Maddie Aldridge spoke with all-female punk group, The Tuts, following the release of their triumphant debut album 'Update Your Brain' about fighting racism, crowd-funding and looking amazing on stage.
Would you class yourself as a political band and if so what does that mean to you?
Nadia: We never set out to be a political band, it just happens that we’re out-spoken and have naturally become political.
Harriet: Yeah, but not in the classic protest songs way. Just in that we're three tone, working class feminists with something to say and justifiably angry about the state of this country that’s run by middle class, old white men who don't have a clue about any type of struggle. How could we not react to that?
Beverley: Starting out we never looked at ourselves as being political or feminist we just wanted to make music about thing that happened to us in our lives, but now as we’re a bit older its more important to us. I think the thing that means the most to us is the fact that we’re a 3 tone band and our culture and our backgrounds have got us to where we are, and I guess that’s pretty political if you want to look at it that way.
How was the experience of crowd funding your latest album and what made you decide to go down that route?
Nadia: We had the idea of crowd funding the album and then a friend who works for pledge music suggested the idea and it was perfect timing ‘cos we’d just split ways with our cowboy manager and needed to lift the morale with an album and not waste anymore time. I felt a bit insecure, depressed and low last year; we weren’t getting the big break we wanted. We decided we needed to put an album out asap. I knew we had a fan base but the pre-orders and support on our pledge campaign blew me away and served as a reminder that we are amazing and have super duper fans. We hit our target in 5 days. We had the best pledge campaign. I worked so hard on it, we did pledge updates and treated our pledgers special giving them exclusive content.
Harriet: It was either that or we tried to get a label involved. And if we were to get a label involved we'd need it to be BIG time. Although I majorly respect the smaller labels, there's nothing that they can do they we can't do for ourselves. So crowdfunding it was. Also our fans are the type that LOVE to be involved in stuff like this.
Beverley: Our experience with crowd funding was out of this world. It was so much fun, doing updates for fans that pledged for the album. It really gave us the chance to interact with our fans and friends. We pretty much know all the names of the people that pledges because we got so into it. We hit our target in less than a week and our fans showed us so much love and support during this process, we can’t thank them enough.
You all look amazing on stage, how do you work out what you’re going to wear at your gigs?
Nadia: Thank you. We just have a quick discussion on the group chat and go with the vibe/mood of the gig or our personal preference. We like to dress up, be naughty, splash glitter and have fun with our image. It also serves as a confidence boost and shield. If we look good, we feel good and we play better. All our makeup gets fucked after 2 songs anyway from all the sweat and hair whipping.
Harriet: We usually decide that morning and it's what we're feeling/what’s available.
Beverley: We have a group chat and we usually decide the day before, or minutes before we’re about to leave.
Following your recent gig at Undercover Festival in Brighton and the unacceptable
treatment The Tuts were forced to endure at the hands of crew members and the festival
organiser, how has this affected you and how do you think it will affect you in the future
when it comes to gigs and touring?
Nadia: It’s made me realise even more so that as an intersectional girl band we don’t fit into the stereotypical mould of being punk and how this affects people’s attitudes towards us. It’s highlighted undercover racism and sexism and how this will affect the way people treat us. It’s made me more cautious to wanna film everything and have a man with us as we tend to get treated differently when we have a male tour manager with us. I’m glad we outed the festival because it’s untied us closer with our fans and filtered out all the junk. It’s made people aware of the struggles we have to deal with as a punk band of colour.
Harriet: The big concern here is safety. We are not safe at our own shows, a place where crew and promoters should be looking out for us and our wellbeing. The lack of safety we feel manifests in so many complicated issues- for example the refusal to believe three women when they say they were assaulted. A lot of victim blaming goes on and we noticed in the backlash the trolls were bringing up stuff like class, calling us "council estate chavs" or bringing up the fact that we'd had a few drinks. This blame and way of thinking is so dangerous, sexist and backwards. We're thinking of strapping go-pro's to our heads and just filming everything.
Beverley: This is a legal matter now and we’re not allowed to discuss it, but I will say this we’ve just come off a really successful tour of the country and as long as you put love out there you’ll get love back in return.
If you could sum up The Tuts in three words what would they be?
Nadia: Bantz, bangers, brains
Harriet: Supernatural glitter gang
Beverley: Friends for life
You’ve just released your new album Update Your Brain, which bands and artists influenced you when you were making the album and music in general?
Nadia: Growing up I was really inspired by 90’s pop and then got into guitar music because of Feeder, The Libertines and Good Charlotte. We wanted the raw sound of The Libertines but big fullness like Paramore.
Harriet: The influences span over so many years of absorbing different music. There's a lot of pop melodies in there, we were all obsessed with the same bands growing up- Spice Girls, Avril Lavigne, Destiny’s Child and so on. Then there are the classic indie influences like The Libertines and feeder. And of course old school punk such as The Clash. Then of course touring with Kate Nash and hearing her music live every night definitely played a part.
Beverley: Where do I start, growing up I listened to a lot of pop like Spice girls, Sugarbabes, Destiny’s child and 911. Then when I was a teenager around 14\15 that’s when I discovered punk (bands that played their own instruments) Like Feeder, The Libertines and The Ordinary boys these band really shaped the kind of band we wanted to be in. I started the band with Nadia and we went to loads of gigs growing up, and a lot of our influences were bands that showed this aggression on stage. When we started the band we started off playing covers. We new how to play at least six or seven libertine songs and we played loads of Feeder songs too along with The hives, blur, The Subways, Arctic monkeys and Razorlight. I started getting drum lessons pretty late I was about 14\15 and then I got my first drum kit for my 16th birthday.
You’ve just come back from your brilliant album launch tour, is there anything else you’ve got
planned after an already amazing year for the band?
Nadia: Tour has been a dream. We’ve played to packed out crowds every night. I couldn’t ask for more.
Harriet: We are at the end of our tour now and it's been a blast! Amazing crowds singing all the words back to us. We have a few things planned, a few more cool gigs and festivals. But we're just gonna carry on promoting our album which we are so proud of!
Beverley: After the tour we’re going to rest for like five minutes. We got loads planed, but we don’t want to say what it is yet and jinks it.
And finally what’s the message The Tuts would like to leave Smashed Vinyl with?
Nadia: Go and watch our blogs on youtube, they are jokes!
Harriet: Don't smash our vinyl! Undercover fest threatened to do that! haha.
Beverley: Learn how to hit the drums it’s the best kind of therapy money could buy.