Interview: Glitoris (Canberra) talk The Policy debut album and the raw energy of their live shows

Canberra rockers Glitoris released their debut album The Policy on Friday – and today tickets to their album tour go on sale. Last week, Liv Toerkell caught up with the group to talk about the album, the upcoming tour, the raw energy of their live show and the issues they face in the male-dominated music industry: “We see bullshit, we call it out.”.

Since you formed the group as a political protest a couple of years ago, Glitoris success has taken far beyond. How does it feel getting such critical acclaim?

It feels great that we’ve been so well received. It’s always nice to get good reviews for our shows and recordings, but what is more important to us is The Gliterati. As long as we’re still entertaining and empowering them, that’s all the motivation we need. We’re obviously not a band that is any way shaped towards the commercial mainstream. Commercial success couldn’t be further from our manifesto. So when Triple J play a track like ‘Spit Hood’, which was written with the agenda of 100% political protest and nothing else, then that’s interesting because what we do obviously has some meaning in a mainstream music industry even if we’re not gearing our work towards it.

Your live shows have gotten great reviews as well. Pilerats called you “one of the fiercest live forces in the country right now”. What do you do right before you step onto a stage? Do you have any rituals to channel the ferocious spirits within you?

It’s no secret that we put a huge amount of effort into our shows. The performance comes from the energy in the music and our musicianship so rehearsing and making sure we can deliver a great musical experience is our primary concern. After that, we look at movement and how we use the stage. The art of performance is being lost – most bands these days walk on stage as though they just walked into a supermarket. We know and understand the stage to be a platform and respect it as a place of privilege and power; people are waiting for you to do something extraordinary, that they don’t see in everyday life, that they’ve paid money for, so we have a responsibility to bring it. We work a lot on interactions, the set list, our costumes and make up, and our individual personas. As we getting ready, we don’t just feel our image transform, we become the characters, the stage personas we’ve made for ourselves, which are all pretty full-on!

And after, what happens when you leave the stage? Where does all of the raw energy go to?

We leave it all on the stage. There’s not been a single show where we’ve left the stage feeling like we could have given any more and that is the way a Glitoris show will always be. Our show is high energy and demanding and quite often we’re wired afterwards and it takes a lot for us to come back to normal. We like to debrief after a show and chat about how it went. After a recent show in Hobart, we were so wired and pumped we went back to our hotel and danced all night to Dr. Dre records!

For someone who has never heard of you – how would each of you describe Glitoris withone word?

Heavy, Synchronised, Fearless, Chaos.

After last year’s eccentric and exciting stage shows, what should we be prepared for this year in your live show? Any glittery surprises planned?

You’ll have to wait and see!

Feminism being one of your main topics, how do you deal with the issues many female musicians face in the industry? Have you ever been confronted with that personally?

We deal with it head-on. We see bullshit, we call it out. We’re in a male-dominated industry, so just by being present – and confrontationally so – we feel we make an impact. We always correct anyone referring to us as an ‘all-girl band’. We’re a band. Full stop. We recognize and have regularly encountered the issues women face in the music industry – and that was presented incredibly in the film Her Sound, Her Story. We’re also interested in highlighting feminist issues more broadly: the gender pay gap, the representation of women in politics and business, the pressures on teenage girls. These are issues faced by Western women, but there are women and girls in the world fighting to be educated, to not be married off as a child, to have access to medical care… We’re also keen to use our platform to highlight things like the barbaric practice of FGM, which is a subject we’ve grown passionate about and we’re learning more about it all the time.

What is one thing you would like fans to take home from your shows, or from listening to the new album?

Self-empowerment.

You’re last EP came out in 2016. How has Glitoris evolved in the past two years music wise, and how does your new album reflect this?

The Disgrace EP was great fun. It was spontaneous, trashy and punk. It was all done quite quickly. After that we realized the band had something unique and we all knew we were far better musicians than what The Disgrace EP reflects, so we were motivated to write new material that was not only reflective of our politics and manifesto, but that also foregrounded our musicianship. We are not fans of ‘wallpaper’ music – we like our music well played, loud and meaningful. So we spent most of 2017 writing the album and focusing hard on lyrics, arrangements, and making sure each instrument was a feature somewhere on the record. The Policy is the culmination of that process. In saying that, the self-referential absurdity of Glitoris that was a feature of The Disgrace EP is still very much part of The Policy with tracks like ‘My Fucking Car’ and ‘Sex Video’. There’s a very serious, politically motivated side to Glitoris but that’s balanced out with a side that’s just fucking ludicrous.

What does the Glitoris song writing process look like? 

It’s different depending on the song. Sometimes one of us has come up with something – a vocal line or riff or idea – that is brought to the table and we all work on it. Other songs are quite spontaneous – like ‘Trump Card’. That song was written in 20 minutes as we were discussing Trump’s campaign trail and how he was never, ever going to win the election…

Has that process changed at all over your time together?

Not really. We’re writing new material now and each of us has sketches – guitar riffs, melodies and concepts/names for songs – that we’ll end up working on after the tour.

2018 is almost over and it was a crazy ride for the four of you. Do you have any New Years resolution, anything you would like to achieve in 2019?

We want to continue touring The Policy and we have plans for Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Launceston as well as festivals. We’d also like to go to Japan. Getting on a few European festivals would be great too!

Glitoris‘ debut album The Policy is out now. The band hit the road in support of the record later this month. Tickets are on sale now and the dates are below.

Friday 16th November 2018 – Vinnies Dive Bar, Gold Coast QLD
Sunday 18th November 2018 – The Bearded Lady, Brisbane QLD
Friday 23rd November 2018 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney NSW
Saturday 24th November 2018 – Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle NSW
Thursday 29th November 2018 – Servo, Wollongong NSW
Friday 30th November 2018 – The Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Friday 7th December 2018 – The Basement, Canberra ACT

For tickets and more details about the band head to their Facebook Page.

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