Saturday, 12 January 2013


'Melodic pop-punk riot grrl' from the Scottish Borders. SPAT also organise band nights in Hawick, and are involved with the Borders LGBT festival 'Rainbow Kilts'.

Photos by Rafferty&Rafferty

What's the music scene like in the Borders?

Haley (guitar/vocals): There's a lot of cover bands, but there's all these original bands who want to play in the Borders, or original bands from here but they don't get much chance to play.

So its a case of, if there's no scene you just create your own scene?

Yeah. If you write your own material they don't want to give you a gig, even if you don't want paid.  It seems more about money.  These places should give all bands a chance.

Tell us about some of the other bands in the Borders.

There's 'The Zenith Complex', they're on the same wavelength as us, and there's 'Veronica is Boring' (drummer Ryan's other band, which he describes as 'pirate metal'). There's the Honey Badgers - they're grunge rock, and there's 'Psychotropic System' (Korn/System of a Down-style metal).

How did the band form?

It was in 2004. There's a music charity called 'Trash Projects', and they wanted to get more female stuff going, and my friend Jenny asked me if I'd like to volunteer at a 'Girls with Guitars' project, that's where ains and I met Then we just got a band together...and fell in love (laughs)! We were called 'Broken Dolls' to start with. Angie joined in August last year and we played Rainbow Kilts, and then the Pussy Whipped festival.  We got in contact with Ryan through a friend and asked him if he would like to join Spat a few weeks later. Our old drummer was asked to leave because she didn't want to play 'gay gigs'.

Have you experienced much sexism?

Ainsley (guitar): There has been a couple of times over the years when people have looked at us funny, or spoken to us like they don't expect us to know what we're doing, but it has never gotten in the way and we just keep going. The majority of people are really helpful and its happening less and less now. 

Angie, you were a punk musician in the early 80s. What was it like back then?

I was in my first all-girl band in 1980 in Portland, Oregon. We were very challenging - I've been kicked out of bands for being a girl before. I've certainly experienced the glass ceiling in the music industry – where girl bands are the opening bands.

 What other bands have you been in?

Well there was 'The Braph Smears'..

So what's a Braph Smear?

It's German slang for the smear on a girls underwear - as I say we were very challenging! I got into straight-up hardcore and it got a little harder. I was in a band called 'Trash', and we were on P.E.A.C.E./War (early 80's compilation of 55 international hardcore bands), and only five or six of those bands had women in them, and I was in two of those! There weren't any women old or brave or interested enough to get involved. I had a zine called 'Pissed Off in Portland, Oregon', and I wanted to interview (pioneering hardcore band) Bad Brains but they said no , because I was a woman. My best friend was playing guitar and they said to her, 'you should be barefoot and pregnant'. Everybody thinks its so great that there's this black hardcore band, but I don't care if they're black or white, they were just hateful to everyone. That was sexism in the punk rock scene, at the highest level. 

How have you seen things change since then?

It was always like, yeah maybe we'll have a girl singer, but I was never into that. I was always ready to roadie, to manage. Now it's like there's no limits, there's plenty of support systems out there. You can totally go all round it, the barriers are much less than they used to be. There's always been enlightened men who can think beyond gender stereotypes, but back in the 80's, it was harder to find. You had to really really fight, every day. Now there's girls in bands everywhere.

Haley: we had a past band member who when he got in the band was full of pervy sexual innuendos and I think he thought he could get away with it because we were female! so we kicked him oot .

Ryan, how is it being the only guy in a band with a load of girls?

Its fine. Obviously being the drummer, I have the most to set up, and so people think I'm the drum tech or the guitar tech. They're like, 'I thought it was an all-girl band', I think because Spat's got an all-girl reputation. But I don't care, I just like playing music. I like hitting things.

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