Now at the moment, these interviews I keep getting with musicians just keeps getting better and better. That doesn’t stop here with Louise Distras, who has been named in the past as the female Frank Carter. I went up to The Cluny in Newcastle, a really lovely establishment and venue where I had the fortune of speaking to Louise whilst she demolished her first Coffee of the day.
Louise: Hey, I’m Louise Distras from Wakefield which is in Yorkshire.
Jack: And what do you do?
Louise: What do I do?
Jack: What don’t you do?
Louise: That is the question. I mean what I’m doing right now is I’m sitting here in the café of The Cluny, talking to you Jack and I’m drinking my first coffee of the day. I think it’s day ten of The Land of Dope and glory UK tour. It’s brilliant to be in Newcastle.
Jack: I always love a Newcastle gig. Even if it means running to catch the last train.
Louise: Exactly. I think the last time I was here was actually supporting Itch from The King Blues and I was playing an acoustic show but now I’m back with a vengeance with my full band, headlining and this is like a new experience for me. My very own headlining band, it’s pretty posh, especially at Newcastle, The Cluny.
Jack: Posh? That’s a word I never thought would come out of your mouth.
Louise: Well, the first time I played around these parts, I played at the Black Bull in Gateshead so if anyone’s ever been there, this is really posh in comparison. I feel like Tina Turner.
Jack: Always a good analogy. Also, because you’re playing Pop Punk Pile Up, with Itch there it’ll be like a little reunion with you both playing on the same day.
Louise: Well actually, I was just on tour with Itch a few days ago. He just released a book called 101 Haikus. So I had the pleasure of supporting him on the tour, so he was doing Punk and Poetry, storytelling etc. It goes back to that classic idea that you just can’t beat a good story. Just sitting around a campfire at three AM having a singalong and crying and laughing.
Jack: That does actually sound amazing! I want to do that now.
Louse: It’s what it’s all about, being young, dumb and full of…
Louise: Yeah, and full of rum and living for the moment you know? Youth and art and creativity and the freedom of doing that opposes the powers that be you know? I’m all for it.
Jack: And you just released The Land of Dope and Glory, the single recently.
Louise: That’s right.
Jack: How was the production compared to your older material?
Louise: Well The Land of Dope and Glory is the first song of the new album I just recorded in San Fransisco in America. It was recorded with Ross Peterson who’s made records with Bruce Springsteen, The Vamps. They’re proper legitimate legends which was weird because I didn’t know that when I first went there and met him.
Jack: Did he have any of those records on the walls?
Louise: No, no. he was a very humble guy. He’s not one of those flashy music producers, that’s why I like him so much.
Jack: I was going to say, it would be pretty intimidating.
Lousie: So we went over there and we recorded twenty tracks for the new album. I mean I guess the first album was acoustic base and it goes back to what I just said, there’s nothing that beats that good old fashioned one person acoustic guitar telling stories and singing songs. That album was Dreams From a Factory Floor. It’s full of stories about being a young working-class woman growing up in a small town like Wakefield in Yorkshire but I how can I compare the first and second in that the second is a natural progression of me as an artist and a songwriter. It’s difficult to analyse yourself from the outside.
Jack: Absolutely, it’s like a couple of my friends who are young filmmakers and they look at their films they’ve made when going into a new project and they think, right. What can I do better?
Louise: I guess on the new album it just cuts so much deeper than the first. It tackles harder hitting subjects. It’s a full band record so sonically it’s different. There is more instrumentation going on and textures so there are different kinds of energy. In a nutshell, though it’s like crass meets The Beatles really and that’s all I’m going to say really.
Jack: Is that all you’re allowed to say though?
Louise: Sadly yes, that’s all I can say on the album right now.
Jack: And when you’re writing what inspires you?
Louise: I just follow a feeling. That’s all there is to it. There’s no formula, just feeling.
Jack: What’s one of the oddest feelings you’ve had for writing a song.
Louise: I wouldn’t consider anything being odd. When one’s being creative having a gift to be creative is just a natural privilege. To be able to go to outer space and write a song and bring it back to earth and to share that message with people and for them to hear it and not boo you off stage it’s a pretty good feeling.
Jack: Thankfully I’ve never seen someone be booed off stage before.
Louise: I’ve been booed and heckled but I’m pretty sick and twisted so I kind of like it so it’s all good. Any reaction is a good reaction.
Jack: Even if it’s a bad one, I think it’d be okay,
Louise: Even nowadays to get any reaction is a great thing full stop.
Jack: Have you ever heard of this film called The Room that came out in the early 2000’s? it’s a famously bad film that just has this reputation for being so bad it’s good. The reaction was just incredible.
Louise: Yeah, treading the fine line between punk rock greatness and garbage.
Jack: That would probably me if I ever go into music. I mean I can’t really play at two in the morning when I can’t sleep. I mean I could but not too many people would be happy about it.
Jack: On festival lineups. 45% of festivals have pledged to achieve a 50-50 balance by 2022. What do you say to that being a female musician?
Louise: I feel like as long as people are asking me what it’s like to be a woman in rock then they’re not asking about what it actually feels like to be an artist and what the creative process is like. It’s basically like as a woman in music, people ask me constantly what it’s like to be a woman in music so I say what’s it like to work in radio and have a dick? It’s just a bit of ridiculous question. The way I see it is just you know? Being female isn’t a genre and I feel like musicians are just musicans and sorry I’m just thinking for a second… I’m just sick of being asked what’s it like to be a woman you know what I mean?
