Here’s to those who speak the truth and are not believed
This is the year of rage
Deux Furieuses, the agit punk duo from the UK recently signed to Xtra Mile Recordings, storm the stage in the video for “Year of Rage” clad in all black attire while wielding red flags. The furious duo is comprised of Ros (guitar/vocals) & Vas (drums/vocals) is taking European radio by storm with their unabashed, unflinching views of the cultural climate. “Year of Rage” is the first track off their second LP, My War is Your War, released in October 2019. “Rage” was quickly chosen by Radio X’s John Kennedy’s as his X-Posure Big One.
The title track takes the year of rage theory to another level, an unapologetically catchy protest song that Ros sings with crisp yet fluttery vocals with a nod to Delores O’Riordan’s ethereal voice as she sang about those damn Zombies. Ros’ voice posses a mesmerizing, almost shamanic quality as she scratches out skeletal but punishing riffs alongside Vas’s stony drumming. The duo makes noise.
War is the follow up to their 2016 debut, Tracks of Wire. the LP centered around 2 tracks that detailed their frustration with the music industry and cultural hypocrisy. “Are We Sexy Enough” roughs up the A&R dudes with accusations so direct they lacerate on impact:
THEY’LL RAPE YOU IF YOU’RE DRUNK
THEY’LL RAPE YOU AS A GANG
THEY’LL RAPE YOU IN THE ARMY TO A MAN
THEY’LL RAPE YOU UNDER ORDER
THEY’LL RAPE BECAUSE THEY CAN
CONTROL YOU ENOUGH
ARE YOU DAMAGED ENOUGH?
ARE YOU SEXY ENOUGH?
“Can We Talk About This” similarly comes at you with bright, unruffled vocal stylings riding shotgun with the post punk revery of ripe guitar playing and angry drum blowing past any and all borders and facades. It’s as avant garde as it is direct, a combination rarely seen on this end of the agit-punk spectrum and one that makes much more sense when we get into their rich, wide range of influences, from PJ Harvey to German expressionism.
Let’s get to know Deux Furiuses a little better, shall we?
How did you two meet?
We met when Ros moved down to London from Glasgow and advertised for a “Rock N Roll Freak” drummer. We had been moving in similar circles and knew the same people from certain bands so it’s strange we had never met before as Vas had gigged in Glasgow and Ros had gigged in London loads so we may have been at the same gig at some point but not known it!
I hear themes in your music that are so relevant to the current climate regarding femininity, masculinity, gender fluidity. Also I hear the cry against aggression against women. The song that stuck with me was off your Tracks of Wire album “Are We Sexy Enough?”. That packs a punch. How did the lyrics come about?
We always wanted to be free of gender stereotypes and to just be creative musicians. We have had to fight in the music business to be taken on our own terms in the way that male musicians are. They can choose to use their sexuality or not, and it is usually enough for them to just look cool and play their instrument fully clothed. With female musicians it has always been expected that you are there as eye candy. So while we support women who do wish to express themselves in this way, we should be free to not express ourselves this way and still get a platform. That’s why we loved bands like The Breeders or early PJ Harvey.
“Are We Sexy Enough?” came about because our publishing company A&R woman advised us we needed to be more sexy in order to get a record label. We were thinking about the contradiction of encouraging girls growing up to make themselves attractive to men, but not so attractive that you could be punished for giving the wrong signals. Society tries to teach girls how to walk this line and some of us resist.
The songs on My War is Your War rip with fierce intensity. “Year of Rage” comes right at you. “Thorns” hit home with me. Did you get any backlash from your new label for the honesty implied in these offerings.
Thank you, actually we didn’t. When we emailed the new album mixes to Charlie Caplowe, owner of Xtra Mile Recordings, we did wonder if they might be put off but he replied saying it “sounded really strong with powerful lyrics”. Then when Xtra Mile announced our signing he said we had made a “huge and poignant new album”. They are a great label who miraculously seem to get what we are doing. They had heard the first album so probably knew what they were in for!
What is your song writing process like?
Ros writes the songs on guitar at home with lyrics developing at the same time as the initial chords, riffs and melodies, and then we arrange the final song structure together in the rehearsal room as Vas develops her drum part. The lyrics or the beat may change later as we demo the songs and experiment.
I am very into duos lately. How does it work between the two of you? Do you both share vocals?
There is nowhere to hide as a duo and we enjoy the creative, sonic and performing challenges this brings. It pushes us to think differently when working on our parts and we push each other too. We experiment a lot to find parts that work with each other, sometimes against each other but always keeping in mind the essence of the song and the dynamics for live performance. Ros uses a Marshall stack which gives us bottom end power and we don’t miss bass. There is also the extra advantage of fitting ourselves and equipment in one car. Ros is the main vocalist with Vas on occasional backing duties.
How was it working with PJ Harvey’s associations? She is an inspiration of mine going back many years.
PJ Harvey has consistently been a musical hero to us and Rob Ellis’s drumming, particularly on Dry, was a huge inspiration to Vas. Rob producing us was a dream come true. We were nervous at first but once in the studio we just knuckled down and got on with it. He constantly surprises whether with his choice of sounds, percussion parts or subtle melodic lines that add texture and atmosphere to the tracks. He is very musical with attention to detail and punk in attitude at the same time.
We met Polly Harvey at a Patti Smith gig in London and she was very gracious. We talked about the songs she had contributed to Marianne Faithful’s Before The Poison album. Rob, who had also played on the album, reprised his piano part from “No Child of Mine” on our track “Dream for Change” on the Tracks of Wire album which was pretty special.
We wanted to continue the relationship with him on the second album and he really added to the title track “My War is Your War” which was very minimal when we first played it to him. He added a floor tom loop which really works behind Vas’s drum part. On “Words of Warning” he distorted one tom which makes the whole track sound disturbing.
What artists or bands are you listening to at the moment?
The Murder Capital, Xylouris White, Black Flower, Body/Head, Nick Cave, Idles, Esya, Petrol Girls
Does a genre of art resonate with your aesthetic? I feel that minimalist deconstruction vibe.
We are minimal in our instrumentation and visual presentation. Our stage set up is the two of us in black, with only a drum kit and amp set at an angle. Before recording the album Ros visited Berlin’s stunning Jewish Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind with its striking empty concrete “voids” built into the architecture. In the memory void, ‘Shalekhet (Fallen Leaves)’ by Menashe Kadishman, 10,000 faces of open mouths cut from iron lie on the ground and echo as you tread over them. Art that makes you think in it’s empty spaces.
Also expressive, visceral art like German Expressionism. Ros also visited Die Brucke museum in Berlin. There is a comment on society and a visceral impact in the work of Kirchner, Francis Bacon, Egon Shiele. Tracey Emin and her early work with its personal female perspective. ‘My Bed’ is the most rock ’n’ roll artwork of the 90’s to equal PJ Harvey. This was a scene from her life at the time but the woman for once is not lying on the bed but out of the frame considering what she sees. Yoko Ono’s ‘Cut Piece’ where she had sat on the floor fully dressed and invited the audience to cut off her clothes with scissors.
Now a fun fact about the band. It doesn’t have to be music related.
DF HQ was recently overrun by cats and kittens that were all moving in from Vas’s street. Thankfully with the help of Cats Protection they have now been neutered and the kittens re-homed. But not before the kittens tried out all the instruments lying around!
Let the kittens jam.