The SPINE Records duo, Johanna Connolly and Jezebel, talk about their debut EP, performing live and representation in their genre.
It feels like your recent EP, immolation, is made to make listeners feel uncomfortable. Is this fair?
Johanna: Well, the entire EP was centred around the story of a religious fanatic who was about to set themselves alight because of something terrible they’ve done in their past. Working with that subject matter alone was in some ways uncomfortable. As we started to structure the actual noise parts, it started to become gloomier and heavier, an effect we really wanted, and the nature of noise is that it is uncomfortable to listen to, so there was no avoiding it really, it was kind of just always going to sound like that.
How does performing live allow you to express yourself?
Jezebel: I’m not a natural stage person in the slightest. I’m very self-conscious and don’t know what to do with my limbs. I’m going to let Johanna take majority of the front-person duties and hide behind my electronics. Having said that, the live experience with noise music is paramount, it’s hard to get across the correct atmosphere through a recording alone!
What are your future plans with SPINE records?
Jezebel: I’m one third of the SPINE records team, and was made up when Johanna wanted to work with us and be our first tape release. I think it’s important to encourage a more diverse range of people getting involved, specifically in the noise/industrial scene, as it’s notorious for being predominantly white cis blokes. I managed to convince Johanna to let me join so now I think we might be Liverpool’s first ever female noise band! We are currently working on a new live set for some upcoming SPINE nights at Quarry which we are excited about.
Johanna: I was, and still am, very happy to be the first release on SPINE. I think it’s vital in a city like Liverpool to have a scene like the one SPINE is creating, which isn’t just the standard tried and tested five people with guitars set up. I agree that most scenes are overran by cis white fellas, something I find incredibly boring and always have done, so now is as good a time as any to start bringing more experimental and subversive acts to the front.
What do you make of Liverpool’s industrial noise scene?
Jezebel: In terms of a scene here I’d say it’s a small one for sure. I think it’s only LONESAW and Polexia and the occasional touring act that SPINE puts on that can be classed as industrial noise, which is fair enough it’s definitely not to everyone’s taste, not even to ours really! For the next EP and live shows we are going to expand the sonic range into something that’s not just noise.
Johanna: I think the industrial noise scene here is very much still in its early stages, but I do think it has the capacity to grow to include other acts, but as Jez said, it really is just LONESAW, Polexia and the occasional touring act at the moment. I would say a lot of people have a very set idea of what “industrial noise” is, and can be surprised when it sounds completely different to what they thought it would, and I have to admit doing very harsh, almost visceral sets gets quite limiting so Polexia will be moving onto experimenting with other sounds but still keeping elements of our industrial influences.
What music can you recommend that Bido Lito! might not be aware of?
Jezebel: My friend Alice Low just performed her first show at Sound City, it was the most bizarre and wonderful high energy show I’ve seen in a long time. She absolutely flummoxed and delighted the crowd in equal measures in the Jac basement. She’s just had a single out, everyone should check her out because she’s about to blow up!
Johanna: Well right now, I’ve been very much into yeule, their song My Name Is Nat Cmiel is a favourite of mine. We recently did a radio show over on Melodic Distraction that focused entirely on women in experimental music, and I still find myself going back to that! Beatrix Weapons, Gudrun Gut and Virna Lindt are also highly recommended by myself!
Finally, why is music important to you?
Johanna: I guess it’s just always been with me, as vital as oxygen!
Jezebel: Music is magic, simple as that.
Immolation is out now via the Polexia Bandcamp page.