The Magical Music of Harry Potter

Queer Band Slash Fiction on their Upcoming Show at JT Soar: " If we don't fight for visibility, what are we even doing?"

12 February 20 interview: Caroline Barry

Since I moved to Nottingham as a young, queer person, I’ve been fortunate to stumble into the world of local indie, punk and DIY punk gigs, which have provided me with a community and more importantly, a place to go on a Friday night. Now, as an older, queer lesbian, I’m aware of the importance of carving out queer spaces, especially within rock clubs and bars that can be dominated by cis-gender, heterosexual boys.

We spoke to Beans from Queer band Slash Fiction ahead of their upcoming Fan Club debut show at JT Soar about personal lyrics, influences and their EP Flowers...

How did the band start?
I'd been looking to put something together for ages – I'd had a little go at a solo acoustic thing but that didn't feel right, and after putting feelers out every six months for about four years, I finally pulled my finger out and put this band together. Me (bass + vocals, they/them/her), Sean (guitar, he/him) and Jamie (drums he/him) had been in a band together in around 2011, and we found Dan (guitar, vocals, he/him) through a mutual friend on Twitter. We lost a bassist and gained a Jess (keys, vocals, they/them) about a year later to give us the line-up we currently have. 

How do you find the DIY/Indie/hardcore scene currently?
I think the active bands in the scene are amazing – there's incredibly interesting music being made all over the country and I have found everybody I've interacted with to be welcoming and supportive. I do truly feel like there's a sense of community. It's been such a lovely feeling having DIY promoters take a chance on us when booking this tour. When you get offered shows outside of the "scene" and it's some pay to play nonsense with four all cis white male line-ups, it's wonderful working with people who put their time, effort and money into making shows that aren't like that.  

Can you explain what queercore is?
Queercore to me is an easy way to identify LGBT+ offshoots of punk, punk that focuses on LGBT+ issues and usually through a lens of critiquing society. I think it encapsulates a mindset more than a musical style, but I like it as a word that sort of sets our stall out.

What is it about the DIY punk scene that attracts a large amount of LGBT+ musicians?
Speaking for myself, this band is DIY both out of ethos and out of necessity. We don't have the resources or connections to have label/PR/management support, but we also have a way we want to do things that ends up gravitating us towards other similar bands. I think when the rock/alt industry is so cishet male dominated the punk scene is the only place most LGBT+ acts have to go. 

Who are your influences?
We have a broad range of influences, and we all sort of add our own into the pot. I like a bunch of pop music, so I try to draw from that vocal melodies; Sean likes a lot of instrumental noise bands that influence his guitar sound. I think our main influences collectively are emo bands like The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, itoldyouiwouldeatyou, Snowing and American Football. I would also say that the British bands, nervus, fresh, martha, are bands we look up to as examples of how we want to act as a band.

Your lyrics are quite personal, how does it feel to be so exposed in music?
It can be quite a strange feeling but I'd say the most exposed I feel is when I first show or play lyrics to the rest of the band. By the time we've finished writing a song and are ready to play it live we'll have played it so often that you disassociate from the lyrics somewhat, but the first time you share them with another person is always delicate. Three of us have written songs now and we talk about extremely personal things like gender dysphoria and the deaths of our loved ones. I'm always very grateful for the effort and support the rest of the band puts in to turn my lyrics into songs. 

How important do you find visibility within the DIY/punk scene?
It's extremely important everywhere but even more so in a DIY/Punk scene, if we don't fight for visibility for groups who are poorly represented in mainstream music scenes what are we even doing? We try to make a point of playing as few shows where every other band are cishet dudes and to extend this to graphic designers or photographer that we work with. It's not that difficult when there are amazing talented bands out there to make sure your tour isn't just straight cis dudes, even if your band is made up that way. 

How has the reaction been to your EP, Flowers?
It's weird because we put that out over a year ago now and I hate a lot about how it sounds, but I am still proud of it. I think it works as a proof of concept for the band moving forward. It's the best feeling seeing a song from it get added to a playlist over a year after we put it out. For some reason the eight minute long closing song absolutely popped off in Egypt for about twenty thousand streams! 

Is this your first-time playing Nottingham?
At the start of February we played a show in Manchester with itoldyouiwouldeatyou and Nervus which was first show outside of South Yorkshire, so pretty much this entire tour has been firsts for us! We have been driving down to gigs in Nottingham our entire adult lives and it was one of the top places we wanted to play. It's a great feeling playing a venue where loads of great bands have played before. Fan Club have been extremely welcoming and supportive. I can't thank them enough for making this happen. 

Where are you off to next?
We're coming to the end of tour, we'll be in Newport tomorrow and then finishing up in London! I'm sure we'll have more stuff coming up over spring and summer though. 

How can fans follow or generally stalk you?
The best place is on Twitter or on Facebook, our DMs are open and we're very friendly, feel free to hit us up!

Slash Fiction are joined by Nervous Rex on the 19th of February at JT Soar. Tickets available through Fan Club or https://www.wegottickets.com/event/492861

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