|Photo By Toby Amies|
The UK based garage-punk psychoabilly band Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons will catch your ears and eyes. Mixing a glam theatrics to their live performance that effortlessly translates on to CD and vinyl this band makes some fun and wildly gritty music. Having just released their sophomore album Dirty Rocknroll and signed to STP Records, this band is making some awesome strides, so we're thankful that they could take the time to answer some of BLS's questions.
BLS: For those people that are unfamiliar with Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons, why don’t you tell us a little bit about your sound?
PDJ: We get called Punk, Psychobilly, Garage, etc but we've always described ourselves as Dirty Rock'n'Roll, which I guess has elements of all of the above.
BLS: You’ve recently completed your new album Dirty Rocknroll. What do we have to look forward to on the new record?
PDJ: There's lots to look forward to! Something a bit more diverse, but it still sounds like us. Phil Polecat guests on a couple of tracks playing double bass. The rest of the album was recorded as a 3 piece, which we're having a lot of fun being.
BLS: What’s different about this new album compared to Exercise Your Demons? How has the band and your sound evolved or gown in the time between albums?
PDJ: It's evolved on it's own really, unconsciously.. just by the nature of the new songs. And the fact that we are a 3 piece now, so most of the songs are just one guitar, drums, and vocals, although I play guitar on 3 songs. We still make a bloody racket though! And the majority of listeners said they didn't miss the bass, a lot of them didn't even notice there wasn't one!
BLS: You have found a way to have fun with your music without losing this assertive punk energy or coming off as cheesy. Is this element of play important to you as a band and will we see it in the new album?
PDJ: I think when we're on stage we are having fun, except on occasions when the sound is bad, but if the audience are enjoying it we really feed off them and it doesn't matter. I can never force myself to write songs, they just come out naturally when I feel inspired. So I don't think we really ever try to do anything.. the music just is what it is. I am fond of the odd pastiche though, Vampire Sugar from the first album was a tongue in cheek nod to The Rolling Stones, and there's a punk track on the new album which is a shamelessly blatant amalgamation of a few classic punk rock songs, and a bit of Bowie.. it's a fun one to do live as people catch on and sing along. And the song is about being of a certain age and still living with your mum and dad, which isn't very punk... or is it?!
BLS: You are known for the wild pageantry of your live show. What techniques did you use to capture that element of your music in your studio recording?
PDJ: We recorded live and then re-did the vocals, just like last time.. the room we record in at Space Eko Studios is a great space, lots of atmosphere. I think there's something about that place that just makes stuff sound big and lively, and of course Alex McGowan did an ace job recording and producing it with us. It's a great shame that the studio is moving, as the building is being made into posh flats.
BLS: What were some of the highpoints of 2012? What doses 2013 have in store for the band?
PDJ: Playing at Miss Peapod in Cornwall was a highlight for me, very unexpected reaction from the crowd, most of whom didn't know us. Peapod is a small cafe that turns into a venue at night, it was sold out and the people just went nuts. It was a proper, sweaty, mental gig. That is my bag. I hope 2013 will see us traveling across the pond to play gigs abroad. We've just been signed to a small Manchester label called STP Records, so I think this will be an exciting year for us.
PDJ: Pussycat, as the female lead of a punk band you seem to have been able to find a way to balance the aggression of the music with a feminine sensuality. Who are other female leads from which you’ve gained inspiration?
PDJ: Ooh spank you! I have always just felt around what I'm doing, the performance is just a product of the music really, I've always seen it as quite an organic thing. Disappointingly for some, I don't really have any obvious female influences, I know people expect me to say Patti Smith, Polly Styrene, Siouxsie Sue, etc but while I like some of their stuff, for the most part it doesn't really do it for me. I have to say I'm pretty much one of the boys when it comes to music, Iggy Pop, Jon Spencer, Nick Cave, Captain Beefheart, Bowie, James Brown, Small Faces, to name a few.. I'm not against female artists in any way (I am one!) I just personally haven't fallen in love with any, yet. Actually female fronted band DragSTER, who are also on STP, they really float my boat I have to say, Fi (the singer) is wild and really doesn't give a fuck when she's performing, I love that. And 100% Beefcock And The Tits Burster - a 2 piece female band (bass and drums), they're fantastic too, so much noise from just two people!
BLS: What tools (i.e. social networking, internet video, etc.) have you found worked the best to reach and build your audience?
PDJ: Facebook probably, it used to be Myspace but now that's pretty much a deadzone.. I don't know how the new Facebook rules will effect things in the near future, I know not as many people see our posts which is very annoying. If you sign up to something you wanna hear about it, right?!
BLS: One of the greatest challenges for bands in the US is the enormous amount of geographical space in which they have to conquer in the order to establish a following. Do you find that there are benefits to having a smaller geographical area to develop your notoriety? On the other end, are there any obvious draw backs?
PDJ: I find it tough, I don't sleep much on the road.. and even when I'm not! Most of the time I lie awake all night in the hotel room after the shows because I'm too wired and it's a strange place so I can't sleep. At the moment we only spend about 3 nights away at a time on a tour as we can get home after some of the other gigs. I feel stir crazy by the end, even though it's fun and I love doing it. So I can't imagine what it would be like to tour the US and not go home for weeks.. I would probably die, but what a way to go!
BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?
100% Beefcock And The Tits Burster