I’m officially declaring it She Said Destroy! day here at conversationswithbianca.com!! Today the lo-fi noise-pop punk duo from Italy (whose music I’ve developed the biggest crush on) release their new EP, Gummy Ruins. Yay!
When they played at the Riot Grrrl Berlin party this year reports said they “made the boys cry and the grrrls shy!!” Gotta love that! Made up of Stè (guitar-vocals) who is a vegetarian redhead addicted to east-culture and Emy (drums) a meat-eater mad about cangaceiros and maracatù. The two make kick ass jams you can dance to influenced by everything from electro to post-punk, punk ’70’s/’80’s to shoegaze, french pop to 50’s/60’s oldies. SSD also do amazing covers of two of my favourite songs: Gwen Stefani’s Bubble Pop Electric and M.I.A.’s Bad Girls! Find out more about SSD below.
She Said Destroy (SSD) are from Italy. Tell us about the music community where you are in Italy. Do you feel a part of any particular scene?
STE: Personally I don’t feel like I belong to a specific scene, we always had the chance of being included in different music scenes: from squats to clubs, from international festivals to Ladyfests, we played with bands coming from several genres and places. When we started this project we knew few other musicians and we created our “music network” gradually and spontaneously.
How did you first meet? What did you think of each other?
S: I already had in my mind this project, I was just looking for a drummer. So one day I found on the web Emy’s ad and we immediately agreed for meeting and knowing each other. I immediately had the feeling we were coming from different musical backgrounds, but also could see a strong common vision, so I believed in this project since the beginning.
EMY: At that time I had moved to Bologna because I was attracted by the queer underground gig scene and loved the city. So as soon as I arrived I started to look for ads from bands and to post some ad and, after several attempts, me and Stefania got in contact. We agreed to meet at the station of Bologna and we sat chatting in a bar and I thought that even if we were influenced by different music, we shared the same views on the attitude and she seemed like a badass, I liked it. So I was immediately curious to try and meet for rehearsals.
What inspired you to start making music together?
S: Well, I must say it always has been hard for me to find a good drummer, available to put up a band on a precise moment. So, once I found Emy, I was only praying everything would have been ok. Actually things came very naturally: some of our songs were already written, so Emy perfectly integrated them with her drumming and in quite a short time we put up a set and started playing gigs around.
E: I was inspired by curiosity, precisely of being part of a minimalist duo project. Maybe also because I came from a previous experience in a post-rock band and wanted to go back to less complex, simple and direct tunes. Also playing together was so natural and fun that I immediately was hooked into the project.
I’m curious as to how you came to call your band, She Said Destroy?
S: She Said Destroy is the title of a song by Death In June. In this case we were more inspired by the sentence and its essence than by the band itself: we interpreted it and gave it our own meaning.
E: We tried and made a list of possible band names and She Said Destroy was the one we both preferred. Personally I like it as it opposes the common and rhetoric idea of women as creators.
You have a new EP coming out in very soon called, Gummy Ruins! What’s your favourite thing about it?
S: Surely the fact that it has been hard-earned (we’ve worked on it very hard). When we released our first EP we used to live pretty near to each other and we had a lot of free time so it was easy to rehearse and meet regularly. Now we live 180 km far from each other and have both jobs which keep us busy a lot, so these last months have been tough both for the recording sessions and for planning gigs. So when Gummy Ruins will be out we will be more than satisfied.
E: There are two things I like a lot of this EP: the first is that I see we are changing and I’m curious to discover how this will be, the second is that I see it as a test of resistance/endurance. In this last year I had to leave Bologna so we have switched into a distance mode which is not simple to manage as we are also busy with our jobs and even in weekends. But right the fact that in any case we got to organize, plan stuff and go all the way seems just amazing to me.
Are there any stories behind the songs on Gummy Ruins that you could share with us?
S: Well, the title song Gummy Ruins is the last one we wrote and we got inspiration from the EP artwork, which at that moment was already done (it has been drew by Cristina Portolano, a very talented illustrator). Therefore the most important track (which “gives” the title to the EP) is the most “improvised” and the last one we wrote.
When writing songs what is most important to you?
