The Collapse Board interview – Maria And The Gay
By Everett True
Do I need to spoon-feed you everything? Put down that new Florence And The Machine album for a second, and fucking LISTEN, you mocktard.
I was having this great dream that at some point soon – maybe even in 2011 – folk, I say ‘folk’ but in particular I mean females creating music, will bloody stop listening to the dullard tradition of Animal Collective and Steps and American Idol and Jeff Ament altogether. Wait. A ground rule first. Remember this post of Scott’s? Rock as a safe male romper room was created in the early 60s and for at least two decades the men clung on vainly to the belief that only men alone could be creative, women just aren’t interested. (Similar to the argument used against female music critics in 2011.) (Kind of like the entire world of art pre-2oth Century in a microcosm.) And where women were interested, they could just be ignored because all the folk (and by folk, I mean men in their mid-late 20s and 30s looking like a less memorable Elvis Costello) couldn’t be bothered to relate and could only relate when women encroached so far onto male territory that they could just go, “Why not just be a man?” My point being that of course the new wave of the new wave of the new wave of feminist rock bands (and by feminist, I don’t mean you have to woman the barricades, just be yourself) are going to reference cheesy pop music from the 80s because at least the cheesy pop music of the 80s was female. And it wasn’t all cheesy either.
I refuse to acknowledge anyone as an authority who takes a Consumer Guide Approach to Rock even though I’m just like you. I only like music that reminds me of music that I know, music that went before. The main difference being: a) I have two red dancing shoes, one for the left foot and one for the right, b) I know how great Timi Yuro is, c) my range of reference is pretty fucking wide, d) I admit to my flaws all the fucking time, and e) I welcome the revolution, the point in time when I cease to be relevant. (It’s happened already, but not here. It’ll never happen here. Why would it?) The first concerts I went to in London were Essential Logic, The Barracudas and Throbbing Gristle.
So what do I want? A fucking medal?
I like two-pieces. It’s a partnership, a conviction, a confederation without the dunces. Is The Gay a drum machine, like Echo? Is Maria named after Maria? Why is their album so timepiece? I mean, timeless. This dream I was having … it’s one where I mainline Starbursts, but through my mouth because that’s where the thousands of taste-buds lie. Why take drugs any other way? (I never injected class A drugs when my mouth was so close.) This dream I was having … Everything is Brighton. I am the weirdo because I’m so commonplace. Everything is Brighton. Everything is, specifically, a certain underground venue along the seafront towards Hove, where female musicians rock and female musicians roll and bicycles sprawl disused in the back alley. This dream … I’ve long dreamt of the day when everything isn’t Rolling Stone, isn’t NME, isn’t patriarchal tradition. It’s happened! It’s fucking happening. It’s happened! I swear to fucking Bangs that this debut album from Maria And The Gay – Greatest Hits Volume I, read the Big Print here, because Brigette Adair Herron is a poet and she uses WORDS to express her love, and also it saves me the embarrassment of trying to appropriate her magic – is everything I dreamt non-male rock could be like and by non-male, I mean no-male. I mean music reared on Petticoats, Ill Ease, Erase Errata, Humpe Humpe, Spider And The Webs, Danielle Dax, Julie Ruin, Micachu and a thousand other names that aren’t famous because they aren’t male pure and simple there is no other reason …
And Billy Idol, of course. Because we all need our eye candy.
Do you know how to scream? You should go do it now. Go to your bed and grab your pillow. Take a deep breath and hold the pillow to your face. Now scream.
Now concentrate on the hollow crevice that remains where the scream left your throat. It won’t be in your throat exactly, but somewhere further down, just behind your heart. There is emptiness, but also a feeling of accomplishment. Is it the feeling of being alive? Maybe it is panic. Maria And The Gay are now replicating the sound of your heartbeat as you are recovering.
Brigette Adair Herron, Collapse Board, 05.11.11
Here is the first interview I’ve conducted this year, and I swear to Tunabunny that if Maria And The Gay haven’t sold 25 copies of this album by week’s end I am closing this website down because what the fuck is the point of writing anything if you can’t influence even fucking 25 people to buy GREAT FUCKEN MUSIC? Here’s the link.
Think I’m joking? Try me.
(Daddy’s Buldge) About 20 years ago, I argued that the only way for rock music to retain any validity is for women to take charge. It seems like yr entire album belongs to a glorious tradition of female-led music that belongs to quite a different language to male-led music. Any comment? How is that intro to ‘Touch Me I’m Sick’?
It’s hard to describe what the woman’s voice is. It would be great if there wasn’t a difference. But there’s no denying there is. We don’t however think about females taking charge of rock music or any field. We don’t think that’s even possible. As soon as a female take charge she ceases to be female in essence. We’d like to think of ourselves as troublemakers, always trying to cause chaos in any field. Daddy’s bulge, less charge more chaos.
