Indietracks interview #17: The Tuts

Interview by Niall from The Spook School 

The Tuts are a three-piece all girl punk band from west London. In 2012 they released a self titled EP with heart-wrenching lyrics by front-woman Nadia Javed paired with overdriven punchy guitar riffs. The sound is propelled by Beverley Ishmael’s drumming, who co-founded the band at high school with Nadia. They were joined in 2011 by Harriet Doveton (of Colour Me Wednesday) who brought melodic bass lines and backing vocals to complete their feisty and distinctive sound. Although the band’s live performance is packed with punk and attitude, their lyrical content suggests vulnerability and playfulness, the pains of growing up, friendships and first loves.

In 2013 they released their long awaited single ‘Tut Tut Tut’, which shares the issues and experiences of being a female musician. They were also recently championed by Kate Nash and supported her in London, which then led to being chosen as the main support on her UK tour.

Hi, The Tuts, who are you and what do you want from me?
Nadia: We don’t want anything from you, wait, what have you got to offer…?
Beverley: I want Krispy Kremes
Nadia: …not your facebook photos we’ve just had a look at them. We are the Tuts, Nadia, Beverley, Harriet

Your songs are refreshingly biting in the lyrics department about being a ‘girl-band’ with ‘Tut, Tut, Tut’ being a prime example “all I ever hear is / ladies you’re on first.” Is this something you have come up against a lot?
Beverley: Yeah, loads of guys they assume that we’re the first band on, most of the time we were the first band on but after doing a lot of shows and getting recognition for our talents we’re getting better slots which is great…
Harriet: Yeah its obv more than that, we don’t actually mind going on first…
Nadia: As long as the bands on after us are decent. A lot of the time the bands on after us are Oasis rip-offs with no interaction on their facebook or twitter, with pointy shoes and skinny jeans and if you’re lucky a fedora.
Harriet: Yeah we noticed a pattern forming at our early gigs, we were always put on first, the bands on after us wouldn’t even have a crowd, people would be more interested in us, but they’d be taken more seriously by the promoters just because they were male.

What obstacles do you think you face that boy-bands don’t? 
Harriet: Again its just the attitude we get from a lot of promoters or sound men. We’re often taken less seriously or patronized.  But then we do get annoying backhanded compliments from audience members too like ‘I thought you’d be rubbish but you surprised me’ or ‘you were pretty good actually’
Nadia: Basically people look down on you, they see you as lower class, they don’t think you’re capable of playing guitar. I think men are intimidated by the fact we don’t need a man in our group. I think it’s male-bonding, boys in the crowd take male musicians more seriously.
Beverley: Boys always push to the front as well, all they see is these bros at the front appreciating bros on the stage.

What was it like touring with Kate Nash? Any shenanigans behind-the-scenes?
Nadia: Too crazy to put into words but mental, backstage belly rubbing, dancing to old-school garage, sharing vodka, stealing Kate’s toaster, meeting all of her girl fans and taking some of them on board.
Beverley: Stage invasions.
Harriet: Beating up boys who pinched her bum.
Nadia: We got the fans out of their shell and made them get onstage.
Beverley: They were coming onstage and going crazy, cos we know how important it is at age 14/15 going to their first gig, experiences like that can change your life, your perception. I know they do because that’s what it was like when I went to see the Libertines when I was 15.
Nadia: Imagine you’re just playing low-key gigs, two people come… then you’re playing to 500 people, little girls are asking you to sign their cds and t-shirts, lapping up your merch. Then they’re tweeting at you…
Harriet: Girls are wanting to start bands cos of us and even cover our songs. This is exactly the type of reaction we’ve always wanted.
Nadia: I remember being that young girl walking to school with my discman, listening to my favourite tunes and wanting to start a band…
Beverley: And now young girls are listening to us…

Have you any plans for when you play Indietracks? Will you ride the train? Late-night dancing?
Nadia: Mate, I’m causing havoc. We’re gonna sell all these tote bags that no one else wanted to buy, I’ve heard indiepoppers love tote bags.
Harriet: Haha we’re really excited and it’s gonna be the best Indietracks ever, a year to remember!
Beverley : Might be learning an indiepop classic to cover on the night… who knows…
Nadia: We’re gonna go to the disco (on the campsite) where we didn’t know any of the songs but everyone else was going mental like it was 90s classics. Just play some Spice Girls.

SCENARIO
The Tuts are on stage when you discover there is a meteor about to strike Indietracks. You are the only people holding instruments, how will you save the day? 
Nadia: Grab the tote bags, sell as much merch as you can.
Beverley : We’re all secretly superheroes so we’ll all save the day. We can’t tell you our superpowers in case our enemies find out.
Nadia: You can save us with your sexy body, Niall.
Harriet: Human shield.

How would you rate my questions?
Beverley: I’d give you 2/10
Nadia: I thought this was an interview about us?! Must be a Leo, what star sign are you? Must be a Leo or an Aries.
Harriet: We prefer interviews in person.
Nadia: Come and meet us in real life.

How could I have been a better interviewer?

Nadia: I hate questions.

Indietracks Compilation 2013 by The Tuts