A Conversation With… Louise Distras

At the end of April, I had the chance of chatting to Louise Distras not once but twice. It was a little surprising, to say the least as I forgot that I had requested an interview with her at the festival but having a chance to speak to her is always an opportunity in itself because I could listen to her stories for hours but this time, we did get down to the good stuff, such as juicing.


Louise: Hello, My name’s Louise Distras again, I’m from Wakefield, again but I’m in Selby today and happy to see you again.

Jack: Again, again again but I’m glad to see you here and confession; I didn’t get to see you set the other night but I’ll be able to tonight.

Jack: So since last we spoke, you’ve had a few more tour dates.

Louise: That’s right, we’ve been up to Glasgow, Hull, Birmingham and now, here.

Jack: Is there going to be any surprises for this one?

Louise: Well every shows a surprise, even I don’t know what’s going to happen when I’m on stage so your guess is as good as mine.

Jack: And how have those shows been going down?

Louise: They’ve been absolutely brilliant and more than I could’ve ever hoped for. What we were talking about before was when I was recently recording my new album over in California, this tour has been a warm-up for the album release which comes out after the summer, it’s been a good opportunity to show the true hardcore fans what to expect on the tracks when it comes out so there’s been a lot of true believers but there’s also been a lot of new faces so it’s been great to see a lot of people come out in the name of music.


Jack: And has there been any more juicing going on behind the scenes?

Louise: There has, as a matter of fact.

Jack: And what would you think is the oddest thing to juice?

Louise: I don’t know what would you juice?

Jack: Avocados if you can juice them.

Louise: Juice your onions, give it to your frenemies.

Jack: Just see them cry?  And then be like, wait for it, what’s wrong?

Louise: Put a bit of blackcurrant in there to colour it a bit

Jack: Not a bad idea there.

Louise: Actually that reminds me, one thing that did happen was I got banned from an interview. I got asked to do an interview for a pro lib publication, bearing in mind I tactically voted for labour in the general election last year as well because they’re the lesser of two evils and we talked about youth, art and censorship and I’m pretty sure I said in the interview the other day I believe art universally opposes authority and I guess they didn’t like what I had to say so they banned the interview from their publication. So the interview on censorship got banned from an outspoken liberal publication. What do you think to that?

Jack: Well I’ll have to censor myself later, I think that’s a load of boll***.

Louise: I don’t think any kind of censorship is good and self-censorship is worse because it means we’re politicking ourselves and each other. I’m all for freedom of expression, speech and celebrating art and music and people from all different backgrounds coming together for leaving all their bullshit at the door, all their worries behind of the past week of their lives to have a good time.

Jack: And another reason to come down and have a good time.

Louise: Exactly so that’s the good thing about festivals, they optimise everything,  they bring people together and it’s great that we’re here for the last night of the tour in Selby. And I think ithink as well, I’m not too far away, not everything happens aeound this part and the last time I did anything in sleby which was when I did another interview for channel 4 when kellinley coilery got shut down which isn’t too far away from here and we were discussing everything about how the community had lost generational jobs which is a sad thing when you’re a young person growing up, the tution fees are high, there are no jobs to go to so for the pile up promoters to bring this here is brilliant.

Jack: I was speaking to Adam earlier, he’s from Goole which isn’t oo far away as well and one reason it’s here is that he started promoting gigs here.

Louise: It’s important for these events to happen in places such as this. Just going back to my experience of growing up in a small town where there’s nothing to do, nothing happens it was being able to sneak into those venues, to experience the music in those venues which have led me down the path I’m on now. So having these grassroots venues are really important. Today, we could play to people who’ve never seen live music before and it could change the course of their life as well.

Jack: Growing up with all these things happening, the Kellingley Colliery, with that closing down there’s a few bands around here for the kids to do so they find instruments and start jamming out.

Louise: I’ve always believed it doesn’t matter what’s happening politically or financially, it doesn’t matter how much the government keep the young people down and take away the freedom of expression but it’s that art and community and music will always find a way to overcome.


Jack: And what are you doing after, or had anything happen that has made you put plans on hold?

Louise: Nothing like that, erm.. we’ve got a week without playing any shows so I’m going to be making stuff between now and then and then the bank holiday we’ll be playing a festival which will be benefitting the homeless in Liverpool and then on the 10th may we’re at the underworld which is a part of frank turner’s festival at the Underworld which curates a lineup of acts from last year because I played last year as well, headlined the second stage of the roundhouse so we’re playing that with The Kenneths and Aylums.

Jack:  I need to get myself to a Kenneth’s show.

Louise: They’re a great band. They’re probably the poppiest and the scrappiest punk band I’ve ever seen. They’re the Ramones of my generation.

Jack: We did play a few shows with them last year which was under a banner of new punk,  a collaboration of punk and grime shows. We did a big show in London’s Boston Music Room and one at Manchester satans hollow and then we had the grime collective from Ashford in Kent come up and it was a great evening. People from different backgrounds coming together for music and I’m a big believer in that grime is the new Punk and I think that grime is becoming so powerful and mainstream that it’ll change the course of youth culture like punk rock did in the 1970’s. you know, in the Punk world it feels like there’s no room in the world of that for people under 50 but those principles of punk rock are going to crop up in other places, for example, the hardcore scene which is so integrated and inclusive, so many women in the scene and it’s the same with grime. Both those scenes are going to change the face of things in the country and when you put them together it creates the opportunity for something to happen for the young people in this country.

What do you think?

Jack: I’m just trying to take that in.

Louise: Oh I’m just thinking out loud there.

Jack: I’m loving every word that’s coming out of your mouth there. But one thing I have to ask is that your first coffee of the day?

Louise: It really is, it’s becoming a habit, but I’m more energised than I was the other day.

Jack: Is it the juice? Did you not have it the other day?

Louise: Not I did have it today actually, strangely. It had apples, ginger, carrots and cucumber.

Jack: Cucumber?

Louise: Yeah, you can juice a cucumber.

Jack: What are you looking forward to about the set tonight?

Louise: I’m always looking forward to playing music and this tour has been amazing because I’ve had my band and my crew with me. So it’s like a travelling carnival of weirdos so we’re the Addams family. We came up to 2000 Trees and everyone else was all nice and clean looking and fashionable and we turned up and we looked like the Addams family. We read a review saying seeing Louise Distras was the most punk rock thing they’d seen the whole weekend. So that might be the same thing who knows?

Jack: So if you were the Addams family would that make you Morticia?

Louise: No, uncle fester. I’m Uncle Fester. But I’m looking forward to it being the last night of the tour. It’s a bittersweet experience and it’s happy and sad but I get to see my friends. There’s Millie Manders who’s on before us, she’s absolutely brilliant, massive voiced rock woman and then there is The King Blues, we’ve been on tour with them before so it’s going to be a massive night and we’ll be ready to rage, ready to take on Selby.


You can watch Louise Distras’s music video for ‘Outside Of You’ below.

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