Q&A: Colour Me Wednesday, DIY Punk With Feminist Roots

Meet Colour Me Wednesday, a five-piece female fronted band from West London, England. They’re a political pop punk/indie pop band from West London, England. Sisters Jen Doveton and Harriet Doveton founded the band. Their vibe is DIY, with a message of “totally vegan and totally against any oppressive capitalist bullshit”.

They consist of Jen on lead vocals, Harriet on the guitar, Carmela on the bass, and Jacca and Lizzie on the drums.

I had a chance to interview Jen over email about their sound, their new EP, and the importance of feminism in today’s music scene.

The following interview has been edited for clarity.

How would you describe Colour Me Wednesday’s sound?

Catchy, energized punky indie pop with a hint of melancholy.

How long have you’ve guys been playing music?

Harriet and I started the band when she was a teenager, so that was nearly ten years ago. Carmela joined about four years ago, and Jaca  and Laura joined in the last year.

What inspires you? What wakes you up in the morning to create music?

Catchy hooks, the kind which make you feel something, really inspire me. Being able to express my ideas and have a lot of people sing along is becoming a motivating factor. Music is such an emotional and personal thing, it’s like a tiny snapshot of how you were feeling that day. You then go on to perform that feeling and that snapshot for years, and people share in it for years.

Describe the DIY recording process, what was it like putting together your latest EP,
“Anyone and Everyone”? Any part of the process you liked? Or disliked?

We really enjoyed putting this EP together, we did it very efficiently. We recorded most of it in my bedroom, some in our practice shed, and the drums in our friend’s potato barn. It was so satisfying because the songs still felt pretty fresh and new, the recording process didn’t feel in any way stale. I used Logic to record everything, did it very thoroughly, labeled and color coded every track, and used multiple microphones where applicable to get the fullest sound. On the last track, I programmed some synth and we split the track between Jaca’s real drums and drums programmed on logic. Doing it ourselves meant we knew each take inside and out. Doing it ourselves also meant that when we passed it on to Luke and he mixed and mastered it we had a good idea of how we wanted it to sound – and he was totally in tune with our vision for the tracks. We loved this process and we’d do it this way again if we find the time.

What’s your favorite album right now?

I’m going to see Mitski next week in London. I’m really into her new album “Puberty 2”. It’s unlike anything I would write, that’s why I love it. I love the structure and the chords she uses, the approach she has to songwriting is so different to mine. This means I’m not analyzing it as I’m listening, I’m just enjoying the mystique of the songs.

Favorite song off the EP?

My favorite changes daily. I like performing “Two-Fifty For You Girls” because it’s actually kind of hard to keep up with its energy. I like listening to “In Your Shoes” because we put it together so quickly, and it’s really Carmela’s first CMW song, it doesn’t feel like I’m listening to one of my songs.

Tell us about one of your favorite gigs, that you’ll always remember. What about one
that was downright awful?

I liked a lot of the gigs on the European tour we just did, thanks to KROD records. The gigs we are doing are just getting better and better, but it is hard to remember individual ones. I remember in Hamburg the crowd was so lively and warm, they laughed at all my jokes. I love it when people laugh at my jokes.!In England, I feel like people have a slightly more reserved sense of humor, everyone wants to retain a sense of ironic distance, maybe? But I am hilarious, to the German people anyway. One bad gig can really put you off when you’re on a roll, though. Sometimes we agree to do a local gig in Uxbridge, Hillingdon, Greater London but sadly, we almost always end up regretting it. People in our area aren’t into our band, they travel into London for a night out or if they happen to be at a local gig they just talk over us and make us feel like nobodies. You’d think it wouldn’t have an impact but when your hometown doesn’t care about you, it can feel like it was all for
nothing.

What are some of your favorite songs you’ve covered, even if for fun? 

We covered Ariana Grande’s “One Last Time” recently, which was really hard (for me) but really fun! We did a cover of “Overload” by the Sugababes which I want to resurrect because it sounded so damn good! But our best cover of all time was probably Mel C and Bryan Adams’ “When You’re Gone” which we did at Indietracks 2015.

Why is feminism such an important part of your music? What do you think about the recent wave of mainstream artists either confirming they’re feminists or dismissing feminism all together? Should reporters even be asking just women musicians or performers if they’re a feminist to begin with?

I think it can only be a good thing that more people in the public eye are identifying themselves as feminists. While the workplace, in general, is tough for women, the arts, in particular has very little regulation in place to counteract structural sexism. I’m hoping this will make people more likely to open their eyes to discrepancies in pay and opportunity, as well as harassment and abuse taking place in all workplaces and social scenes.

Salaried female workers are on average paid less than their male counterparts, and it’s hard to use the same kind of data when talking about the music industry. It would seem, just by glancing a festival lineup or a radio playlist, that the music industry has less opportunities for female musicians. Female musicians are not absent from the scene, they are just offered less lucrative opportunities. If they aren’t on the headline stage, where are they? They’re still playing unpaid support slots, still playing unpaid ‘introducing’ stages- that’s if they haven’t given up. The devaluation of women’s labor and art goes hand in hand with their vulnerability to harassment and abuse, it’s a full circle of oppression. And of course, in all areas, it’s even worse if you’re a woman of color or from another marginalized group.

Building up an awareness of this is important, being vigilant is important, vigilance to this kind of discrimination needs to become part of the culture. I don’t wanna hear a white man cluelessly going, “Huh? What? Sexism in MY scene? That could never happen!” ever again.

What advice would you give to young women who want to get into music? 

Be confident, be outspoken, don’t put yourself down, make what kind of music makes you happy, not what you think people want to hear. Don’t listen to men. Take the piss out of men. If they’re decent people they can take it.

Do you guys have anything else you want to say about the band, feminism, the new
EP, anything?

We make our own videos and even though we’re really busy right now there are a couple in the works. People should follow our YouTube (also our Instagram and Snapchat are hilarious: colourmewed) and Dovetown, our record label/creative collective or whatever has a Youtube channel and a Facebook page full of great CMW related stuff.

You can check out more of Colour Me Wednesday’s work here:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube

Soundcloud 

Tumblr

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