Welcome to issue one of CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE, a zine about celebrating creativity, equality, and unity. This exclusive issue follows various bands across the UK about the importance of representation in the music industry, and how they handle it in each their own ways. Thank you for your support! Starring: The Tuts The Spook School Dream Nails Kermes Babe Punch Crumbs Happy Accidents Fresh Velodrome The Baby Seals Colour Me Wednesday Witch Fever








Hi everyone,

Just wanted to say thank you for your patience and support

during the time it took me to complete this zine. I so

appreciate all the talented and lovely people who took the

time to sit down for interviews with me and let me stick a

camera in their faces for this project.

In the time since I completed the last interview, I got a job,

moved to New York, lost a job, and overall just have had a

lot going on. With everything that’s happened in the world

since then - most recently the Kavanaugh debacle, the

proof of XXX’s abuse finally coming to light, Trump’s attempt

to denounce trans people’s entire existence - makes

the topics here, sadly, still relevant, and they will continue

to be so for a while.

It does give me hope that there are people like those within

these pages who are advocating for safer spaces and

better acceptance in the world. I am grateful for them all,

and know their impact will be long-lasting.

Special thanks to everyone who supported me through this

exceedingly long process, and especially to Charlie, who

proofread all the words here.



Table of


the spook school

p. 006

dream nails

p. 017


p. 026

happy accidents

p. 036

the baby seals

p. 046


p. 052

the tuts

p. 066

babe punch

p. 078


p. 088


p. 094


p. 100


p. 108




Edinburgh power pop

heroes The Spook School

always inspire a crowd as

they jump and sing along to

their upbeat and glittering

songs about mental health,

the spectrum of gender

that is far from binary, and

celebrating the sadness that

comes with life. Something

that will never go amiss at

a Spook School show is the

comedic banter between

the band and the crowd

(not surprising considering

three of the four members

met at a comedy course at

university in Edinburgh),

and was gleefully apparent

when sitting down with

them for an interview.

The Spook School

Entertainment is one of their

greatest goals in performing live,

as guitarist Adam Todd describes.

“I don’t think any of us have

particularly long attention spans

for watching music or in a live

setting, so we try and make sure

that a show that we would do

would be a show that we wouldn’t

get bored by.” Especially considering

the heavy topics covered by

their songs, things that the crowd

might be going through themselves

and finding it tough to get

through, it’s important to them

to offer not quite an escape from

them, but a celebration in spite of

them. “We really like making sure

that the people coming to the show

know that they can celebrate and

be joyous and that kind of stuff,”

drummer Niall McCamley adds;

“It’s easy to wallow, when it’s

really fun to fire tiny party glitter

things on yourself and roll about

on the floor.”

In addition to that, they write

songs for people to relate to and

feel less alone when they hear

them, and then take the next step

to make the space feel safer for

everyone involved. Diet Cig, who

they toured around the UK, Europe

and the states with for a good

couple of months last year and

Drummer Niall McCamley at Belgrave

Music Hall in Leeds on their album

release tour (May 2018)

at the start of this one, are wellknown

for being one of the many

bands now requesting gender-neutral

toilets to be made available for

attendees, and it’s there that The

Spook School learned just how far

they can take control of not only

the show but the venue they play it

in. “Trying to do things at our live

shows, even if it’s not a part of the

actual show,” guitarist Nye Todd

says, “to make the space welcoming

for people is important.” Niall

agrees, and links back to Adam’s

point on taking what would make

them feel comfortable to implement

in to the entire atmosphere of

a show.

The Spook School

“It’s easy to

wallow, when it’s really

fun to fire tiny party glitter

things on yourself and roll

about on the floor.”

The band have recently released

their third album, Could It Be Different?,

receiving widely-spread

and well-deserved critical praise

for another record that handles

topical issues ranging from finding

the empowerment to walk

away from an abusive relationship

(see the infectiously catchy

and teeth-grittingly angry “Still

Alive”) to mental health in various

forms (see the sweet indie-pop in

“Less Than Perfect” and “Body”).

Recorded and produced by the

talented MJ from Leeds’ Hookworms,

he brings a new shimmering

shine to the band’s grit but

without hiding it away. “He gives

us the time and he doesn’t treat us

like kids, even when we act like

it,” Niall says with a laugh. “It was

a very welcoming environment.

It felt more comfortable in terms

of less of an imposter syndrome

maybe, being in this magical

studio where you shouldn’t touch

anything should it break.” Nye

agrees: “It’s also working with

someone who’s excited about the

music that you’re making, and

believes that it can be good, which

is nice. That definitely helps.” As

a band that finds an accessible atmosphere

such as this important in

many other aspects, it’s important

to find someone who

The Spook School

implements that same control and

acceptance in a space they might

not feel comfortable.

Accessibility in other forms, however

seemingly unattainable at this

point, is something else the band

points out when asked what they

would change about the industry

as a whole. Adam wishes there

would be more funding going to

the arts that aren’t just classical

music and ballet (a place where a

large majority of it is going to at

the moment), in order “to make

doing music in a professional

fashion something that’s attainable,”

he explains, “particularly

for people from lower-income

backgrounds.” Bassist AC Cory

agrees, and builds on the idea of

taking pop music more seriously:

“There’s also that culture of music

not being proper work. As in, you

should be grateful you’re doing

this and enjoying it in your spare

time, and you’re not deserving

it; it’s free money or whatever,

because it’s a hobby. It’d be nice

to see an attitude of it being real

work that is good for society.”

Seeing how hard this band, and

the others around them, including

those behind the scenes making

the festival run, it’s no wonder

they’re still working towards and

hoping for better treatment from

onlookers who consider them to

be “hobbyists.”

For now, though, the band are just

hoping to continue to write and

continue to tour, though whereabouts

after their album tour might

well be unknown. “We tend to

be a band that says yes to a lot of

things,” Adam explains (which

is how they ended up continuing

their tour with Diet Cig, only

meant to be in the UK originally),

“so a lot of the time, we’ve not

particularly planned what we’re

doing that far in advance, but

someone will say, do you want to

do this thing? And we’ll be like,

oh yep!” No matter what they do,

though, no doubt it’s going to be

just as fun as the band always are.

Guitarist Nye Todd

at Belgrave Music

Hall in Leeds on

their album release

tour (May 2018)

“Trying to do things at

our live shows, even if

it’s not a part of the

actual show, to make

the space welcoming for

people is important.”



Dream Nails, a four-piece riot

grrl band out of London, are

enthusiastically DIY and selfproclaimed

“punk witches,” at

each famously riotous live show

putting a hex on misogynistic

figures and conservative politicians

with their deeply infectious

riff-heavy tune “Deep Heat.”

Their mix of chunky basslines

and sparkling harmonies are

reminiscent of “The Ramones

meet Bikini Kill” with a whole

new updated outlook on the

industry, and how their songs

and actions as a band can

change it for the better.


For their song about “hating your

job,” they recall an event at their

Leeds show opening for Cherry

Glazerr where a member of the

crowd dropped to his knees, raised

his arms to the sky, and exclaimed,

“That’s my life!” Three months later,

he messaged the band to say that

he was inspired to quit his job, and

then at Christmas time informed

them that he now runs a pet-sitting

business and it’s the best decision

he’s made in his life. It’s this kind

of deeper change that Dream Nails

are working to inspire in everyone,

from quitting a corporate job, to

hexing horrible politicians, to creating

a safer space for women and

nonbinary people.

They advocate for a “girls to the

front” initiative, taking time in their

set to invite women and non-binary

to approach the front of the crowd,

and sending men to the back, in order

to encourage a safer and more

fun atmosphere, in the setting of a

punk show where the weight of a

patriarchal society is often emphasized.

