May 3, 2011 SOUNDS ⁄  THRUSH METAL: GIRL POWER JUST GOT A MAKEOVER

Marek Steven is in a hard-working, DIY-touring, rifftastic band called Invasion and knows more about every aspect and offshoot of metal than anyone on our speed dial. We sent him to meet Thrush Metal, a very new all-girl band, who, for better or worse, are insanely cute and cool-to-the-power-of-disgusting. We like what they represent: four best buds bonded by a hard-on for loud music and beer, who got off their fine asses and started a band. Here’s the interview from our very first issue.

Thrush Metal is a new London band from four increasingly infamous party-metaller girls. You might spot Laura Fraser, Emma Chitty, Isabella Ramsay and Alice Dellal at various parties, launches, gigs and similar. And yeah, drummer Alice is rather famous as an edgy and in-demand model and trendsetter. In all honesty, I was only vaguely aware of her until a year or two ago when the excellent thrash band Mutant played my metal night Skill Wizard. “Alice Dellal is in the pit” someone told me excitedly. “Who’s Alice Dellal?” I asked. I was impressed that she was fully stuck into the mosh and looked very metal and rather formidable. Interest piqued.

I briefly met them at Download and various other nights as we have a few mutual friends. When together, the four of them give off a bit of a gang vibe like a lot of bands. And with the semi-shaved heads and the trendiness, it’s all a little intimidating. But it struck me that the friends we have in common, which include Mutant, were all very interesting and pleasant people. As a lifer metalhead, in principle I shouldn’t be interested in this band, but something about them was definitely starting to appeal to me. And they do look pretty exceptional too. Their early adoption of studded leather jackets and similar has probably had some impact on the resurgence in metal wear of late. So when asked to interview them, I was a little nervous, but keen to find out what they were like.

But they’re a band right? Shouldn’t this be about the music? Haha, oh yeah, the couple of tracks on their MySpace are, as they say, promising. The first one is a good stab at the Velvet Underground and the other is a crappy sounding punk track with a fun, sloppy quality. The vocals are decent and the general attitude has potential. It’d be easy to dismiss this kind of thing, but with a bit of work maybe they could surprise everybody. Let us not forget that plenty of brilliant bands started as a bit of a joke. Thrush Metal have only done a few live shows but my reports are positive – at least for the performance, general spectacle and singer Laura’s outfits.

After the photo shoot, drummer Alice had to bail to a plane to see her family in Brazil. I met the rest of the band for a drink at the locals’ pub Quinn’s in Camden. The three remaining girls were welcoming and friendly. They were also obviously bright and enthused about their band. They seemed a little nervous too, which made me feel better. Either way after a round of drinks, it was clear that they were very easy to talk to and funny. Before the tape recorder was sparked up, we’d already discussed their chaotic early gigs (drunk, chaotic, tears). Outside, we sat on some wet benches and Juke got out a few scribbled questions. Singer Laura instantly grabbed the paper.

