Thursday, 29 March 2018

World, I'd Like You To Meet Sit Down


On trading Scarphelia for Sit Down, and the story behind our debut EP: 'Cheap Luxe'

It'd been a month since we'd returned from the fateful summer in New York City, I was sitting in the coffee shop in Brighton where Greg had just got a job, and everything felt like hell. Through my headphones, I listened to the demo he'd recorded the night before, a screeching guitar and thundering drum beat that told me more than he ever could put into words. He felt it too. I pulled out a notepad and pen and scrawled a few lines in time with the track: 

My hair's a fucking mess and doesn't even look good. I'm so fucking hungry I don't have any food. When nothing I do matters, all is wrong with the world, I'm an angry, motherfucking angry girl.

It was the first song we wrote as the band we called Sit Down, a name we chose because we wanted something angry and punchy and didactic; Sit down, shut up and listen to this. We were young, passionate and broke, and so desperately furious at so many things. During our time in New York we'd slipped from the matrix, turning on the idyllic world we'd always known, only to realised how deeply fucked it all was. The clawing dissatisfaction that flowed through us swirled in a vortex of anger and a compelling need to do something about it. It was this raw energy that sparked a counter-cultural explosion in the 70's and feminist anarchy in the 90's. It was punk. And the only thing that could do justice to the fury was pure, unadulterated noise. 


May 18th 2016 was the first time I sat behind a drumkit, at 23 years old - something I thought I was far too old, especially as a woman, to even entertain the idea of doing. I'd tried to learn other instruments before but to no real success as I'd soon get too frustrated to persevere. But as I looked down at the slick skin of the floor tom, my rage began to rise, my knuckles clenched around that wooden weapon in my right hand and I just smacked the fuck out of it. The note thundered into the air, vibrating through my ribcage and shimmering out through my bones, and I immediately thought; oh fuck. That's the shit. 

And thus, the angry girl found her outlet. The more rubbish I was, the more I lashed out in anger, and the better it ended up sounding. I became addicted, slowly learning how to separate my body from my mind, and trusting my hands to their job. Blisters grew and burst across my palms, my fingers, my thumbs, a permanent bruise lingered around the top of my left thigh, punishment for every time I missed that snare, and my knuckles split and bled more times than I could count. But every inch of pain, every droplet of sweat, torn hangnail and splatter of blood made my wild, intangible anger into a real, measurable thing. And soon I found my voice, too.

Nearly two years to the day since I first hit a drum, after countless gigs in London, Brighton and beyond, we are finally ready to release our first official record, a calculated distillation of the fury that has propelled our art since that first angry song. And this is what we have to say.


B L O O D L U S T

You write her off, as not enough. Now time is up. She is gonna find you. You pretty fool, you played it cool, wanted her to be your little baby.

Once I'd begun writing my anger into lyrics, I found nothing riled me more than recalling just how awfully I'd been treated by men growing up. It's a very complex issue I'd probably benefit from taking up with a therapist, but blossoming into a woman with the insight of maturity, it was as though the veil had been lifted, and my blood boiled at the men who had systematically used, and abused me both mentally and physically during the most volatile parts of my development. I wrote about it in a little more detail here. But one of the things which angered me most, was how I'd always blamed myself for being too weak to stand up for myself. To defend myself. To fight back. So Bloodlust was born from the girl I wish I could have been. The girl who gets revenge on the men who try to crush her. Written around the idea of a cheating partner, Bloodlust is for the girl who will kill the man who thinks he can get away with murder. 

Your fatal flaw was wanting more. Behind the door, you cannot escape her. So hold you breath and pray for death, 'cause here's your second best now coming in first. 


H O N E Y S U C K E R

I've seen your video, your phoney rock'n'roll. You say you're from the beach, but don't mention the stones. 


As we delved more into exploring punk and heavy music, playing lineups with countless 'grunge' 'garage rock' and 'punk' bands without a single non-white non-male to be seen, a similar trope seemed to be everywhere we turned; weak ass motherfuckers. Everywhere we went, there were bands putting way more effort into trying to seem badass than actually doing anything remotely rebellious, and taking themselves so damn seriously it actually started to become kinda funny. It's amazing how quickly some completely lose all sense of reality when one drunk dude in a pub function room says they sound a bit like Kurt Cobain. We started a secret burn book called The Shit List, of everything that pissed us off, which later became the song 'Honeysucker'. Of course, the hypocrisy is not lost on us, but that's half the fun. We're just as full of shit as the next guy. This running theme soon morphed into the following song Cheap Luxe.

