From Argentina and with a strong political mesage (antisystem, antirepression, ecologist and feminist) BLAST BITCH (with an interesting word game as the band’s moniker making reference to their anti patriarchal ideas) show up with their Death/Grind/Crust in a pretty traditional vein. Today we have the pleasure of talking to them and not just dwell into their two EPs released so far and their future plans, but we also reflect on the role women play in the Metal community, about how should we create safer spaces for everyone and much more.
– Hello and first off thank you for taking the time. To begin with and to introduce the band a little bit, what motivated you to form BLAST BITCH? It is a band with a strong political/social message.
The band started in 2016 with Ariel behind the drum kit and vocalist Constanza, with the idea of playing Goregrind and Grindcore songs, but there has always been a lot to be said and Grindcore was always protestation. That was what pushed us to form the band and to have nowadays that political fastness to share our message and ideas through our music.
– And how did you come up with the band’s name? I love that women take hold of terms such as «bitch», there are too many straight men using this kind of terms in their songs.
Our singer with and old exmember were who came up with the idea of the name «Blast Bitch». Among jokes and word games with «blast beasts» «bitch» came up. Obviously as the vocalist is not offended by the definition of «bitch», as it is a patriarchal word used to judge women that live their sexual life freely, what better idea than calling the band BLAST BITCH.
– You unleash what I would call Death Metal with Grind structures; really short, straight-forward with Grind, Crust and D-Beat hints. And with a very thick and traditional sound. What bands do you draw inspiration from? As women artists, do you have any women role models in Metal?
We draw inspiration from different bands, from the Grindcore classics such as MORTICIAN, NAPALM DEATH because of their style and also because of their lyrics. Death Metal acts such as REPULSION, MORBID ANGEL, POSSESSED. All of them formed by men. We believe we have different influences and we like the idea of mixing different music styles as the ones you mentioned to be able to combine everything we enjoy. Obviosuly in Metal there are several women artists we like, as Gigi of PHANTOM BLUE, Jo Bench of BOLT THROWER and Melissa Martínez. And we are infuenced by bands with women, which was one of the reasons that pushed our vocalist Constanza Samhain to growl. Bands like MYTHIC, DARK CASTLE, THRONEHAMMER, ECOCIDE, SERPENT OMEGA, CHELSEA WOLFE, etc., from 90’s Death Metal bands to more modern ones in Crust, Doom Metal, etc., all of them formed entirely by women or with woman lead vocalists. Here in Argentina a figure that motivated women to take the reins on the music thing was also Brenda Cuesta, ex vocalist for SAKASTICA, BLOODPARADE and CAHNALET. Whom in fact was the first singing teacher of Constanza.
– You released your first self titleed EP as a four piece and you have recorded «Sociedad Manipulada» as a trio, as in your early days. Would you say it had some kind of effect on the process?
Actually we recorded the first EP as a three piece. In fact BLAST BITCH started as a trio in 2016. Later a lot of changes followed, ending up again as a trio, with Pely Macchi handling the string duties, she was who made a twist to make the guitar sound «fat» and low in order to give a thick and heavy tone to the songs.
– The EP was only released in digital format, what formats is your latest «Sociedad Manipulada» available on?
The EP is out in physical format on CD and it will be out on tape soon. It is also available on digital platforms such as Bandcamp, Spotify and Youtube.
– After these short-length releases, are there any plans for a first full album?
Honestly in our opinion the work we did came out pretty professional, we take it as a full-length. Considering the length of these two EPs, and that is very similar to the length of our live shows, we think we are going to continue releasing this kind of format. This style is more effective on EPs. Rather than a full-length we want (and we are planning) to release split albums with friend bands.
– Throughout your career you have been through different line-up changes, and I have read you fired one of your former guitar players due to accusations of gender violence from an ex partner. This makes me think about the amount of aggressors that flood the scene but as always the victim is questioned, if not blamed. The victim is questioned and no one questions the «innocence» of the aggressor, and when there are enough evidences, everything is forgotten without any consequences for the abuser. How should we act as fans of this music, as record labels, promotores and artists to change this?
We agree with you on what you say, the scene is full of these horrible and damaging people. What we do as a band is to not give more spaces to those persons accused of being sexist and violent. It is our aim, not just with our lyrics. To create spaces free of violence and sexism. The way we find to do this right now is excluding these people from our spaces to make the victims feel safe and to avoid other women to fall under the acts of these people. Shows are based on that and on having bands with women.
