In Conversation With - Petrol Girls
Petrol Girls recently announced that they will be releasing their EP 'The Future is Dark' on the 14th September via Hassle Records, and we cannot contain ourselves on how excited we are for this. We had a chat with vocalist Ren Aldridge about the band's new EP, and about playing Loud Women Fest this September.
It is great to see you back playing shows again! Are you excited? What can we expect from this tour?
Thanks! Yeah we’re all really excited! We’ll be adding songs off the new EP into the set and hopefully adding some projections at the start of on of the new songs: Sister. We invited people to send us videos of them talking about what sisterhood means to them for the music video, so we’re now trying to incorporate those videos into the live set by using projections.
It is quite an intense touring schedule, how do you prepare yourselves for something like that?
Good question!! I’m actually trying to be really mindful about this this time because I was a mess by the time we finished our touring schedule last year - it can be so intense. It’s just basic stuff like trying to get a decent sleep in, and some time alone, which can be quite hard things to do on tour but are important for staying in a good mood! I’m also going to get shit loads of pants, because I seem to lose an outrageous amount of pants on tour. I genuinely don’t know how it happens. I’ll also be stocking up on tea bags, bringing my flask, pillow and yoga mat. I’ve got way more into trying to take care of myself on tour, and not partying every single night, because I can’t do that and still have energy to put into the stuff I really care about.
One of your UK shows is Loud Women Fest, are you looking forward to it? Is there anyone else playing that festival you think everyone should check out?
Yes!! Can’t wait! This was where we met Dream Nails two years ago and finished our tour with them one year ago, I feel like its our anniversary or something, I cannot wait to play with them again. I’m also really excited to see Drunken Butterfly. I remember seeing them when I was about seventeen and it being a really inspirational thing for me to see a punk band entirely of women making music together, it wasn’t something I’d experienced before. Stoked to see Efa too! The whole line up looks fantastic!
The EP is called 'The Future is Dark', why is that? Where did you get the creativity and inspiration behind it?
This is kind of nerdy, but basically “The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think” is a Virginia Woolf quote that Rebecca Solnit uses as the basis for an essay called Woolf’s Darkness, as well as a book called Hope in the Dark. It’s about not fearing an uncertain future, and embracing that uncertainty is also full of possibility. She describes bitter cynicism as well as blind faith in someone else or technology sorting everything out as forms of certainty that paralyse people and stop them from acting, when now is a really important time to try to act to change things. The political wins we’ve made so far have happened through all kinds of bizarre twists and turns. We have to hope, and that means taking action. I was reading this around the time we recorded the EP during the summer of 2017 and it was really helpful for not feeling completely overwhelmed by how shit everything seemed! We cracked that EP out pretty quickly in a short stint down at Middle Farm studios with the lovely Pete Miles. We tried to really push it in some different directions musically.
How does it feel to write something that you feel strongly about, and to put it out there into the world for people to listen to?
Honestly, its pretty scary. I mean, its obviously really exciting as well, but I get worried about whether we’re addressing the issues we do in a way thats actually politically useful, because I don’t want to end up another vacuous posturing band that just coopts political struggles for its own ends. I really genuinely believe that music and art has a part to play in making cultural and consequently political change, but I don’t think that it does that automatically.
What are your plans after the tour?
We’ve got a few weeks to carry on writing, then we hit the studio right at the end of the year to record our new album! We’re so excited to work with Pete again, and to do another full album. We’ve got enough time in the studio to get really creative and I’ve got loads of stuff kicking around my brain from this past year at uni that I want to channel into the vocals. My final project is based on passing the mic - what this can mean politically and how to extend it. So I’m thinking about ways of bringing more voices into the record. The others have been coming up with some mad riffs, ideas and songs out in Austria whilst I’ve been in Scotland so its going to be great to bring all this together and hopefully make something we can be really proud of.
Feature created by Ant Adams
‘The Future Is Dark’ is out on the 14th September via Hassle Records, you can catch the band live on one of these tour dates, including a Reading and Leeds Festival appearance -
Fri, 24 UK, Reading Festival
Sat, 25 UK, Leeds Festival
Tue, 11 Austria, Wiener Neustadt, Triebwerk
Thu, 13 Germany, Munich, Baracke
Fri, 14 UK, Bristol, Mother's Ruin
Sat, 15 UK, London, Tufnell Park Dome - Loud Women Fest
Mon, 17 France, Paris, Olympic Cafe
Tue, 18 Netherlands, Amsterdam, Cinetol
Thu, 20 Germany, Hamburg, Reeperbahn Festival
Fri, 21 Spain, Madrid, Sala Wurlitzer
Sat, 22 Spain, Valencia, Alberto Quimera Festival
Tue, 25 Sweden, Stockholm, Kafe 44
Thu, 27 Germany, Kiel, Kieler Schaubude
Sat, 29 Germany, Berlin, Scharni 38
Sun, 30 Czech Republic, Prague 7, Cross Club
Mon 1 Czech Republic, Brno, Kabinet Můz
Thu, 4 Poland, Poznan, Pod Minoga
Fri, 5 Poland, Warsaw, Klub Poglos
Sat, 6 Austria, Vienna, EKH
Wed, 14 UK, London, Brixton Electric (supporting Propagandhi)