Dishing out pop punk nuggets peppered with feisty cries of gritty female potency, West London girl gang THE TUTS pen sharp-witted bangers that cut through patriarchal oppression.
When Nadia Javed (guitar/vocals), Harriet Doveton (bass/vocals), and Beverley Ishmael (drums) joined forces together to form The Tuts in 2011, they had no idea how important their voices would be to West London’s punk scene. Coming from different roots (Caribbean, English, and Indian/Pakistani origins) and all raised in working-class families, they found an ally in each other and broke down barriers as they belted out anthems that stemmed from sexism, racism, and everyday life-isms. “At the time, we weren’t experts on feminism or structural racism and so on. It all just happened naturally,” recalls Nadia. Taking the unapologetic 1990s Riot Grrrl tradition back to a modern-day setting, they eventually gained a dedicated online fanbase, which led to a series of fortunate events, including supporting Kate Nash in her UK and European tours the following year, getting invited by Billy Brag to play his LeftField Stage at Glastonbury in 2014, and having Pauline Black personally select the group to join The Selecter on their 2015 UK tour.
In 2016, the DIY trio really did it themselves as they released their debut record Update Your Brain while also acting as their own management, label, and PR–and it involved a lot of heavy, “professional” stalking. “It was a 24/7 job! We’d wake up early and work as a team to track down a long list of contacts we’d sourced from LinkedIn,” quips Nadia. At times infectious pop, while in others gritty garage, The Tuts’ debut is nothing short of a buoyant collection of punk bangers exploring what it means to simply be young, and more specifically a woman. “As a teenage girl going into your twenties, it’s a period where you’ll learn about who you are, who you want to be, and what kind of people you want to surround yourself with,” explains Beverly. “When you reach that certain age, you also start learning about other women’s experiences and the context of the patriarchy, and you start picking up on things that just felt ‘wrong’ in your personal life. To counteract that frustration, we sang about it”, adds Harriet.
“Writing songs and being able to turn a shit life experience into a product that people can relate to has been a high for us.”
Although their first LP was a massive hit as they reached their crowd-funding target on PledgeMusic within five days of the launch, rising above their underground reputation has still been a challenge. “We’ve been told by management companies that we’re an amazing band because of what we stand for, but they refuse to sign us because ‘our songs aren’t good enough.’ That’s another lame excuse to deny a three-tone girl band the opportunity to grow,” expresses Nadia. “We just have to work ten times harder to justify that we’re worthy,” she adds. But to be fair, The Tuts’ have come a long way since the release of their first EP in 2012. “Writing songs and being able to turn a shit life experience into a product that people can relate to has been a high for us. We’re hearing about how a song has affected, inspired, or helped someone through a hard time. We want people to listen and feel empowered–like a bad bitch,” shares the vocalist. “We’re also more specific and are annoyingly aware of what’s ‘trendy,’ but we’re now open to different genre fusions,” adds Harriet.
Speaking of fusions, they recently teamed up with English pop artist GIRLI for a new rendition of her song “Mr 10pm Bedtime,” and even though it’s officially tagged as ‘GIRLI vs. The Tuts’, it was a fun, collaborative moment for the band. “It was a great experience. Getting to dissect and learn someone else’s song really makes you realize how damn catchy it is,” explains Harriet. Although they’re keeping mum about they’re plans this 2018, especially now that they have a booking agent, it won’t be long ‘til The Tuts start bringing the noise to all the right places once again, and hopefully this time, to a much wider audience. “We want to change things up a bit, but I don’t want to speak too soon. Once we start laying down some songs, we’ll be able to see the direction things are going. The important thing is that it stays fun and organic. At the moment, we’re all working full-time, and it’s hard to juggle everything and remain creative,” explains Nadia. Keeping us on our toes with what lies ahead, Beverly teases, “Just know you’re all going to be shook.”
By: Pola Beronilla