An interview with The Tuts
The Tuts are an all-girl punk trio from West London. “This West London three piece buzz like a female version of the Libertines. From the same town as the Ruts, with only a letter difference, the Tuts are a bundle of attitude and suss.”
Could you briefly introduce yourself? How did the band get together?
B: I’m Beverley, I’m the drummer.
N: My name’s Nadia. I’m the singer guitarist and write some of the songs. I joined the band with Bev at school when we were 15. We listened to bands like Feeder and Good Charlotte. We felt inspired to pick up instruments and do Busted jumps in the air. We started learning instruments and basic songs like Feeder’s Buck Rogers. We had another bassist but it didn’t work out cos she wasn’t committed then got engaged. Harriet joined later down the line, from when she joined things took off and we got the Kate Nash tour after that.
H: Yeah, we’re from the same town and I met Nadia and Bev in about 2008? I’m in another local band called Colour Me Wednesday and we used to play shows together a lot. Then their bassist left and they asked me to step in, then it just felt right and I stayed in the band and am still in both bands!
N: I always wanted it to be a girl band.
B: We attempted having a boy once, it didn’t gel. With a boy it wasn’t the right vibe.
N: All the bands at school had boys, we didn’t wanna be like that. We didn’t even originally bring sexism into it, we just said “we’re gonna be a girl band and that’s it”.
B: At school you’re in a bubble anyway. You don’t question how things are as much, you just get on with things. But when you leave school it dawns on you. That sexism and racism are things you need to pay attention to and address.
N: Looking back, at school the boys were intimidated and envious of our energy. Cos they were all the same and we were different and we didn’t give a fuck about anything!
B: We had no fear
You have been on tour with Kate Nash and The Selecter, how was that experience?
N: It was incredible, life changing. The most fun I’ve ever had in my life.
B: The most ‘ve ever laughed, permanent grin on my face and it made us grow
N: It made me realise, why settle for any less? Why settle for mediocre boring day job, go for it. There’s a whole world out there. With the Kate Nash tour, we were the pioneers of the stage invasion
H: And then continued it with The Selecter. The Kate Nash tour was our FIRST ever tour, we’d only played shows in London up until then really. I think it was great for us though but maybe not the usual route bands go down.
N: Touring made us grow us a band, and how to be with the crowd. It was like an experiment to go mad on stage.
B: It was like a big magnifying glass on what we needed to be like as a band on stage.
N: Looking back at old Kate videos we were much more timid compared to how we are now. Now we’re hair whipping
Did the touring experience have an influence on your own music making process?
H: I guess it does, cos after playing live to big responsive crowd you start thinking “I wanna play a live song like this!” or “I wanna do this on stage!”. So it will impact on areas of songs because it’ll allow you to do even more fun stuff when you perform. After a few of our early shows Nadia and I realised we were accidentally doing synchronised dance moves on stage, so then we took it even further and started doing it on purpose/even more.
N: Yeah like for dynamics, cos you know how things will work live after you play so many gigs. And you become more comfortable with everyone around you in practise and can bring new songs to the table more easily.
B: I think Hayley Williams of Paramore was saying in an interview that live, she purposefully has crowd participation songs. If you’re touring you need songs like that – to party with the audience.
There is going to be a new album coming out this summer, could you tell us a little bit more about that?
B: OUT THIS SUMMER!!!
N: First ever album coming out this summer. Its gonna be incredible, songs that go back from when we were teens to adulthood. Love, shit relationships, shit friendships, liars, politics, sexism…lots of different topics. An archive of events and experiences.
B: Even songs influenced by playing local battle of the bands in our local pub
N: This album means SO much to us. And is gonna be so epic…but just have to it out is incredible. But there’s a lot of hard work gong into it.
H: Yeah, we’ve decided to self release the album on our label Dovetown. The way we saw it is we’d either need a big label to release our album or just do it ourselves cos our DIY collective here in West London is already an indie record label- so there’s not much point getting another small UK label involved. But yeah like Nadia said, a lot of hard work.