Bassist Mimi Jasson notes

that creating that safer space at the

front of the crowd is for the band

as well: “When you see the women

and nonbinary people coming to

the front, it actually is so mutual,

because I feel a lot safer with them

being there as well. This is our


Creating that safe space at shows

is top of the list for them: “I want

women and nonbinary people to

feel safe, to feel that is their space

and no one else’s, and to feel like

we are on their side,” says lead vocalist

Janey Starling. If that can’t

be achieved on the side of the men

in the crowd, the show will be

stopped; “We’ll take our instruments

off and refuse to play,” bassist

Anya Pearson explains. If they

can’t create a safe space physically,

their songs can’t complete the process

emotionally, by encouraging a

release of anger and emotions in a

fun environment that is their greatest

pursuit by performing these

songs. Screaming along to “Deep

Heat” (“nobody cares if your dick

is on fire”) or “Joke Choke” (a song

about how rape jokes are not funny)

are two completely different

releases of emotion, but either way

are two “really extreme releases of

emotion that are really therapeutic

when you do it publicly and collectively,”

Janey explains. Crafting a

breathable space for people who

perhaps struggle to find that in this

world is so powerful, and so important

to them.

dream nails

They take using their platform as a

band in the public eye very seriously,

which Anya points out scares off

a lot of bands in fear of losing popularity,

somehow. “It’s important to

write songs about someone’s emotional

space and communicate that

side of things, but I think it’s weird

to, once you establish yourself as

someone with a voice, not to use it

to share the stories of other people,

or to identify campaigns that need

attention and help and energy, because

that kind of thing can really

help.” They are currently proving

this by using their platform to sell

a zine (something they make to go

along with every release) about reproductive

justice and raise money

for Abortion Support Network, an

organization that raises money to

support women coming over from

Ireland to seek a safe and legal

abortion. It goes much further than

that, however, and the topics raised

in the zine range from this, to parental

rights to women who go to

jail while pregnant, to healthcare

rights as a trans person.

“Our whole approach to feminism

is a lifelong journey of learning

and listening,” Janey explains, and

she wants the people listening to

“Our whole

approach to

feminism is a

lifelong journey

of learning and


them to partake alongside them.

“I want people to learn about this

stuff and to think about things that

they haven’t considered before,

and to understand the scale of violence

against women and the diverse

oppressions that women are

facing.” Drummer Lucy Katz notes

how often bands use this pursuit of

activism in their music (alone) as a

branding exercise. “We’re all quite

cautious of a lot of bands appropriating

certain political movements

or ideas or even feminist ideas and

concepts, and then taking them,

sanitizing them, making them

empty,” she says. “It feels such a

shame and such a waste,

dream nails

Dream Nails playing The Bread Shed stage

at Manchester Punk Festival (April 2018)

because for us, it’s so important

to have substance behind that, and

that’s something that we’ll never,

ever let go of. And the minute we

let go of that, we won’t be a band

anymore.” Janey’s still very aware

of the fact that art is not nearly

enough in regards to activism or

political movements. “It’s a really

important cultural platform,” she

admits, “and it’s an incredible way

to reach a lot of different people in

different locations, but ultimately,

it doesn’t really contribute to that

much structural change. It doesn’t

really put the work in motion that’s

needed for liberation. It’s a step on

the journey, but I think it’s pretty


For now, they’ll continue pushing

for the safe spaces and the

breathable spaces, while calling

out people who treat them wrongly

(shout out to mansplaining sound

engineers). They have each other

to rely on, to laugh it off with,

but it’s still so much more of a slog

than for men. “You have to be a lot

stronger,” Mimi points out, “and

you have to deal with a lot more

shit, and so it’s just like walking

through mud or something, whereas

the guys just have a nice paved

road.” “And are worshipped,”

Lucy adds. But they’ll keep slogging,

and fighting the good fight,

because that’s what it takes to be a

woman in the music industry. For

now, we have a new album to look

forward to, which they can promise

will be “all killer, no filler.”

Here they come,

the emphatically

funny and incredibly


four-piece band

Kermes, out of

Leicester. With

a debut album

out from earlier

this spring and

a drive to make

music that invites

those most

marginalized in

society to feel at

home and welcome,


making long




“There’s a meme that’s a panel

from an anime,” Emily, lead singer

and guitarist from Leicester fourpiece

Kermes, tells me, “and it’s

the two men wearing the same trilby,

and they’re both going ‘SAME

HAT’ and that’s what I always think

of. ‘SAME HAT!’” She’s speaking

about visibility and representation

of queer people in the music scene,

and the importance of recognizing

yourself in a setting that perhaps

you wouldn’t normally, what with

the cishet white dudes permeating

the stage as of late.

We’re sat in a circle just outside

The Red Shed, a Labour clubhouse

turned music venue for Wakefield’s

Long Division festival, on a cool

early summer evening, giggling at

a slew of silly anecdotes that seem

to be one of two levels acting as the

theme for this interview. The two

levels seem to mirror Kermes’ outlook

on how they hope to impact

their audience – share that feeling

of ‘same hat!’, feeling a connection

between two people in a room full

of the majority where you’re the

minority, but also have a whole lot

of goddamn fun while doing it.

As a band with a wide pool of influence,

each member drawing

on their respective and unique

backgrounds and interests in music,

they’re creating content that

doesn’t quite sound like anyone

else. With a synth-esque guitar

sound that Cass, bass player and

newest member of Kermes, describes

as somewhere between

K-pop and eighties hair metal but

with a boogie, a depth that adds a

swampiness, plus angry screaming

over the top, there’s an onslaught

of influences that have brought

them to the sound they’re playing

with now. “I think in a lot of ways,

we’re just a rock band, but on a

more granular level, I don’t think

we sound like one thing specifically,”

Emily says.

When Emily first started making

music as Kermes, it was as a folk

band, mainly focusing on sadder

and slower songs. “I was just doing

solo stuff that was really miserable

and slow,” she tells me. “It was

sad boy jams, because I was still

pretending to be a boy, and I was

sad. And then I got angry.” What’s

stayed the same is Emily’s journalistic

approach to writing lyrics, taking

her experiences as a queer person

and trans woman, both positive

and negative, and pouring them

into heartfelt songs over groovy

tunes. Now, they’ve released their

first full-length album, We Choose


Pretty Names, full of urgency and

tumult and sheer loudness, something

that defines their live shows

like nothing else.

“I think because we started so quiet

and slow and almost folky, that was

part of why I started screaming,”

Emily says. “You’re just trying to

get people to listen, trying to make

yourself heard. Volume is a radical,

political act.”

Experiencing a visceral connection

with someone in the crowd, that

‘same hat!’ feeling when you recognize

yourself in another human

being, especially when you’re a minority

in a crowd, is a big goal for

their shows. “Sometimes at gigs,

you’ll just see a person who’s really

into it and, not to stereotype, but

they’re obviously queer,” Emily

explains. “They’ve got an undercut

or colored hair or something, and

you just make eye contact and it’s

like, yeah, this is a shared moment

of just understanding.” Feeling less

alone in a crowd full of people who

might not understand or accept you

encourages these people, especially

younger people, to put themselves

out there more, to have more fun if

they observe other people they re

Kermes playing The Red Shed at Wakefield’s

Long Division Festival, June 2018


is a radical,

political act.”


late to doing just that.

“With about 90 % of our gigs,

there will be a point in the evening

where someone will come up to

you and they’ve obviously really

vibed with what you’re doing,”

guitarist Tom says. “They’ve obviously

really connected with it on an

emotional level, an almost primal

level where they’ve just gotten really

involved in it.” Whether that

be with the music, with the atmosphere

they create, the acceptance,

it doesn’t matter so much; where

that feeling can’t be explained by

rational or critical reasoning, it’s

just important to them that the audience

feels something.

Even barring their insistence that,

as small of a band as they are, they

don’t truly have a platform (at least

in the sense of how some musicians

do), the stage gives them a

certain “hierarchy of power,” putting

them in the forefront of everyone’s

eyes for twenty to forty-five

minutes of a set. Even something

as simple as “oh, yeah, the trans

woman can do a cool thing that I’m

on board with and respect,” says

Cass, “it can change their mindset

about how they see trans women.

If it’s just something as basic as, I

really liked the guitar or the bass,

saying that was cool, just reshuffle

my head about just how the representation


“Most people are nice and most

people are well-intentioned,” Emily

points out, “but they don’t understand

stuff because they have

never been presented with it.” And

with the high concentration of

middle-aged dads at rock shows,

it’s important to have this sort of

information to be accessible to the

demographic who might not have

been privy to it previously.

“That’s the thing about platforms,

though, as well,” Cass says, “about

palatable platforms.” Bringing

up these issues and speaking out

about the marginalization of queer

and trans people is important in

any form, but putting it in a pleasingly

consumable form attracts an

even wider audience. “When I just

sat down and read all the lyrics on

the Kermes vinyl, it just hits home;

it’s really powerful. I think it’s just

better for being put over a groovy

thing,” Cass explains. “It almost

sticks in your mind better, as well,

the important stuff.”

As many people come to Kermes

shows for the serious and the sad,

drummer Jordy points out, just as


Kermes playing The Red Shed at Wakefield’s

Long Division Festival, June 2018

many come because of the fun the

band have whilst playing. “I think

if we just go onstage and try to be

as positive and as loud and as energetic

as possible, then that’s all you

can really ask for in a live band,”

he says.

