Interview – Ladyfest Cork 2007

LF: Hello, it’s great to have you play another Ladyfest gig, for all of those peoples who will be seeing you for the first time will you tell us a bit about yourselves?

Estel- Estel are old. Really. So fucking old. We started around nine years ago. The band was formed by Sarah and Ashley, then they got Grainne, then they got me [Bushie].
We’ve put out some singles and four albums. We’ve played in England, Scotland, Italy and a skillion times in Ireland. We have had so many line up changes since that initial line up. We are completely dedicated to the idea of the independent aesthetic and practice it in all we do. We have never played a single gig for a big promotion organisation, but we’ve turned down plenty. We hung the phone up on mister Sony a couple of times. The cheek! Personally, we’re entertaining, film quoting and slagging machines with a flair for mild mental illness and collecting music. Did that help make things clearer? No?

LF: We like that all the bands tonight are from different places and bring a mix-match of styles and influences to the night. Do you think that the music scene in Ireland can be a bit close-minded?

Estel- Yes, indeed. What attracted me to the underground music scene was that I believed that it gave me the oppurtunity to do what I wanted without rules or expectation other than my own. Unfortunately this idea is being marginalised more and more and blandness and sameness is the thing to aspire to now. I may get a bit ranty now. Indulge me.. When I was growing up I considered myself outside of the loop of the regular chap on the street. As a result of this I suffered a barrage of abuse from the afformentioned regular chaps. Myself and my friends, as would be expected, distanced ourselves from these chaps and eventually graduated to the underground music/culture scene where I believed I would be at home. I loved and still love this culture because I am happy to exist outside of the ‘straight’ life. In the late nineties a lot of attention was garnered on the wave of bands of the time, us included, and all of a sudden previously ‘diy or die’ type bands couldn’t support shit groups or play mcd gigs quick enough in an attempt to get ‘popular’ and be ‘hip’. It turns out that these people weren’t happy to be the freaks and were just biding their time till the cool kids wanted them to be in their gang. I was always happy to be the freak. The scene has never fully recovered from this change in aspirations. As a result it has become largely fragmented, resulting in many smaller cliques with little cross pollination and a desire to ape mainstream trends [post-punk, punk funk and so on.] These genres are basically retro based and ready made so I find it disheartening that for the first time [on such a large scale] in a forward thinking and creative movement such as ‘punk’ that it has largely stalled as a creative force and has become like fucking school with cool kids and gangs and other horse shit.[it’s like fucking kula shaker pretending it was the sixties ten years ago!] hmph. There are however tons of great bands out there like- we are knives, party weirdo, drainland, cian nugent, nn-, bats, vimanas, terrordactyl, herv, janey mac, wreck of the hesperus, dennovissimus, queen kong, deep burial and hundreds more. Basically we need the next generation of people to use punk/ underground music and culture/ ideas to empower themselves and offer an actual alternative lifestyle instead of a boring soulless popularity competition. So there. Phew. Sorry about that.

LF: Estel has been around for quite a while in some shape or form, you must have quite few stories to tell. We’d love to hear ’em!?

Estel-Eh… our stories normally involve our own stupidity or disasters or the merciless goading and slagging of us by us. A few examples would be the time Tommy got mashed at a festival and lost his keys resulting in us having to smash the windows on his jeep to rescue our equipment. Tommy had to stay awake for another day or so trying to figure out what to do until a crusty gentleman he doesn’t remember ever meeting gave him his keys back and saved the day. This resulted in the popular puzzle game ‘Tommy’s key caper’.
I slagged das wanderlust from the stage in Belfast not realising that referring to them as ‘stupid english people’ might be funny, just not there.
Recording with Mike Watt and Steve Mackay from The Stooges was mind blowing. Now that’s a story!
We nearly crashed our fan in thick fog on the way to Belfast when we drove onto a roundabout. I almost shat myself. On the way back our driver almost fell asleep a couple of times! fun, fun, fun!
Aaaaaaargh I can’t think of anything else. Ask me in person at the gig and the anecdotes will pour from me. Honest.

LF: Erm on a more childish festive note, a bit of a Christmas Cracker for ye;
What kind of paper likes music?

Estel- I don’t know. Should I?. Is it something to do with a fan?
Thanks for having us again. It’s chap[ettes] like yrselves that keep us doing what we do and make us happy. Thanks. Go team you! Xxxx

Copyright Ladyfest Cork [2007]. All rights reserved.