Q&A Scene: Sad Grrrls Festival Special: Chelsea Bleach

Tell us about your new single?

We’re super excited because we’ve just released our first single! The song is titled ‘Public Safety’, and expresses the frustration of feeling like your body is public property; to be looked at, taunted, and touched without permission. The song draws inspiration from the post punk and no wave movements, with the riffs and vocals mirroring the unease of feeling uncomfortable and unsafe in your own body in public spaces.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

We’ve just recorded 4 songs that we’re planning to release over this year, and we’re really happy with the way they sound! At the moment, we’ve started experimenting with some new sounds and workshopping songs more as a band as opposed to one person writing all the parts. It’s exciting for us to try out new things, like different band members playing different instruments and seeing how this works for us.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

We haven’t actually been on the road, or done studio recording (we recorded the single at Jess’ house), so we don’t really have any good anecdotes about those things! Something annoying that happened to us recently though was after a show at the Tote, some guy came on stage and started giving us song writing advice – he even gave our bass player Emma his card.

I think this example is important to share, because it’s something that happens often to women and GNC people playing music, that men constantly try to tell us how to improve or think their opinion is valued. If I had a dollar for every time someone in our band or our friend’s bands were offered unsolicited advice re: our music/playing, we would probably all be really famous.

Who or what inspires you?

We’re inspired by our peers, and the magic that’s happening in Melbourne’s music scene right now. Most of us recently attended TRANSGENRE, the incredible mini festival organised by June Jones from Two Steps on the Water. This event showcased some of the amazing trans and GNC acts kicking around Melbourne at the moment, and seeing such a huge diversity of incredible talent was so powerful – and to see the love and support these artists are getting from their community was heartwarming to see too. Basically, the night felt electric, so inspiring!

Which song do you wish you wrote?

I find this a hard question to answer, because I think the reason I love most of the songs I do is because of who they were written by! But if I had to choose, I would probably say Modern Girl by Sleater-Kinney, or really just the whole The Woods album. I love the way the guitars work in Sleater-Kinney, the way they weave in and out of one another so seamlessly and the guitars on this album are so strong and powerful. The lyrics in Modern Girl strike such a perfect balance of tongue in cheek/disgust with the world and the line “Hunger makes me a modern girl” gives me shivers. Jess and I were lucky enough to see Sleater-Kinney twice on their recent Australian tour, and after seeing this song at Golden Plains Prani, Jess and I all had a bit of a teary moment feeling overwhelmed by such an incredible band.

What’s next for you?

We just had our single released on May 20 to a sold out crowd at the Old Bar, which was definitely one of the best moments we’ve had so far. We got to share the night with Two Steps on the Water, Wet Lips and HABITS DJs. I don’t think any of us realized just how good the night would end up being, the HABITS DJ set ended with half the crowd dancing with their shirts off and letting loose. It was such a good, safe vibe and we were all so overwhelmed with how great it was!

In June we’re playing at Two Steps on the Water’s residency at the Gaso, which has superb lineups every week, and over the Queens Birthday Weekend we’re playing on an all star lineup at the Tote with Pink Tiles, Shiny Coin, Hi-Tec Emotions and some other great acts.

Also, we’re super excited to be playing at Sad Grrls Festival later this year. It’s being held at the Reverence in Footscray and the lineup is SO GOOD. Basically all our band crushes are playing, it’s going to be huge!!”

What’s your scene?

The great thing about playing in Melbourne right now is that there are so many bands that are really awesome and just full of good people that the “scene” we’re in is super fluid. Events like TRANSGENRE, Rack-Off and Wetfest have showcased some of that diversity already and it’s so exciting that the amount of bands continues to grow. It makes gigging really fun because you can play with a diverse range of artists that don’t all sound the same and aren’t just a bunch of dudes playing guitar.

We describe our genre as Wetwave, which is a little joke my friend Nick Brown and I came up with at this year’s Wetfest II. Basically, there’s a number of bands at the moment that started up around the time of Wetfest I (organised by Wet Lips) and were very inspired by the event to get up and going. So there’s quite a few bands like Cable Ties, Shrimpwitch, Ghost Dick and ourselves who all started playing around the same time, and through that we’ve formed some really great friendships.

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

We’d be a can of coke. Sweet and fizzy, but eye-wateringly crisp. Well suited to a hangover, or to get you in the mood for a big night out.


About Mary Boukouvalas 1576 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.