Come the next eras of the band,

one may not recognize Kermes as

the band they are now. Constantly

in flux, they hope to explore new

genres and sounds as they progress

forward in their careers. “Our

album is so much different to anything

that we did before, in a good

way,” Jordy points out. Not only

do they hope to go new places musically,

but physically as well, he

continues. “Personally, I just like

seeing new places all the time, and

just lingering in places you haven’t


“We just really love doing this, and

every time we do it, it gets better,

and we get better as a band,” Emily

says. “I think we just want to keep

playing and meeting people and

having a connection. I’d play a hundred

shows to drunk middle-aged

dads for every show where you can

an actual connection with a queer

person in the crowd.”

Look out for Kermes; they might

just be wearing matching rainbow

dungarees at their next show.

Also, Emily asks you bring your

dog. “There’s not enough dogs at




On the tail end of a UK tour in celebration of their

sophomore album, Everything but the Here and Now,

released earlier this year, the summery indie-pop band out

of London-via-Southampton are on the way to something

great with stunning growth into themselves and expanse

into a new place sonically. Appropriately, then, they’ve

nestled themselves amongst decorative house plants

onstage, both a beautiful sight and a metaphor for the

path they’ve found themselves on towards something new

and bigger.


Happy Accidents are long-standing

members of the Southampton DIY

scene, starting their career playing

shows at the coastal city’s stronghold

The Joiners. From there, they

were invited by El Morgan (of

Personal Best and & the Divers)

to play a show in Portsmouth, and

from there began playing in London,

where they’re now based.

This is something so important to

DIY scenes between cities; play

one show, and it leads to another,

hopefully connecting the dots

across the UK. “One little spark,

which leads to another spark,” is

how Rich explains it. “I think it is

important to have that scene in every

city,” Phoebe says, “but it’s just

scary. More cities are seeing it die a

little bit, and you can’t connect the

dots as much.” With important collective

venues shutting their doors,

not only in the UK but across the

world as well – Silent Barn in

Bushwick held its last show at the

end of April, adding to the growing

list of spaces in New York shutting

their doors, amongst places like

Shea Stadium, Palisades, Death by

Audio, and 285 Kent – many bands

and people connected to these venues

are losing their connections

that allow them to pursue music

“There’s a lot of

little things that

don’t seem super

harmful, but they

do still,”

for fun on a smaller scale. “Without

those small, sort of grassroots

venues, you just don’t have places

for people to learn to play live and

just have a go,” Phoebe points out.

“It’s a great way to grow organically.”

Rich agrees: “If you didn’t

have that base layer of live music

on the smallest scale, it just seems

unattainable. You don’t have anywhere

to start.”

It’s here they’ve met all the people

inspiring their music, and experienced

all the social interactions

that Rich takes into account when

writing lyrics. “I get influenced

watching other musicians, and

“Calling them out has a

negative connotation, but

it’s just standing up for



then I get a creative energy from

other people,” Phoebe explains,

“so I guess when you (Rich) are in

a good creative mindset, and we’re

both writing together, that’s where

I’m at my best, and we’re creating

something cool.” Playing shows,

getting involved in the politics of

DIY, and meeting people all over

the UK and Europe where they’ve

toured has been a big inspiration

not only for their writing and their

creative drive, then, but for the

movements they follow. “The DIY

community is so supportive in getting

in people from all walks of

life,” Phoebe says. “I don’t want

it to die, so hopefully it won’t, because

I know there’s a lot of people

kicking back against that.”

Happy Accidents aren’t outwardly

political, at least in songwriting

content compared to other bands

playing the festival, but that doesn’t

mean they can’t take their platform

for good use in the industry. “I feel

like it’s important to, not send a

message straight-up, but to lead by

example,” Rich says, “live what

you want; rather than say ‘this is the

message’, show people.” For Phoebe,

it’s the same; by playing drums,

onstage, as a woman, it’s hard to

avoid politics by simply that, and

by pursuing this in a world where

she faces prejudice, she’s setting an

example of empowerment for other

women watching her.

Referencing an interview with Gem

from Colour Me Wednesday from

the film So, which band is your

boyfriend in?, Phoebe encourages

overcoming the double-whammy

of stage fright and sour looks from

sour men who think non-male performers

can’t do their part for the

others like her in the crowd watching.

“You think maybe there’s a

kid or a girl in the crowd who is

also scared to play, and then if

I’m scared to play and not showing

them that it’s fine to play, then

there’s no hope,” she says. “So

sometimes, just being there and me

playing, as a woman, I guess it’s

good for me to be doing it. Because

I know it took me so long to get in

a band, when probably should have

been in a band from, I don’t know,

age eleven.” Where Rich was jamming

with his brother from that

age, Phoebe didn’t take part until

she was eighteen, but she hopes

setting the example will inspire just

one more person to do the same.

While the politics aren’t so much

apparent in the music – “it’s a part

of the scenery of the music,” says

Rich – they’re still working on be


ing strong enough to call people

out. As a woman, it’s not a surprise

that Phoebe’s simple presence has

caused uncomfortable comments

from staff and concert attendees.

“Calling them out has a negative

connotation, but it’s just standing

up for yourself,” says Rich. “You

have to just maybe be disliked, but

stand your ground,” Phoebe says.

“People might just want to know

they’ve said something that’s not

appropriate.” In another instance,

seemingly innocent but threatening

all the same, a fan in Germany

came up to compliment Phoebe on

her drumming skills, but finished

off his sentence, again, unnecessarily,

with, “I just love watching

while you play, you just look

so sexy.” It’s little bits and pieces

like this, things that are absolutely

inappropriate in these situations

because not only are women being

treated differently to (and as lesser

than) guys, but it becomes threatening

and discouraging for young

women to continue to pursue music.

“There’s a lot of little things

that don’t seem super harmful, but

they do still,” Phoebe says. “The

broader picture is, there’s a lot of

sexism around. It’s important to try

and change it.”

For now, they’re going to make

more music for the future, though

it looks like what they’ll make will

be an even bigger step forward

than Everything but the Here and

Now. Having just started work at

a recording studio, there’s been a

big change for Rich in that his job

also touches on his creative output,

instead of just office jobs. “I feel

like there’s not as much pressure

on the band now,” he says, “because

there’s loads of other aspects

in my life that have come together

a little bit more. It’s not all or

nothing, which means I feel like

it can be more creative and less

stressful.” Within that, something

he’s hoping to do is make a record

in terms of “how someone in other

art forms might think about it – just

detach every other aspect of being

in a band form it. I just want to

make things for the sake of making

things.” Happy Accidents are moving

forward in a beautiful-sounding

way, and hope they bless your ears

with their sweet sound very soon.

The Baby Seals are all about

making genres to call themselves;

for their first and only EP to date,

they call themselves “empower/pop/punk,”

which sounds a

lot like “Spinal Tap with tits” (a

compliment in many minds, and

really quite accurate).



For the next EP, which lead vocalist

and guitarist Kerry Devine

confirms as being “an-femme-ic”

(anthemic), a name her sister and

drummer Amy Devine came up

with, will sound a lot more like the

closer on the aforementioned first

EP, the bluesy bass-driven “It’s Not

About the Money Honey” about

equal pay in the gender gap. Above

all, however, it’s in the band’s

greatest interest to go back to their

roots of just “dicking around” in a

pub, not giving a fuck and having

a good time, as well as embracing

your body as it is; “Don’t worry

if you’ve got hairy nipples or lopsided

labias,” Kerry explains; “It’s

fine. Embrace it.” And if you don’t

find yourself singing along (na-nana-nipple

hair) to the related songs,

you might need to extra embrace it.

“Porn has got really shit over the

last ten years,” Kerry says to a tittering

crowd before launching into

“Yawn Porn.” “It’s really formulaic.

We know how it’s going to

end: he’s gonna come in her face.

Let’s make it more female! Come

on her elbow!” It’s like this a lot

of their songs are introduced, before

moving into a grinning crowd

singing along to lyrics celebrating

the carefree attitude in which many

of their songs are written on observations

made as women. The band

were searching for songs that were

“joke-y, not man hate-y songs,” as

Kerry says, when they decided to

come together as The Baby Seals.

Now, though, they’re looking to

move forward to something perhaps

not serious, but something

you can more get your anger out to,

as is exemplified in “It’s Not About

the Money Honey.” “It has quite a

heavy feel, and it allows me to kind

of express myself in other ways as

well onstage,” Kerry continues.

“It’s evolved as still having a message,

but just playing with the


sound a bit more.” Bassist Jasmine

Robinson agrees: “It’s hard to get

your frustration out when you’re

just doing ‘la la la la,’ whereas,

with the last one, you can rock the

fuck out.”