– In Metal (and in art in general) there are less women than men, there are a lot of them nevertheless. By the simple fact of putting albums out and going on stage you are pushing other women to do the same. I guess this is something you are not really aware or think about when you are writing music but would you say you can also use this as an empowering tool even for other women?
Us women have been for many years working hard on stage and bearing with patriarchal violence. The lyrics on the album were wirtten to do so, to prompt more women and dissidents to listen and relate themselves, to lose fear and go out to do what we love so much. If we can, anyone can. That is the idea behind BLAST BITCH, and we use this wave to shout our goals and anger, to empower women and dissidents. We love to see how everytime more women are in bands, and by the time being we think it is a very important message nowadays for the whole feminist movement, and for our society as a whole.
– In fact I have seen you have played shows and festivals with line-ups formed only by bands with women. There are not enough women playing at bigger festivals, sometimes there isn’t any woman at all. From an artist stand point, what actions should we take to demand equity in our festivals? What sould we do to stop seing women play at festivals as something anecdotal?
Our country always had very talented women artists that did not get any recognition as such. We think it is difficult to make this change, at least in short-term, but we anyways stand up for participating and organizing more inclusive shows, this way we give more space to more women artists, and take adventage of what this can cause, be it motivate women to form their own bands, that men want to include more women musicians, and specially shows that there are actually safe spaces for all of us. Here in Argentina we have this «feminine quota law» for instance, to include more bands with women, but is very sad that only through law the big promoters see themselves forced to include women. And to cap it all, inclusion remains in constant force. We as society should change, I think we are suceeding in that, in knowing that the only thing we want is equality and not priority, that they do not consider us «something weird», but people that play and make our music as men do. All kind of genders should be included in festivals, and nowadays we should push ourselves to go out there stronger than ever. Thankfully there are everyday more conscious spaces. It is still hard, but as we do ourselves there are also other people booking gigs, or transfeminist groups doing shows including us. Adding is a way, as well as spreading the word and stand firm for equality.
– Moreover the Metal community is a very masculinized space so how is your message accepted among the crowd in general terms?
In general terms there is a really nice support from the crowd. Women sing our lyrics with their fist held high, which fills us with pride and happiness. More people understand our aim and our fight providing us strength. There is always the offended macho bothered by our loud voice, but he is not going to stop us from getting our goals.
– Furthermore there is lately in the Metal community a rise of fascism, or a rise of «apolitics» as some prefer to call it. How necessary do you think a message like yours is in the current Metal environment?
Being «apolitical» does not exist, because our life is a constant politic. Every decision in our lives is politics. There is no place anymore for what we call «neutrals». Something is happening and it is stronger everyday. The union between us women is everyday stronger and there is no place for those people anymore. These are times to take a stand and be firm about it. What is wrong, is wrong, and not choosing a side makes you an accomplice of any kind of violence.
– There are just a few bands that take a stand politically if it escapes from what has been generally accepted until now, what are they afraid of? Of losing their space? Their privileges?
Of course it is the fear of being critised and called out. And specially of losing their privileges and their spaces. Lame, but there are a lot of bands like that. They think that by not taking a stand they are «clean». But for us it is the same as washing their hands. As we said earlier, you are accomplice.
– Finally, what are now your near-future plans?
There are offers to play in other provinces of our country (we know it is going to happen) and also in bordering countries. This album/EP had a much braoder outreach than we expected, even though when we finished recording it, we were very happy and we knew it could be liked, but it was more than that. Let’s not forget we don’t have a record deal, we are mega under, we do not even do any advertising, we do not use anything. The album was spread on its own. So we are more than pleased. All those travels are going to work, and why not, to Spain, haha! The idea is to keep playing a lot supporting our latest release. We recently went to the province of Salta and last year to Córdoba, so we are really looking forward to continue travelling, bringing our music and ideas everywhere in our country. We also plan to make a video maybe. And obviously to continue playing inclusive shows.
– This is all, thank you once more for answering to our questions. If you would like to add some final words, feel free to do it.
Well we would like to thank Queens of Steel and you Tania for the interview and for the space, we found super interesting answering to these questions. We would also like to thank all the people that support us and push us to remain strong in this path we just started. And as we always say, self love for everybody, love animals and let’s respect mother earth.