INTERVIEW: Bitchfinder General | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Some interview openers write themselves – and some interviewees know full well where the conversation is likely to begin.

“What came first: the name or…”

“THE NAME!” Bitchfinder General blurt out in unison, before the question has even left my lips. Suffice to say, my suspicions are confirmed.

“I went for a drink with Frankie a few days after attending a punk festival, and said I’d like to shout in a band,” recalls Jayne Dent – familiar to many as electronic/folk maestro Me Lost Me. “She said she’d also like to shout in a band, then took out her little notebook of band names and we began flicking through…”

“I remember you saying something to the effect of ‘everybody sees me as a floaty pixie girl, and I want to be a shouty bitch!’” Frankie Insley recounts. “Bitchfinder General was the standout, but Be My Dad was in the book too. I always thought it’d have to be a project of my own where I dealt with those feelings, but we ended up using that as well and turned it into a song. I’m a big believer in the principle that if you throw enough shit, some of it will stick!”
With the all-important moniker settled and Sarah Li and James O’Coaimh recruited on bass and drums (“the Roman columns on which our plate of blancmange rests”), Jayne (vox, electronics) and Frankie (vox, guitar) turned their thoughts to how this new ensemble would actually sound…

No Thoughts, Just Vibes epitomises their no-holds-barred outlook, binding a pliable approach to genre with a wild and punchy punk spirit

“The Lubber Fiend gave us a gig so that we had a deadline to write some music,” Jayne reveals. “They had us open a hardcore festival before they – before we – even knew what we sounded like, so we needed to get our shit together!”

“The Lubber Fiend essentially birthed us, so they’re one of our band dads,” Frankie muses. “Nostalgia Kid who takes our photos is another. Martin who recorded us, too. Joe who gave us a lift one time with the drumkit… It doesn’t take much commitment. Occasional Dad would make a great name, actually…”

Amid talk of fundraising tiers (Bitch, Bitchfinder, Dad, Daddy, Daddy’s Little Monster), the sweet aroma of Harbourmaster’s South Shields studio, Sega Mega Drives and James’ ‘fake job’ in academia, we eventually find time to discuss the quartet’s debut EP. Unleashed this month No Thoughts, Just Vibes is a playful introduction whose five tracks epitomise their no-holds-barred outlook, binding a pliable approach to genre with a wild and punchy punk spirit.

“We’ve tried to capture the essence of the live shows, but it’s a different format so you have to meet in the middle a bit.” Jayne reflects. “The way we write is quite unfiltered and stream-of-conscience,” expands Frankie. “We didn’t know how some of the more panto songs would work once recorded, but we think they’ve come out pretty well.”

“I doubt we’ll ever settle on a single definitive sound,” she continues, as thoughts turn to Bitchfinder General’s future. “Sarah can sing opera, so that’s something we’re still waiting to unleash…”

“I haven’t promised that!” Sarah protests.

“This is the first she’s heard of it, and now you can put it down in writing,” Jayne jokes. “If anything, this is minimal chaos!”

Bitchfinder General launch No Thoughts, Just Vibes at Live Theatre, Newcastle on Thursday 20th June.


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