Your watered-down whiskey-drinkin' candy-ass fun. Say you're a honey, bee? Well none of us are stung. 



C H E A P   L U X E

Something I find I notice more with each and every day, a subtle conversation behind what we choose to say. Blatant in the game, it's driving me insane, these candy-coated candids hiding rusted razor blades. 


The title track Cheap Luxe is probably the most scandalous, a distilled version of everything I've been trying to find the words to say about blogging, social media, and the general fucked up delusion of modern society. When I quit blogging, I attempted to reveal the dark secrets I'd found and to put it bluntly, why the whole industry and everyone in it was fucked up. It felt unbelievably liberating to finally say it, but it wasn't quite enough. After years ruminating upon it, Cheap Luxe is my definitive exposé, slamming the entire concept of modern social media which is to try and convince everyone else that you and your life is better than everyone else's, and how I've come to realise the only path to true happiness is the exact opposite.

When the truth is a secret that's too dirty to share, a two-way mirror with nobody else there, when you talk about the steps but never take the stairs, you'll be blind to the fact that nobody fucking cares.

Cheap Luxe is a way of life, the true unspoilt DIY ethos behind keeping your head down, doing your own shit, and trying to work hard instead of just being a try hard. But it isn't just about calling people out, it's about attempting to make sense of things too, to offer some cautionary advice from someone's who's been there and let that shit destroy them for so many years. I think of my own epiphanies as a kind of 'Rebel Education', a phrase that we coined when we were in NYC and realised the world was not as we knew it. Whilst I can't help but find myself resenting those I used to idolise online, I want to help them realise the error of this world too, before it's too late. 

Please don't get me wrong I know we all need validation, but living to be seen is just a dirty medication. So channel your vexation and find that liberation, that comes from when you own your shit through rebel education.



M O T H E R S H I P

I've spent a lot of time on the cutting room floor, cutting little bits and pieces I don't need anymore. And as my hands trace the shape of my new found form, I rise to the throne as a bitch reborn. 



This first song on the record comes as both the beginning and the end of an era. Since we first started playing, we've written probably two albums worth of a material, with every one being driven by anger and revenge. But after a couple of years, as a woman and as a songwriter, I've finally come to realise the energy I've invested in revenge can be better utilised elsewhere. Instead of seeking revenge on the men who hurt girls, I finally feel strong enough to start empowering these girls in the first place. While there is power in revenge, there is strength and longevity in reinforcement. For me, a person who has been fundamental in my spiritual growth has been Chidera, aka The Slumflower. Her depthless and illuminating wisdom has transformed this broken soul out for revenge into a newly healed entity ready to spread the light. She has been my Mothership. And now, I'm ready to open myself as one too.

I crack my knucles for the first time yet, the sound of revenge I no longer need to get. I'm duty-bound now to protect my kin. They'll all learn to fly underneath my wing.

Wherever my path will take me on this journey, I know I'll always measure success by impact. As a writer-turned blogger, all I ever wanted to do was reach out and air my innermost feelings in the help they may soothe the woes of another. And fuck any sponsorship deal or blogging event, one little email in my inbox telling me something I wrote mattered, was enough to make my work, my self and my life feel worthwhile. A while back, before I dramatically 'quit blogging' I wrote that there was a storm coming, something brewing on the horizon that was going to change everything. I was a little hermit outside the city walls, watching through a telescope as the residents buzzed around in a hustle and bustle, but something beneath the busy streets was cracking and shifting. But I was not observing that in the world. It was something that has happening to me. 

I have been in hiding for some years now, slowly honing my craft so I can do this thing right. Refining exactly what I want to say, and the most effective way that someone in my position can say it, because I finally fucking believe once more that there are some goddamn important things that need to be said, and I'm willing to try and find words for them. And with this record, I hope to be born again into my new found form, ready to inject this power into the universe to anyone who is ready to receive it. 

When darkness comes for you and me, just look into the sky and see. The mothership is coming as planned, and she's finally found a place to land. 






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4 comments :

  1. Congratulations I can’t wait to hear more ! Xx
    Www.writtenbyalice.blogspot.co.uk

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  2. I'm in love with your anger and music. Thank you for the stories behind the songs, reminds me of how i used to pick apart songs as a teen. Need to find that passion again!

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  3. It feels SO damn good to be reading your words again, Katie! You're still such an inspiration to me. And I'm glad you could find an outlet that make you thrive so much. xx

    Giulia

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