B: Excited but nervous
N: Hope it gets us on a larger platform too to play some bigger festivals, as there’s a barrier to get them.
H: We need to catapult ourselves over that barrier. Sounds like I’m talking about sneaking into festivals haha.
Also how does the Pledge Campaign work?
N: Pledge works by setting yousrelf a target in what you want to achieve in terms of a budget. The budget is needed to record the album and get it made on CD, vinyl and so on. So you have the pre-orders of the album available to get that money before you record the album. We’ve put a lot of thought into it and what our fans and people would like. There’s different incentive deals. Signed CDs, handwritten lyrics, scarp books, signed instruments, personalised things that people can have.
H: Yeah, the exclusive stuff you can pledge for is so cool. Stuff I’d wanna buy.
B: Please pledge! Download or buy our album. You get extra perks when you buy something.
N: Like exclusive stuff. It gives people a chance to be involved in the journey. But we want our fans to feel they are part of it. They have the two EPs we made, the amount of music we’ve put out is quite limited compared to other bands. We’re quite successful, but only have those 2 EPs out! So we’re doing well really considering that. But now its time to do our album and people are hungry for more music.
B: We’re lucky we get to tour a lot so people get to come see us and our songs live enough, which has made up for the fact our album hasn’t come out yet.
N: People wanna buy this stuff and part of it! On limited edition stuff exclusive to Pledge!
Is there going to be a launch party?
N: YES! There’s going to be a massive launch party.
B: P-A-R-T-Y cos you gotta!
N: Massive launch in London. Part of our pledge is we’re gonna be selling launch tickets on there and the set lists we’ll be using that night on our pledge too. We’re gonna play ALL of our songs from our EPs and albums. Its gonna be so much fun, DJ sets, dancing. There’ll be punks, old school punks, young girls, old men. A wide range of people from all different backgrounds there.
As a band you don’t have a PR or a manager, The Tuts is becoming better known, would you say you are not worried about getting press and gigs or you would prefer completely DIY?
N: Well we want and need the press.
B: We’re never not worried if you think about it. Being self employed you’re always worried about your next step. What the next journey is. But you can’t constantly sit there worrying. In the end we’re out there for people to see and they’ll eventually clock on that shit is going down and they’ll wanna get involved with the band.
N: I’m not hugely worried. Occasionally frustrated cos of barriers getting bigger things like festivals. We did have a manager, didn’t work out, we were better by ourselves. But of course we want press. But we don’t need a manager for that- they’re pretty much useless. We’ve not used a press plugger before. But we’re just doing it DIY. Got a list of contacts.
H: Yeah, so we self-manage, book our own shows and are handling all the press for the album. Sometimes a manager’s job becomes obsolete.
B: The thing about managers right is our experience with them hasn’t been great. When we’ve asked others in same situation. ALL of them, every story we’ve heard hasn’t been great either.
N: Some bands keep their managers even if they don’t like having one.
B: I just think more bands should do it themselves. Maybe some bands benefit from a manager. But we know what we want. We just need more access to stuff, when we get that access we’ll be flying.
Possibility to sign with a record label in the near future?
N: If the deal was good enough, yeah why not? Would be amazing. Could be like one of those boy bands that roll out of bed into success. Go to gigs with a crusty bum hole. Showers on the tour bus innit. Would be nice to have someone doing hair and make up. Gogol bordello had a tour bus haha.
The band played at Glastonbury 2014, is there any music festival The Tuts is going to play this year?
H: Glastonbury was incredible. We have a huge list of festivals we want to play but it’s tough as a girl band getting on them. We have been confirmed for Glastonwick, Bearded Theory Festival AND Undercover festival this year though.
The song Worry Warrior is about anxiety, you’ve spoken before about your own anxiety issue, how do you deal with your anxiety?
N: Moan about it to my friends. Lie in bed and not move. But in all seriousness, some good advice: force yourself out of bed and make yourself lists of things to do and slowly work through getting stuff done. Whatever you’re worrying about is probably gonna happen either way.
