Camden Rocks 2018 [INTERVIEW] with... Bugeye

Bugeye "We are always writing songs"

London trio Bugeye continues to establish itself as an enticing force of refined alt rock energy. Following a number of acclaimed appearances across a range of UK venues It’s All Indie spoke to the band's front woman Angela Martin.

Well done on your Camden Rocks set, what was the experience like for Bugeye?

“It was absolutely incredible. It was our first time playing the festival and we were completely blown away to be headlining at the legendary Good Mixer. It was a very special moment indeed when the venue filled to capacity and people couldn’t get in. We have been selling out tour dates this year but to have had such a response at Camden Rocks Festival too, was a bit of a dream come true. Rewind 18 months ago and we were in a very different place as a band, so it is super exciting that 2018 seems to be our year."

Camden has an authentic community, vibe and a tradition for presenting live music;
please tell us about your connection to the area - as a music and arts destination?

"Camden has always been a special place to me. As a kid I used to sneak up to Camden from the East End at the weekends to hang out. There was always such a creative and magical vibe that I just couldn’t get enough of. It felt like the centre of the musical universe and I just knew that I would have to be part of that one day.  Camden was where we first started out as musicians, ran club nights and discovered so many inspirational bands along the way. Paula and I even lived there for a while. It is a place that made music possible for us and still does for so many bands to this day."

Do you tend to change your set lists from one gig to the next?

"Not always, it depends really. We want to keep things fresh for people, but when we are touring and playing different cities we tend to have an order to things, although there is always a bit of playing it by ear and adding in songs we think the audience might dig."

What has been your favourite gig or festival appearance to date?

"Too many favourites to pick just one, so I am going to give you my top three 1) Camden Rocks Festival – a real bucket list item  2)  Our last single launch at The New Cross Inn this year – It was our night and magic was made  3) Any gig we have ever played at The Lady Luck Bar in Canterbury – we headlined the Loud Women Festival there a couple of weeks back and the crowd’s response just blew us away."

You have a connection to This Feeling, have you enjoyed your experiences with them so far?

"We had been admirers of This Feeling for a while before they approached us to play one of their nights at The Monarch in Camden. They are pretty much one of the best live promoters in the UK at the moment, they pull out all the stops to promote their shows but also create opportunities to move bands forward. I love their entrepreneurial attitude. It wasn’t enough to just put on the odd night, they put on tours, they created rehearsal spaces for bands, recording spaces with Pirate Studios and a TV Show too. What is there not to like about these guys? Their support of Bugeye has certainly opened doors for us. So I guess you could say we love them very much."

What would be your dream gig and/or location?

Cliché time! Glastonbury!

How many songs do you have in your ‘catalogue’ and what song(s) are you most proud of?

"We are always writing songs, but not all of them make the cut of course. We have always been pretty good at being honest with each other, there is no sparing of feelings. If a song does not really work, it is called out and we move on.  The tally of songs we like is currently at 41. Most proud of our recent singles, Wake Up and I'm Not The One. Both are very different from each other, and about subjects we are really passionate about."

Have you been working on new material/videos?

"We have indeed. We love playing with different genres with videos and secretly wish to be film makers, so expect some entertaining music videos with a twist.  We have been writing an album so it has been pretty non-stop on the creating front."

Where do you tend to record and what producer(s) do you work with?

"We have our own basic set-up for recording that we take with us to band practice and record there. It is how the song I'm Not The One was recorded and it was produced by us. Our next single(s), however, were recorded with legendary indie producer, Paul Tipler, last month and we plan to finish the album with him later this year. He totally gets our sound and is very inspirational to work with."

Are you drawing on different influences?

"All the time, it changes from song to song. You will hear a bit of Donna Summer influence with Is The Love, some Dub Be Good To Me with our song Never Let You Go, some Pixies, Elastica, Altered Images, the list goes on."

What contemporary bands do you admire?

"There's so many at the moment but I would have to say the ones that stick out for me are Sisteray, LIINES, The Blinders, Scarlett, Yur Mum, The Velvet Hands, Weekend Recovery, St Vincent, and Dream Wife, they are all very different, but all making their own rules."

As a band fronted by women, what has your journey been like so far?

"It has been a real mix bag. For the most part, it has been respectful and I have not noticed a difference between how men and women in music are treated. But then there is the downside of sexist comments and women in music still very much being seen as a gimmick.  I have even found myself referring to my band as “female fronted”. If I were a guy, would I say “male fronted”? Probably not, so I guess, as women, we all need to stop reinforcing the gimmick." 

"I guess my worst experience was with a certain head of A&R. They actually said they already had a girl band on their roster so couldn’t possibly sign another. The battle continues. On a positive note though, there are so many bands (male and female) fighting for change, as well as promoters, such as Loud Women, Get In Her Ears, and Who Run The World.  We headlined a festival at the weekend, so not all bills are male led. I guess you could say times are a changing, but we still have a long hike ahead."

How would you like to see your songwriting progress and develop?

"At some point I would like to try my hand at some experimental stuff as a side project. Yes this could very much be something that never sees the light of day because it is awful. So don’t hold your breath on hearing anything any time soon."

"As for Bugeye, I feel like we are naturally progressing as it is. We don’t ever force a direction on ourselves as such, so it is a case of seeing where the musical pathways lead us."

What are your ambitions and/or plans?

"First woman on Mars of course, but back to Earth for a second, I would say our musical plans are more sell-out shows, more festivals, more singles, more dancing, perhaps less drinking, launching our own radio show this autumn and potentially our own two day festival. We like to keep busy."

Live – gig

Croydon Pride Fest on the 14 July