WE START FIRES
They come from the North-East. They sound like Kenickie. If it wasn't for the fact we've seen their photo's we'd be sure it was Lauren Laverne chucking in the TV career and getting the girls back together. Sure it's a touch derivative, but they're stealing from one of the most underrated bands of the 90s so it's better than the current crop of one trick ponies in the garage scene.
Q: We Start Fires have just played Ladyfest Manchester.
Was it inspiring seeing the sense of community and DIY ethic which seems
lacking in music nowadays?
A:Yeah definitely. It's nice to see that people can work together to put on a really cool, well attended event and make a success of it without having to rely on huge corporate sponsors. I think the fact that Ladyfest manages to not only survive, but to grow bigger each year, without having ANY media backing or corporate backing is awesome.
Q: One of the objections we've heard over the past
few weeks is that Ladyfest, like the MOBO's, are discriminatory and we
shouldn't need to segregate music like this. What would you say to people
who come out with statements like that?
A: I can understand how people could think that without having been to a Ladyfest event, but we've played at three of the festivals now - in London, Bristol and Manchester - and men have always been welcome and have had a part in organizing the events and have performed at them.
I think for us and for all the people that are involved
in Ladyfest it's an important institution. For a lot of women it
can be a relief to play to people that will accept you on your own terms
instead of being judged on how you look. It's nice to turn up to a gig
and not be the only girls there and not be treated differently. We've turned
up to so many gigs where we've been made to feel like a bit of an oddity
just because we're girls - like it's so crazy that a girl would pick up
a guitar and want to be in a band. Ladyfest is about
giving women an equal footing in the arts and a platform to express themselves - it's a place to discuss issues that are relevant to women in a relaxed atmosphere and I think that's very necessary. And talking of discrimination - there were more men involved with, and performing at, this years Ladyfest than there were women performing at Glastonbury, Leeds and the V Festival. We shouldn't need to segregate music but it's a fact that 99% of gigs are completely male dominated and until that changes Ladyfest is there to redress the balance.
Q:. As an individual and then as a band who are you
inspired by in terms of feminist icons? Is there anyone currently or is
it a case of looking to the past with people like Valerie Solonas?
A: Although we love people like Barbara Creed and Laura Mulvey, our main inspirations aren't necessarily scholars. To me Courtney Love, Sleater Kinney, Kathleen Hanna and the girls from The Gossip are just as valid as feminist icons as people like Susan Faludi or Betty Frieden because they're actually out there, being visible, changing peoples perceptions and DOING stuff. They're the people that are going to have an effect on young girls.
Q: Trying to get under the skin of what We Start Fires
are about what's the ideology or ethos of the band?
A: I think we're very aware of the fact that we're a female band from the North East. We've always believed in assuming equality for women and we've always had a strong sense of community. We're really into DOING THINGS and not waiting around for other people to catch on, which is why we've released our own record and put on our own gigs and organized our own tours. We don't want to remain
an underground band - we want to be a big band and sell tons of records and inspire people, but we want to do it on our own terms. We're not going to cavort around in short skirts or play down things that are important to us, like Ladyfest, because we think it'll make us more appealing.
Essentially, We Start Fires is about kick ass girls and
boys sticking together, intelligence, savvy, attitude, great music and
lovely hair and make up!
Q: Three girls, 1 boy from the North East who play
punk pop gems with quirky keyboards. Admit it you're Lauren Laverne's love
A: Personally I like to think we're more Pink Floyd meets the Ronettes!
Q: As a band you don't really fit into any easy identifiable
scene i.e. your too pop for the punk scene and too leftfield for the indie
scene. Do you find that playing gigs around the country you end up cynical
at where music is heading?
A: More often than not we do get plonked on absolutely ridiculous bills - we've played with death metal bands, funk bands, bands that have a total hang up about playing a gig with a 'girl band' - 'Eee! So can you actually tune your guitar then, love?' But that's more to do with bad promoters than anything else.
We're cynical at the sort of music that is being pushed by the music press, rather than the music that's being produced by bands. There's some great stuff out there but too often it gets ignored because it doesn't fit in with what's trendy at a particular time.
Q: What's planned next for We Start Fires?
A: We're busy recording our album at the moment - it's called 'Manifesto' and it's sounding fucking fabulous so far! We also have tons of gigs lined up across the country, so watch out for us at a night spot near you soon. We also have more general plans like trying to rid the world of boring unimaginative rock
shite and encouraging girls that you can have a career in music whilst wearing nice clothes, as opposed to none at all.
For more info
Post your We Start Fires reviews / comments on the Message Board