FOR FANS OF: G.L.O.S.S., WHITE LUNG, THE SLITS
HANG ON… HAVE WE SEEN THIS LOT BEFORE?
Maybe. Big Joanie all lead double or triple or quadruple lives in London. Chardine (drums) is a prominent writer and activist who recently won the British LGBT Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to LGBT+ Life’. She organises ‘Black Girls Picnic’, a park gathering for women of colour to relax, share ideas and enjoy a day of self-care. Steph (guitar and vocals) is a journalist who also works part-time at a charity. Estella (bass) has a day job, is in other DIY bands and does sound engineering at gigs.
HOW ACTIVE ARE THEY IN THE LONDON DIY SCENE?
Very. Estella and Steph volunteer at DIY Space For London.the band helped to put on Decolonise Fest, a DIY punk festival by and for people of colour. Estella helped out at ‘First Timers’, for people who haven’t played that instrument before to learn it and make a band in only two days. “there’s no upper age limit, so one of the members I worked with was 64!” Estella says. “some had wanted to play music for decades and thought if they don’t soon, they never will.” She also aids in sound engineering workshops in a bid to demystify and diversify a white, male area of expertise.
AMAZING, BUT WHAT DO THEY SOUND LIKE?
Messy lo-fi ’80s punk mixed with serious riot grrrl feeling. they’re recording more music soon but for the meantime Crooked Room is a standout. “it’s a short song based on a tragic quote by Melissa Harris-perry where she compares black women trying to navigate a racist, sexist society to trying to find your vertical in a room where everything is crooked,” says Steph. If you needed any more convincing they have a cover of TLC’S No Scrubs.
THE BOTTOM LINE IS THIS IS A POLITICAL BAND, THEN…
Big Joanie’s mission is to make black punks more visible in music – and it’s working. “we always get lots of women of colour coming up after gigs to say that it was amazing to see us play,” Estella says.all of them are politicallyminded and “everyone” they know is raising awareness or protesting, which is inspirational. “i get annoyed when old music journalists say that young people don’t care about politics,” explains Estella. “It’s just not true!”
“young people do care about politics…”