On a deeper level, when writing

about heavy political topics like

The Baby Seals hope to do, it’s

hard to be sensitive and appropriate

when your sound goes along those

lines. “This year, there’s been some

really big political things in the

news that we wanted to reflect on,

and doing that in a poppy way can

sometimes undermine what you’re

trying to say,” Kerry explains.

“We’ve written about the Harvey

Weistein thing, and that’s definitely

got more of a dangerous sound.

Having a song about sexual harassment,

you can’t be like, ‘la la la!’”

Conveying humor and a fun atmosphere

through their songs about

below-average porn and body hair

seems to be working well for them,


It’s refreshing for a crowd to hear

songs about these observations,

especially when they themselves

have perceived them and felt alone

in their self-judgment. After a

show in Peterborough, a woman

approached the band to express

her gratitude for writing a song

about something she had been so

ashamed of in the past. “She was

nearly crying, saying she’d been

worried about her body and nipple

hair, and hearing us play that song

made her feel better,” Kerry says,

“and I said to the girl, that’s why

we’re doing it. That’s it – that’s

the whole thing.” It seems taboo,

talking about things like body hair

and the shapes of genitals in public

because of how society has perceived

these topics for so long, but

when people do begin to talk, just

as The Baby Seals have, it opens

up the floodgates, encouraging

conversation and acceptance. The

beautiful thing about delivering

such messages in a fun manner,

then, is reaching an audience in

an accessible manner that doesn’t

come across as “teaching” them

anything. “You have to remember

the audience you’re delivering that

message to probably already know

that message,” Kerry explains.

“It’s like me sending a message

on Facebook saying ‘racism is

bad’. Everybody who I’m friend

with knows that it’s bad.” Instead,

they’re reaching out to the people

who are also searching for that validation,

and pursuing an attempt at

reevaluating their own internal misogyny.





the genre-bending,

the anti-capitalist,

the provoking

Colour Me Wednesday,

a four-piece band out of

Uxbridge on the edges

of Greater London

attempting to breathe

life back into the area’s

arts and culture scene

and bring hope to those

pushed out by the

machismo of politicallycharged




Colour me wednesday

“It’s kind of interesting that the people

who criticize anti-capitalism or

anarchism or communism or whatever’s

being too idealistic, that we

don’t have a clear idea of what it is

that we want. But I think the unrealistic

thing is to have a clear idea,”

Jaca, drummer for the Uxbridge

four-piece Colour Me Wednesday,

tells me. “You can point out the

bad parts about what’s here, and it’s

good to have a good, clear plan to

what your ideal world would be, but

that’s also the unrealistic part of it

as well, so it’s pointing out the flaws

but being like, well what would be

left over? Maybe it would just be

nothing.” We’re talking about the

ideas that emerged from their sophomore

album, Counting Pennies in

the Afterlife, a genre-bending, immersive

glance into the anti-capitalist

and feminist ideals that the

band hold dear to themselves, and

subjects that rise to the surface often

for a band made up of a group

living in an area of London that’s

all but been leached of its DIY music

and arts culture.

The very last stop on the Metropolitan

and Piccadilly lines – a

full hour’s journey from where I

was staying in Putney – Harriet

tells me on our quick drive to their

home from the station about their

attempts to bring a spark of culture

back into the area where decreasing

arts funds from the council have

made cuts to these programs, leaving

many of the youth in the area

high and dry without any community

centres or creative outlets. “People

talk about a scene or community

in Uxbridge, not realizing that it is

just us,” she says, then laughs. “I

always fantasize about, imagine if

there was somebody we didn’t know

about…” We’re truly on the edge of

London, the edge of the scene that

exists within what many may consider

the greatest hub for music in

Europe, even the world – perhaps

over the edge itself? It’s what’s inspired

‘Edge of Everything’, one of

the songs vocalist Jennifer Doveton

wrote for the newest album, existing

in this space many people ignore

or have never even heard of.

We’re sitting on various pieces of

furniture in Jen’s canalside home,

perched on the edges of her bed,

nestled in an armchair, and me

sinking into a beanbag on the floor.

Gray sunlight is trickling through

the many windows on this overcast

early-summer day into the oneroom

accommodation that was an

extension from the family’s boathouse

just a few steps from the door

here, where Jen and her sister/band-

Colour me wednesday

Harriet grew up. Jaca and guitarist

Laura now live in the neighbourhood

as well, near enough to Harriet’s

other bandmates from The Tuts,

and they pride themselves in having

attracted more and more musician

friends to move away from central

London out to Uxbridge.

The majority of people living in

London, especially those who

moved into the city and are living

centrally as transplants for the

convenience of closeness, are completely

unaware of the outer boroughs

like Uxbridge. Where East

London has the culture of East-

Enders and cockney accents, easily

recognizable by most of the wider

world, West London seems to get

lost in the crowd, some believing

Westminster or even Chelsea are

the furthest western reaches of the

area, even though the majority of

the workforce in the centre commute

from similar distances. It’s not

as though West London hasn’t had

its due influence on the culture, despite

it being erased in the last few

years: the EMI factory where the

Beatles’ vinyl was pressed is just up

the road, the BBC centre is nearby,

and Southall had its thriving years

as a hub of the punk scene, churning

out bands like The Rats but now

having fallen into oblivion in that


With Ealing Council in one of the

biggest deficits of all councils, due

to the Tories’ continuous victories

driven by the promise not to

raise council tax, the plunging of

the council into deeper and deeper

debt means funding for the arts has

been all but completely decimated.

Youth centres, days centres, music

venues, anything: it doesn’t exist

here in West London. Events may

happen in Shepherd’s Bush or Ealing

itself, mainly larger concerts

that forget about the local scene,

but Uxbridge seems to exist as an

island high and dry away from the

saturation of arts and culture, at

least disregarding bands like Colour

Me Wednesday and The Tuts,

attempting to breathe new life into

the area and put Uxbridge back on

the map. “About every ten years,

some naïve idiots like us will try

and make something happen,” Harriet

explains. “We’ve tried to put

on gigs, and we put up fliers at the

schools and really encourage young

girls to come to things, and it’s just

so tricky. Don’t regret doing it – it

was cool – but hard work.” Even

with all their drive and dedication,

it’s still difficult to draw a crowd

from the area.

Even with Brunel University nearby,

supposedly a perfect pool of eager

young adults to pull to shows,

they’re fighting against the greater

desire to go all the way into the city.

“They’d be spending all their money

going to London because they

think nothing happens here,” Jen

says. “Stuff does happen here, but

you have to go to it – you can’t just

keep going into London.” Laura

will put the odd house show on, and

look out into a crowd consisting of

only the band members playing


the night, and a few friends having

commuted in from central London.

Where the local scene there is dying,

Colour Me Wednesday and

their friends are trying to prop it

back up, giving it more life.

“A lot of people say we’re in the

dystopia now. This is the dystopia,”

Jen continues on from Jaca’s

thoughts. “Can we get any much

worse than this?” Harriet adds. Jaca

chimes in, “Yes,” then laughs. “Anti-capitalists.

That’s us.”

Jen’s lyrics on Counting Pennies in

the Afterlife handle a lot of capitalist

ventures, from the draining of

funds from the arts and culture programs

in their area, to the “general

critique of things like capitalism

thriving in the patriarchy,” Harriet

describes. “The whole album is

critiques of things that are consuming

people.” In a world where you

can’t turn your head two degrees

in any direction and not catch a

glimpse of detrimental capitalist

pursuits breaking someone down,

it’s a tempting idea of many to blow

it all up and start anew, hence the

focus on a post-apocalyptic theme

throughout the album, but, like Jaca

said, what would be left over? Destroying

Uxbridge’s council, the

cause for the lack of arts programs

in the community, might get rid of

whatever is holding their citizens

back, but may also destroy any

communal structure needed to support

the arts in the first place. Perhaps

destroying the world will vanquish

corrupt politicians, greedy

businessmen, bigoted and horrible

people in power, but will any good

be saved in its wake?

A song-by-song explanation reveals

depth and analysis behind Jen’s insightful

lyrics, with varying levels

of thematic content which are clearly

well thought out and show civil

intelligence around social issues. ‘I

Thought It Was Morning’ deals with

seasonal affective disorder, paired

with the “abstract anxiety that it

brings out in you,”Jen explains.

“You then have nightmares about

the end of the world, because that’s

how anxiety works. It’s nonspecific,

and then you’ll have a nightmare

about something that’s the worst

thing that could possibly happen.

But then, in some ways, you quite

enjoy apocalyptic dreams, because

it feels like everything’s so tense

and everyone’s working so hard,

and it just would be nice to be free

for one night.”

