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  • Ros Cairney

Feminism and Rock'n'Roll - Huffington Post

Updated: Feb 22, 2020

From Fear to Fury: Feminism and Rock'n'Roll


We were both instinctive feminists long before we knew the word and long before we made this album Tracks of Wire. As girls growing up in Glasgow and London we knew we were expected to have careers as well as fulfil roles as girl friends, wives, mothers..but we also knew we were drawn more to the thrill of music creation and performance and were prepared to put that first. We loved punk, indie bands and, just like the boys, we were looking for a way out of these roles at a time when music did seem to offer this. We wanted to add something of our own to the next unwritten page in rock ‘n’ roll history and the fact that we were girls didn’t seem an issue. We really believed ‘Anyone can play guitar’. Riot Grrrl had confronted the music press and the behaviour of audiences but gradually the boys reasserted their control with Brit Pop. All the cool females in guitar bands started disappearing from the media front line, then guitar bands disappeared from the media, then the music media started disappearing itself and then the music business lost all relevance to us. We formed deux furieuses in 2013 because we were angry on a personal level, on a career level and on a wider political level. We decided to self finance and release an album of songs about the things in the world which really angered us as we were not hearing this from other musicians at the time and the music itself did not seem enough anymore. We wanted to record an album which could be listened to repeatedly and yet still make a visceral impact. We chose a musical hero of ours Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey) to produce, wrote him an email with a demo of our first deux furieuses song ‘I Want My Life Back’ and he came to see us play. The songs for Tracks of Wire were written from 2011 to 2013 with ‘The Party of Shaitaan’ added in 2014. The Internet photo known as ‘Girl in the Blue Bra’ of an unknown girl who was violently beaten and dragged through the streets while being kicked by soldiers in her torn off hijab at a demonstration in Egypt; youtube videos of gang rape games; Pussy Riot arguing their logic to the end and going to jail for their ‘Punk Prayer’ on the altar of The Cathedral of Christ the Saviour; the Delhi bus gang rape all exerted a pull and influence on the writing of these songs. We recorded the album in ten days in August 2013 with Rob Ellis and then could not afford to mix the album at that time and finished the mixes last year. Sadly the songs relate to the world of 2016 just as much as they did then. Our first single taken from the album in 2014 was called ‘Can We Talk About This?’ and is about the murder of Theo Van Gogh for his film Submission with Ayaan Hirsi Ali in which words from The Quran on how to discipline one’s wife were painted onto a woman’s skin. ‘Can We Talk About This?’ were his alleged last words before having his throat slit. Like the DV8 play of the same name, our song is about the hypocrisy of liberal Western cultures who do not want to see or confront misogyny in all cultures for fear of causing offence. Our third single ‘Are We Sexy Enough?’ is about the conflicting pressures on girls to follow rules that will keep them safe as well as appealing sexually in order to succeed. ‘From Fear to Fury’ is the last track on our album and is a journey we have been on in our lives and in the music industry. We were afraid to be ourselves at first and then slowly woke up to years of sexism and the barriers in our way as ‘women in music’. We have an album to release that will punch above it’s weight but you won’t hear us at any major festivals or catch us on any headline tours this year. To change things we need female run record labels, festival promoters and booking agencies to redress decades of imbalance. The good news is now the feminist girl friends, wives and mothers are forming punk bands and grabbing the Internet and creating small venue festivals like there’s no tomorrow. Maybe the next page in rock ‘n’ roll history is still there to be written.

Ros Cairney deux furieuses live photo Can We Talk About This? single launch at The Macbeth

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