‘A schizophrenic blend of crust punk, sludge, stoner, doom and rock ‘n’ roll,’ cite Wolverhampton trio Women of their music. They’re bass-less noise-mongerers whose Sleepin’ Blues EP is savage and wild and whose live performance has a word of mouth reputation for being equally chaotic.
Women open up our March Issue Launch Party at The Bull’s Head on Thursday, March 6 – we had a nice little get to know you session before the event.
Hello Women, we have never spoken to you before! Please could you introduce yourselves and give us a bit of background to the band?
Jon: Hey Brum Notes!! Well I’m Jon, that’s Gaz and Ron. Me and Ron Dog have been jamming riffs since about 2006 but we never managed to get it together… we got through four drummers before even playing a gig, but we met Gaz at a stag do in 2010, and jammed towards the end of that year. We basically went from there and before we knew it we had our first gig supporting God Damn (shameless ‘weknowafamousband’ plug) at the old Little Civic. We were awful though!
Gareth: Yeah I’m the guy who said he’d give drums a go some three or so years ago and here we are.
Tell me about some of the shows you’ve played to date and any which particularly stood out.
Gareth: Our debut was good fun despite being a poor show but over the past few years we’ve enjoyed playing at Wharf Bar in Walsall and Katie’s in Stourbridge, and there’s also been a few pubs around Dudley that were really good vibes as well. We’ve played Birmingham too, and even an actual outdoor festival, but we’ve most enjoyed playing the secret shows that we’ve organised ourselves in the past. We handpick our favourite local bands and have a good old time. There was one in particular with The Double Happy and VICTOR last year that really stood out. But yeah, we’ve not actually played our hometown of Wolverhampton since our debut so it would be good to play Slade Rooms at some point.
Jon: Yeah we’ve played all over and we’ve had the pleasure of playing with a ton of great bands as well. I want to play the Slade Rooms so bad, purely because it’s our hometown and it’d be fun. So, if you’re reading Slade Rooms…
Ron: Yeah, the one with Victor was pretty special. Getting to watch Theo and Vault of Eagles after we played a very cramped and sweaty Boom! Headshot! was one of my highlights.
Jon: Of course, Vault Of Eagles. I fell in love during that set.
Where would you sit in my record collection?
Jon: Probably next to the other bands that begin with ‘W’.
Gareth: It’s all rock n roll really, but you’d definitely want us in the section marked ‘Heavy and Noisy’ I suppose. Although growing up I always alphabetised my CDs like a real music nerd so I would agree with Jon!
Ron: Yeah, so somewhere between Winnebago Deal and YOB.
You have a reputation for an incredibly energetic live performance. What importance do you place on the live show and how do you think people interpret you from yours?
Jon: Wow really?! Performing live is what makes or breaks you as a band. I don’t care if you’re a grade 3000 classically trained guitar player – if you don’t bring it live and you don’t go straight for my throat then bore off, basically. Unless you’re like shoegaze or whatever and being boring is your ‘thing’. You’ve got to remember to just fucking have fun, if you fluff a note or whatever who cares? It’s all in the delivery.
Gareth: I don’t know where this reputation came from exactly but I like it! We do have some incredibly fast bangers that get us fired up but we also like to mix it up a bit with slower longer heavier jams too, which get us equally pumped. We want to be known as a live band primarily, it is what really matters and where we can really get our point across. We honestly just want to have fun playing the music we like and I hope people perceive us as an exciting band to watch as a result. I love it when people come up to you afterward and you can visibly see how into it they were. That’s what makes it awesome for us.
Tell me why you each started playing music.
Jon: Something to do I think. When you’re a teenager who lives for music and smoking dope, what else do you do with your time? It’s either masturbate or pick up an instrument.
Ron: I just wanted to learn Guns n Roses songs I think, and there wasn’t much to do where I grew up.
Gareth: I’m a guitarist first and foremost. I’ve always been a fan of guitar music and just wanted to play my favourite songs. I used to print hundreds of tabs off the internet and just persist with stuff. My parents eased things along too – my mom was massively into Led Zep and Sabbath, and my dad taught me how to play bass guitar.