‘Boyfriend’s Car’ handles this subject

through the scope of this

colour me wednesday

machine, working perfectly and

smoothly for those it benefits, and

detrimentally for those who conveniently

don’t have a voice to speak

out against it. “The people who

it’s going wrong for don’t have a

voice,” she says, “but they’re the

people that could take it down.”

Namely, the band and others like

them using their platform in the

public eye to speak out against the

situations and people marginalizing

those less powerful, by making others

feel less alone.

There is a kind of power in a community

like this, empowerment

through a group of similar-thinking

people, especially when their peers

speaking about similar anti-capitalist

ideas are part of the niche group

of men in punk. Aggressive and

“shouty,” as they have been for decades,

they’re not exactly inaccessible,

but the oft-violent nature of

their shows push people away. Colour

Me Wednesday, all quite femme

and making less classically angry

music, work in the hope “to subvert

that aspect of what punk means to

lots of people, that it doesn’t have

to be fighting each other in a mosh

pit to really fast, loud, heavy music,”

Jaca explains. “It can be fun

and supportive and catchy, and that

hopefully women and trans people

“The people who it’s

going wrong for don’t

have a voice, but they’re

the people that could

take it down.”

can feel more included in the stuff

that we’re saying, which, we know

from all the millions of documentaries

and articles and whatever about

how inaccessible male dominated

punk scenes are, that there needs

to be more of that. We’re hoping to

sort of be that, or be able to have

that sort of conversation with people

who listen to our music with

Colour me wednesday

people like us, queer women and

trans people.”

“And the way of sending that message

out is something that’s not relatable

to a lot of people, but it’s the

same in activism,” Jen continues.

“Feels like the only valid form of

activism is one that’s supposedly

fueled by anger, but if you want to

be a good activist, you can’t exist

in a constant state of anger. It’s just

not possible. You won’t get anything

done. You have to have moments

of calm and clear-headedness

to be able to actually tackle issues

like that. It feels sometimes disingenuous

when people say that the

only way you could get that kind

of ant-capitalist message across is

through aggression, and a lot of it

is machismo, isn’t it? And, in that

way, it’s hard to be taken seriously,

even if we have the same messages.”

They’ve faced misogynistic and

strange adversity in the face of

concert-goers, especially when

grouped with other bands that perhaps

speak on the same subjects,

but perhaps don’t sound so similar.

Recently having supported Propaghandi,

a show which they enjoyed

despite much of the crowd being

white cis men (a commonality at

“If you want to

be a good activist,

you can’t exist in a

constant state of


these kinds of shows), reviews

written afterwards detailed a message

that was no doubt a product of

that crowd. “’It was just a bit too

nice, they sound too nice for me,’”

Harriet sneers, quoting the reviewers,

“and this man had clearly just

rejected our messages because it

wasn’t masculine enough.”

Women and nonbinary people in

bands will recognize this: the very

same compared them to Blondie, a

lazy point of reference that seems

to be the only one in the repertoire

of these men absorbing music like

this. “It’s so lazy, but it just goes to

show they can’t connect with it because

they’re so stuck in that way

of being able to connect with critical

punk music, it has to be coming

from mostly men to them,” Harriet

says. “They’re almost like, no, it’s

too sweet, it’s too nice, it’s frivolous.”

Jen agrees: “It’s like, it’s feminine,

therefore it’s soft, therefore it’s ineffective,

otherwise our message

isn’t strong enough.”

Others find solace in accepting the

messages as their own. “Our fans

are actually quite shy,” Harriet

“It’s feminine,

therefore it’s soft,

therefore it’s

ineffective, otherwise

our message isn’t

strong enough.”


says, indicated by the soft-spoken

nature of their responses to the

band’s songs and lyrics. “Online,

I wouldn’t say it’s not like there’s

hype hype hype with loads of interactions,

but when you do find

them, it’s like finding someone’s

diary entry.” Self-searching on

Tumblr, for instance, means they’re

met with a slew of under-the-radar

blogs detailing how they’ve found

a theme to relate to in Colour Me

Wednesday’s lyrics. ‘These lyrics

are me!’ “They listen to it in a very

personal-to-their identity way,” she

continues. “They pay real attention

to the lyrics, and don’t reject our


The music itself helps listeners

relate their own experiences in a

broader sense, especially with the

band’s knack for making contradictory

atmospheres between serious

topics and catchy melodies. “It’s

good because you can write a song

that’s essentially quite sad-sounding

in terms of the lyrics, but then

have it in a major key, makes it

sound a bit more hopeful,” Laura

says. “Listening to sad songs is nice

as well, and cathartic, but listening

to some lyrics about maybe something

similar to what happened to

you as an experience or an identity

thing, and then it being in a pop,

uplifting sound could bring you out

of - I dunno,” Harriet continues. “I

just feel like it could help people,

maybe mentally. I feel like it helped

me, anyway.”

There is no doubt that Colour Me

Wednesday have touched a great

many people across the globe, their

reach extending across continents

in an attempt to lift up those who

perhaps do not realise they have a

voice against marginalisation, in

any form. They’re facing erasure as

a band in an area of withering arts,

and in the face of the largely male,

cishet music world, but they’re doing

everything in their power to

change that. “It’ll go down in a little

niche bit of history. It’ll be like,

oh, yeah, in Uxbridge there were

these bands!” Harriet says. “Footnote.

We reference stuff like that

in our stuff, like “Heather’s Left

For Dead” about women in musical

history as tiny little niche. Man,

man, man, man, man, and then the

footnotes at the bottom: everyone

else.” Moving in these great strides

towards greater change will hopefully

mean change for the better –

Uxbridge and Colour Me Wednesday

will be going down in history

through this group’s efforts, and not

only as a footnote.



Today, The Tuts are dressed like TLC and Destiny’s Child

in matching white/pink/purple camo, singing “No Scrubs”

through the course of the short photoshoot as the sun

emerges in perfect timing. “We love fashion, and we can

make a conscious effort with our fashion and still be taken

seriously for our music and our message,” lead singer

and guitarist Nadia Javed says enthusiastically. It’s in this

passion and dedication that they project their signature

message on tri-tone activism and intersectional feminism,

delivered with a healthy dose of empowering bubblegum

pop/indie punk fusion.


They’re not just limited to that,

however; not only do they play the

more obvious punk and indie festivals,

but are delving into various

crowds. They’re popular within

the ska crowd because of a tour

they did with The Selector, and are

playing more South Asian events

in order to access a demographic

that is, sadly, sorely lacking

in straight up-and-down punk

circles. “As a three-tone band, we

also want our audience to look

three-tone,” guitarist Nadia Javed

says, “because we want to make

a movement and send this message

out of uniting the races and

cultures together from all minority

backgrounds.” By bridging the

gap here, they’re attracting people

– specifically women, and more

specifically, women of color – to

their shows who, not too long ago,

were absent at these shows.

Their greatest goal is to empower

people listening to their music,

to pick up instruments and play

themselves, to become a part of

something bigger, to feel safer

and more comfortable. “We want

women in the crowd and people

from minority backgrounds to feel

like bad bitches,” Nadia says. “We

wanted them to feel empowered.

We want them to think, look,

there’s a brown girl onstage. I’ve

never seen a girl like that before

playing guitar. I want to do that.

And just to feel confident and do

shit they’d only see white dudes

doing.” They’re well aware of

the importance of representation

in the arts, as well as in wider

society, but while we’re seeing an

influx of women musicians taking

over places that were previously

composed of entirely male lineups,

it’s still almost entirely white

lineups. It’s notable to comment

on the fact that, amongst all the

bands interviewed over the weekend,

Nadia and drummer Beverly

Ishmael were the only women of

color I encountered and spoke to,

and some of the very few involved

in the festival.

It has to be something to do with

pigeonholing that happens too

often within the music industry.

Within the genres that see more

of a diversity in ethnicity – RnB,

hip hop, grime – helps people of

color feel less out of place. The

Tuts have gone completely against

this in an attempt to bring greater

representation to more guitar-driven

music genres, which is why

they find it so important to use

their platforms as musicians in the

public eye to speak on these

topics, and encourages others to

do the same. “What’s the deal?

I could be watching anyone, I

could be doing anything, but why

should I be watching you?” Bev

says. “What’s your message? Why

should I care about you? You need

to give something for people to

care about, because the world is a

bit fucked up right now.”

It’s important to seek out this

same representation and appropriate

use of platforms within

journalism and the media, because

many reporters are still white and

from upper-class upbringings, “so

probably won’t have that under-


“As a three-tone

band, we also

want our audience

to look threetone.”

standing of what to represent and

what needs a platform, because

they haven’t felt it,” Nadia points

out. Bev agrees: “Then that

doesn’t get the word out about

certain things that need to be

highlighted.” Behind the scenes is

something that’s harder to control,

though. Subconscious prejudice

and institutionalized racism and

misogyny is still rampant. “People

come up to us and start talking in

an Ali G accent,” Bev says, “and

that is just… what are you doing?

