Interview: I Wanna Be A Goth Girl – Venus Grrrls Set The Record Straight

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Venus Grrrls Band

YOU. ARE. POWERFUL! Expressing ideas of sisterhood, the importance of being open minded and channeling their inner banshee, all female rock band, Venus Grrrls discuss preconceptions towards women in rock, goth culture and promoting selflove. Unveiling a new side to themselves, the Leeds quintet spell out their feelings.

Congratulations on Goth Girl being announced as BBC Music Introducing track of the week, where were you when you heard the news?
We were all at home when we received the news, unfortunately we couldn’t be together! But we were so happy when we found out and were all in the group chat straight away to talk about it!

Directing the music video for Goth Girl, where did the idea cast from?
The concept for the video came about from wanting to express ideas of sisterhood, friendship and our closeness as a group, which was inspired mostly by times we’ve been together reading tarot cards and just generally supporting each other.

Playing on stereotypes against goths and witches in the video, how would you like to set the record straight?
It’s so important to be open minded to alternative practices and not judge what you don’t understand, by accepting differences and letting go of prejudices that have led to negative connotations of alternative sub cultures.

If you could have one magic power, what would it be and why?
Telepathy would definitely be pretty useful especially when writing songs together, if we could just hear what we’re all thinking then we’d be able to write really quickly! Although there’s definitely some drawbacks to telepathy, wouldn’t want to have it all the time so as long as you can turn it off it would be good!

With a nod to Siouxsie Sioux (in Goth Girl), how do you channel your inner banshee?
You could say our inner banshee is channelled through GK’s powerful, confrontational vocals, as banshees are typically known to scream and wail.

“The biggest preconception in rock is that it’s a masculine genre and women can’t do it justice, which is consistently proved wrong in the industry today with so many up and coming bands breaking these genre barriers.”

Contributing to eliminating the interpretations towards women in rock, what do you see as the preconceptions?
Women are underestimated in the music industry, it is always assumed that women can’t play as well as men, that they should be singers and not instrumentalist and that they don’t know what they’re talking about which often leads to patronisation. The biggest preconception in rock is that it’s a masculine genre and women can’t do it justice, which is consistently proved wrong in the industry today with so many up and coming bands breaking these genre barriers.

You’ve listed stage makeup as one of the things you’ve missed during lockdown, what’s the first thing you’ll do once it’s over?
As soon as we’re allowed, we’ll be straight back in the rehearsal room and seeing each other as much as we can! It’ll be so great to have the freedom back with no worries. We’ll be getting that first gig in as quickly as possible too!

Literally spelling out feminism with your band name, what are the ideologies implemented from the Riot Grrrl movement?
The ethos that riot grrrl bands carried with them during that movement was all about bringing women to the front, we share this same value now and continue to encourage women to get involved in the music industry which is still, today, male dominated. 

“…respect your body and don’t uphold yourself to unrealistic standards set by society, remember to do things that give you joy and respond to negative thoughts with positivity, practice mindfulness and recognise what’s appropriate for you.”

Standing for female empowerment, what are your tips for promoting self love?
It can be really hard to put into practice self love when your feeling down but a few things that help some of us are: remembering to respect your body and don’t uphold yourself to unrealistic standards set by society, remember to do things that give you joy and respond to negative thoughts with positivity, practice mindfulness and recognise what’s appropriate for you.

To GK – Combating difference with the statement YOU. ARE. POWERFUL! What prompted the highly commendable reveal of your alopecia universalis?
It most definitely came down to me wanting to explain that the song stands for any type of alienation or isolation that anyone may have felt in life, in the past, present, or future. It goes further than the discussion of Goth Culture, and my Alopecia was obviously something I was thinking about when I wrote the song. This was what isolated and alienated me, I stuck out like a sore thumb as a child and I wasn’t comfortable with it. Some people did their best to help me feel like my alopecia wasn’t obvious, others not so much. But I left year 7 with a head of a hair and then returned after summer in year 8 completely bald. People didn’t recognise me, and all of a sudden I was ‘the girl with no hair’ and it was difficult to accept that that was how I was identified from that point on. I’ve always been pretty open about my alopecia, I’m not uncomfortable discussing it, so it’s never been something I have actively ‘hidden’ if that makes sense. But I think portraying it as an inside inspiration to the song toward the audience of the band was not something I’ve often confronted, and I felt like maybe it was time to do that. Especially in the event that someone in the audience may have dealt with or are dealing with hair loss. I want to share my own experiences to encourage others to do the same, if and when they feel comfortable!

Playing with All Time Low for your last show before Covid, what’s your favourite song to play live?
Freaky Friday has to be one of the favourites, the way the song builds and the energy it has towards the end is so much fun onstage! Amy is another one we all really look forward to playing, the atmosphere created in a live setting with the audience is really special.

Named as the song that glued Venus Grrrls together, what is your favourite lyric from Rebel Girl by Bikini Kill?
“That girl thinks she’s the queen of the neighbourhood, I got news for you, she is!” This line is so unique in that it makes you think they’re going to put her down after saying she thinks she’s the queen, but infact it’s the complete opposite and totally affirming, which is not what we’re used to hearing in lyrics about other women.

Using astrological sounds, what’s written in the stars for Venus Grrrls?
We’ve got lots of plans to record and release more music when restrictions allow us to get back in the studio so keep an eye out for that! And hopefully we’ll be playing a live show or two in the not too distant future!

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