Hi lovers! Here at Fallen Love headquarters we’ve decided to start interviewing some people, places, and things that we adore in order to shine a spotlight on this wonderful pop planet. We’ll be posting all those interviews right here regularly for your enjoyment.
The Tuts are a three-piece punky pop band from London, England. They are Nadia Javed (guitar), Harriet Doveton (bass), and Beverley Ishmael (drums). Fallen Love head Harley chatted with all three Tuts through the Internet.
Fallen Love Records: Hi Tuts! Thanks for talking to me on this Wednesday evening/night!
Beverley: No worries. I mean, pleasure to talk to you.
FLR: What are you guys up to this evening?
B: We’re watching the TV awards. haha
FLR: So The Tuts are Beverley, Nadia, and Harriet and the band basically began when Nadia and Beverley were in high school. You two have been playing music together for over ten years together now? Is that a scary or cheerful thought?
Nadia: Um, I say scary that we’re still playing to ten people in a crowd and not been signed.
B: Ten years, but cheerful.
N: Ten years and still being ignored by local people from our town.
B: Well, in the last two years we’ve proper done well. haha
N: Yeah, as of the last two years it has started to pick up. i.e. Kate Nash tour
N: I’m willing to sign the Illuminati papers and make a sacrifice to the devil.
FLR: I was going to ask about that part. You ended 2013 by touring with Kate Nash and had your Christmas song featured on her EP. Does it feel like the future is bigger and brighter for The Tuts now than ever before?
N: No, the biological clock is ticking. Be having kids in about four years. haha Umm, off the back off the success we had last year we’re now gonna do more of our own headline shows and tours. Trying to get on a few festivals, but seems like you’ve gotta give a blowjob to get a slot.
B: Yeah, it was amazing playing with Kate and seeing what her shows and fans are like and the craziness of it all. But obviously now we need to put in a lot of hard work to do it off our own backs.
H: Yeah, she really helped us reach an audience that we wouldn’t have been able to. The teen fans are the best! So sweet and enthusiastic. I reckon 2014 is gonna be the year of the Tut.
FLR: You started playing music when you were in your teens. You don’t have a manager or publicist. In many ways you’re sort of the complete opposite of the typical radio band which is usually four straight white boys with a team of agents behind them. Do you worry that it will always be an uphill battle just trying to get gigs and press and the like?
N: Yes, I would love mainstream success without all of that bullshit that comes with it but it seems, if you wanna make a living out of it, you do need backings from booking agents, etc. It is about who you know. There is a bit of hope though that if it’s about the music and we’re good enough then we’ll get there. But sometimes I do think I’m gonna be dead before we play to a decent-sized crowd. haha
H: Yeah, we love being DIY but would love to reach a middle ground between maintaining our identity and our DIY punk ethics but being able to reach a higher platform and be famous from playing music. Even if we did get big everyone would just call us sellouts anyway. haha
FLR: A lot of your interviews really focus on “Whoa, you write songs about being feminist” or “Is it hard being female and in a band?” Do you get tired of talking about it or do you just sort of view it as an opportunity to have more discussions about things like sexism in the music industry?
N: At first it was quite fun. Now it’s fucking boring… haha How much can we bang on about it though? How all the boy bands are getting huge. How many times am I gonna bang my head against this wall? Feels like nothing’s changing. I’m just gonna have to grow a penis! And then rip it off on stage to reveal a nice vagina.
B: And butterflies can fly out of it.
H: I think it’s a topic that should be talked about. Obviously change would be a good thing and if you listen to the radio it’s like feminism and riot grrrl never happened, which is frustrating. But we love talking about it on stage at gigs, encouraging girls to express themselves through music.
N: We shouldn’t need to have to talk about it, but obviously we do. But people should already know, if you think about it, that on the radio the stats are in men’s favours. Its obvious.
B: Yeah, I think feminism brought to the forefront properly and I know there are a lot of popstars saying “I’m a feminist” but it’s just like, are you? It’s sometimes hard to tell if they’re just puppets who may just be trying to cling onto the next cool thing.
H: Basically, to sum it up, it’s like… It’s frustrating ‘cause in a perfect world we shouldnt have to be talking about these things, but it’s still important we do.
FLR: I almost feel like asking you about feminism and sexism so much is almost a form of sexism in itself, though. Like even if it’s with good intentions you’re still spending half your interview on the topic of your gender as opposed to actually discussing, say, your songs.
N: Yes, I agree, so moving on… haha
FLR: Moving on! Do you think of yourselves as role models for younger kids? Is that a position you want to be in?
N: I’m a role model! I get told. Well, we’ve inspired young girls to pick up instruments.
B: Yeah we do “Tuts Tuesday” where we post girls playing music, their own songs or covers. We love inspiring girls.
