Hi there! It’s great to chat with you, and finally get you on the website too. We are only now finding the awesome bands working with Boudicca Records, and right after Erin played the shop a couple of weeks ago, the very next act we checked out online was yourselves, and bloody hell, our volunteers love what they hear! Can you start us off by telling our readers a bit about yourself, and the history of Krow?
Hi, it’s great to have been asked to do this interview with you. I am the new incarnation of the vocalist of UK rock outfit, Rockbitch and I now call myself KROW.
As mentioned, I used to be in Rockbitch many years ago. A mostly female band, best known for performing nude and incorporating sexual acts and Pagan rituals into our performances. Most of you will know about Rockbitch through ‘The Golden Condom’ – through the yellow bellied reportage that tried to peg us as a pointless shock-rock phenomena. If only they had also reported honestly on the whole stage show which went on to include the cued playing of prepared art videos on subject matters relating to our songs: for instance Female Genital Mutilation; eating disorders; body dysmorphia and menstruation taboos, well, that would have been great! I wouldn’t have had to return as KROW.
Rockbitch toured the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Finland, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Estonia and did a promotional tour that involved Canada, but we were eventually banned from the intended venues without even having played them, all the while we were instituting our theme of liberation through sexual freedom. After playing one date in Scotland, The Rat Trap, Glasgow, Rockbitch were banned from ever playing Scotland again under an old Scottish law that stated there should be ‘no corruption of the Lieges’.
We took care never to break any laws regarding the content of our stage shows in any country or territory. But continued attention from Interpol about our sexually driven themes and performances combined with local council opposition to our adult only shows, under handed pressure on venue owners regarding liquor and performance licenses, resulted in difficulties performing live even when venue owners were positive towards the band. Our tours would be booked and then dates pulled with only days to spare. The frustration and problems we had with this ultimately led to us ceasing performing live in 2002.
Jump forward 14 years to 2016, and the first KROW performance at PandoraFest, the women’s music festival set in DunCarron Medieval Village, Scotland. Our label, Boudicca, helped finance and set up the (now doomed) festival. Nevertheless, it’s where I debuted my first album, Krowmance at Pandora, KROW was born.
People have asked whether Rockbitch will play again?
To be honest, the answer is NO. The world has gone backwards as far as female sexuality is concerned. When facebook bans an image of the 30,000 year old statue called the Venus of Willendorf (Dec 2017) then “Houston! The world definitely has a problem!”
I have moved into a completely different genre of music ‘Punk-EDM’ and handing the baton of politics on to my youngers. I am finally learning to enjoy music again.
You’ve a new EP coming out in March, and we are already looking forward to it. How was the recording process been with that then, bit of a slog or a labour of love?
From personal experience in my chequered musical past it was often a bit of both for me!
I have a new EP - ‘Demon, I’ – being released in mid-March.
I’ve actually found the recording process to be very exciting. I love all aspects of it. From getting that idea at 3 in the morning and jumping up to try and get it down so you don’t forget it, to fleshing everything out in my writing shed. There I’ll watch life go by and try and capture with loops & samples, the amazingness of the sunset crashing into the M74. Studio work is fun as I get to take the backbone of what I’ve written and tweak and polish it with Bad-Dog, my producer. The only real downer in any one of my sessions is when the computer decides to have a brain fart and you end up wasting half of your day trying to find your lost files.
I started writing ‘Punk-EDM’ because I found that there wasn’t enough music out there that excited me or indeed enabled me to alter my mood after listening to it. The challenge was to make the tracks ‘dirty’; like the filthiest distorted guitar on the nastiest punk track. Most EDM is pristine, from a wave-form point of view… They may add a grungy, shrieking loop or sample, but I wanted it ALL nasty. This isn’t some ambient trip track or background electronica to gossip over.
I am an angry person, born of the frustrations and limitations that society has put upon me, through music and everyday life. Fighting for your rights is a great way to go but sometimes all you want to do is stop and say ‘why don’t you just fuck off!’ And… that’s where I come it.
With my music I am here to balance up the scales. The soundtrack to life has become so safe, so tame: we’re all supposed to be good little consumers and feel the same thing: respectful of any old shit and above all, nice. And you know what? Everyone does. Well, not me. It’s time for me to rip a new arsehole in the flabby safety net of modern life!
I am not alone in these angry thoughts, everyone has them. I just don’t bother talking to people anymore. I find it’s so cathartic just to sing that shit out.
I am a 47 year old, peri menopausal woman who’s trodden this path before with the only difference being this time round that I am not frightened. I am just angry. And, you should be worried!
