“If there’s any women reading this and wanting to start a band, go for it! Don’t let no person stop you from doing what you want to do.”
We talked with Mia Raby, singer in hardcore band Rapture, to discuss the band’s 16’ Demo, the female label in hardcore, upcoming shows and veganism.
What motivated you to go vegan?
I was vegetarian for a couple of years and the majority of things that I ate were vegan so I thought what the hell. At the time I lived with my mum and we decided to do it together, living with her was good as she bought all the food and made sure I wasn’t living off energy drinks and crisps (which is the case now I live by myself), she loves making curries and experimenting with foods so that helped me not have a diet of just chips. When I came to uni I couldn’t afford the food my mum was buying, she would have so much amazing food in and I was always spoilt for choice, so the first few months I was living off crisp sandwiches and eventually went back veggie. After a few months of being veggie I started looking into being vegan again and was asking myself how did I get so lazy and was eating shit like cheese again! Its truly gross. What motivates me is knowing that I don’t feel any guilt when eating the food I eat. I wouldn’t say I eat healthy still (Grove Café is round the corner from my house), I just learnt not to blow my money on useless stuff to afford more than crisp sandwiches.
Are you excited about Rapture’s Demo ’16 being released on Quality Control HQ? Any plans for an LP?
I’m so excited!!! We were just going to self release the demo, but a friend of ours asked if we wanted to do our first show up in Newcastle, my friend had videod the set we did and put it up on facebook. Ola of QCHQ messaged Meg about us putting the demo out on QCHQ and being on the label I don’t think we could say no! QCHQ is one of my favourite DIY labels in the uk and have out some of my favourite releases. We are currently writing the 7” at the moment and it’s a little different, but the songs are more diverse and I’m digging them. We’ll probably have this out mid next year so keep your eyes peeled.
Could you tell us the ideas behind the lyrics from your demo?
The lyrics to ‘Guilty’ are about how people shouldn’t have to be ashamed about coming forward about being raped and physically or mentally abused. A lot of people don’t take the victims word for these things and ask questions such as ‘how do you know they haven’t lied?’, which shouldn’t be the case. More people should feel comfortable opening up about these things without feeling they will be publicly bashed or suffer consequences.
The following lyrics on the song ‘Fazed’ are about how bothered I get about people being racist/ sexist/ homophobic/ transphobic etc. But if I try and talk to ignorant people, it feels as though I am talking to a wall and they just don’t get how things they say or think are offensive, so I need that mental strength to just try and keep working on bringing these ideals down. I sometimes feel like just ignoring these sorts of views but I can’t as it just frustrates me how people can be!
No Leeway is about some stuff people may say about women in hardcore, crap like ‘Just because there’s a girl in a band doesn’t mean they are good.’, which no one ever said, mostly entitled boys that can’t keep their opinions to themselves. I feel like a lot of people get angry when women try and do things in hardcore. I’m not too sure why, they see it as sort of attention seeking, when realistically they are doing nothing different than what men are doing in the scene. More women need to get out there and start bands, normalise women being in bands and just do whatever you want to do. Don’t let the opinions of people that do nothing for the scene stop you.
Tell us about the members of the band. How did you all come together?
So me and Anth (the bassist) actually live together and have done since before the summer. We wrote some songs earlier this year about February, but with me on bass, but nothing ever became of that band. We went over to America over the summer and was really inspired by the people over there, so when we came we decided to try another band and write some new stuff with a drummer as a three piece. My friend Meg who then lived in London, messaged me about how she was moving up to Leeds and we should start a band, we talked a few times over a few years how cool it would be if we could start one but the distance was too far. Once she had moved up, we had swapped Anth and Meg so she was on guitar. Meg’s boyfriend Tom is on drums, and they also live together. It is really handy us all being in a band together, as we only live 15 minutes walk from each other too. We’ve always known of each other, seen each other at shows but never really spoke too much, so us all being good friends now is super nice.
Talk us through the band’s creative process.
I don’t even think we had any sort of creative process. It wasn’t even like we set out to be like a certain style of hardcore or we wanted to sound like any particular band. We all the jammed in practice, the members would be like oh I’ve wrote this that we could use and we’d just go for it.
What inspires you and your music?
Bands such as Ringer, Lowest Priority, Rare Form inspire me, they write about things that matter to me and have made me feel like I can write about the things that I feel strongly about too. Yeah people might be like oh that’s too preachy, but I’m not really bothered. I told myself when the band started I was going to write about things that did matter to me, which I did. But with the style of the music, bands like Floorpunch, Youth of Today, Wide Awake, fast songs, punchy lyrics and straight to the point.
How did Rapture’s first show go? Any upcoming shows you’re looking forward to?
The show went surprisingly well! I didn’t expect anyone to move around but it seemed like a lot of people liked it and afterwards I had the biggest smile on my face. We had a lot of praise from people and I think it made us want to get the demo out and keep on going. We played Glasgow for the last Cruel Minded show and the Fury/ Praise show in London. We have a few shows coming up: The Last Violent Reaction show in London 21st January, The Flex / Hex weekender in Bristol 4th Feb! I’m really excited for all of these, but I couldn’t believe it when we got asked for the Fury/Praise show as we didn’t even have our demo at the time. Its so cool! The NWOBHC all dayer in Leeds on the 11th Feb is going to be so good too, all the best UKHC bands on one bill and I love it.
