Interview: Girl Sweat

Ahead of their slot at this year’s Karma Fest which is due to take place on Sunday 29th May in Leeds, supported by yours truly, we caught up with Girl Sweat.

Are you excited to be playing Karma Fest?

Definitely! I’ve been part of the Karma family for years; be it putting on, playing or DJing shows with them alongside some of my favourite bands, so to be headlining the Space Ritual stage is a real privilege. Plus the line up is outstanding. It’s going to be special.

For people that may never have heard your music, how would you describe it?

Well, I’ve always thought of Girl Sweat as a garage-noise band; simple driving beats and rhythms caked in electronic hiss and fuzz. However, for this particular show you may have noticed ‘Girl Sweat and Friends’. This is because recently I’ve been gaining a large following of very dedicated fans who have taken my teachings into their hearts and Sweat in their souls, so for this show my disciples and I will be bringing a cataclysmic, krautedelic onslaught with The Girl Sweat Pleasure Temple Ritual Band.

We will utilise our own brand of high magick rites to ensnare all in our wake to gooey drone beauties.

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What are you trying to achieve with Girl Sweat? What makes you different?

Within Girl Sweat the key factor is extremity.

People are too busy being good at things to really take the beast within themselves to the limit of brilliance. Why be good? Be terrible. Be the worst you can possibly be – stop thinking.

Get the worst piece of gear you can find and crank it beyond belief. Once you’ve entered that post-reasonable realm, there you will find a connection with the audience, who will understand that you’re not trying to trick them into believing you’re anything other than an absolute cretin, just like them.

A respect earned with vulgar beauty. That’s what the Girl Sweat and the Pleasure Temple is all about, a passion for extreme indulgence.

What can people expect from the upcoming LP?

My debut LP Bad Happenings – which is being brought to you by the behemoth that is Newcastle’s Box Records – is a wild 35 minutes of blown out electronics, screaming and stompers.

Moving from simple garage/rock’n’roll songs into the realms of drone, harsh noise and psych in certain sections- all of which is amassed under a singular drugged-out, lo-fi charm. The record captures a period of change from previous incarnations of Girl Sweat (when it was a full band) moving into the solo electronic version I currently perform live, which is the purest and best form of Girl Sweat so far.

There are old songs written for full bands that I converted to solo electronics, however this has often seen songs transformed entirely, nowreaching their potential to be more than just a garage song.

Rivers of Hair in particular with its 7 minutes of extreme pedal oppression creates an unholy sound of ridiculous anarchy I would never have achieved with a full band.

Some would say that your music has deep psychedelic references and influences. For psyche music, is the record, as a piece of work, more important than in other genres? For example, punk is the live experience, does that differ for you?

I’m assuming by record you mean vinyl and as someone who wastes far too much money on vinyl, I personally think that there is some truth to that – however the prevalence of vinyl is for all genres with a dedicated following.

It may feel stronger with psych because psychedelic music was obviously going strong before other formats existed (and the industry would try and kill vinyl off them off). But if you look at the culture surrounding electronic music- like dance and rave culture, it’s just as important to them as it is psych. The only genres I don’t think it’s important to are those with a following who aren’t dedicated to wasting their money- but it’s all changing at the moment, look at 1D’s record store day vinyls and Disney Soundtracks- new generations will be gifted with a whole heap of shit you will find in charity shops in no time, like the good ol’ days.

However, regarding certain genres being more about live experience or about the record I believe for most genres the record and live sound are inextricably linked. Records should be a document of a bands potential sound, which can be approached in a variety of ways. Especially for the particular strands of ‘psych’ music that I listen to these people are always trying to capture the essence of their shows. The motorik drone of bands like The Cosmic Dead, White Hills and Thee Oh Sees is definitively present on their best records.

For instance, Destruction Unit’s live in San Francisco record is one of the most raging psych records I’ve heard in years. It’s so blisteringly wild and heavy and the tracks are still very true to their studio LP Deep Trip. If we look to more mainstream psyche-pop stuff like Tame Impala, Kevin Parker’s productivity in the studio has completely driven their live sounds to different areas. So they both feed each other.

With that in mind, and the extremely well documented lack of physical sales of music, is touring becoming ever more important for a band such as yourselves?  
For all bands the most money has always been in touring. But yeah, especially at my level, but mostly to let people know who you actually are; once they know who you are the miracle of the internet can allow you to exploit their love from a great distance. Working hard is the main thing for any band though, be it on the road or from your laptop- you can tour relentlessly and be sloppy everywhere else and still not maximise your efforts.

Pysche music has become increasingly popular, but has it now become a dirty word now for bands?  
I’ve basically been saying this for a long time and I’m glad you do too! I personally have never set out to refer to Girl Sweat as ‘psych’, not that I don’t agree with what it’s trying to say about the sound, but more not wanting to be part of some generic label.

Psych music has become a lazy term to describe any music with a delay pedal and at times the new acceptable term for indie bands. You’ll see journalists describing rubbish 90’s indie throwbacks and grunge as psych, and it’s just rubbish. Tonnes of shoegaze get’s described as psych- which makes no sense- just call it shoegaze! Shoegaze is a perfectly fine genre, but it’s just not the buzzword at the moment. The worst part is, due to it’s prevalence I personally engage with the use of the word when discussing music with other people! So I’m as much to blame really.

Why do you think people have suddenly taken to it?
It’s just cycles, my friend. The world got sick of shit Libertines indie, got told the new thing to like was psych, so they now consume that. Couple of things triggered it; Thee Oh Sees released Carrion Crawler/The Dream and that got all the stoner, rock kids and Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker got all the indie lads dancing, so the industry saw what it could lynch onto and did.

However, the general consensus is that, whilst the more elitist among us may be perturbed with inaccurate labeling and our little clique being invaded, it was/is actually a good thing. Festivals (like Karma Fest) and gigs have popped up everywhere and given some amazing bands a platform to return and forge something for themselves. But inevitably it will be killed off from mainstream culture once it’s completely saturated the market. Punk will come back, everyone will cut their hair, stop doing solos and Sleaford Mods will kill everyone. It will be great.

Karma fest is going to be amazing, who are you most looking forward to seeing, other than yourselves?
Kikagaku Moyo, as I missed him last time he came on tour and am a big fan, I know people who have wept at his live shows. A first chance to see Evil Hoodoo label mates Os Noctumbulos, who I’ve been listening to for years and never seen live. Helicon are always great and have stolen the scene at various festivals I’ve caught them at. Tau should be interesting as I love Dead Skeletons and then there are locals like Mush and Wild Birds of Britain who always put on great shows- both of which are on the Space Ritual stage with The Pleasure Temple.

If there was another band you could add to the bill who would it be?
My boys The Cosmic Dead, who are my favourite live band on the planet and never cease to amaze me with their blistering performances.

Finally, if you had the chance to melt someone’s mind, who’s would it be and why? 
Your Mum’s, with my cock; she knows why.

You filthy… She is a saint!

As you can see Girl Sweat represent not only something fairly indescribable in terms of musical output but also a band willing to melt your face and by the sounds of it, fuck your mum.

Get ready everyone, this one is going to be a barnstormer

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