We caught up with Slotface after their recent headline spot at The Castle Hotel in Manchester to talk feminism, putting the finishing touches to their new album and of course, their infamous name change.
You’re a band that hails from Norway, do you think the country has influenced your sound?
Mostly our direct musical influences come from American and British bands, but we grew up going to a lot of hardcore and metal shows in our home town, which is where the inspiration for our live shows comes from. Even though we write pop songs we want to bring that same energy to the live show and give people a really fun and energetic experience.
What’s the live music scene like in Norway and do you prefer touring at home or abroad?
The music scene in Norway is not that different from the UK music scene in terms of what’s popular etc. it’s just a bit smaller which means we play more with lots of different genres at home than we do abroad, where we often play with bands in genres more similar to ours. Otherwise the arts and bands are treated quite well in Norway, so touring there is very fun and we get very well taken care of, but touring abroad is always a bit more exciting because we’re often playing in places we’ve never been before.
Your latest single is titled ‘Empire Records’, is that a reference to the 1995 cult movie and if so what’s the bands relationship with that movie?
Haley, who writes the lyrics, really loves that movie, and it’s one of her favorite 90’s high school rom coms, her favorite genre. It’s just so fun, and all of us have always dreamed of working in a record store, you would just get to listen to so much cool music first. Dream job, great movie that captures that romantic idea.
We know you’ve been recording your upcoming album with Dan Austin of Pixies and Maximo Park fame, what’s working with him been like?
Dan is an amazing producer and fun guy to work with. He never sleeps, eats a kilo of pure sugar a week and is genuinely so interested in new music, even though he’s been a producer for ages. He is one of our favorite people in the world and really brings out the best in our song writing. We’re so excited to release the record.
When can we expect to be able to hear the new album and can you give us any hints at what we should expect?
The album will be out later this year, probably around early autumn. It sounds like us, but in a lot of different ways. With a full album we feel like we got the chance to experiment more and were focused on just writing songs we thought were good instead of things that were meant to sound like a single genre. We’re really pleased with the way it turned out.
Your band were originally titled Slutface but have since changed the name to Sløtface. Where did the name originally come from and was there a meaning to it?
The original name was chosen because we thought it was provocative and in your face. We wanted to be a band that would make people dance and have fun and didn’t want a cautious band name. As our message evolved towards becoming more explicitly feminist and we learned more about feminism and Riot Grrrl, we also felt like we grew into the name and it took on a new meaning. We want people to think about why they think of slut as a negative word and your associations.
Were you forced to change your name by outside pressure, we heard there might have been issues on Facebook and Twitter, or was it a choice the band made themselves?
We as a band made the decision to change our name so that we could fully benefit from opportunities that we were missing out on due to censorship issues. We felt it was more important to reach more people with our lyrics than to not be “sell outs” and decided to change our name to reach more people.
There seems to be some strong Riot Grrrl influences in your music, what’s the bands relationship with the iconic 90’s movement?
We only really learned about Riot Grrrl after we started the band, but a lot of the same things they were focused on our really important to us, like women’s issues and making gigs a safe place for women. We really like a lot of what Riot Grrrl was about and identify with the movement a lot, but it hasn’t been a huge musical influence on us growing up as we didn’t discover the music till later in life.
When you’re writing a track are you going in with the intention of adding a political element?
Yes, but that’s because a political song to us is more than a manifesto, or an affiliation to a political movement or any of those very concrete things. Because we are trying to write music with lyrics that are from a female perspective about all aspects of life, the songs we write automatically become political as we’re trying to be a part of the feminist project of telling stories we have heard from men for a long time from a female perspective.
What’s your stance on the media describing Slotface as a ‘Female fronted band’, do you think it’s important to remind the world there are female fronted bands out there or do you think it’s something that shouldn’t really need to be mentioned at all?
If the norm was that music had a gender balance that was 50/50 it would be a stupid thing to point out, and we really hope the music industry develops so that we can just call bands, bands and women can eventually stop justifying or explaining their position in music. As of today however, we still think it’s important to focus on cool female role models so that the next generation of musicians don’t have to deal with gendered descriptions and can avoid those kinds of descriptions.