You seem to have perfected the stage presence as well as the musical side of things. Would you say having the full package of music, stagecraft, and image is all as important as each other these days as far as bands go? Would you recommend some of the other, newer bands we work with at NHC MUSIC try and work on all three together too, or should they focus on one thing at the start?
Yes, I do think that the music, stagecraft and image are all as important as each other. They all go hand in hand. However political, spiritual or profound your message may be, remember that musicians are in the entertainment business and that means to get anywhere you need to entertain. Entertain means: to provide (someone) with amusement or enjoyment. Then, if you get it right, folk will hear you and be stirred. If you’re not doing this you need to jog on.
To newer bands starting out, I would say work on all three aspects at the same time. Everything is an uphill climb when you first start but if you do all three together you only have one climb. I would also say that if you’re really committed to a life in music, really make sure you have chosen the right people to go with you on your journey. Don’t ‘put up’ with shit. Fuck off the band members who crush the band spirit by not being civil to each other. Life’s just too short!
What’s your own favourite thing about being in a band? Are you more excited about the performance side of things, or is it the creative aspect of it that grabs you more?
The creative aspect of my music is exciting but my real favourite thing about being in a band is touring. I fucking LOVE being on stage. It’s what I’m made for. I’ve dedicated 32 years of my life to it and for me it never gets boring. Gigging in different venues with different crowds, you can get quite a buzz on. I love the adrenaline hit and I love to see fans at the end of the evening with a big fucking grin on their faces. That’s a good night for me!
What other bands have caught Krow’s eye then over the past year? Are there any recommendations from yourself that our readers should be listening out for?
I’m going to be brutally honest now and say that I haven’t ventured out at all the past year to see any bands. I have just been concentrating on getting KROW and the electric temple up to peak condition for the tour coming up. Once I have the bit between my teeth nothing else gets to breathe. That could be too much for some people but that’s the way I work.
When I do get to venture out I would be looking for acts that can transport me elsewhere. I am a person who likes to be able to switch off at a gig. I’m also old school. I can’t stand at the front of a gig staring at my phone screen; I feel it’s important to give the band my whole attention. They have worked hard to get up there and get their message across and I love watching the human spirit being moved by music. If you get it right, it can be one hell of a ride.
What (or who) inspired you on the musical path you now find yourself on. Was it one particular thing, or person, or a mix of a few different things?
I’ve had a long road through many different influences over the years. Vocally in starting out, I was heavily influenced by Aerosmith. The thing I most loved about them was Steven Tyler. His passionate singing and his colourful performances had me captivated. I got to meet my idol and spend a few days with Aerosmith at Torhout 1994 and all I can say was ‘mind blown!’.
Shortly after that I was heavily influenced by the The Prodigy, Dave Angel and Junkie XL. Here is where I started to get a love of the beat and disturbing samples. I started writing again 5 years ago after a break of 11 years and I wanted to move away from my ‘Rockbitch years’ of rock and give my writing a different vehicle. I wanted to mix it up. Not do more of the same. Some journo called it ‘Electronica for devil worshippers’, somebody else, ‘Extreme feminist sound porn’. I call it ‘Punk-EDM’.
Heavily influencing me at the moment is Knife Party, Infected Mushroom and when I go raving, DJ Trippington. I can’t get enough!
What would you say is your own favourite song that you have written so far? Why that choice?
It varies from day to day. I am a hormonal, moon and tide driven woman, with many feelings, thoughts and needs.
So as to which song is the best…? I love X&Y but my tastes will vary from minute to hour to day.
At the moment I would have to say ‘Dagger’ is my favourite, from the Krowmance E.P.
The song is one that I think a lot of people can relate too. There is always someone in your life that thinks they are better than you and they can’t just keep that to themselves. They have what I call a ‘Priest’s smile’. I’ve had quite a few of these in my time and I guess one day I just had enough. I hit my computer with a vengeance and wrote Dagger. The chorus lyrics are ‘I’ll cut that fucking smile right off your face…’
As I say, getting shit out is so cathartic. I love watching fans sing it too. I feel like we’re doing therapy together and together we’ll take these passive aggressive bullies down.
The floor is now yours! Are there any exciting new plans, or events afoot that you can share with our readers?
One of the more exciting events in this year for me is being asked to play at Whitby Goth Festival at the end of July. Playing at The Marquis Masquerade will be a long awaited dream of mine.
I do have quite a large plan on the horizon but I like to keep all of that under my hat until closer to the time. Some people will find it extreme but I call it cathartic.