How do you feel about the female label in hardcore or in general? Do you use it or avoid it?
I think it depends on how the individual feels and how they want to be referred too. Personally, I don’t refer to us as a ‘Female-fronted’ band, as when have you ever heard of a band being called ‘Male-fronted’, I feel like it just adds more segregation. But if anyone ever called us Female fronted I wouldn’t be annoyed or anything, it’s rare women are in bands in UKHC so I’m not surprised when people refer to bands as that. It’s something different to people. I’ve seen women mosh at shows, be involved with stuff to do in hardcore, and people are like ‘Wow, that’s so badass!’ and I’ve actually seen people comment on women moshing saying it’s a ‘turn on’ seeing girls ‘in the pit’ which is the cringiest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I’m not too sure why people can just leave women to do their own thing, tokenism is shit.
Do you get asked a lot about being a girl in hardcore in interviews? Do you wish people would focus more on the music rather than gender or do you think the conversation is still important?
I feel like when people ask me about being a girl in hardcore, I know its coming from a good place, they are just genuinely curious. But when Rapture started I said I wasn’t going to call myself a female in a band I just wanted it to be a normal band. But when the demo came out and the first set we did appeared online, a lot of people were commenting on how there are women in the band, which I honestly expected. I heard of a couple of dumb things said about the band such as ‘Just because a band is female-fronted doesn’t mean they’re good’ and I couldn’t ever think of a time anyone has liked a band for being ‘female-fronted’, if anything they have to deal with so much more scrutiny from the average bands with guys in. I’ve see a lot of bands in UKHC that have had very average music, no one has said a word or batted an eyelid, so what was so different about the Rapture demo? But, it is something that needs to be addressed, women can’t do things in hardcore without having their motives questioned.
Who designed Rapture’s merch? Why did you want them to design it?
The guitarist Meg put all the art work together, including the tape inserts, shirts and logo. It took us a while to decide on the name of the band. Even days before our first show we messaged the promoter at least 3 times with different names to put on the poster, it wasn’t like we disagreed on any of the names we just couldn’t come up with any! But one day I was listening to the Best of Blondie record and ‘Rapture’ came on, so I jokingly suggested we use Rapture to everyone and everyone really liked it so we used it! If you couldn’t tell the logo is also a slight rip off of a Blondie font from Parallel Lines too. I can’t even remember why we decided to have felix the cat but I think at the time we thought it would be cool. Originally we wanted to do everything for ourselves, the release, the art work, the tapes. I already knew Meg was insanely good at art stuff in general, she was always posting pictures of cute stitches she had done, she can design and make dresses, she’s so sick! So I knew she’d do a wicked job at it. When she finished it I and everyone else loved it, it’s a little different.
What advice would you give to girls who wish to start a hardcore band?
Just go for it. I think the number 1 thing that stops women in hardcore from doing what they want to do is other peoples opinions and what will other people think but fuck them. I feel like people in hardcore pretend to be in this big caring scene where anyone is accepted (which in some cases it can be), but if you look at how many girls there are in hardcore bands in UKHC, I can count them on two hands. The only way things will become more of the norm is if you go against the grain, and start a band. No one is going to stop you other than yourself. I remember on the day of our first show I was so scared and my nerves were through the roof, but once I we started the set and the support we had afterwards was really humbling and made we want to do it even more.
For those reading who may know nothing about hardcore, what would you tell them about it?
I feel like hardcore is definitely more than just a music genre. You can meet so many amazing people through it. Even though I am not straight edge, the straight edge community is definitely one of the coolest things, young people coming together as they don’t drink or do drugs going against the norm. Bands such as G.L.O.S.S can feel safe within the scene and talk about their issues with society openly. The energy at shows is amazing, all types of different people from different places coming together to enjoy bands and go crazy. Another thing is, you can meet people all over the world through it. We’ve had people reaching out to Rapture from all over the world, but say if we were the genre of pop starting out within such a huge musical business I don’t think we would be noticed. With hardcore you don’t do it to make money, start a career, you do it because you enjoy it. You don’t even need to start bands, make zines, put on shows, just going to the shows makes you feel like you are part of something.
Who is your phenomenal woman?
I would say my mum, sometimes we argue like cat and dog but I love her. She brought up my sisters and me all by herself and I respect that so much. She didn’t have much family herself so it wasn’t like she was out partying at the weekend, she’d have to look after us three. On top of that she always had a job, had been to uni twice and got her masters in social work, I don’t know how she did it. She’s always been super tough and always tried to give us the best life possible. Having someone like that really puts perceptive on your own life and makes you realise how easy you have it. I remember the first big festival I went to with my mum, it was Download. Bands like Slipknot, Slayer and Black Sabbath played, it was so cool! I remember it so clearly and I was 7 at the time. If it wasn’t for her and the music she listens to I probably wouldn’t even be in the hardcore scene now.
Interview by Amy Smithers @photogrrrlx