Louder Than War Interview: BITCHES

Louder Than War catch up with “London based, fuzzed up noise-pop, boy-girl, bass-drum duo BITCHES,” whose music “makes for dancing and fighting and good times” (© their Last.fm profile), a few days before the release of their long awaited debut album.

We first wrote about BITCHES back in April 2012 and said then that there was a “rumour of an album later in the year”. That album never transpired then, but lo! and behold, by the magic of Twitter a few weeks ago I found out an album was set for release at the end of Oct. As so often tends to be the case these days “delays” reared it’s pretty little head and the release date was put back. I didn’t really care though as I already had a download, sent through by ex-Foot Villager, current True Neutral Crewer and boss of flippin’ rad record label, Deathbomb Arcer, Brian, who’s helping them with press.

I first became conscious of BITCHES existence way back in the mists of time known as “when Tom Ravenscroft first started his Friday evening show on 6music” (for those of you who don’t count time in terms of “great life moments of John Peel’s son” that’ll be 2010 sometime). They play great, short, sharp stabs of scuzzed up music chock full of tunes, albeit tunes hidden under a tangle of boy / girl shouts, some serious mangling of instruments, and an ever-present undercurrent of riff, distortion and feedback. In most people’s hands such things would sound a bit grinding and relentless, but BITCHES suffuse the whole with so much fun it’s impossible to listen to it without a smile on your face and a sense, frankly, that all’s well with the world – even though you know it isn’t.

As bands to lose your shit to go you I can’t imagine you’ll find any better than BITCHES. If you’re ever lucky enough to see them live, grab the opportunity with both hands – legend has it (OK, the album’s accompanying press release) that when they played in LA towards the start of their ‘career’ they had a roomful of people dancing, moshing and crowd surfing within a few minutes of taking to the stage, no mean feat considering most of them won’t ever have had heard anything by BITCHES before.

The album’s now due out on Monday (25th Nov). You’re strongly advised to scoot off to their Bandcamp (Oi! though, not until you’ve read the interview below) to pre-order a copy. BITCHES Bandcamp. You can get it in as a 12″ black vinyl or as a digital download.

 

Louder Than War: Sorry for starting off with such a predictable question, but one of the first things I liked about the band was your name – it certainly jumps out and grabs people’s attention while also being easy to remember. On the other hand, I’m guessing googling it can be a nightmare and there must be the possibility of it causing offence. So a) has it ever (caused offence) and b) just “why BITCHES exactly”?

BITCHES: We wanted a one word band name that summed us up. Loud, fun punk music – two of us – girl and boy. So we picked BITCHES. It was a very quick decision and we picked it as a bit of a joke. It does offend some people, yes, but Blake’s grandparents (christian-as-heck) are fine with it, so it’s fine.

And if “why is your band called …” wasn’t a predictable enough first question, how do you like this for an equally predictable question “Why so long to get your debut long player out?” I’ve just stumbled upon an interview from back in 2010 that boldly stated “The duo are currently in the process of recording their first album”. So was the album over three years in the making or was the one mentioned there shelved.

We wrote a lot of songs which were then released on other records. Since then we have released a split 12” on Palmist Records and an EP on Gravy Records. We toured a couple of times, played SXSW, moved houses, changed jobs, broke some bones, considered getting a dog … lots of stuff happened.

Louder Than War: And talking about the debut long player – I’m loving the debut long player! What were you trying to do with it? Was there a plan of action when you sat down to make it? And, did it end up as you expected it would?

We are really happy we have finished this record! We wanted it to be a collection of older songs and brand new songs, something that people would be excited about, but also slightly familiar with. Our only real plan was to work with our friends as much as possible – the recording, the artwork, the music video … are all collaborations with our friends. They are the best.

Brevity. Your songs are all dead short little chaotic nuggets of right rad blast pop in my opinion. I believe only one track on the album exceeds two mins for instance. Is that a premeditated ‘given’ that every time you sit down to write a new song that they’ll be 2 mins or less, or does it just work out that way? 

It just works out that way, a songs duration only depends on whether we think it’s finished. Time doesn’t really matter.

To my ears I’m thinking the album might capture some of the feel of your live shows. Is that a fair comment?

We recorded the album live. That was the most important thing, so it feels as real as a show would be!

Which artists and bands inspire you? Would you say that any of those influences come through in the album?

Big black, Pissed Jeans, Jesus Lizard we were listening to a lot when we started. They were the big three. Then we just kept trying to write songs and made our own thing up.

After releasing your music on some of our favourite labels over the years -Deathbomb Arc, Gravy and (Fat Cat imprint) Palmist- you’re self-releasing the album. How come so and would you recommend it to other bands? Also, any plans to release other bands?

We are self-releasing the album. This is our second self-release, we were very pleased with how our first record turned out and enjoyed how much control we had over every aspect of the release. It would have been great to have worked with a new label, but we can’t wait around all day, we have more music to write and places to be, so we just did it ourselves.

I would highly recommend self-releasing, if you need any tips please ask. We can give you good ideas for meal plans and advice on improving your quality of life when you are broke. Example number 1; when you are sad, smile at yourself in a mirror. (If you don’t have a mirror, you can usually see yourself in the reflection of a car or shop window.)

So, what plans have you for the next few months? You have a tour lined up right? (This interview was done before the tour they had planned fell through). What should people expect from a BITCHES live show?

A few shows. No real tour yet. That is for next year. Expect fun and dancing and good times. We are working on the next record. We want to keep putting music out a lot faster. One a year from now on. Music time.

I ask this question of every band I’m asking questions of – can you please name us some bands we maybe haven’t heard about, but who you think we should hear please? 

We just listen to Silver Jews all the time.

Okay, keep it short and finish with one last “anything you’d like to add” type question…

HAVE FUN AND BE NICE TO PEOPLE!!

~

Once more, the album can be ordered through BITCHES Bandamp page. To keep up with BITCHES news (and to find out when that tour’s ready to go) check out their Website, Facebook page or Twitter, where they hang as @peaceandbitches. More music by BITCHES can be found at their Soundcloud.

All words Guy Manchester. More words by Guy can be read here. He tweets as @guid0man & uses Tumblr.

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