Interview with Colour Me Wednesday

words Laura Maw

25th April 2016

Colour Me Wednesday, in their own words, are a DIY feminist vegan indie pop-punk band, fronted by sisters Harriet and Jennifer Doveton, with bassist Carmela Pietrangelo. Infectiously catchy, their songs cover left-wing politics, mental health, feminism and veganism. Their new four-track EP, Anyone and Everyone, is full of their trademark sugary pop and punk candour, and accompanied by hand-made collaged CDs made from recycled materials in Harriet’s shed.

I met with Harriet and Jennifer before their gig at DIY Space in London, to talk about their new EP, riot grrrl and collaging.

Could you tell me a bit about making your EP?

Jennifer: I wrote Don’t Tell Anyone, the first song on there, for my solo project and Harriet really liked it. It’s about how there are certain things you just can’t change. The chorus is about not wanting people to know how hard you try if you fail. You can try and change yourself, but you just have to accept who you are.

Harriet: We’ve been playing that for about ten months, but all the other ones are really new. I wrote Two-Fifty For You Girls about white men telling me to stay out of politics, but they also want me to go out and vote for who they tell me to. A lot of the lyrics are based on real comments we’ve had, so they’re essentially quotes. Then we’ve got Horror Story, which is about paranoia when you’re making friends in your mid-twenties because you have no idea of their history. It’s about having that trust issue.

Did you make the artwork for the EP yourself? I love the collaged zine feel of them.

Harriet: Yeah, it was the size of this table! We did it on Jen’s floor and collaged the background and taped it down. We had to stand on a chair to photograph it and I was holding lamps by Jen’s legs. We live in such small spaces as well so it was quite hard! The vinyl isn’t made yet, but we have loads of handmade CDs.

And they’re all different, right?

Harriet: Yeah, it’s what we did when we first started the band. We just made everything ourselves from recycled stuff in my shed.

Do you just have a shed full of different collage materials?

Harriet: I do! It’s 100 percent collage.

Jennifer: And Stephen King novels.

Would you say the DIY/riot grrrl ethic influences the way you make your music?

Harriet: My first influence was Juliana Hatfield, but she was never put in the category of punk, which isn’t really fair because her music involved a lot of distortion. After I started playing guitar, when I was around 20, I got into riot grrrl.

Jennifer: I think it was part of a pool of influences, rather than being the only one. I’ve listened to a lot of Bikini Kill and what I’m most struck by is how bands like that inspired our generation. There are plenty of criticisms of it, like it was very white, but I think you can pick the good bits of the past.

You can choose what you bring forward... Speaking of riot grrrl and DIY, I was going to ask Harriet about Kate Nash, because you toured with her with The Tuts. She’s one of my favourite artists. How has she influenced your music?

Harriet: I remember being on Tumblr about four years ago seeing pictures of Kate Nash. She was playing electric guitar instead of keyboards and we noticed her transitioning into quite a punky style. We got in touch with her and sent her the music video Jen made for The Tuts and she just loved us. She’s really supportive of female musicians. I’ve got her album Girl Talk in my car, I listen to it all the time - it’s such an amazing album. That definitely influenced my songwriting.

What do you have lined up for the summer?

Harriet: We just got announced for a festival called Handmade in Leicester.

Jennifer: Our bassist Carmela’s solo project, Ay Carmela, is going on tour with my solo project, Baby Arms. After that we’re doing a European tour!

Colour Me Wednesday’s new EP is out now and available to buy here.