Monday, 25 July 2016

Fight Rosa Fight!: DIY Feminist Warriors.

Photo by Steven Gayton.

Citing influences as wide as Bikini Kill and Beyoncé Cheltenham based three piece Fight Rosa Fight! formed in April 2014 and describe themselves as 'messy Riot Grrrl/DIY punk'. Within six months of forming Lindsay, Cassie and Emily had released their first EP Step One: Start A Band following it a year later with a second EP Rotten. Inspired by feminism and queer theory and committed to overturning oppression their songs deal with a variety of subjects including inequality, class and mental health. Fight Rosa Fight! are touring and releasing a split 7" with Little Fists this August and play Loud Women Fest, London this September (1, 2, 3). Ahead of their tour they kindly agreed to answer some questions.  

Why did you get together? Was it all about making music or did you feel you had things to say from the start?
Cassie and Linz met through a feminist group Cassie had started. Linz and Emily had played in bands together whilst at school and afterwards. Cassie and Linz were at a meeting and just generally chatting about music, when they decided to try putting a riot grrrl band together. After their first rehearsal, Linz suggested asking Emily to join and Fight Rosa Fight! was born.
From the beginning the music and the message went hand in hand. We knew we wanted to make music that had a direct, strong, intersectional feminist message.

How did your name come about? Rosa Parks or Rosa Luxemburg or another Rosa...?
Both of the Rosa’s of course! We wanted the name to be bold and empowering, directly referencing feminist action.

Is there a particular scene that you feel part of or has particularly welcomed you?
The Queer and DIY Punk scenes have been incredibly welcoming to us. NANA DIY at Althorpe Studios in Leamington Spa were especially welcoming to us very early on in our journey when Linz and Cassie were still learning to play their instruments - giving us a support slot for their Martha gig. Sheffield LaDIY gave us a chance when we were still a young band and from playing there we met Petrol Girls who have been supportive and inspirational. Surprise Attacks DIY Punk night in Worcester was a turning point for us - the organizers and audience were really supportive and helped us to grow in confidence as a band. Jenn Hart of Cookie Cut at Hydra Bookshop in Bristol gave us our first headline show, which developed our confidence further. Playing Nottingham Queer Fest in 2015 was a very special and emotional gig for us, with one of the best and loveliest crowds we have ever seen.
We would like to give big thanks to all the musicians who were especially helpful and supportive by not just letting us use their gear but also offering us advice and showing us how to use amps in our early days.
Although there are still ways the DIY and Queer scenes need to become more inclusive, the culture of both bands and audiences supporting each other - giving new bands gigs, being supportive of new acts and giving musicians space to learn and grow is something to be proud of.

Social constructionists argue we construct our sense of self/self-identity from the cultural resources available to us-what resources of resistance have you drawn on in a patriarchal, capitalist society?
The DIY scene in particular has been awesome in sharing resources - especially as the resources are so varied and personal. Zine Distro’s and DIY Libraries (such as those run by REVOLT in Coventry) are excellent ways of accessing intersectional, feminist culture. Bandcamp is a great resource for bands and fans and is very useful in linking both to other acts, gigs and labels.
Gigs are very important because they can offer multi-sensory cultural forms of resistance, although it is important to mention again that we need to ensure gigs are accessible and inclusive to truly ensure that resistance and anti-kyriarchal cultural experiences truly represent, welcome and celebrate all those who have been oppressed and marginalized by mainstream culture.
Being around other anti-capitalist, social justice, feminist warriors from the DIY and Riot Grrrl scenes has been a wonderful form of resistance too - learning and growing with friends we have met through doing gigs.

Your lyrics explore some really interesting subjects; class war, the old idea of woman being derived from man, objectification. Other songs seem more personal. Do your songs deliberately reflect those two sides of concept and experience?  
Arguably all the personal things we write about are political and reflect both concepts of feminism and identity, as well as our own experiences. Our experiences are often politicised whether we choose them to be or not.
For example ‘Do What You Want’ at first listen may seem more of a ‘fun’ song but it is just as overtly political as ‘Everyday is Political’, but both songs call out to all those whose lives are political whether they want them to be or not, both songs reflect that some identities are politicized just by being ‘othered’ by society, by being pushed out of the mainstream and being treated oppressively.
Mental health has long been ignored, vilified and underfunded by our government and society, ‘We Scream in Silence’ is based on personal mental health experiences but is a love song to anyone who is hurting; it is a song both of support and kinship.

What bands and writers have you been inspired/excited by lately and more generally?
Everybody should check out Amygdala from Texas. We played with them at JT Soar in Nottingham and are quite frankly, still reeling. Bianca Monique (singer/songwriter) is beautiful, strong and wonderful in so many ways; we were utterly moved and compelled by their presence and performance.
Articles by journalist and Editor Stephanie Phillips (also of Big Joanie) on race, gender, punk and politics are important and vital. Stephanie’s recent article  ‘Are all bands who use female names alienating women in music?’ is available here -
‘Treading Water’ by Petrol Girls could not be more apt, important and necessary in light of recent events in the UK.
We also love Ethical Debating Society, Spook School and DirtyGirl.
Cassie put together a zine called ‘Intersectional Politics for Punx’, the first issue dealing specifically with race in the UK DIY Punk scene; Linz and Emily would like to very strongly recommend this zine!
Finally, we are very, very excited to be releasing a split 7” record with the awesome Little Fists. We are over the moon to be touring with them throughout the UK in August. Their tracks sound amazing!

Big thanks to Fight Rosa Fight! for time and answers!




No comments:

Post a Comment