N: What isn’t “role model like” about us? We play instruments, write our songs, choose what we wanna wear, stand up for ourselves…
B: We stand up for our friends and what we believe in.
H: I think being a role model is such an important thing, and you might be one without even realising. So it’s just important to feel strong in what you believe in. But also you need to let the people you meet who look up to you know that you’re just a normal person. I think idolizing and putting people up on pedestals can be dangerous as everyone has the potential to be “problematic” in someone’s eyes.
B: We go against the “grain.” We play music and we play football.
N: But because we want to! Not to prove a point.
FLR: You’ve got a Facebook group for you and your fans to communicate and you post your lyrics and tabs on your blog. You also get a lot of handwritten fan mail. How important is it for you to be so accessible and in touch with your fans?
B: Very important. They’re the people that make us wanna carry on!
H: We only give my address to the young girls, though. haha We don’t have a P.O. box yet.
B: They need to know when the gigs are on, when the merch is out so they can give us their motherfucking money! haha
N: We’ve been asked this question before. Sooner or later I’m gonna turn into Morrissey and stop doing interviews. hahaha
H: Nadia’s been reading his autobiography.
N: We’re gonna sound like such cunts in this interview.
H: Only ‘cause it’s typed up. He can’t hear the laughing.
FLR: Man, and I spent hours yesterday reading every interview of yours I could find and scouring your Tumblr archive because I didn’t want to be that chump.
B: Awww, bless you. haha It’s only similar, not the same.
N: Come on, insult me or something! But I quite like it. We’ve been asked the same questions. It’s a good sign. I should be grateful really. Anyway, how much we getting paid for this?
FLR: Sorry, that last question about payment didn’t come through. Technology issues, you know… Moving on! Harriet and Nadia write most of the lyrics for The Tuts. What’s wrong with Bev’s lyrics?
N: Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. Money is split and one third is going to someone who doesn’t write the lyrics, yet they’re taking one third of my money and talent.
B: haha We don’t even share out the money so whatever.
N: Bev’s just living the good life.
H: haha I’ve been asking Bev for her lyrics that she’s written for ages and she hasn’t given them to me yet! But don’t worry, they’ll make an appearance. It’s funny ‘cause Bev is so passionate about everything she talks about and has a lot to say. She’s just being lazy, I guess!
FLR: In the annual indiepop mailing-list poll you were voted Best Gig in a three-way tie with Veronica Falls and Flowers. You’ve never been to Canada and I’ve never been to England so I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing you live. What am I missing?
N: Well, best gig. Is it ‘cause they had so much room to move ‘cause there was loads of room? Which gig were you at? Well, we’ve played to hundreds of people last year ‘cause of Kate Nash but our own gigs, bit of a hit and miss really.
H: haha Particuarly London.
B: I feel like within the music scene there’s a narrow gap and everyone’s trying to squeeze through it and not everyone is getting their chance. The live aspect of our show is way better than just listening to our CD. We sweat buckets for every penny that is given to us. I have to say, we put on a hell of a show.
N: Put it this way: the CD is about 10% of the energy we put on stage. haha We’re blowing our own trumpets here.
H: Yes, our live show is always such a laugh! We even have dance moves. We whip our hair. We go ape shit.
FLR: Well, that leads perfectly into my next question. How many marriage proposals do The Tuts get in an average month? Looking through your Tumblr archive I saw more than one.
N: The last one I saw was to Harriet.
H: Nah, the last one I saw was to Nadia!
N: None to Bev yet. Think our fans might be racist. haha
H: I don’t even wanna get married, though. What a shame.
N: Bev’s got hair extensions now. Might get a propsal.
FLR: It’s because she hasn’t written any lyrics.
B: haha Yes, that’s why. I’m gonna write something for you.
N: We now think you fancy Bev. What star sign are you?
FLR: I’m a Pisces.
N: Aw, I’m cancer. We’re compatible. But Bev’s a gemini. She’ll eat you alive.
FLR: What are the biggest Tut dreams that haven’t come true yet? And what do you have planned for 2014? I read rumors of a new EP.
B: Okay, we would love to support some amazing bands and broaden our fanbase even more. Such as Haim. That would be amazing! ‘Cause they’re doing some amazing badass girl things. They’re a girl band who are doing well in the charts and play their own instruments. EP, festivals, tours!
N: Yeah, I agree. Maybe get a booking agent.
B: Do you know any?
FLR: If it means your first North American tour, I’ll ask around.
H: Yeah, we’re gonna do another EP and I’ve started booking our tours! We’re hoping to go back to Germany too. We loved playing there. Also hoping to start working on an album, more music videos, photoshoots, etc. etc.!
FLR: Exciting! Thanks so much for talking to me!
B: Here’s a pic we just took: