By Georgia Kinchington
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
Suss Cunts laugh in the face of the male-dominated punk and DIY scenes.
Split between Melbourne and Sydney, this all-female trio spew sex-positive female anthems that are sure to elevate you as you suffer through the tedium of the male gaze. Or, for those men reading and listening at home, maybe give you something to think about. The world needs more Suss Cunts.
I had a chat with Nina Renee, their guitarist and lead singer.
Obviously I have to ask you about the name. What kind of statement are you making? Or should I just be reluctant to trust you with my ciggies?
The name came up a long time ago. Helena (bass / vocals) and I worked together for years in hospo and it was kind of a running joke – about customers, people we knew, and definitely ourselves. Helena got given a bass just over a year ago, I had been playing music with several bands for a while and we talking about starting a band as a big old joke. Then we met Tahlia, our drummer. She was a huge fucking motivator to actually do it. She is an incredible drummer and we all worked at the same cafe. She really brought us together. So we had the name and we had the band and to be honest I’m not sure that any of us had given huge thought to the *swears* in the name. It was after we started playing that it began to come up as a thing, people said shit like our name would take us places or that it was good marketing. Like the music wasn’t enough or something. After people started asking us about it or talking about it, it kind of hit home that it’s still political to be rude like that if you’re a lady. And we are all cis women, so there is still a safety or a privilege there, in being able to have such a brash name. That being said, it’s weird to me that as soon as you’re an all-girl band with a rude name people want to ask you about it, or attribute shit to it. It wasn’t an intentional statement in my mind; it just operates in that way because that is life. But at the end of the day we are just fucking suss little shits writing tunes.
Let me assure you I’m asking because I’m just really shit at questions. How important is feminism (and especially sex-positive feminism – I’m thinking of the track “Get Laid”) to you and the band?
Mate! It’s bloody super important. Feminism was a dirty word to me when I was growing up. I can totally remember pulling bullshit lines like “I’m just one of the boys”, etc. But since those dark puberty blues years it’s been a huge old thing for me, and all of the band I think. Intersectional feminism has kinda opened my world. I’m still learning (we all are) but it’s made me feel safer, and more able to stand up for myself and for people who I love and respect. It’s hard to know where to even start with it, and I don’t want to talk about Helena and Tahlia’s experiences with it… but musically, since I taught myself how to play the music, it’s been a fucking uphill battle. I can wear being harassed on the street day to day to day because I’m used to it (how gross is it that I have to be used to it). But, with the music it’s been super awful at times. Sexual harassment, physical violence and just being spoken down to at most shows, that is just a reality. It’s real and it’s cooked-as. Helena and Tahlia have been so fucking great, every time I come at them with lyrics like “Get Laid”, they get it. Sometimes you just need to cop a root and why is it so weird for a lady to say that?
Mate, I am all about the root. I can completely identify with everything you’re saying. Which is why I ask: Do you think that men have been as receptive to your music as women?
That’s hard to say. I’m not sure to be honest. Dunno if there is a trend with who asks us to play or who buys the merch, lol. I’ll say this though, when it gets back to the name it’s mainly dudes who read it as a publicity thing, or something like that. They also tend read it like a very heteronormative thing. Like, we are three cis ladies with vaginas, and cunt is slang for vagina. But that’s just not the case for us. There are so many women and men and gender nonconforming people with vaginas, so rack off, mates. We’re just some little shits making music.
Alright. To change course here: you just recently moved to Sydney. Why the fuck would you do that, and how do you think the scene/vibe differs between the two cities?
If I had known about the roaches and the shit buses I might have stayed in Melbourne. I moved here to study cinematography. I’m 28 and a bit sick of hospo so I guess I’m following my dreams? I’m lucky, though, I landed in a fucking great house with great housemates who all play great music. I miss my Melbourne mates beyond words, and playing in a couple of bands there makes the move harder. But the Sydney music scene is bloody ripper. Like, Paradise Daily… are you kidding me? What a label, what a roster of acts… WEET, WDK, Red Red Krovvy, it’s all so good. I don’t see a huge difference between the scenes, more that they are just both super insular and there isn’t enough crossover between the two.
Couldn’t agree more. Melbourne and Sydney should be best mates. With your self-titled EP being launched this week – what’s next for Suss Cunts?
They should be lovers! Dunno, mate, probably just keep playing and writing songs about feelings. I wanna do a Sydney show but bookers won’t respond to my emails so might just have to convince my housemates to have a house show. It’s cheaper and more fun that way I guess.
Suss Cunts launch their EP tonight, July 15, at The Gasometer in Collingwood w/ Cable Ties, Palm Springs and Tim Richmond Group. It’s 10 dollars. That’s cheaper than fucken Netflix.