S: Inspiration. I don’t actually know how and when it works, there has been days when I knew I should have written some new songs but I wasn’t inspired. And now I realize that I find the right inspiration right when we play a lot of gigs and have deadlines. Just as Gummy Ruins: it has been written in two days, a couple of weeks before recording it in the studio.
Who are the songwriters that inspire you? What is it about them that resonates so strongly?
S: I don’t usually become attached to lyrics, this is maybe due to the fact that I listen to songs with lyrics in English and I don’t pay a lot of attention to words and sentences. I appreciate a lot Rae Spoon, especially because of the sweet and delicate way she performs.
A couple of years ago you released EP Conflicting Landscapes and it featured an awesome cover of one of my favourite Gwen Stefani solo songs, Bubble Pop Electric! Why did you choose to do it? Can you tell us about how you made it your own?
S: At the beginning I wanted to add a special cover on our live set, but I was tired of the same old “cliché” covers bands usually play, I didn’t want to make an ordinary choice. Then, as I love pop music, I thought about a good pop tune which could be easily adapted to a punk arrangement and Bubble Pop Electric just seemed perfect. We rehearsed it a couple of times and I knew it was right what I was looking for.
E: I have lot.. Just a few I remember now, Georgia of Yo La Tengo and Beth Gibbons of Portishead. Georgia from YLT has a personal way of drumming I love and a kind of presence I appreciate and Beth Gibbons because she’s such a supernatural and amazing voice. Blonde Redhead are maybe one of the first bands whose live performance fascinated me the most when I was younger, they seemed to me impetuous and theatrical and I was totally captured.
Who’s a performer that really inspires you? What is it about them that you love?
S: I’m a fan of Brody Dalle (from Distillers, Spinnerette) because she sums up all the most important features I love in music: she has a powerful voice, she’s not so precise, she’s punk but she’s able to perform different genres and then she’s my favorite music icon since I started to play in a band ten years ago.
What does Riot Grrrl mean to you? (I know you’ve played Riot Grrrl Fest in Berlin before). How did you first discover Riot Grrrl?
S: These days to me it means everything and nothing at the same time: the more I grow up and the less I feel comfortable in defining strictly things. But when I was a teenager it was hugely important to me: it made me discover a new world where music is connected to attitudes and ideals. If Riot Grrrls, Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill and all the other associated acts wouldn’t have existed, I would have been totally a different person.
E: I discovered Riot Grrrl when I was fourteen in 2000, when I started playing with my first band, but we also were influenced by loads of other music (like Smashing Pumpkins, Blonde Redhead, Green Day, Pavement, Sparklehorse, Get Up Kids). We were a grrrl band in a small town with a society peculiarly mixing capitalistic, feudal and machist views, we loved Hole, Le Tigre and Kill Rock Stars Records.. then it was natural to feel a connection with Riot Grrrl. These days I am aware I’m a supporter of riot grrrls as of many other movements.
What’s your favourite album so far that you’ve heard that has been released this year?
S: Last Peach Kelli Pop album and Bitter Rivals of Sleigh Bells.
E: From 2013 I have some, but for now I would only say Mama, Shannon and The Clams’ new single. Or even Matangi, last M.I.A.’s masterpiece!
What are some things that you’re really passionate about right now?
S: Actually my interests are very variable, often laziness wins it over and as for now music is the only passion I never left behind. I like taking photographs, cooking vegan cookies, going to gigs.
E: Long car travels, LGBTQ rights, movies and pugs.
Other than music is there anything else creative that you do?
S: I’ve always made out with creative stuff but at the same time I am really lazy, so I went deep few times. At the moment I am attending a makeup artist academy and also I would like to learn playing the guitar and some other instruments.
E: I filmed and edited two documentary films and this is something I really have a passion for and wish could do more. It’s intense, you confront ideas, get to know people well and make you discover new, virtuous and distant worlds. Then I work as social media manager with a special orientation on exploring visual storytelling, at the moment mostly for the tech/innovative sector.
What’s next for SSD?
S: Gigs gigs gigs. When you release a record is always quite a stressful yet great moment, especially for a duo with distance to manage and little free time. For me playing gigs is always the best moment, when you have more fun, so now we’ll focus on this.
E: Hopefully car travels and a lot of gigs!
*All photos courtesy of SSD! fb.