Kamikaze Girls’ debut EP Sad is important. More so, perhaps, than they even realise. Mental Health issues amongst the music industry are still being portrayed as a taboo. Behind the glossy images we are, and always have been, fed from the media surrounding lives of sex drugs and rock n’roll, are individuals that are being sent to their early graves via that very idiom. If living life in the spotlight wasn’t enough of a toll, there’s the whole wave of pressures that come with making your career as an artist. Recently, however, there has been a trickle of increased awareness amongst the industry, and alongside this, brave bands speaking out in confidence about their mental health. Kamikaze Girls are ahead of the game, whose openness and seriousness surrounding such a pertinent and crucial subject should be commendable. Not only this, but their punk/DIY sound is addictively brilliant… it is our pleasure to introduce you to this band; we have a feeling you’ll get along just fine!
“It’s been tough.” Lucinda ruminates as we question her about the process behind Kamikaze Girls’ new tracks, “I don’t think I was quite prepared for how ‘putting it all out there’ some of this stuff was, but it’s done now and I hope people can take something away from it, or even just relate on the same level as me if they’re going through something similar.” Sad is like Lucinda’s soul has been cut up and spread out on toast. Her lyrics stream from her darkest hours, rising above the fuzzy guitars like a beacon of grief. It calls loudly to those who have ever battled with their own mental health.
Crucially, Kamikaze Girls are quick to point out that they aren’t here to glamourize the term Sad. Lucinda passionately discusses the finer points of shouting loud about mental health issues: “What’s important is that it’s done properly.” And she’s right. So very right. She continues with fervour, “I’m worried that some publications or blogs glamourize it to the point where people might think it’s ‘cool’ or ‘in’ to have mental health problems. That’s not a thing. It’s 2016 and there are still so many people that say offensive things towards and about depression and anxiety; two of the most common illnesses.” Indeed, we only have to look back at our impressionable youth days and the romanticizing rock n’ roll images we were fed of vodka fuelled rages and pot addled poets. But the actual, distressing truth is that mental health is a very real issue within the music industry, and its something that needs to be flipped on its head and spoken about widely – from PR teams, to roadies, to violinists, to fans, to managers – they are all in need of greater support. Lucinda sums the whole matter up perfectly, “No one is saying that it’s okay and it’s normal to have these problems and here are the ways you can go about getting help. If you broke your leg tomorrow you would know exactly what to do and where to go. The level of educating people about physical illnesses should be the same for mental illnesses and it isn’t.”
The creation of Sad hasn’t just served as an antidote to the alternative scene’s concealed feelings; it’s been a cathartic process for the band, also. Lucinda muses, “It’s very much about a specific period of time, so it’s closure and some people need that to move past things.” She carries on with a sense of calm, “Hopefully by the end of our touring cycle, I’ll have put a few demons to rest.” Music is also something Conor has always cherished, “When I was at school, drumming was my release from having a terrible school experience,” he ardently elaborates, “I used the fact that I could come home and have thirty minutes to an hour every night where I could get all my angry and frustrations out there. I think that’s very important.” Anyone who has ever picked up an instrument is aware of the liberation that can accompany the art, and Kamikaze Girls are proof that the most brilliant of sounds can come from those little moments of release, the secrets that remain hidden until stroked by a melody. For this EP anyway, it would seem like this band needs us, just as much as we need them.
The punk fuzz that completes Sad is one of the most accomplished sounds we’ve heard from an EP this year. Connor comments on their single, Ladyfuzz, “There’s something that happens when we play the song live, you look out and see everyone is on the same groove and you really get into it”. Lucinda’s vocal carries the tune over a textured melody, creating a special moment in time. Watch Ladyfuzz live surrounded by your friends, and then listen to it alone in in your bedroom; both experiences create unique intricacies within the track you won’t want to miss.
The video for Ladyfuzz was shot in Lucinda’s bedroom, something that Conor heart-warmingly described at length, “It’s an odd feeling seeing your best friend pouring so much emotion into a track.” He smiles, “I was so proud of Lucinda for doing such an amazing job”. For Lucinda, the process was more exposing, “For me it was a bit nerve-racking the day it came out.” She reveals, “A weird thought was that the person heavily involved in what was happening would see it, and I’ve no idea if they have”. Again, yet more proof that Kamikaze Girls aren’t just your normal punk band. Their dedication to throwing every piece of their soul into their work is credit to both their characters and their EP. Bands like this one are with you for life.
To add to their list of merits, is Ladyfuzz ‘the brand’, of which you can check out right here. Lucinda actually crafted this Creative Collection a long time before Kamikaze Girls released Sad to the world. She notes delightedly, “Such talented people contribute towards it and I’m super proud of the work we put out each time”. Both Conor and Lucinda are fully ingrained within the punk/DIY scene and their hard work and enthusiasm towards originality, creativity and passion are yet more reasons behind the success of their latest EP. Conor explains with a hunger about his voice, “We’ve always been very independent and done stuff ourselves. For the past four years I’ve run a record label in Leeds,” he excitedly continues, “We’ve never really sat around waiting for stuff to happen, we’ve wanted to work hard and see how far this thing can take us – the DIY/Punk scene gave us that.”
Now we’ve introduced you to Kamikaze Girls we’re pretty sure you’re going to want to follow their every move. True to their form, the next few months are going to be pretty darn busy. Lucinda is focused, “Next for the band is just touring for as long as possible, when we eventually stop we’ll record an album”. So, after meeting at Leeds Music College, setting their scene on fire, reimagining the way Mental Health issues are discussed and forming their own unique and special sound, it feels like the only way is up for this exceptional pair. Good luck, guys – let’s change attitudes, and keep rocking together – we’re behind you every step of the way.