Assuming that’s what we’re into.”

Not only do The Tuts fight the battle

of being women in music, but

have to fight the battle of being

women of color as well. “It’s not

just about being girls,” Nadia says.

“It’s about taking into account our

race, our religion, our culture, our

class, all that.” It’s at the highest

levels of corporate greed in the

music industry that these considerations

(for the worse) are seen: by

not being hired, by being fired, by

being paid less or not at all.

That’s one of the many reasons

The Tuts pride themselves on being

completely DIY, managing all

admin work for the band on their

own, a decision taken, understandably,

after the inspiration for one

of their songs. “1982” was written


about a past manager who promise

to get them connections, but did

nothing up until they fired them

after realizing he hadn’t known

anyone of importance since ’82.

Living in London as well, where,

as bassist Harriet Doveton points

out, “you think every gig is a

corporate con,” finding the DIY

scene there allowed them to take

part in a system where promoters

were actually paying people fairly.

It does take a toll, however; as

many in a DIY scene can understand,

and as another proudly DIY

band Dream Nails said recently,

being a band that runs yourself

means 95% admin and 5% actual

music. The Tuts realized this with

the release of their debut as well:

“When we released Update Your

Brain, we were so busy emailing

people about magazine features

and stuff, that we fucking forgot

about being a band and writing

new music,” Nadia explains. “We

almost took the fun out of it for

ourselves, and The Tuts is about

friendship and having fun, and the

three-tone message, and so we felt

a little bit overwhelmed.”

While they are working on new

music, though, they’re avoiding

the same course and focusing

more on the music. “We didn’t

want to fall back into bad habits in

the anticipation of releasing new

stuff,” Harriet says, “and if we

do it, we have to go into it with

a healthier mindset.” That’s why,

where often they say what’s next

for them is world domination, this

time it’s “world domination, but

have mental sanity as well,” as

Bev says. “Instead of Update Your

Brain,” Nadia confirms, “Take

Care of Your Brain,” which might

mean everything from taking time

for themselves, to spending more

time with their friends and family,

or putting more of themselves into

the music. Nadia wants to make

more material, but also “making

sure that it’s true and genuine, and

comes from a good place, because,

when you’re constantly on social

media, you can start to compare

yourself to other people, and you

get jaded with what you’re seeing

online. I don’t want to produce

stuff of what is expected of me. I

want to produce stuff that I want

to do, and is true to me.”

For Nadia, on top of work with

The Tuts, that means delving more

into an acting career. Recently,

she was approached by ITV to be

interviewed for a new series called

Young, British & Muslim, which

has aired now since the festival,

and is another facet of encouraging

other young people of color

to pursue paths they might not

have because of a lack of diversity

within them. “They’re delving

into breaking stereotypes of how

Muslim people can actually have

different and cool careers without

their religion interfering,” Nadia

explains. Other than that, she’s

been offered two roles – one of

which, as it seems, is the story of

a possessed bride, shot entirely on

Super8 film – and is expanding

her reach past music and into the

other art forms as well.

Image by Iona Skye



the Nottingham punk outfit

taking back the power with

dreams of conquering the

whole world in the process.

Images by Iona Skye


There’s laughter and chatter

coming from the room we’ve

rented out at Dance Studios

Nottingham for the day. Glitter,

flower petals, and chalksketched

posters sporting empowered

feminist messages litter

the floor. We’re filming a video

for Babe Punch’s song “Stanford,”

and fans and friends have come

out in droves to support the


Written “many, many moons

ago” and recorded in 2017,

“Stanford” was forged in outrage

against rape culture as a whole,

inspired at the time by Brock

Allen Turner and the Stanford

rape case as it developed in

California in 2015 and concurrent

years. “We were getting to

that age where a lot of stuff like

that was going on, and we were

hearing a lot about it,” vocalist

and lyricist Molly Godber tells

me later on that day. We’re sitting

at a bar down the road from

the dance studios, gear piled up

on a table behind us, in a sort of

euphoric daze after the five-hour

shoot. “Even in our hometown,

everywhere, not just in America,

it just seemed to be everywhere,

and I think that case was so horrific,

because it really just opens

your eyes to how corrupt the

system is.

“It really just shocked me into

action. I think we couldn’t

ignore it and not talk about it

anymore,” she continues. “We

just couldn’t ignore it and not

talk about it anymore. We need

to raise awareness about that

sort of thing, because the words

just came out so easily for me,

because it was something that

was bubbling up over time. the

conversation wasn’t being had,

so we just needed to take it into

our own hands.” They wanted to

bring the conversation into the

music, especially into a scene

saturated with women being

taken advantage of: that strange

feeling of privilege male audience

members seem to get by

watching women onstage that

somehow allows them to touch

the performers, or to punch

and push women in the crowd

because it’s at a concert.


Putting these values into practice, not

only in their music but their lives as

well, is important to the band. They’re

embodying the role models they looked

for growing up, not only in the messages

they send but in the way they act

between each other. “We’re very odd

people, so I think I wanted someone that

was a bit more like what we are and how

we interact with each other and stuff like

that, and I didn’t see anybody like that,”

Molly says. “I think we’re filling a little

gap there for someone, because if I saw

a band like us when I was a kid, I think

I would have been pretty happy, and I’d

have felt like there was somebody like me

in the industry.”

“If you want to make people aware of

matters like that, then you can do it,”

guitarist Carys Jones adds. “Like how we

were maturing and forming these opinions,

if there’s young people listening to

us, we can send them that.” Whether it

be about feminism and basic respect for

fellow humans, or important things in

our current climate like voting, the band

can use that platform, in person or on

social media, to speak out about it. “If

you’ve got people listening to you,

then you might as well try to make

a difference.”

For the “Stanford” video, they

wanted to speak up about assault,

but their working idea of a narrative-led

story didn’t quite fit

the message they hope would come

across. To achieve more of an empowering,

unifying feeling, focusing

on the support they hope is available

for victims of sexual assault, rather

than the act itself, they put out an

open call to their friends and fans to

participate in their own way. “I think

that was the most important part of it

as well,” Molly continues; “it’s not the

actual act that matters. It’s how we as a

society take it and do what we do with

it afterwards, and we want to be a part

of the positive movement that comes

from these horrendous things.”

With the Kavanaugh debacle permeating

all our minds at the moment,

it’s important that we take the time

to stand in solidarity with those who

have experienced this, or are at a risk

of falling victim to it. Stand in solidarity

with us, and revel in the glitter

and flowers we went through during

the filming. Keep an eye out for Babe

Punch’s inevitable world domination,

as well; this is a determined group of

talented people.

Images by Iona Skye



There are few bands who

can stand up to the

unapologetically fierce

energy that is Manchester

four-piece WITCH FEVER.

The riff-driven punk group

are a staple of the local punk

scene, despite only having two

songs recorded and

released to date. As a live

band, they are infamous for

their raw, thrilling honesty

and entrancing performances

full of punchy in-your-face

riffs and shrieking vocals.

Their shows, as you can

guess, always seem to offer a

rush of empowerment, which

is exactly what they aim for.

Moving to Manchester to do

music, as the whole band seems

to have done, they all discovered

that things were sorely lacking

in quite a few key things:

a punk and metal scene, and

women in music. “I was keen

to be with girls and make loud

music,” lead singer Amy Walpole

explains, and so WITCH FEVER

was formed, and does just that to

this day. Branding themselves

as all-girl punk is important to

them, she explains, but they still

face issues as a band, as many

bands do with one or all female


“It’s difficult

because you’re

trying to please

every kind of


members, in the formation

of genres simply in regards to

gender. They often get placed on

the same bill as bands who sound

nothing like them, just because

there’s a girl involved.

Just as others before them have

experienced, they use their

platform to talk about these

experiences, amongst others in

the same vein, but do feel the

pressure from their peers and

audience. “I feel like we’re

scrutinized, like people are

waiting for us to call something

out or something, and they

just want us to be a hypocrite,”

Alex explains. Amy goes on:

“Someone commented on one

of our posts saying that we were

the maidenhead for the ship

of feminism. And as much as

that’s really lovely and really

nice, I read it and was like, oh

god! I don’t want this kind of

responsibility, because sometimes

it’s difficult because you’re

trying to please every kind of

feminist, every kind of woman or

nonbinary person.” While using

a platform is important for many,


it’s also incredibly important

to remember that music is what

these bands are doing, and they

can’t be expected to cover everything,

without any mistakes; they

are human, too, after all.

