Interview: Gen And The Degenerates

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What would you get if alt rock and punk shagged and had a baby who loves catchyhooks? The answer? Gen and the Degenerates (in vocalist Gen’s own words).

2022 is quickly becoming a big year for the Liverpool based punks, they’ve released their debut EP, just finished supporting the legendary Skunk Anansie on tour, made appearances at festivals including The Great Escape and later this week will be heading out on the road with Kelsy Karter. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, they’ll also be kicking off their own tour later this year.

We caught up with vocalist Gen in between the band’s busy schedule to dive a little deeper

You’ve recently released your debut EP Only Alive When In Motion – how does it feel to have your first big release out?
It feels refreshing to have something longer form out, even if it is just an EP. Having to keep within the single format can be limiting so it’s exciting to show people the other elements we have to offer. 

What does this EP represent?
I guess it’s all in the title really. “Only Alive When In Motion”. It’s about taking the good and the bad, experiencing all of it. It’s better to feel something negative and be present in it than to be completely detached and numb. That’s something I had to come to terms with as an individual and the songs explore different sides of that journey. Starting with Adore Me which was first written when I was 17 right up to stuff we all wrote together more recently. 

Within the tracks you discuss understanding sexuality, addiction and mental health, how important is it to you, to be able to speak out and share your experiences?
I think I’ve realised it’s importance to other people the more we’ve grown an audience. The reaction that people have had has definitely been really meaningful and given me a new drive for it. That wasn’t the plan initially though. The songs came from an insular need to process difficult experiences and understand myself. I’ve always just written as a way to make sense of things I’m feeling and thoughts I’m having but I’m so glad that these resonate with other people too. 

You also talk about the dangerous idolisation of celebrities – can you tell us more about your experience and thoughts?
For me it even goes beyond celebrity culture. It’s the danger of idolising or demonising an individual instead of looking at the system that they are a symptom of. Obviously people who are abusive need to be held responsible for their actions no matter how rich or famous they are but also we need to examine why, as a society, we find it so important to have these figureheads and in so doing disempower ourselves. 

If you had to pick one stand out lyric from the EP, what would it be and why?
“I’m an uncomfortable temperature in a supermarket aisle” from Girl, God, Gun… I just think it’s funny. 

You recently supported Skunk Anansie – how was that?
It was amazing. It was hard work, definitely the most challenging thing we’ve done as a band so far but it was such a brilliant learning opportunity. Skunk Anansie are just incredible musicians and so friendly and create such a positive environment on tour. We couldn’t have asked for a better tour to start out with. 

“You can’t even imagine things as special as that are going to happen when you write a song.”

How does it feel to be able to play your new tracks live? What’s the reception been like?
The reception has been better than I ever could have imagined. Especially Girl, God, Gun. You never know what you’re going to get from an audience these days when you talk about being non binary. It’s a scary time to be part of the trans community but people have loved it. Skunk Anansie have a wonderful audience. We had a person message us to tell us that they’ve been out for a while but watching our show with their dad is the first time they’ve seen their dad cheer for trans rights and say they are proud. You can’t even imagine things as special as that are going to happen when you write a song. 

We see that you’ll also be supporting Kelsy Karter on tour this month and that you’re a big fan, how excited are you for those shows?
Yeah! It’s a funny world. Three years ago I was crying in a bath, drinking wine and listening to Kelsy Karter. Now we’re going to be playing with her. I’m really excited. 

Following these support slots and some festival appearances you’ll be heading out on your own headline tour later this year – how excited are you?
I can’t wait! We are absolutely in our element in club shows and I can’t wait to be allowed to climb on things again. We’ve got amazing support bands and artists planned as well and it’s great to be able to introduce other acts we’re friends with to our audience. 

Gen and the Degenerates head out on tour with Kelsy Karter starting this Friday at London’s Islington Academy.

May/June Tour With Kelsy Karter:
May 21st – Louisiana, Bristol
May 22nd – Bodega Social, Nottingham
May 24th – Muthers Studio, Birmingham
May 25th – The Key Club, Leeds
May 26th – Clwb Lfor Bach, Cardiff
June 2nd – Gullivers, Manchester
June 3rd – Garage, Glasgow

September/October Headline Tour:
September 28th – Broadcast, Glasgow
September 29th – Deaf Institute, Manchester
September 30th – Sidney & Matilda, Sheffield
October 1st – Chameleon, Nottingham
October 5th – The Moon, Cardiff
October 6th – Louisiana, Bristol
October 7th – Green Door Store, Brighton
October 8th – The Rainbow, Birmingham

Hear more from Gen and the Degenerates below:

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