RudeSix are keeping the Coventry alternative scene kicking with their infectious mix of ska, reggae and punk. They are the latest band from the Alternative Sounds series to have a word.
More from the Alternative Sounds series and a rich seam to mine keeps on giving.
RudeSix introduced themselves in the summer of 2018 with their debut EP Trip Club.
Charged with youthful energy, the Coventry based group have an impressive sound with feisty female vocals, dancing over edgy and infectious ska & reggae rhythms.
So we caught up with Liv and Harry from the band on Zoom (natch).
P3dro: Where are you and what are you doing?
Liv: I am at home with my housemates. And a lizard.
P3dro: Does the lizard have a name?
Liv: He’s called Kaiju.
P3dro: How do you know it’s a ‘he’?
Liv’s housemate: They have two large bulges near the base of the tail, which are his penises. Kaiju means ‘monster’ in Japanese.
P3dro: We’re not sure Harry will be able to compete with that one, but, have a go.
Harry: There’s just me here. Lenny, the cat, is out at the moment, braving the cold.
Liv: Lenny is the seventh member of the band.
Harry: He’s our mascot, really. Other than that I’m just in my room reading unimportant crap on the internet.
P3dro: Tell us a bit about the band, how you formed, your music.
Liv: Well, the story we always tell is that we originally just knew each other from school and used to play there. It was completely different music at the beginning – we were playing soul and R&B covers. And then the line up changed, things developed and we got into ska and Two Tone (because of where we’re from) and that’s been a big part of our musical influences.
Then we started playing ska and reggae and re-formed as this new band, which we called RudeSix, about two and a half years ago. And that’s what happened, really. I’d say we started out with different intentions, but we’ve always been developing since that time.
In total, we’ve playing together for about seven and a half years, even though the average age of the band is about 20 / 21.
Harry: Well, its six years for me. It’s just there are none of the others left.
P3dro: How much of the Coventry / ska / reggae influence do you take for your sound?
Liv: [A lot] with the first EP, even though some of the stuff we play now is a bit different, with a bit of a punky influence, it still comes from that Two Tone vibe. Along with a bit of annoyance and frustration at how the world works now. It was a bit of taking what The Specials did, but with a girl singer.
P3dro: That’s an interesting take. It’s clear you have a political slant, but is there a gender politics thing going on as well?
Liv: Oh, interesting question. I’m not sure that’s necessarily anything we [set out] to do, but I think with having a girl lead the band, especially when the others are all boys, that in itself is a bit of a statement.
I guess I’m [reflecting] people like Pauline Black from Selector. Strong female characters, especially strong black female characters, are all big inspirations for me. Whether that amounts to gender politics, I don’t know. The music is our statement, but it is difficult for young women in the industry.
P3dro: Certainly, as far as the UK was concerned, Two Tone grew from punk and new wave. Do you feel you have any roots in that?
Liv: That early era of Two Tone in the ’80s started in Coventry, which is where we’re from, and it’s always going to be in our music. We have links with the Two Tone Museum – they have always been helpful to us and a good platform. We really think it’s something that should be recognised, it was a movement that stood for a lot. It’s representative of what we stand for now.
Harry: Yeah. I think we have a lot of punk influence in us, I think.
P3dro: Yeah, that’s an interesting conversation with people saying they’re a punk band, or an alternative band. It’s a kind of attitude?
Liv: Yeah, I think so, for sure. We’d never call us a punk band, but what we stand for has punk tied in.
Harry: Punk was the first music I ever started getting into when I was about 13. I was listening to 70s punk bands like Stiff Little Fingers and X-Ray Spex. I loved the sound of it and I got into the general message behind it. I think it works quite well with mixing it in with reggae.
I think we do that a bit with our sound and what we sing about, too.
Liv: Yeah, I’d say, even though with reggae and punk are the polar opposites of each other sound wise, they definitely stand for the same kind of things. It’s a good crossover.
P3dro: Yeah. You guys are probably far too young, because way back at the beginning of punk, for the DJs there were not enough punk records for them to play, so they had to fill in with reggae and ska and stuff like that.
Liv: I like that. It’s a good anecdote.
P3dro: True. That’s how it worked.
P3dro: So, how did you get involved with the team from Alternative Sounds?
P3dro: So, what do you think of the music scene in Coventry? How is it?
Liv: Well, being a student there you get to know what’s happening. At the moment, it’s a bit sad, that’s for sure. But it’s definitely had it’s heyday and it’s times. There’s been some great music coming out from here. Even the woman [Delia Derbyshire] who wrote the Dr Who theme – she’s from here. But I think it’s something even a lot of locals don’t celebrate enough. But there you go. It’s a bit dead these days.
Liv: There are definitely some good young bands around these days, but compared to other cities, I’d say its fairly thin on the ground, but there are a few about. But I think there should be more. It should be pushed [harder].
P3dro: Who’s gonna do the pushing?
Liv: Well, we’re a young band. I’d recommend anyone to give it a go. It’s fun. Why wouldn’t you want to be in a band?
P3dro: Yeah, that’s an interesting point. We’ve spoken to other bands from Coventry who say there aren’t that many places to play.
Liv: Yeah, that’s true. It’s not like you can go and play seven or eight pubs. There are literally about two or three and then you’ve played anywhere that’s worth doing. It’s a small city, really. But I do think there’s room for more places. But funding … It’s definitely tricky. But we have City of Culture [in 2021] so that will bring some really cool stuff in.
P3dro: Yeah, we were aware of that. Do you think it will make much of a difference?
Liv: Yeah, I do. I’m a theatre student at the University and I graduate in July. From what I know there will be a lot of opportunities for people like us. I’m hoping it will make a difference. There is a lot of money being invested into a festival hub in one of the old buildings in Coventry, which is where artists can play and shows will happen. So, that could involve us, who knows. But, then again, the whole Covid situation does make it a bit hard to know what’s going to go on.
P3dro: How have the last few months been? Have you been able to get together to rehearse or record?
Liv: Literally a couple of times since the first lockdown. It’s been very all over the place this year. When restrictions were a bit looser then four or five of us have got together to write things. We have songs that are written, but they need to be properly rehearsed, worked on and recorded. That’s the only thing getting in our way now.
But we all live in different areas and with the tiers we can’t travel and get together and see each other. It does make it very tricky.
P3dro: What plans do you have for recording music, or gigs?
Liv: We have four or five songs that are properly written. The ideas are all there. They just need to be polished off and then recorded. We have a bit of money put aside for that, but it may not be enough. And, of course, we make our money through gigging, so it’s whenever we can get into the swing of that again that we can go in and record.
We want to make sure it sounds good. We had quality recording last time, so we’d want to make sure we were up to the same standards again.
It’s all a bit sticky, but we do hope that we can start gigging again and then by the end of the year we can, hopefully, have something out.
We really want to. We just want people to know that, but it’s just there has been a really unfortunate series of events.
We’ve always been a live band. That’s our priority. But we really, really want to get music out there. It’s just logistically not possible at the moment.
Harry: We need gigs to fund it. The money from gigs goes into a pot and that’s what we use to go into the studio. But …
P3dro: Recommend a band or an album you think we should be listening to right now.
Liv: I would always recommend our friends The Skints, Mungo’s Hi Fi, Eva Lazarus, Hollie Cook. All strong females. There’s a hell of a lot out there. I feel like, over lockdown it’s hard to recommend music because your head is full of so many different things.
Harry: Gentleman’s Dub Club. Especially live, they’re one of the best bands around at the moment.