Give me a couple of your individual musical influences and tell me how, and indeed if, they inform the music you create.
Jon: For me, I’d say guitarists like Josh Homme, Buzz Osbourne, Tony Iommi and James Williamson inform my playing style. I want to be on the money rhythm-wise, but ear piercingly loud with it. Other guys whose ability utterly blow me away are people like Brent Hinds and Matt Pike. Ridiculous guitarists.
Gareth: I would have to focus solely on who inspires me directly in this band because generally speaking we’d be here all day. I love DOWN drummer Jimmy Bower’s playing style, Brant Bjork of Kyuss too. I can see similarities in how I play now already. I also aspire to be half as good as Dale Crover one day. On a multi-instrumentalist level, of course I admire the man that is Dave Grohl, but I also love that Josh Homme can drum too and not give a fuck whether he’s really all that good or not. He just gets on with it.
Ron: Queen, Omar & Cedric, Slash and The Stooges would be my main influences, more the attitude to do whatever you want, and give it your all, than any technique – although I am a partial to a smashmouth solo, and some wah abuse… Oh, and Electric Wizard for making me realise why amps need to be that loud.
How does the songwriting work?
Jon: I play a riff and if they like it they play along. Somehow a song emerges.
Ron: Then there’s a slight debate on who’s having what guitar tone for this one.
Gareth: It really is that simple. Every practice there’s a new riff, or five, and sometimes they turn into songs. Sometimes there’s a one off jam, never to be played again. Sometimes there are whole songs that get lost because of other things that happen in the very next practice. We have a LOT of songs.
Your artwork is a little RISQUE – oh my – did you design it yourselves? Talk me through it?
Gareth: This is Jon’s area. He loves him some naughty ladies.
Jon: Well, it’s a very crude drawing I found on Wikipedia. Its two women indulging in something called ‘scissoring’… seems largely pointless but they appear to be enjoying it. I just laughed my ass off at it and thought “There’s our logo!”
You share your lock up with Victor in Wolverhampton. Please tell us a secret you’ve learned from this.
Jon: I think at least one of them is a masked vigilante. And they have a huge collection of TV’s.
Gareth: It’s nice to look at all their stuff. We very much enjoy their smoke machines and sound-activated lasers and stuff. Those are cool. We definitely do not mong out every now and again in a dark room full of haze and lights. Honest…
You’re playing the Brum Notes March Issue Launch Party this week. We’ve been doing these for a year now – Happy Birthday us! What are you expecting and what can people expect from you?
Gareth: Happy Birthday! I’m expecting a big party now. We’re definitely going to bring the party jams regardless.
Jon: I just hope people enjoy us. If not then just endure us. And stand at the front! We don’t bite.
What do you make of the other bands on the bill?
Jon: We’ve played with Victor before. Incredible music. Really hypnotising, alluring, sexy and scary.. and that’s just George! Ha, in all seriousness they’re awesome musicians, and lovely people.
I’m not familiar with the other band, but I’m always excited to see new things.
Ron: I can’t wait to see Victor again! Is I Cinema sound promising from what I’ve heard so should be a good night all round.
Gareth: I’ve heard some lazy comparisons to the experimental side of Radiohead regards Is I Cinema, but I think there’s a lot more to them than that. Definitely interested to see how they bring it live. VICTOR are wicked. They just keep getting better too and it’s really awe-inspiring. Their show at the Hare this year supporting God Damn was captivating.
Any final thoughts?
Jon: Never eat yellow snow.
And listen to: The Double Happy, Them Wolves, A Pig Called Eggs, Sealclubber, Opium Lord, Bad Apes, Tomorrow Come The Wolves, New Alaska.
Gareth: Yeah. All of them. We’re right in the middle of something ace here. The Midlands is doin’ somethin’ right.
Women play the Brum Notes magazine March Issue Launch Party at The Bull’s Head on March 6 with Is I Cinema and Victor. Find out more, here.