(Motherfolkers) Dancing. How does it gestate. How does it become commonplace? Why is it so special. Does anyone else remember Ill Ease?
Greatest tits is the superior name. We lost out on that one. There is a greek proverb, “The one not dancing knows a lot of songs”. There is virtue in standing still. But dancing is loads of fun as well; no denying that.
(Pushy Mum) Do we care about sexuality in 2011? Well, do we? How devious a literary device is kryptonite?
Sexuality has become a label to help you consume. Some people choose to adopt it and some people don’t. We’re definitely a band that don’t. That might sound contradictory if you look at our name, but it’s more of a funny piss-take than an identity. Maybe we can escape all these labels one day. They are only a product of our time. Then again maybe they are our kryptonite, our only weakness but there is no story without it.
(I Wanna Be In A Democracy) … you feel you’re not? Or is just a good excuse for some nifty rhymes? I like it when voices drop in and out, and random harmonies make perfect sense? Do you? Expand, please. Expand.
We were in the middle east and we wanted to understand what it was like to really be in the middle east. So we tried to sing on behalf of a Saudi woman. I think we talked a lot about the feeling of impotence we have in our neoliberal democracy. There is nothing as serious to fight for and even when you do fight you do it in such a conforming manner. We experience our own liberation through someone else’s voice.
(Doomed) Greatest Hits Vol I… well, of course it is. Right? RIGHT? Analogue vs digital? Atari vs (I can’t pretend knowledge here)? Le Tigre or Julie Ruin? Any comment on whether or not Micachu is the first real genius (horrible world) the world has thrown up since the previous one?
The world’s own death drive. We’re doomed because everything is doomed. It’s not our fault.
(I Was Only Passing By) Everything’s a personal mix-tape these days, right? RIGHT? What do you think of when you hear the mailman?
If you love it then listen to it again and again and again. Pete Um understands this. As do Guided by Voices especially on Mag Earwhig. [Bam. There goes my theory. Teach me to be so intractable and smug – Ed] The problem is people won’t pay attention and the won’t get it until they do listen to it again and again and again.
(Oh Boy She Moans) Groups or partnerships? Why were groups ever favoured? People are kinky? What defines kinky? The people who aren’t? Screaming or singing. Which and when?
Neither groups not partnerships; communitarianism. It’s christian but st Augustus had a point. It’s not something you can build like most people try. Building a community is a false promise. It’s something that just happens. Like love. So it’s a partnership in that sense.
Screaming’s good when you need it. Singing when you can sing from the heart.
(God Save My Screen) There’s no dividing line in music anymore. There hasn’t been for decades now. this is a question?
There was a divided line in music? What is music? It’s it just what our ears have become accustomed to? Isn’t it what our culture dictates. What separates music and noise is our history and our take on it.
(Berlin) Belinda Carlisle or Europe? What is the attraction of whatever it is you feel the attraction for?
Kim Wilde’s second album is pretty good. Cambodia. We were trying to revisit the musical language of the past I guess. Loads of sounds are available to us now at a fraction of what it might have cost so we can afford to revisit it. There’s more to come in this area. We were just learning to speak. I think it will be a completely different when we can.
(Pushchair Suicide) We’ve all been there. More than twice. Where do you stare when you’re staring? Who do you eulogise when you’re eulogising? Petticoats or Valerie?
We live in a strange area of Manchester. We see a lot of strange things. The people around us have a strange fearless spirit. It might be that they are just fearless but it feels like they don’t care wether they live or die. It’s no wonder the riots happened. We had seen quite a few women with their children in push chairs at 2am. We cynically thought it might have been a coverup for drugs. Who would take their kids out so late it didn’t make sense. Then once one woman just walked in front of the car we were in. So we started singing pushchair suicide. Petticoats.
(You Are My Gnome) Do we need dividing lines?
No. no no. That’s the whole problem..
(White Wedding) Is this from a surfeit of The Wedding Singer? Just askin’… Who do you wish would Facebook you out the blue?
The first time we sang this was at a wedding. People were looking at us strangely. The flower girl had her ears over her head and the father of the groom was mortified. We ended it in a huge argument (breeders style) and walked off the stage. If it was anywhere else it would have been a disaster.
(I’m Sorry) Glass Candy or Bollywood Ear Candy? Why apologise?
You should never apologise because then you are admitting guilt. But what if you want to admit guilt to get it off your chest. Then an apology is like a confession. Writing an album is a very big confession; especially when you’re writing about your life and your thoughts. But we’re not really sorry. No regrets. Just confession. It’s not a Bollywood ending.
(DIY Goodbye) Did you?
Well it’s a label and when you label something you kill it. So yes we killed it. We all killed it. We need another start we need something different. This time let’s not call it anything. People will hate it but at least it will have spirit.
Related posts: Maria And The Gay – Greatest Hits Volume 1 (Big Print)