B: Just think, a few days, weeks or months from now its gonna be over..if you’re stressed about something specific.
H: Yeah, obviously there are ways to try and deal with a specific stressful situation or event. But some anxiety is just constant and not about one specific thing, and is just how your mind is. I’ve heard CBT is great but have not yet tried it. I try to give myself perspective on things and look at the bigger picture. Or talk to my mum, do yoga, get enough sleep, eat healthy food, go for walks, watch my favourite TV shows. And of course, I’m obsessed with lists, unsure whether they calm me down or hype me up too much though haha. I still endorse lists.
N: Sometimes a stressful feeling is leading towards something amazing.
Where do you usually find your inspirations from? And how do you stay inspired?
B: Go to loads of gigs?
N: When I watch a band live I get inspired, or hear a good song. Artwork might inspire an outfit or idea.
B: There’s so much on the internet that gets you inspired. TV shows even.
N: And there’ll be one dickhead that will try and upset you and it might inspire a song. And something whether its art, a band, music or whatever…if it moves you and makes you feel emotions it could be enough to inspire a song or something else.
How do you balance being in a band with your day jobs?
N: Ain’t got one!
B: We quit them, we’re skint mate! We’re in a doomed generation anyway even if you do try. No one can get on the housing ladder, you might scrape together enough money for one shitty holiday a year that’s it.
N: Don’t need a holiday, being on tour is like a holiday!
H: Very poor, but trying to make it work!
What bands influence you the most?
N: Colour Me Wednesday
N: I get influenced by boy bands cos I see how well they’re doing and I get angry and makes me wanna do well too.
B: There are so many bands. All my mates are in bands. Surrounded by them.
H: So many bands. Older pop and RnB like Craig David. Newer pop like Little Mix. Then loads of bands I’ve played gigs with. Personal Best!
What TV shows you like to watch?
N: Happy days, but I only used to watch it.
B: Master of None.
N: ME TOO I LIKE AZIZ ANSARI
H: I watched it first! It’s the best!
B: Jessica Jones, very good.
H: Yeah Jesscia Jones too. I love Buffy, Veronica Mars, The Walking Dead. Parks and Recreation.
N: Orange is the new black. I’m watching that Making a Murder on Netflix. Shortchange, remember that? That was sick! I also like the one where they find the dodgy builder with a secret a camera.
On a personal level, what magazines/zines you read regularly? Since you have played for Parallel magazine and also you did an interview with Rookie
N: Yeah Rookie. I read lots of shit online. Vice, Noisey, all that.
H: She Shreds magazine is cool.
Have you guys read Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl?
H: No I wanted it for Christmas and forgot to ask anyone. Can’t wait to read it eventually.
B: I’ll take that as a recommendation. But I also want a Hunger Games style book again though.
As a London trio, what is/are your favourite venue(s) to play in London?
N: Crown and treaty- haha!
H: The independent ones are all getting shut down because of ‘luxury flats’ or whatever, London is screwed. But there’s a new venue called DIY space for London- very cool.
B: Don’t even mention it, I’m scared it’ll get shut down now! I like The Lexington too.
New year resolution(s)?
N: ALBUM. Getting better on guitar. Spend time with my family. Just be happy. Eat food. Get a plump face.
H: Getting through my huge to do list. Strengthening my core.
B: Not really into new years resolutions. Live in the moment with that type of stuff I guess.
N: Typical Gemini.
What issues are important to you, you talked about feminism, sexism and politics before, since the National Student Pride is coming up, just wondering if there is anything you would like to say to the young queer kids out there and the LGBT community?
B: Don’t give up! Fight the good fight.
H: It’s important that the headline shows we play are safe spaces for women, people of colour and the LGBT community. This country is run by white middle class straight men and corporations- it’s gross. For now we just need to focus on the people around us, our communities, the scenes we take part in and how we can have an impact there and keep our scenes intersectional. Contribute positivity and show solidarity. Solidarity is KEY!
Find out more about The Tuts:
(Photo credit: Jamie-Lee Facer )