Interview with Slum of Legs
Slum of Legs are a queer feminist noise-pop DIY band. They write songs about ghosts, architecture, gender, loneliness, good hair and many other important topics. They are Alex, Emily, Kate, Maria, Michelle and Tamsin and are based in Brighton, UK.
Michelle: We formed as a six piece without thinking too much about how the band might sound, what we would be about or what we would look like. It just took shape on its own. We try and practice every week. We had a few songs/ideas which we worked out together after Tamsin came up with lyrics and melodies. We started playing lots of gigs and tried to sound as good as possible but also interesting to listen too.
Tamsin: I had some songs but needed other people to make them real. I already knew Maria had to be in any band that I formed, and had spoken to Emily & Michelle about doing stuff – my original idea was to sound like the Shaggs in space. Then I met Kate and we were at an All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, despairing at the dominance of ponderous male acts on the bill so we decided to finally do something. The 5 of us had 1 practice without a bass player, then realised we needed Alex too. Since then, the way we’ve written songs has changed – sometimes I still bring the initial melody and lyrics, but other times other members have done or we’ve come up with songs more collaboratively. I love Slum of Legs band practices – they’re always hilarious, yet full of new ideas.
Michelle: Aspects of mental health and personality crisis.
Tamsin: Alienation, loneliness and envy of other people’s hair.
Tamsin: The song enacts the conducting of a seance. One of the inspirations was Pearl Curran who produced novels, poetry and prose at the turn of the century under the name of Patience Worth – a spirit she claimed to have contacted and was channelling. For the spoken word section of the song, I cut up some of Pearl/Patience’s actual words with my own, so I think some of it came from her, some from me, but now I’m not sure what. However ‘I am not an angel, I am concrete’ is also intended to refer to the romanticisation of women by men – the preference for an illusion over the real.
Tamsin: The cover takes a photograph of a brutalist building and cuts it up. We’re very interested in modernist architecture, art & literature. Collage & cut-up is obviously a typical modernist artistic method, but the cover also reflects the fractured nature of our songs and how the 6 of us, who all bring completely different influences to the band have been stuck into a blender with the controls jammed.
Michelle: With queerness.
Michelle: With screaming.
Slum of Legs live at The Hope & Ruin, Brighton. Photo: Agata Urbaniak.
Michelle: Lots of people know each other and it’s quite a supportive place. There’s loads of gigs every week to choose from and bands like to play here because it’s open minded and by the sea. It’s difficult to find good jobs and the rent is too high for South coast because lots of people commute to London.
Tamsin: There is a very supportive scene here, helped by DIY promoters like Riots not Diets, Dictionary Pudding, Tatty Seaside Town, Another Sunny Day and Melting Vinyl. There are now safe spaces here that wouldn’t have existed if it wasn’t for them. Also a shit tonne more fun.
Michelle: To put out more records, learn more songs. Do a tour. Make good songs that we like playing.
Tamsin: Immediate future – we have our 2nd single – Doll Like coming out in March, then we want to do a tour and record an album. Longer term – I won’t be happy until we have Slum of Legs action figures.