An Interview With…Pretty Vicious

Welsh fourpiece, Pretty Vicious, who rose to fame after headlining the BBC Introducing Stage at Glastonbury last year, chatted to us backstage at Handmade Festival in Leicester. The band who formed in 2014 over a campfire, spoke to Girls Against about their new EP as well as their views on feminism and sexual assault at gigs. [You can watch the accompanying video here]

Brad, the lead singer and guitarist told me that their new EP, Cave Song, was doing “really good” with Elliott the drummer adding “awesome yeah, we’re currently higher than Justin Bieber in the iTunes charts which is our personal record.” He went on to say that they will be attending “festivals like Truck Festival, and we’ve got Y Not lined up. We’re off to Amsterdam tomorrow to play a show over there for Pinguin Radio. But this year we’re more sort of like recording & stuff as opposed to like gigging and playing festivals. So next year, we’re going to be doing the entire circuit proper again so that’ll be cool but this year is just a quieter year in terms of gigging.”

As a band, Pretty Vicious want “more chances for real music. ” They say that “it’s a lot easier to get your music out there if you’re a solo artist; if you’re a band, it takes a bit longer like we got signed and stuff but it takes longer to perfect your craft and get all the songs ready. I’m not saying it’s easy or anything but when you’re on your own, it’s only you and you don’t have to work with other people.” Brad also stated that he’d like to see “more platforms for unknown bands as well.”

Within feminism, I asked who the group looked up to and after thinking for a moment they recalled “an artist called Girly” who they’d previously played  gig with. “She was a proper feminist; she was cool.” Elliott and bass player Jarvis both agreed that sexual assault is an issue at gigs starting “yeah” in unison with Elliott asking “do you wanna go?” and Jarvis replying “no, I’m just agreeing,” telling us that Elliott “does all the talking.” Elliott continued “as I said, we saw the the interview with Slaves as well and there’s lots of reports of stuff happening like that. You don’t go to a gig for that sort of s**t.” Brad chipped in stating that “it is wrong.” Proceeding,  Elliott concluded that “you go to a gig to enjoy yourself, [not] to get touched by random strangers and what not.”

The lads, who are all aged under 20 said that this kind of sexual assault is more apparent within the late teens age group. Brad shares the view that “because of our age some people don’t realize the repercussions [and] might do stuff like that not realizing how offensive it can be.”

As a band they feel that “spreading awareness is a great thing to do” to help tackle sexual harassment and “doing interviews like this one now and what [Girls Against] do which is great. You know, just spreading awareness, making people aware that you can speak out and…” (Brad interjects “It’s not cool”)“…It’s not cool, it’s a serious thing.”

Brad questioned me when I asked if he thought there were any issues outside of the music industry regarding feminism, querying “sexism?” to the delight of his band members who mocked him saying “I don’t think he understands the question!” Tom, the guitarist, started “there’s a lot changed now” and Brad after thinking about it said “I think in this day and age you see a lot of women doing just as good, and better, in a lot of circumstances than men and vice versa so I think these days it’s a lot fairer” laughing as he added “with that subject like with them posh words. ” Elliot too agreed and feels that “it’s great to see females in rock bands because you don’t usually see [them]; widescale it’s usually, I’d say, about 80% [of bands] are fully male, in rock at least, it’s nice to see bands like Wolf Alice in the music industry now.”

To the victims of sexual assault, Elliott says “don’t be afraid to speak out. If something happens at a gig or something, try and get hold of the band, you know, don’t just keep quiet. It’s an important issue that needs to be addressed.” And to the perpetrators, their message is simple; “don’t do it,” “get out of our gigs” and “f**k off.”

Interview by Laura Cobham