a song to a certain structure, but living it. But growing up, I listened to a lot of hard rock bands, like ACDC, Nirvana – all male bands. It was no one influence, but these sort of bands made me want to do it.
Simone: For me it’s similar to Becky, like Nirvana, I guess male dominated rock. Then the Spice Girls, I was kind of a mix between Sporty Spice and Crazy Spice.
Ruby: …There wasn’t a Crazy Spice
Simone: Was she not crazy? What was she??
Then I got into Skunk Anansie, and that for me was a mix between the crazy and the sporty.
Ruby: Growing up, everyone says Foo Fighters. Again, there weren’t that many female bands on the scene when we were growing up if you were into rock. But the first female in a rock band was probably Haley Williams from Paramore. I wouldn’t say she was necessarily an inspiration, but she was the first person I really saw doing it in a rock band, that was in Kerrang! Magazine and was in a mainstream capacity.
Becky: Yeah, I don’t think I had that pivotal moment when I was a kid, of thinking (or seeing) “look at that girl go!” I didn’t get that inspiration from women, it was always GUYS. When I first started going to gigs it was 2001 and there was a massive hard core scene. So all I was seeing at that age when I was a sponge waiting for inspiration was guys with long side partings, screaming into a microphone, without melodies. I was there thinking, “Is this what rock music is like?” I had to sort of forge it for myself.
We discuss the platform (or previous lack of) for women making rock music and people like Courtney Love’s fame being divided between a talented musician and being seen as ‘Kurt Cobain’s Wife’.
Simone: I used to buy cd’s from a guy at school who used to download music from the internet, and i think without any background to what i was listening to, it through you more into the music side of it.
So how did you all find music, and how do you find new music now?
Becky: It used to be the portable CD players! But definitely CDs. Late at night with it under my pillow.
Simone: Or running with it, and it skipping!
Becky: There just wasn’t any cool music, I was listening to the P!nk album and S Club 7, that’s what it was like for a kid in the noughties, it was a horrible time! (All laugh)
Collette: I’m a little bit older than you guys and at college I used to go to gigs, and speak to friends older brothers and sisters about music. I used to go to little independant festivals, like the local ‘Dog and Duck’ down the road, and it just kind of ripples through; every now and then something would come out of it.
Becky: ..I suppose guys screaming into a microphone isn’t necessarily true – where we grew up, in High Wycombe, there was such a cool little scene when we were growing up. We were just too young to really experience it properly. When I started putting on my own shows at 15, it was like the scene had kind of died. I feel kind of let down!
As a band, if you had the opportunity to record a double A side with another band or musician, or record a song with them, who would you choose?
Simone: I’d say personally, probably Sufjen Stevens? I just really like his kind of despondent music.
Becky: Amy Winehouse or Jeff Buckley…
Collette: That’s a really, really difficult question! I might even say someone like Jonathan Davis or something, because ‘Queen Of The Damned’ is one of my favourite films of all time and he did the soundtrack. He can branch out into so many different genres and still bring it back and make it authentic. It would be the right kind of vibe, and he also has that kind of flexibility within the genre.
Ruby: I’ve been listening to Queens Of The Stone Age a lot again recently and would say Josh Homme. It’s the same sort of style of music and he can collab with other people too! And he’s with Brody Dalle too..
Collette: She was my first girl crush.. I saw them (The Distillers) at Reading when i was 16 she was in this leather onesie, like a motorcycle get up.
We tail off talking about moon cups (top tip; make sure to buy the right size!)
About intersectional politics, and about how apart from a few exceptions, the bands ‘rock’ influences have come largely from white males in the mainstream. We discuss an article I read [by Stephanie Phillips] in the ‘Intersectional Politics For Punx Zine’ about Brody Dalle, from the perspective of a black female growing up listening to rock music.