Track: Venus Grrrls are in a ‘Violet State Of Mind’

Venus Grrrls

Exploding out of Leeds Venus Grrrls are back with a snarling new track ‘Violet State Of Mind’. This is the band’s first release since their 2021 EP ‘Potions‘.

Violet Grrrls are made up of of GK (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Jess Ayres (lead guitar), Hannah Barraclough (bass), Grace Stubbings (Synth) and Gabby Cooke (drums). The band pack a political punch and are actively advocating for the respect of women in the music industry.

We spoke to the band about their music and advocacy.

Can you tell me a bit about the women in the band and the instruments that you play? How long have you been together?

VENUS GRRRLS formed at the end of 2017, so we’re coming up to five years together. We have lead singer and rhythm guitarist Grace Kelly joined by lead guitarist Jess Ayres, bassist Hannah Barraclough, synth player Grace Stubbings and drummer Gabby Cooke.

How do you go about composing your songs – is it done as a collective or individually?

Our writing technique varies from song to song, be it starting with a lyrics, a riff, or just a melody. Sometimes GK will come to the rest of the band with an almost full demo and we flesh it out. Or it starts with a riff and we build the song together form there. During the pandemic we really had to adapt to a new way of writing remotely which is when we made the demos for the tracks on our last EP, Potions. This was definitely challenging but enhanced our writing skills as a band.

Your name obviously evokes the Riot Grrrl era but I have read that you have evolved and now believe that your music is more alt-rock. Can you tell me about the evolution of the music and what caused this to happen?

When we formed the band, the goal was to be an all female punk band. As we started writing together it became clear that with all our different musical influences this was never going to just be a punk band. With the nature of GK’s melodic vocals and influences from the more alternative side of the industry, the songs we were writing just weren’t coming out as punky as we thought! Although our style has evolved we still carry with us the values and ethos of the Riot Grrrl era and it is at the core of everything we do and stand for.

How did the name of the band come about?

When we came together, our goal was to focus on empowering female/LGBTQ+ voices. This is very much still the case, but we wanted our name to touch upon that. With Venus being a goddess associated with prosperity and victory, we wanted these ideas to correlate with amplifying voices of minorities in any way we can. Adding the ‘grrrls’ was simply an ode to Riot Grrrl, which is the epicentre of everything we do.

Your website says that you promote “the participation, acknowledgement and respect of women in the music industry” through your music. Can you expand on how you hope to achieve this goal?

By being the best allies we can, and sharing our own experiences as women, we hope to provide a level of comfort to our audiences in the hopes that they may be able to relate. So hopefully by playing shows and continuing to release music, we can only hope to make a small impact along with the other incredible people in this industry.

Some relatively recent articles have said that the music industry is still defined by misogyny, have you encountered this at all and if you have can you give examples?

Unfortunately we still see examples of misogyny the industry today. There have been some huge improvements but it still affects us. Recently we encountered production staff at a festival that did not speak to us professionally as women. Our drummer was referred to as “good little girl”. There is always the underlying assumption that women don’t know what they’re doing when it comes to music, which affects us in situations like going into a music shop and being too self conscious to try an instrument out. Paired with the classic comment “you were actually good” after a show, we face small acts of misogyny regularly. We hope to highlight this within our music and bring the issue to light, we still have a lot of work to do within this industry.

Who are your musical role models?

We are hugely influenced by the Riot Grrrl movement as mentioned above, something that’s still intrinsically involved in our musical stature today. This includes bands such as Bikini Kill, Brat Mobile and L7. We would say bands such as Garbage, Wolf Alice, and Dream Wife are our biggest inspirations to date as we love how they navigate the industry and their approach to writing.

Can you tell me how the new single ‘Violet State of Mind’ came about?

With VSOM, Hannah and GK had recently moved in together and the song almost wrote itself. It began with the chorus melody and lyrics, and then we looked at the structure and harmony of the entire piece. We knew we wanted it to be punchy and simple, but wanted to introduce more intricate little details to keep it interesting. The song also got slightly re-jigged by our producers Ady and Lee (Sugar House Music), which injected it a little more so it packed a punch.

What message do you have for other young women wanting to start a band?

Absolutely do it. I think it’s important to remind yourselves that it’s okay to start from the bottom, and build yourselves up. Alleviate pressure from yourselves and accept that your first few rehearsals might be difficult. We certainly felt under a lot of pressure to be on fire straight away, and it just doesn’t work like that. Those early rehearsals are integral to your growth as a band, and seeing yourselves grow will be one of the most rewarding experiences ever. Also remember that you have a voice that deserves to be heard.

Thanks so much for talking to Backseat Mafia!

‘Violet State Of Mind’ has been released with an accompanying video on which the band worked with Christian McBarron. The track is a blistering alt rock anthem featuring some scorching guitar work, thumping bass and drums and GK’s ethereal voice which floats sublimely above as the band advance into full onslaught mode.

Stream ‘Violet State Of Mind’ HERE.

Catch Venus Grrrls Live This July:
Truck Festival, Hill Farm, Oxfordshire – July 22-24, Tickets HERE
Kendal Calling, Lowther Deer Park – July 28-31, Tickets HERE

Photo Credit Tash Koziarska

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