A big thank you today to Mille and Mie (aka The SoapGirls) for answering my questions. Despite being very friendly and a joy to chat to they're a band that are no strangers to controversy. They're very enthusiatic about their music and their hard work is gaining them an ever growing fanbase.
If you want to learn more or check out their music here's a few handy links :
Just Some Punk Songs :
Hello, please could you start off by introducing yourselves and tell me something of your time performing on the streets of Cape Town....
The Soapgirls :
We are Mille and Mie born in Paris,spent our formative years in France before moving to South Africa!! As young girls we were always aware of the needs and plights of other people as it's so apparent in South Africa and at ages 8 and 9 we embarked on a project to make a difference and hence started street performing selling home made soap in order to raise funds for public hospitals and other projects!! This project spanned more than 8 years and thus the public named us the Soap Girls
When and why did you decide to take your music to Europe and which countries have you had most success in so far?
We were signed to Universal Music when we were 14/15 years old and after 4 years with some pop hits decided it was time to get away as we didnt like being controlled and packaged in a way that was nothing to do with who we were as people nor what we stood for. We then went to New York, recorded another album, still weren't happy as they seemed to want to keep us for the electro dance pop market too and so turned down a deal and flew back to Cape Town. An englishman approached us about coming to UK and we then made the decision to just do it so 3 years ago we embarked on our first UK tour after recording our album Calls For Rebellion (done in 3 days) .We have toured Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and UK. We LOVE the UK its the heart of rocknrooll, punk and the love of live music is inspiring! On the topic of South Africa it represents only 1% of the music market worldwide. Anything more we wont say at this moment in our lives. We are very anti government, very vocal about adressing issues that many fear to. We do this either through our music or performance and we challenge the status quo of society. We will fight and bring attention to social ills like Judgement and the fact that there is such sexism in the industry and animal cruelty in particular commercial farming the policies that governments pass in order to further their careers and line pockets at the detriment to the working class who work harder yet get poorer as time goes by so we are all about giving a voice. Another issue we try to address is the female body/nudity as society seems to be ok with a bare chested man but if its a female there is an outcry WHY is a females body reserved for sexualising? that nudity is reserved for porn industry?
We seem nowadays to live in a very po-faced society with people keen to take offence at virtually anything. Some people can't cope with you wearing very little on stage and I believe you've even been attacked for it. Is it still a problem or are people more accepting now?
Yes indeed it is. Interestingly enough its not the lack or the amount of dress we wear in fact as young girls street performing we took a lot of abuse from society about our "homemade" clothes even the media would belittle us. At the end of the day the clothing is just an excuse so it seems to have an angle to hate on or attack anything or anyone who stands out and is different. We have been on this road for all these years with the ugly side being the unwarranted abuse and outpuring of hatred like a fest feast for bullies that breed in a society who only look at things in boxes so again if it doesnt fit then they ostracise. Yes we got attacked horridly, physically on a tour in the UK whereby the owner had come upon our teenage career and made a decision as he put it to book us to teach us a lesson and so he ordered us to be attacked whilst we were mid song in a set and he justified it by saying that we are sellout sluts damaging to the feminist movement (this coming from a man and moreover a man who had never even met us nor been at a show). Even recently the latest abuse has been as always targeted at me, Mille, a woman even came up to me a few shows ago and said she had a bet on with her friends whether I was male or female so when I was playing I pulled my tampon out and bled all over during the set, I guess that might have given her the answer she was looking for. Its indeed a fight that is still as prevalent today as it was a century ago that women need to fight, that women have the right to as much freedom of expression as our male counterparts. On a positive note we have begun to see a big upsurge in female support, many woman are now standing strongly behind us and we are told often how we inspire them to stand up and how proud we make them to be female.
The youth certainly get it they get the message perhaps us being part of the youth means a lot to them too! Society needs a change and we feel that there is a big uprising starting and the change of perceptions is coming that people have had enough of the system and have much to say and are becoming more emboldened to speak out! We are Societys Rejects and we are proud to be rejected by a society that feels ok to bully, abuse and stand for nothing. A society that doesn't seem to mind or want to see the cruelty inflicted via governement policies on the most vulnerable of our society for example take the meat industry the suffering of the farm animals how can this be acceptable. Look at the plight of most of the elderly the staggering abuse of children
Most days a new video clip of you seems to pop up on my Facebook feed. Your life appears to be a non stop barrel of laughs. Is this just a part of the SoapGirls act or are you still as much fun when the camera is off? Is it easy to blend your fun side with the seriousness of the topics you sing about?