Jack: Sometimes if I word it the wrong way, I don’t mean to cause offense.
Louise: Oh no, I know you don’t. it’s just something I just get asked about in every single interview and when I first found music being a woman or a young girl was never something that crossed my mind. I idn’t think of it being a disadvantage in any way, shape or form. But the more that I played music, the more that I was around musicians and in the gig environment and doing press, the more the people started to enjoy my music, the more I was I was starting to be told by other people that it was a problem that I was a woman in the male arena playing rock n roll music. So I just thought to myself, if you think it’s a problem, then that’s fine, go away and think it’s a problem but I’m never going to think of myself having a disadvantage because I’m a woman. And for any other young women out there that listen to my music or are fans of music that want to get involved in music. The last thing I would say is that it’s a terrible thing to be a woman in music, that’s it’s a disadvantage and that we’re all victims and playing to that narrative but actually but being a woman and being in music is brilliant. It’s the best thing in the world. I could think of a lot of more difficult things to do than being a woman playing rock music. For example being a single mum or being unemployed or working in a factory, or being a nurse or a police officer. There’s just so many harder things in life than music. That’s all I have to say, it’s brilliant.
Jack: And for the tour, you have The Pearl Harts on tour with you. How did that come about?
Louise: Well, I’m a massive fan of The Pearl Harts. They’re brilliant. It’s the same thing that they’re absolutely talented. Sarah is an absolutey incredible drummer, she’s like the female John Bonham. And then Kirsty, I’ve never seen anyone shred like her. They just get on with it. They just get up there, shred the hell out of their instruments, put on great shows, rock the hell out of their instruments, write great songs and they let the music speak for itself. And I’m a big fan of it. They’ve just killed it on every single night of this tour. They’re just brilliant and a great laugh to hang out with. In the dressing room and after the shows, we’ve just had so much fun. So we’re all about the rock and roll sisterhood but it’s definitely a case of what Courtney Love says; “Don’t date the football captain, be the football captain”. That’s the sort of vibe we have going on.
Jack: And that’s exactly what you do.
Louise: I stole it off Courtney love.
Jack: I might just have to steal it myself sometime.
Jack: I did actually get to one of The Pearl Harts headlining shows in Middlesbrough a few weeks ago and they just came on stage and it’s like you said, they shredded it. They were bloody fantastic.
Louise: I’m a big believer in just writing great songs and playing rock and roll and keeping it real. If you making a noise about stupid issues, you’ll be over compensating because your songs aren’t very good. And it’s that whole thing about needing sex to sell your product then it’s not going to go down well, it’s not going ot be very good. So that’s sort of my thoughts on that really.
Jack: And when you’re not turing what do you like to be doing apart from drinking coffee?
Louise: When im not on the road, I’m usually writing songs, recording songs, demoing songs, chatting to very polite young men from student radio, doing other interviews, having meetings. It full on all the time but it doesn’t feel like work or a chore and it’s aprivlidge to live a musical life. It really is. I just don’t take it for granted and I have zero complaints.
Jack: What’s next for you after the tour and festivals?
Louise: That’s a good question. Crinkey. Well, it’s going to be a case of writing and recording more music inbetween festivals over the summer and then releasing the album after the summer and then touring, touring and more touring and writing and recording and more touring and hoping to be able to keep it up for as long as possible really. It’s been all about writing these songs, going out there. Even if you do get booed off stage you’re still living the dream and you can still go home and put food in the fridge.
Jack: What would be in that fridge?
Louise: Erm.. well I’m sorry to disappoint, but we don’t have any cocaine or rum actually. We have no kittens, blue M&M’s, it’s boring stuff like tea and coffee, brown bread.
Jack: What sort of tea would that be?
Louise: Earl gray. Matt, the bass player really like that. We sometimes get PG Tips, Tetley.
Jack: As long as it’s a decent brand.
Louise: Yeah, we’re all about good tea.
Jack: We also like Humus, salad and actually, I don’t know if any band does this, we’re all closet juicers. We’re really into juicing. We watched this documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Check it out if you haven’t watched it. Its all about the fat, chemicals and all that which they put into food that make us sick and it relates to the healthcare crisis and all that. We wathed that and we said we’re never eating fast food ever again. Especially on tour. So we ask for fruit, fruit and veg and we get the juicing machine out and make something every night and morning vefore we get in the van.
Louise: Sounds like a grat way to start the day.
Jack: Absolutely. We’re two weeks in and we’re full of beans. Juicing is the way to go. Rock n roll juciing at The Cluny.
Louise: You should try and get that trending on Twitter.
Jack: Rock and roll juicing?
Louise: Diefinately. Maybe that could be my vlog. Backstage rock and roll juicing with Louise Distras. I’ll start my own series.
Jack: I’d watch the hell out of that.
Louise: Would you?
Jack: Oh you’d be surprised what an audience would watch. Me, I think this is odd but it’s awesome.
Louise: I think Joe Rogan’s got a punk rock fishing show. He can do punk rock fishing, I can do punk rock juicing and that’s it.
Jack: Then do a crossover and do eachothers thing one day.
Louise: I’d drink to that.
Jack: I would as well but it’d just be water.
Louise Distras still has a few tour dates left before the carnage of the summer festivals.
Here are the dates.
25th – Glasgow Audio
26th – Hull The Polar Bear
28th – Birmingham The Castle and Falcon
29th – Pop Punk Pile Up Festival, Selby
7th – Liverpool Smithdown Road Festival
10th – London The Underworld
You can watch Louise Distras’s latest video for Land of Dope and Glory below.