Laura (Vocals): What are your questions? “Mutant? As in the band?”
Juke: Yeah.
Laura: Yeah, they’re our mates. They’re a big inspiration.
Juke: I’m a big fan too. They’ve played my night three times I think.
Laura: They’re the nicest boys in the world. We love them so much. We went to Hammerfest in Wales with them. We met them and that was it.
Juke: Yeah, they’re great guys.
Laura: Gama Bomb too, we’re big Earache fans.
Juke: Me too, Jesus, yeah.
Laura: But we’re not metal.
Juke: So I was going to ask how you all met? I guess you’re all mates first?
Emma (Bass): Yeah, well, I don’t have many other girlfriends apart from these guys.
Laura: I do! So I was at school with Alice. I met Emma in a weird situation.
Emma: Yeah, we became best friends at a friend’s funeral suddenly. And I stayed at her house and my feet stank.
Isabella: (Guitar) And me and Laura are cousins.
Laura: I met Alice when I was three years old actually. On holiday because our parents knew each other. And then we didn’t know each other until we were 13 and we became friends again.
Juke: So where did Alice grow up?
Laura: She’s lived in Brazil, Paris and England. I grew up in Spain. Isabella’s half Columbian and spent a bit of time in Columbia. And Emma’s from Putney! (Laughs)
Emma: Fucking Putney. (Laughs) Putney massive.
Juke: You’re keeping it real.
Emma: I’m keeping it real, seriously.
Laura: Yeah, we’re a mixed bag really.
Juke: And as you say you’re not a metal band despite your name?
All: We try to be!
Laura: But we’re not quite ready yet. We’re not good enough.
Emma: We’re like the shitty little brother of Ween.
Laura: Ween are our inspiration.
Laura: We like the whole thing about mixing up genres. We’re quite limited at the moment. But we’re trying.
Juke: I like the name of the band.
Emma: We were having a joke that we were going to start a band. And that we were going to start a new genre called thrush metal. We were at Metal Camp in Slovenia and it just came out.
Isabella: We were trying to think of name and we were at all these all thrash metal festivals. “Hey, we’re all girls…”
Laura: It’s quite a laugh. When you’re having dinner with your grandmother, “Oh, thrash metal? Isn’t that a genre?” Um, no…
Emma: When you say it everyone’s like, “Thrash metal! Right so you’re thrash metal?”  “No, we’re girls…” And then you have to explain it. Ah…
Laura: We want to do a cover of Yesterday but call it Yeasterday.
Emma: We’re just about to record a load of songs and hopefully get a single out at the beginning of May.
Juke: Who’s putting it out?
Isabella: We are. On SDM.
Emma: “Sweet Dick Music”.
Juke: And you guys love metal festivals right? I saw you at Download.
Laura: We’ve done a lot.
Isabella: Hammerfest at Butlins in Wales. Oh my God, that is the one! And we went to Hellfest in France.
Laura: Metal Camp in Germany and in Slovenia.
Isabella: Metal Camp Slovenia was the best. That’s where we began. It’s beautiful.
Emma: It’s so cool.
Isabella: There’s a big river than runs down from the mountains. It runs through the festival.
Isabella: It’s a really unassuming village in the middle of nowhere. And once a year, people descend.
Emma: And villagers don’t leave. They love it. They cook you food.
Laura: Metal is such a big thing all over Europe.
Isabella: They’re really friendly, “More! More! More shots!”
Juke: Slovenians are very friendly.
Laura: They really are.
Juke: I’m half Slovenian actually.
Laura: No way?
Juke: Yeah, so who were the best bands you saw at the festivals?
Laura: I watched Motorhead play a few times.
Emma: Skindred.
Laura: Skindred’s weird, but I love it. Watching metallers try do dance like ragga-dancing. It’s hilarious. I like Gama Bomb. Municipal Waste. Gama Bomb are our boys. Gammmaaaa Boooommmmbb!
Juke: So which festivals this year?
Isabella: We’ll be on tour in June.
Laura: And we’re going to rent a cottage in the middle of England for a month. Practising and playing.
Juke: And you party a lot generally right?
Isabella: We get hangovers.
Laura: They thing about our band is that we’re all such good friends, so each time we have a rehearsal there’s always like a mood that goes between us.
Emma: And if we turn up hung over… (laughs)
Laura: The most disgusting thing ever happened at a rehearsal. We all got, basically, naked. Everyone was puking, it was sweaty. It was the most dreadful thing ever.
Emma: Someone was puking and I was lying on the floor and couldn’t breathe.
Laura: It was awful.
Laura: Sometimes people turn up in a really bad mood and just sit there.
Isabella: We had a fight the other day!
All: Band fight! (All laugh)
Laura: Oh, it was so weird.
Juke: It has to happen.
Isabella: We’re friends, we don’t give a shit.
Laura: If we fight then 10 minutes later, we laugh at it.
Emma: But when I left there I was like “I’m not going to speak to them for two weeks” (Laughs). “I’m just going to turn my phone off, I don’t care anymore!”
Laura: You sent me a message that night! You couldn’t do it for longer.
Emma: I couldn’t help it. It took me 5 hours and then I had to give in.
Laura: The fights are really heated because we’re such good friends we can really affect each other.
Juke: What’s the general dynamic in the band?
Laura: (Points at Emma) She’s the dictator.
Emma: It’s not that bad, I keep it together. (Points at Laura) You and Alice are probably the laziest.
Emma: We’ve got the best Jew. We’ve got Isabella who keeps everything really relaxed. Nothing’s too much for that girl.
Laura: Isabella’s the earth child. I’m water. Alice is fire and Emma’s air. She’s lightning man!
Emma: Alice is scary.
Laura: No she isn’t.
Juke: I guess she can seem that way.
Laura: She seems that way, but she actually isn’t. We’re just hot people. We’re passionate. So it goes up and down, but generally we’re pretty sweet.

And after chatting to them I would agree with that. I could have happily talked to them for hours. They’re very amusing, no-bullshit, self-deprecating and generally interested in life. And despite their real, or potential, fashion icon status, they seem very far from being fashion bitches. As decent metal gets more popular various bands and individuals are being called ‘hipsters’ as an insult, personally all I care about is whether the people I meet are decent and have good taste. From what I can tell this band are both and I wish them well whatever genre they chose to play.

 

By Marek Steven
Photos Cameron Smith
Styling Amy Leverton

For JUKE Vol.01