London grunge-punk four piece Healthy Junkies are set to release the video for new single ‘Some Kind of Girl’ on 15th June. The band have never been ones to shy away from speaking their mind about issues affecting life in 21st Century Britain, and the new track tackles singer Nina’s experience of sexual discrimination at work. Director John Clay spoke with the band about the track and the experiences that led to its creation.
Nina (vocals): The lyrics are inspired by experiences of my own in a working environment. When I bought this to the intention of my boss it was dismissed and I was told that I was not telling the truth. I didn’t actually consider this at the time of creating the initial lyrics “I’m some kind of girl you know I lie” but on reflection it is clear that my own experience and similar ones shared by close friends have undoubtedly inspired the theme.
John (Interviewer): Well done for you speaking out.
Nina: Music is the best way of expressing it I think!
Dave (bassist): Nice one
John: David, Phil, do you witness such behaviour from friends and if so, how do you deal with their bad attitude, if any?
Phil (guitarist): I have no current ‘friends’ who would behave in such a way but I have certainly witnessed such attitudes in the past and have personal experience as a child of betrayal and abuse of power. I have tended to disassociate myself from this kind of thing, but am happy to be involved in this video and it’s message now.
John: Thank you for being so candid Phil. David?
David: I get it a bit sometimes and laugh it off. I treat them as less of a friend as I have nothing to lose at this point, but if they do it on a bad day I’ll just tell them to fuck off. I think that’s why I like this video particularly too as I’m always underestimated as a person but it’s cool ‘cos I got a good variety of real friends to turn to always.
John: I can’t imagine anyone having cause to underestimate you. Skillful musicianship and your obvious humility are noteworthy in a field often overrun by barely concealed narcissism. Does anyone think the music industry is due its ‘Weinstein’ moment, or is there no parallel with the adjacent industry of film?
Nina: The music industry is absolutely due this, although it has to be said that the record companies of the past no longer have the power they had. Companies like Sony and Universal have been diversified into gaming and other such products . I’d be interested to hear stories about people’s experiences with top record producers though. But let’s not forget people’s behaviour at gigs on the underground music scene. We had such an experience on the last day of our Lips Can kill tour in Corby. Dolly from Tokyo Taboo was groped in the crowd during her performance. She stopped the show and called the guy out. That kind of thing shouldn’t happen. Also this is a slightly different issue but I think women aren’t represented as much as men in the music industry. You just have to look at the male dominated bills in all of the major festivals .
John: I remember reading Dolly’s account of such idiocy. I recently watched Mary J Blige talk at length about female performers afraid to speak out due to their jobs/careers. What can bands do to change this?
Phil: It’s probably a case of repeating the message over and over again, much like you would with a child. There has already been a change in public opinion in this but we must press further.
Nina: I think women do need to speak out about it, more and more female singers are doing it now and I think with a movement like #metoo it has freed a lot of women to speak out and this is the way forward. I also think women need to stick together. Our society has somehow tried to make us believe that we should be in competition with each other but I don’t think it’s the right attitude to take and I’ve been playing with a lot of women on the same bill. It’s given me a feeling of security and sisterhood. We’re all in it together.
John: Good points here, particularly how patriarchal media bias seems to posit scenarios of ‘catfighting’. A little tangential now, but where do you stand on the debate of charities unwittingly acting as scapegoats for governments ignoring systemic change in legislature?
Phil: Do you mean charities being used to fund certain things where the government itself should be taking responsibility? The government appears to ignore whatever they feel like in order to further their economic plans…
John: Yes, you understand me correctly, and you’re right about the strange priority they have in regards to aforementioned matters. Obviously festivals are breeding grounds for abhorrent behaviour, the many boys’ clubs being fueled by huge male heavy line ups. Is it madness to suggest that there be some kind of legislature which curtails this, seeing as the correlation between the billing can create toxic environments?
Phil: It is very sad to think that legislation should be required for this. I personally believe swaying public opinion will be more effective in the long run than some kind of half-hearted legislation.
John: Can we rely on self-policing to be as effective as we’d like? What do the rest of you think? David?
Nina: I’ve always believed in self policing as the state will only do so much . Look at what’s happening now with the police and the authorities, it highlights that maybe people need to have more say in how the police operate.
Phil: I have always believed in self policing in society. People do not necessarily need such authoritarian, draconian force to keep the peace. In fact, right now it’s doing the exact opposite. And to make that work obviously do away with guns!
John: Yes, the police do seem to be a law unto themselves, especially in regards to riots in the U.S at the moment …
Phil: Great book to read The State Is Out of Date! Self published by the author. Will have to try to remember his name. Greg something! I met him a couple of times, friend of a friend. He talks about this!
David: Self policing? I’m not sure what that means lol
Nina: I went to Norway ages ago and their system is very much more based on trust rather than heavy handed police tactics like in America.
Phil: It means the elders and certain respected people in a tribe keeping law and order without having an official police force to do the job. It becomes more difficult as the tribe gets bigger!
John: Noted Phil. I did see an article about Norway’s policing this morning. Seems like a case of unfair comparison, considering the colonial history of each. Very much interested in reading the book though. As ever, there is more to say, but I will most certainly be talking to you again in print and video over the next few weeks in regards to this and other related subjects. Before we go, when is the video due out and where can people purchase the song?
Nina: Yeah I mean I don’t much about the whole story of Norway to be honest and went there twenty years ago but all I know is that when we were staying in refuges in the mountain you had to leave the money that the night cost you in a pot and there was no one there to check whether you did it or not. That kind of marked me at the time.
John: We must talk more about that experience Nina, as that kind of trust is rare in the city of London. Though the cynic in me considers your time in the refuge being one which occurs in many a well organised bubble in the UK as well, I hope Norway’s major communities have lessons we can adopt here. Mention your video release date and music platforms here people. I’m sure faithful and new readers alike are keen on having that relevant information x
Nina: Yeah that’s what I thought at the time, that such a thing would never happen in France either, but then I was only a teenager so probably easily impressed by that system and I’m sure it doesn’t work like that in Oslo or any other big cities .
Phil:The release date of the video is Monday June 15th and you can acquire the song via all major digital platforms as well as on Cd via our website www.healthyjunkies.co.uk Here is a link to spotify if streaming is your thing https://open.spotify.com/track/6SX5dbOrj4L9ZviLvwVBE1?si=CpFuPA7MSQiJJ82Uqu01WQ or iTunes if downloading is preferred https://music.apple.com/gb/album/delirious-dream/1436837937
Headline photograph by Andrew Ball
All other photography by Rupert Hitchcox