Women are angry. In an era where every day brings to light a new sexual assault allegation; where Trump, a guy who boasted about how he ‘grabbed women by the pussy’, got elected President of the United States; where Kavanaugh, an accused rapist, was just sworn in for a lifetime position on the United States Supreme Court – women have become really, freaking angry. Enter Glitoris – An unapologetic punk rock band who totally gets what it feels like to be a woman and be angry with the state of our world. Their debut album, The Policy, is a revelation which succeeds in being both politically conscious and absurdly fun. Compiled from a range of insightful songs about Australia’s refugee crisis, aggressive anthems denouncing the patriarchy, and a host of other absurdly brilliant tunes, The Policy is not an album to miss.
Glitoris is a four-woman punk rock band from Canberra. They formed for a one-off show at the You Are Here Festival in Canberra in 2014. Luckily for us, however, they continued creating and performing together for their loyal fan base, the Gliterati. The band members perform under adopted pseudonyms of well-known male politicians, Keven 007, Malcolm, Tony and Andrew, and are known to sport glitter and lycra bodysuits for their magnetic live performances.
Listening to the four band members present their truth without hesitation on their album, The Policy, is cathartic to say the least. We talked to Keven 007 from Glitoris about their debut album coming out November 2nd.
What does it feel like to be finally releasing your debut album?
It feels amazing. It’s been a long time coming. We are well excited to get it out there, and people are already familiar with most of it because we have been playing the songs live already. We are just so keen to be able to give it to our fan base, share it with everybody, and show ‘em what we have got!
What do you hope your amazing fan base, the Gliterati, take away from your album?
We hope they use the album as a vehicle to rock out to. I love going running and listening to great, powerful music that makes me feel a sense of freedom, so we really hope to bring that sense of freedom to people. We want to help people feel confident in themselves, bring awareness to worldly issues (if their awareness isn’t there already), and just giving people a voice if they don’t feel that theirs is strong enough.
What is your songwriting process like?
There is certainly no general rule with how we write songs. In most cases, we will have one person come to rehearsal with an idea, or a riff, or some lyrics, or even the whole song written. For example, I wrote ‘Dipping My Wick’, and the band worked around that. Another time I might talk about something that happened to me that day, or someone else might do the same thing, and then Andrew (who is our lead guitarist) will be like, “there’s a song in that!”, and she’ll repeat it, play a psycho riff, and that turns into a song 10 minutes later. Some songs we spit out, others take weeks and weeks to add finesse.
How do you approach songwriting in this tumultuous era of Trump, Kavanaugh, and the #MeToo movement?
Well with ‘What A C*nt’ there are 2 verses of ranting in that song. The rants change when we perform it live, depending on what is happening politically or something one of us is really passionate about. On the album, we have inserted a verse where the listener can insert their own rant. That song will always be current. With songs like ‘Trump Card’, which is not on the album, that was just a matter of someone mouthing off Trump quotes, then that just turned into a song, a very stupid song indeed. We also have ‘Place For Me’ on the album, which is about the refugee situation. I really hope that won’t continue to be current for years to come, it’s a pretty sad situation.
Why did you choose to name your album The Policy?
I guess we just felt like our title track, ‘The Policy’, was one of our strongest. Our other strong, anthemic song is ‘Slut Power’, but we thought naming the album ‘Slut Power’ probably wouldn’t be as acceptable in the mainstream. The Policy is pretty much the Glitoris policy. It is a policy anyone can adopt, I’m speaking of the lyrics to ‘The Policy’. It especially applies to minority groups or anyone that needs support to find confidence in themselves to fight the good fight.
Obviously you guys sing a lot about issues that are close to your heart, and injustices you see in the world. Do you or any of your band members participate in activism?
As a band, we do always donate to a charity at our shows. Especially at our home shows in Canberra, we always donate to a charity that we feel strongly connected to or feel needs our support. I know Malcolm was very involved in activism when she was younger. I don’t find myself going to rallies or anything like that often, but that’s more because I don’t like crowds. As a band, we like to donate cold hard cash. Female genital mutilation is a cause we have donated to recently because it is just horrific, and I think the next will be Bush Mob, because we support Indigenous Rights, which is what our last single ‘Spit Hood’ is about.
What can we expect for the tour for this album?
That’s a really good question! We are probably still deciding that ourselves. We will always put on a show, it is always theatrical, we will always be wearing something ridiculous and stretchy. Some shows have a really strong glitter component, others don’t – it just depends where we are, and if we feel like covering ourselves in glitter that particular day. Since touring with Regurgitator our set is really tight, so expect that tight delivery of the music too.
Why did you guys choose to adopt pseudonyms?
I wouldn’t read too much into that, we’re pretty stupid, we like to be a bit silly. I actually don’t know who came up with the idea. Someone said, “We should have guys names!”. Then one of us said, “Yeah we should have politician’s names!” Then I said, “Well I have to be Keven 007.” I think Tony Abbott was Prime Minister at the time, so our drummer was like, “Yeah I’m Tones.” Our lead guitarist was like, “I just want to be Andrew, because, Andrew.” Then when our new bass player joined the band, Malcolm Turnbull was the Prime Minister at that time, so she was obviously going to be Malcolm. In her household they have a saying, “Put some talcum on your Malcolm,” and Malcolm basically means dick, so there is that as well – that’s just a random side note.
How did you come to this place of empowerment and confidence?
I think it’s different for all of us. I can’t really speak on behalf of the other members, but I know that they have probably each individually had different experiences which have led them to feel empowered and confident. I’ve never really felt any barriers to being outspoken. I was quite shy growing up, but I didn’t ever feel censorship, or that I had to be a certain way. I think we have all had figures in our lives who have either encouraged us to be outspoken in a positive way, or been antagonistic and made us want to do speak out even more. I think it is really important, especially for young girls, to have that supportive environment growing up. As far as what I can see, it’s not always like that. But it’s all changing since the #MeToo movement.
Where do you see the future of Glitoris?
The album is a beast. Hopefully, it makes an impression in a wide scope – that’s what we are hoping for. We would certainly love to tour internationally, go to places like Japan and Europe, and if we can get into the US, then sure! But they would probably fucking build a wall so we can’t get in. A Glitoris wall, a special one for us. But we want the messages from our album to spread far and wide.
Finally, which song from our album would you love our current Prime Minister to listen to?
Scott Morrison’s face almost made it onto the album cover, but I was like ‘eh, that’s not going to remain current for very long’. It’s gotta be ‘Place For Me’. That’s our refugee song, and that’s an issue that is dear to me and dear to the whole band, and one of the most awful issues going around. There are other absurd songs like ‘Sex Video’, but what use is that going to be? Not really useful for the Prime Minister to hear. So it’s gotta be ‘Place For Me’.
I really hope he listens to that one.
Yeah, that would be lovely. He’ll be like, “Oh my god, you’re right, let’s bring them all here as the National Anthem says!” (laughs)
Interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Glitoris’ debut album The Policy is out on November 2nd.
Stream the title track, ‘The Policy’ on Soundcloud.
Glitoris The Policy Tour:
Saturday 24th November 2018 – Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle NSW
Thursday 29th November 2018 – Servo, Wollongong NSW