Recently, though, the band did

use their platform to call out behavior

at an all-dayer in Bristol.

It seemed like classic behavior

for men towards women in a

band, only to a whole greater extent

– quizzing them on whether

or not they knew how to use their

equipment, asking them to take

off their shirts and give the crowd

members lap dances, saying they

were going to wank off at their

set – but what was so shocking

to them was how “it was such

a large amount in such a short

space of time,” explains Amy.

“Usually, it’s just one incident a

gig, but it was so many all at the

same time.” Alex agrees: “It felt

like a really negative space.”

“It just seems that as soon as

women onstage show any part

of their body, they’re considered

a sexual object in some light, or

people immediately start to think

about shagging them,” Amy

points out. “I get that you’re attracted

to people and you fancy

people, and that’s fine, but it’s

not cool to come up to us and

say you’re going to have a wank

over us, because that’s just really

threatening.” Many have shown

their support for the band during

this time, despite a few disrespectful

comments on the post

they made about the incident, but

it’s occurrences like these that

prove there’s far to go for women

in the industry facing these


WITCH FEVER are far from

scared off from performing,

however, and have a string of live

dates lined up through the summer,

attempting to hit as many

cities as possible before they

reenter the studio. An EP is in

the works, Amy confirms, along

with videos to go along with the

songs, and an album within the

next year (we hope!).


Leeds/York poppy post-punk quartet Crumbs

doesn’t quite fit in with any one genre, with

influences from a variety of different sources.

With the fractioned-yet-intertwined scenes

that exist in Leeds, between various venues

hosting their own respective styles of music,

Crumbs are one of the few bands within the city

actively achieving cross-pollinating. They have

had a longstanding hold in the Leeds music

scene, with drummer Gem Prout putting on DIY

gigs in the city for over a decade and the rest of

the band being equally as involved in both Leeds

and Manchester for the course of their music

careers. With a bass- driven, funky and fuzzy

grab-bag of rhythmic unique sounds, complete

with just enough cowbell and energetic snarling

vocals, they easily win your hearts and ears with

toe-tapping goodness.

They aren’t governed by what

others want to hear, which

might be partly because of their

long-standing relationship with

the music scene, amongst many

other reasons. “It’s like that

with any kind of creative thing,”

bassist Jamie Wilson says, “if

you’re not going to be happy

with what you’re doing, then

what’s the point? I think that’s

why, a lot of the times, we end up

being the ‘weirdest’ band on the

bill; not a conscious thing, but

as in, we don’t fit with the same

structure.” That means they’re


“If you’re not

going to be happy

with what you’re

doing, then what’s

the point?”

invited to play a load of shows

and get involved with a variety

of scenes, playing with punk

bands at this festival, but delving

into more and different scenes in

other circumstances.

They’re currently in the process

of writing their second album, in

between touring with Cowtown,

another Leeds powerhouse, this

summer, a slower process than

Mind Yr Manners, they tell me.

“All the songs we have on our

first album are all the songs we

wrote since we started,” Jamie

explains, “and I guess it’s not

really a time pressure thing then.

Suddenly, everything that we did

became a song, but now it’s more

comfortable.” Many of their

songs now are about “quite bleak

subjects,” Gem says, “but they’re

covered by the poppiness;” in

the past, they’ve described their

debut album Mind Yr Manners

as dealing with “the art of coping

with not coping” and the

anxieties that come along with

this. Vocalist Ruth Gillmore is

also the lyricist of the group:

“I’m just saying things that are


really important to me,” she

says, “but I like to leave it open

to people to listen themselves.”

As with others, Crumbs are

more about letting their actions

do the talking than their song

lyrics. “It’s about not taking shit

at shows if something happens,

like calling people out,” Jamie

points out, something Ruth references

as the golden rule: “be the

person that you want to see at

gigs.” Ambiguity in the songs,

while sometimes getting them

strange reviews (a song about

death being mistaken as a song

about turtles?), gives them the

flexibility of delving into the

more pop side of the songs.

“There’s plenty of politics in the

songs and in the lyrics. Just,

consciously, I wouldn’t describe

ourselves as an anarcho-punk

band or anything; it’s never

been a political thing in that

sense,” guitarist Stuart notes,

but it’s in other ways that they

get involved. “There’s a political

element, especially in the scene

we’re involved in. It’s more of a

DIY thing, the fact that anyone

can do it.”

The DIY scene, especially

in Leeds, as they tell me, is

extremely supportive. “You can

be in the best, biggest band,

or you can be the newest band

in Leeds, and it doesn’t matter

because everyone is like, that

was really great! Keep doing it!”

Gem says. Watching their friends

start and play in not even necessarily

good bands is an encouraging

way of getting engaged

and feeling like you’re a part of

something. “It makes you feel

like everybody has got something

to say,” Ruth points out, “or everyone

can have a go at playing

an instrument or putting something

together, and it doesn’t

have to be amazing. Anything is

valid.” Gem notes that the DIY

scene creates a call-out culture

far apart from the toxic one that’s

been building itself online, and

instead creating an honest atmosphere

of learning together. “It’s

not phony; it’s real in that sense.”



Fresh play an enthusiastic set of “scrappy,” “bubblegum-grunge,”

a diverse combination cobbled together to

execute their short and punchy songs about mental health

and sexual identity. In both lyrics and in action, they

advocate for equality in the industry and strive for the

strength of DIY within it.

They’re on tour for all of summer

and fall, supporting names

like The Beths and Camp Cope.

“We just feel like playing shows

is the best way to write and learn

songs,” says lead singer and guitarist

Kathryn Woods, “so it kind

of goes hand in hand; shows first,

and then the work comes out of

that, because that’s how Fresh

started.” Barring even Kathryn’s

impending move to Switzerland

to teach English there, they’re

still planning to tour, using

the opportunity to play around

mainland Europe as well, which

they’ll be doing for the first time

this summer at various festivals.

It’s a great goal of the band, as

they tell me, to travel and to continue

to learn more from the DIY

scene, more about people and

“identity politics,” that they never

would have done outside of it.

With all the touring coming

along, it’s inevitable we’ll be

hearing more from Fresh, because

they’re planning to record

new things as a follow-up from

their debut self-titled album from

last September. “Traveling and

meeting people and being open

to new things is a really good

way to keep your brain always

thinking about stuff,” Kathryn

says; “I don’t think I realize how

much it influences me until I’m

writing. Just hearing a turn of

phrase or something, there’s no

way you can plan that or seek it

out.” Drawing from their mem-


ories as such – even though

Kathryn writes the songs, she

brings them to the group to collaborate

so, as bassist George

Philips says, “we’re able to add

a little bit of ourselves to them”

– allows them to paint a picture

in people’s minds by triggering

the senses that memories always

seem to be made up of.

Being a songwriter, especially

as a young woman, can be quite

daunting, as what Kathryn thinks

is often considers a “gatekeeper”

of the ideas she presents in her

songs, even though some songs

might be about absolutely ordinary,

mundane experiences that

should be accessible for any to

listen to. “Whether I want to or

not,” she admits, “if you’re a

woman playing punk, everything

you do is going to be political, so

might as well make it your own

politics and roll with it.”

“If you’re a

woman playing punk,

everything you do is

going to be political.”

Drummer Daniel Goldberg

points out, “Kathryn, being a

woman with a microphone,

doesn’t have the luxury of not

being questions on anything that


often than not, it seems that,

when given a platform as a woman

or nonbinary person (or of

another minority identity of any

kind), you become the spokesperson

for everyone also within

that minority. They reference Em

Foster, lead singer of punk band

Nervus, as being treated as the

spokesperson for all trans people

in music (along with a plethora

of Against Me! Comparisons,

despite sounding nothing like

them). A DIY space is a safe

space to avoid such questioning

eyes, where “people look at me

like I’m a lab specimen or something,”

Kathryn says; even fellow

women seem to show misogynistic

attitudes, no matter how subconsciously,

as they reference an

instance where a woman praised

Kathryn for not wearing makeup

or showing cleavage, “because

that’s apparently what women

in bands have to do,” says Dan.

But it’s not only middle-aged

women who grew up in “that

time” who experience these ingrained

misconceptions; even

Kathryn, along with no doubt

countless others still have to deal

with internalized sexism and homophobia

thanks to these perceptions

still running amuck within

and outside of this industry.

