Ros (guitar & vocals) and Vas (drums), a mighty powerful & socially engaged female post-punk duo based in London, are deux furieuses. Politics mixed with rock & roll and vice versa. It’s a long story. Some like it, some don’t. Some question society in their musical art, some sing about the birds and the bees. Best thing is that we all have a choice to say what we want and that ‘to disagree’ is also a natural right, in a democracy that is ! Freedom of speech ! Ros and Vas choose to question explicitly important issues about humankind and it’s different ways of life and use thunderous music and sharpened words as their weapons to do so. deux furieuses are… loud and clear ! An impressive combination…
My ‘Shout Out‘ here two weeks ago for their storming and political hot new track ‘The Party Of Shaitaan’ caused some emotions as with its specific content you couldn’t but relate it to the Paris drama that happened a few days earlier. The girls’ inspiration behind the song explained a lot: “The failure to think about those who would return us to the dark ages by denying girls education, preferring to use them as slaves, also by Hannah Arendt’s book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report On The Banality Of Evil” – about moral responsibility – about ‘the power of the pen’, and the failure to challenge growing extremist ideology out of fear.” Inspired by the barbarous Paris events and after hearing the track I baptised Ros and Vas, spontaneously, Charlie’s Angels ! Let’s meet the outspoken winged ones…
What’s the story behind the name ‘deux furieuses’?
“We played a gig at the Charlatan Club in Gent, Belgium and the review was in French:
“Me voila en face de deux furieuses qui ont le rock and roll qui coule dans leurs veines”. We thought this summed us up well but we didn’t like English translation.”
(Note JL – English translation: “Here before me two furious ones with rock and roll flowing through their veins.”)
It all started here (JL: In my hometown ! Damn, where was I?)…
Did you form the band specifically to have a medium, a sound and a voice, for your political concerns and personal commentaries ?
“Yes we did, we wanted this band to be different to previous bands. We had a lot of anger and we wanted to engage with the wider world and use our voice consciously. We thought this would be our last band and this time we would show who we really are, what concerns us, and make music which reflects now. Culturally significant rock records are like relics from the past and people now gather together to listen to entire old albums on vinyl in silence. It is almost subversive. They are rediscovering it’s potency in an age of endless, mindless tracks by songwriting production teams who are scared to change chord. We want rock music to be alive again and speak to us today. We could write a magazine article yes but it would not be nearly as exciting and crucially not a communal experience.”
Tell us about the story behind the debut single ‘Can We Talk About This?’
“Can we talk about this?” were the alleged last words of film maker Theo Van Gogh to his Islamic fundamentalist killer before his throat was slit in Amsterdam in 2004. He had directed a short film called ‘Submission’, written by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, about the treatment of women in Islam in which an actress wearing a veil and a see-through chador, has her body painted with verses from the Qu’ran, including verse 4:34 which gives authority to men over women. He was shot repeatedly and a five page note in Arabic and Dutch threatening jihad against the West was stuck in his chest with a knife. Ros read Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s books and also saw the DV8 physical theatre production of the same name in which the audience were asked to put up their hands if they considered themselves morally superior to the Taliban. Hardly anyone in the audience raised a hand. The production made the point that moral relativism and multiculturalism seem to have left us unable to make moral judgements. It has become a problem for liberal, tolerant societies, for people on the left, for feminists like us, to speak out against extremist ideologies or patriarchal religions because they do not wish to offend and increasingly because they are afraid.”
Are you religious yourselves?
“No, we’re not religious though both quite spiritual. There is something joyous about playing music with people, or walking in hills that is bigger than yourself and provides perspective and peace in a way we we have never found in any church. Ros was brought up in a Catholic family and Vas has Greek parents who were not religious. Religions with their hierarchy and dogma and subordination of women do seem to be the cause of much damage in the world.”
Brand new single ‘The Party Of Shaitaan’ was already recorded last October but when I heard it, the recent disastrous events in Paris just happened a few days earlier and it felt as the song and the drama were related. Did you have the same experience the very day of the French tragedy?
“That day I (Ros) was on the computer all day trying to design the cover for ‘The Party Of Shaitaan’ and Vas texted me to say have you seen the news from France. It was profoundly chilling and stopped me in my tracks but not a surprise. It was a matter of time before something like this happened in a capital city in Western Europe. Our song was painfully relevant because the themes expressed in it continue to be relevant.”
Will politics be a constant in your work or will the next single be a smooth love song?
“The next single won’t be a smooth love song but the album we have recorded with Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey) does have quieter moments with some beautiful piano. The album’s initial inspiration arose out of personal illness and recuperation during the Middle East revolutions. The personal experience of unexpected illness and the problems I faced in coping with this while on benefits and unable to pay my rent in London angered me to the point where I knew that if we did make more music it had to mean something.”
Your music is a heavy rock & rollin’ mix of post-punk and garage rock. Was it a conscious or natural choice to soundtrack sonically your thoughts on nowadays global society that way?
“That is the music we love so this is just a natural expression for us. We don’t have bass and the sound of an overdriven Marshall valve amp through a 4 x 12 cab gives our sound bottom end and harmonics and feedback and energy! There is an element of unpredictability to the sound which we love. Vas hits hard, always works to write an original drum part and plays in her own self taught style which you will see if you come to a gig.”
Prime Minster Cameron: hero or villain ?
“Villain and hypocrite. David Cameron had the nerve to march in Paris as some great believer in the right to freedom of expression. In London the Union Jacks fly at half mast out of respect for the death of King Abdullah and his oppressive Saudi regime which funded the growth of extremist Islam and where women are beheaded in the streets.”
What can we expect from a ‘deux furieuses’ show?
“Raw guitar and drums, no backing tracks. Just the songs, our voices and our energy. The live set is very strong as a whole. We love playing out of the UK as you get to play longer sets.”
Action ! Taste some passion and power…
Your dream artist to tour with?
“PJ Harvey, because she is the most committed, serious, inventive female rock artist ever.”
The White Stripes or The Black Keys?
“The White Stripes, because they had the riffs and the grooves and the sound.”
Track and album of 2014?
“3D by ‘Feral Five’ was a great tune, brilliantly produced and topical, something that could only have been made in 2014. Otherwise we didn’t find punk guitar music too exciting last year. There are elements of Perfect Pussy or White Lung that we like but there is too much unadventurous drumming about. Royal Blood are very powerful on the other hand but not saying anything that speaks to us.”
deux furieuses’ fav track of 2014…
The social media. A blessing or a pain in the ass?
“Both ! As a band there are more opportunities than before but now music has become devalued because there is so much of it. Social networks want to make money from you. Music lovers like you help us make connections around the world. But we also hate it because we do everything ourselves and it takes us away from working on our music.”
What’s the next step for the two furious ones?
“We need to find some more money to finish mixing our album and are looking for a label to license it. We are writing the next album right now. We need an agent to get better gigs for us and let us concentrate on being creative. We went to Russia last year which blew our minds and would love to play in the US next. Thanks for interviewing us !”
Many thanks to you, Ros and Vas, for being our damn cool guests ! I hope to hear you soon with the new album and hope to see you soon in Belgium, if possible in the Charlatan in my hometown !