IDESTROY guitarist and vocalist Bec Jevons chats with writer Joe Evans about the punk scene, her experience of groping at gigs, guitars being stolen (and rescued) in Glasgow, and their upcoming debut album, We Are Girls.
CW: Sexual harassment and assault
IDESTROY are a three-piece Bristol band composed of Bec Jevons (vocals/guitar), Nicola Wilton-Baker (bass/backing vocals), and Jenn Hills (drums). Billed as equal parts London Punk and Riot Grrrl, their upcoming debut album We Are Girls is to be released on the February 12 via CD Baby, with the lead single Petting Zoo having already received airtime on BBC 6Music, Radio X and Planet Rock, and is available on the band’s Spotify.
I rang Bec for a chat about the upcoming album, her experience of touring the world with an all-female punk band, and getting guitars nicked outside Garage!
The Glasgow Guardian: Your sound is quite different to what seems to be popular at the moment, what influences were you channelling?
Bec Jevons: Yeah – it’s quite a lot of things. Obviously punk is a big influence, but I listen to all sorts of music, really, so I think that kind of shows. When we first started the band, we were into a lot of riot grrrl music, like Bikini Kill, Gossip, Sleater-Kinney, y’know artists like that. That really started us off. Now, I do like quite a lot of pop music and I think on some of our songs you can hear the pop influence.
GG: Are there any artists you listen to now or listened to growing up that you think don’t get enough love?
BJ: The artists I listened to growing up were definitely very, very popular, like Michael Jackson or Oasis … I’m not sure that there’s any that don’t get enough love. I’m really, really influenced by the Gossip, and while they had that one song that everyone knows, Standing In the Way of Control, I really like their earlier stuff – the really rough recorded punk albums they did. So, I’d say them.
GG: How do you think Rock or Punk is doing at the moment? Is there a lively scene?
BJ: Definitely! I think particularly in Bristol – there’s loads of bands in our little scene. I mean, it sucks at the minute because of Covid, but the punk scene has welcomed us with open arms y’know, it’s like wherever you go there are great punk shows. I think particularly in Germany for us there’s a really good punk scene over there – so we’re always over in Germany! But yeah, all the little punk events that happen, it’s brilliant it’s all thriving and hopefully after Covid we can continue it.
GG: Your comment that the scene has welcomed you with open arms leads me to the next question, what is your experience of being an all-female band in the punk scene? Growing up in Sheffield it seemed to be a bit of a sausage-fest!
BJ: I was just about to say sausage-fest! I mean, yeah, it can be. I think often when we turn up, if people don’t know a lot about us – maybe we’re the support act or at a festival or something – the first thing they say after our set is, they always seem to say “Oh, we were surprised at how good you were!” It’s a compliment, I suppose, but at the same time it’s like, why are you surprised? Is it because we are female? I think it’s cool though like there are a lot of female bands that we do play with, but, yeah, I think sometimes it can be a bit of a sausage-fest…
GG: Do you mind if we talk about Petting Zoo, the lead single from your new album? It deals with some pretty heavy stuff – groping and sexual assault.
BJ: I think for me it’s pretty a heavy-going theme, but we still wanted the song to be fun, we didn’t want to sedate everybody, but hopefully the main thing people can take away is that it’s not acceptable. I mean when it happened to me – it’s happened a few times – but it’s by far not been as bad as what’s happened to other people. One of the main things I took away from the experience was that I didn’t really know who to turn to for help. I was in a club, and I felt pretty upset and I didn’t know who to turn to – the people behind the bar are obviously busy, the people running the door are also going to be busy – and I just didn’t know who to turn to.
There are some great organisations like Girls Against, Girls to the Front and Safe Gigs For Women, which are really helpful, and people should know that they have got somebody to turn to in these clubs or gigs if something does happen. Because I went home after it and thought maybe I should have called the police? Maybe … but I just didn’t know. I think there should be a place to go if something has happened where you can feel safe to report it. Those organisations are only a few I know of at the moment, and, obviously, they can't be at every gig or club night so maybe more [should be organised] as well. It’s not really relevant right now because of Covid, but after that.
GG: Speaking of Covid, you guys toured pretty heavily before the virus, what are the ups and downs (if there were any) of touring so widely?
BJ: I think since we started the band, the main aim for us was, "we just want to go to as many places as we can physically go to". We love being in different parts of the world, we love to see different cities – so that was always our goal really. There aren't many downsides to it. We love meeting new people, we love getting the band, and the message, out there. I’d say… maybe when we go to places like South Korea that [because] we’re all vegetarian or vegan, trying to find food to eat can be a little bit tricky!
GG: Do you have a favourite of all the places you’ve played? You don’t have to say Scotland!
BJ: We do love playing in Scotland, the climate up there is always super friendly and welcoming. In Edinburgh, we love the place next to the Banshee Labyrinth… I can't think of the name of the venue right now! (Ed note: Bec is referring to Bannermans Bar) But it’s a fantastic place. Other than that, I’d say Frankfurt is probably one of our favourite places to go. We’ve got quite a big following there because we played this festival in Frankfurt and yeah, it's brilliant! Every time we go now, we’ve got a following so that’s a good time. And of course, we love playing in Glasgow as well!
GG: Thank you! Get the obligatory Glasgow name-drop in!
BJ: Last time we were in Glasgow we played the Garage. It was brilliant, we had a really good night there. Unfortunately, really funny story though – our guitars got stolen afterwards! We were kind of idiots and left all of our gear in the van and decided to go partying in the club after the gig, and then when we came back to the van all of our guitars had been stolen. So that wasn’t good! But then the craziest thing happened. The morning after, we were like "we’re gonna go search for our guitars to see if we can find them", obviously the police and that were like "yeah, your guitars are gone" – and we were walking around this quite rough-looking park. So, we're walking around, all hungover, and then we found our stolen guitars, stashed in a hedge! Whoever stole them was coming back for them later but yeah, we were pretty freaked out by that, but we managed to get them back! We were extremely lucky to get them back – in one piece as well! Just thrown in this hedge…
GG: You mention in your press release that you normally play your songs live before recording them, has Coronavirus impacted that?
BJ: Yeah. Normally we’ll write the songs and then we’ll go and play them live – kind of like road test them. Luckily, this time last year we had a couple of gigs so we kind of road-tested these songs there before we recorded. I think there’s probably one or two that we haven’t played live, but we’re going to play them live because we’re doing a live-stream gig on the album launch day, so we’ll get to play them there.
GG: Which of the new songs did you feel had the best response, or which was the most fun to play?
BJ: Probably G.O.D, like we’ve always kind of enjoyed playing that live, we have been opening our shows with that last year so yeah, I’d say G.O.D.
GG: I was hoping you’d say Cheap Monday because that one is a banger!
BJ: I do love playing Cheap Monday live as well. It's good to hear you like that one; that is fun to play live, for me. I like the end of that song – basically, we do a massive guitar solo and just play it out loud.
GG: Apart from the album, do you have any upcoming plans?
BJ: The livestream that we’re doing – so you can find that on our social, there’s links on our social media, so it’s on February 12, our album launch day, at 8pm. We’re doing it at one of our favourite Bristol venues, The Louisiana. They’ve got really good equipment there so it’s all going to be livestreamed and we’re going to be playing the whole entire album – so it should be fun!
IDESTROY's upcoming debut album, We Are Girls, will be available on streaming platforms from February 12. Find them online at:
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