It’s good, then, that Fresh’s goal

is to inspire those watching and

listening to them play. “I want

other people, especially other

women and nonbinary and queer

people, to just know that being

in a band, anybody can do it,”

Kathryn explains. “You don’t

need to have some kind of innate

talent even; you just need to have

a bit of confidence.” Just as many

bands in this DIY scene do, she

has other, older people within the

scene to thank for where she is

now, and hopes to take a place

in encouraging others to pursue

this rewarding path. They reference

Ducking Punches, a Norwich

band that played just after

Fresh, who spoke about looking

after younger people within the

crowd. Too often it seems that

older fans in a punk crowd will

look down on newer additions to

the scene, but it’s in a punk attitude

to protect impressionable

younger people looking to fit in.

Katherine Christie Evans, previously a bassist in Dream

Nails, is pursuing her solo project under the name Velodrome

by mixing a wide variety of genres. From funk to

garage rock to psychedelia to classical roots from her training

as a youth, her pursuit of a blurring of the lines between

genres also extends to her medium as well; in the spirit of

DIY that many others also work their art through, she’s

putting her arts degree and experience in theater design to

practice by incorporating theater into her live shows and

videos, truly the definition of interdisciplinary.

In May, Kate released her first

of a series of singles: the flexible

and dynamic Baroque-influence

“His Physique.” Where

the genres she incorporates

into her songs transcend traditional

boundaries, the topics

on which she writes also cover

a wide variety of experiences

and disciplines. Mental health

awareness, feminism, economic

status, the impact of all of these

on Kate’s art, are just a few of the

topics she writes into her music.

“It’s hard not to be intersectional,

because you’re writing about

all your perspectives,” she says.

“There’s a lot going on in ‘His

Physique’, but it’s a whole bunch

of issues colliding for me. It’s a

bit of body dysmorphia, which

is from my anorexia, and then

there’s also the gender issues.”

In the video she starred in and

wrote herself, Kate dresses up

as men from various paintings

ranging from medieval to

renaissance eras, as well as more

modern icons, to play out her

gender fantasies and explore the

interplay between dysphoria and

dysmorphia. “Anxiety, I feel it

comes across in my music; it’s

very complicated, layered music,

which really is me.”





“It’s hard not to be

intersectional because

you’re writing about

all your perspectives”


Her next single, “Steady Girl,”

deals with the interplay of OCD

and anxiety and how those impact

living as an artist with limited

funds, something that still

seems a bit of a taboo around it.

“People don’t want to talk about

how they’re poor, because there’s

a shaming attached to it,” Kate

says, “and it’s really important

for people from underrepresented

groups to be out in front

of people. I don’t always find it

easy performing, but I think it’s

empowering.” Coming from the

margins of society and standing

in front of a crowd both makes

her visible and encourages

others from these underrepresented

groups to pursue such a

noticeable career path, inspiring

them to be confident with who

they are.

This goal extends beyond the

physical stage for Kate as well.

PR in a DIY manner means

handling everything herself,

and that took the form of teaser

videos in Instagram and Twitter

posts speaking about the topics

covered by “His Physique,”

which also means admitting to

struggles some of her friends

didn’t know about previously.

“I’ve come out with my sexuality

years ago, but I feel like I’m

only coming out to my friends

now around this release,” Kate

explains. “I’ve had to dig really

deep with the social media

campaign to put across what

the song’s about, and I’ve been

posting stuff on Instagram, like

eating disorders and mental

health, and I’m realizing a lot of

my friends probably don’t actually

know this. They’ve known

me for ten years, but they don’t

know Kate’s had anorexia since

she was seventeen. Only my

closest friends know that, and

it’s just not something we talk

about.” As Velodrome, Kate is

putting herself on a vulnerable

stage, literally and figuratively,

in order to bring better to light

the importance of mental health


Being in a band has to make it

somewhat easier, just as it makes

performing more comfortable;

you’re up there with friends,


and you have someone to turn

around to share a smile with and

to bring your hopes up. When

you’re a solo musician, especially

a solo female or nonbinary

musician, it’s so much more

discouraging. Kate can see the

difference clear as day. “There’s

no one to turn around to and

say, I feel really shit, and, maybe

he’s right, I don’t know anything,”

she points out. “Knocks

still hurt me, but I think I’m just

a bit more rational about it now,

and I’m more aware that a lot

of people talk shit. People have

a lot of confidence in their own

opinion, and I’m just aware to

take it with a bit of salt now. I

think it’s just being a bit more

thick-skinned as a solo artist. It

is hard, and it’s the same thing

with going onstage; it’s fucking

hard. I wouldn’t ever claim anything

other than that - it’s really


Much of these knocks come

from the idea that women

carry different standards than

men. “If you’re a woman, you

might be called something like

‘cocky’, whereas if you’re a guy

that would be called ‘assertive’

or ‘confident’,” Kate notes. “I

think I’m just learning from past

experiences, so whereas before I

might have let something really

knock me, something that a guy

said to me about a song, like

this isn’t good enough, and it’s

been so long since I wrote my

songs now, and I really let it put

me off for so long, and I’ve just

got to this place where I’m like,

actually, no? You’re not going to

stop me. I think I’ve just kind of

reached a place now where I’m

a little bit older and I’m more


Kate is also pursuing another

facet of music wherein women

are sorely lacking: production.

Currently in the process of completing

a B-tech in music production,

she hopes for her future

music to avoid going through

a man before reaching an audience,

something her next single

“It’s really

important for

people from


groups to be out in

front of people.”

“His Physique” actually did. “I

really want to be more and more

in control of my music, because

I’ve played all the instruments

on it, I’ve written it, I’ve written

the lyrics. It’s all mine, and then

there’s this kind of irony that you

then take it to a guy,” she says.

Not that guys are incapable; it’s

just too often that songs like

this pass through some kind of

“male filter” before reaching the

outside world. Tove Styrke, an

up-and-coming pop artist from

Sweden, spoke before about how

she’d only work with one other

female producer in the past,

and this seems to be the same

for all musicians. There just

aren’t enough women producers

working on others’ music, and

not just they’re own (not knock-


“If you’re a woman,

you might be called

something like ‘cocky’,

whereas if you’re a guy

that would be called

‘assertive’ or ‘confident’.”

ing you DIY ladies producing

your own music; keep it up!). “I

think it’s literally just girls aren’t

cultured,” Kate notes. “We don’t

tend to be given a drum kit or

we don’t tend to be given music

production software, and then

it just gets harder and harder,

because the older you get, you’re

intimidated, because guys are

using all these technical terms. I

think, oh my god, I’m never going

to catch up, but then luckily

there’s this stronger half of me

which is like, no! This is why I

must catch up!”

It’s time to find and encourage

more women to pursue these

career tracks; it’s hard now to

find even a woman sound engineer

at a gig, and many note

they’ve only worked with one

in the past. Creating this more

comfortable and integrated atmosphere

would greatly benefit

more women looking to pursue

this career.


The Tuts

Members: Nadia Javed, Beverly

Ishmael, Harriet Doveton

Instagram: @thetutsband

Twitter: @TheTutsBand

Babe Punch

Members: Molly Godber, Abbie

Roberts, Carys Jones, Adam


Twitter: @BabePunch

Instagram: @babe_punch

Witch Fever

Members: Alisha Yarwood,

Alex Thompson, Amy Walpole,

Annabelle Joyce

Instagram: @witchfever


Dream Nails

Members: Mimi Jasson, Janey

Starling, Anya Pearson, Lucy Katz

Instagram: @dreamnailsband

Twitter: @yourdreamnails


Members: Kathryn Woods,

Myles McCabe, Daniel Goldberg,

George Philips

Instagram: @freshpunks

Twitter: @freshpunks

The Spook School

Members: Adam Todd, Niall

McCamley, Nye Todd, AC Cory

Instagram: @thespookschool

Twitter: @spookschool

Happy Accidents

Members: Rich Mandell, Neil Mandell,

Phoebe Cross

Instagram: @happyaccidentsuk

Twitter: @HappyAccidentzz


Members: Katherine Christie


Instagram: @velodromemusic

Twitter: @VelodromeMusic

The Baby Seals

Members: Kerry Devine, Amy

Devine, Jasmine Robinson

Instagram: @thebabyseals

Twitter: @thebabyseals


Members: Emily, Jordy, Cass,


Instagram: @kermesforever

Twitter: @kermesforever

Colour Me Wednesday

Members: Jennifer Doveton, Harriet

Doveton, Jaca, Laura

Instagram: @colourmewed

Twitter: @ColourMeWed


Members: Gem Prout, Jamie Wilson,

Ruth Gillmore, Stuart

Instagram: @crumbsband

Twitter: @crumbsband

All portraits, interviews and

layout design completed by

Francesca Tirpak unless

otherwise noted



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