Everything you see and hear is raw real from the music to our live videos hence they are live unscripted and we just have a really wacky sense of humour and we prefer to adress the ugly side of society through humour and by the time people have watched it takes a while to sink in that we have actually been putting out a message. Take our latest video it was hilariously ridiculous, showed society for being all it was in so many ways. When we went out and about in Blackpool there was a candy store and in that candy store lots of little kids running about and stands full of life sized candy cocks so we bought some for perhaps use onstage in a show we didn't think much of it but last night we did our weekly tub updates where we're in our underwear and either tape or cover of some sorts. We share with our fans the week that has been the highlights and the lows and in particular we like doing this because the reaction is important. Its important because currently there are many youth and non youth being bullied via social media to the extent that some have taken their lives so we put ourselves out there so others can see the hatred that comes in the comments and the reactions and how we handle it and still keep on doing what we are doing. We hope to give strength to people to stand up and put themselves out there because no matter what you do you will always receive as much hate as you do acceptance. Besides we like poking fun at ourselves and showing there is no fear in being rejected by a society that has very little worth :) So love it or hate it tub updates every Monday 6pm lol and yip we will piss some off
The fear of being rejected by society brings us nicely to your new album (Society's Rejects). I've got it back in my car cd player to get me in the zone for this interview and I can highly recommend it. Here's your opportunity to tell people who might not be familiar with The SoapGirls why they should check it out...
It means so much to us everytime we hear or know how someone has connected to our music.We are our music, everything we have experienced and lived through is in our music. It's more angry and sometimes sad and of course there is humour but its raw, it's real and no pretence. In fact when we write we dont even consider if the song we're writing or if the arrangement will make sense. There is no formula to real life as much as there is no formula to how we write or compose/arrange our music and we keep it real so we record and then just get it mixed. We dont ever want big production and anything that we cannot bring to our live performances. Our album is all about keeping it real and not having concern whether others will accept it or not, we love our music because it reflects everything about us and mostly it's just about standing up and saying "HEY! I'm a reject" and being cool with it:) We also have created our own genre, Revolt Rock, because no matter the stage or who we share it with we dont fit into any box neither musically or as people.
You recently played the Rebellion Festival in Blackpool. How did that go?
Rebellion Festival was a huge milestone for us and another childhood dream become a reality! When we first heard that we were playing the festival I, Mie, burst into tears and Mille and me jumped around screaming because for us Rebellion encompasses all we stand for and believe in, that being freedom and embracing individualism. Being bullied and shunned for so many years right from our beginning years age 8/9 when we started out street performing we have had to block out from society and at times it has been emotionally very hard for us so performing Rebellion equated to a big fuck you finger for us :) We were so uncertain what to expect and as always we try keep a blank slate before a show and because this one meant so much to us, even more so. The shows we did went down so well we got so many new fans and met some amazing people. We were blown away by the whole festival itself, so much so that we had to go back even the day we weren't performing. It was almost as if we had found somehwere that could resonate with our hearts. The acceptance, non judgment of all we met and saw not just of us but of anyone & everyone that was there. The atmosphere was happy, embracing and is definitely a festival that made a beautiful mark on us not to mention that right down to all the staff, organisers everyone was as a family or a team if you will. We are still smiling and will draw back on our experience of the festival in any dark moments that we might encounter along the way forward.
One question I usually ask to my interviewees, is there a question you wish interviewers would ask you?
YES! If we had looked into a glass ball and seen the challenges we have faced would we still have kept doing things as we have done or would we have changed? Our answer would have been YES we would not change a thing! :)
And Finally.... What next for The Soapgirls?
We are often asked this question and sometimes we feel a blank come over us because living the life we do on tour for most of the year we live life in the now and everyday is literally a blank slate and just putting one foot forward but so saying our hope dreams goals would be to be enabled to continue growing as musicians to keep on doing what we do and be able to release many more albums. Our way of life is so far removed from normalcy that its really frightening to try to live into a future that for most wont make sense! We are currently into our 4th month on the road touring and have another almost 4 to go and then we take a break to write and prepare for the next tour. Each year the tour gets bigger and madder, we are supposed to be going to Japan and USA and then there is Eastern Europe too so we're definitely excited about new challenges/territories and of course the fans who mean the world to us and it's an ever growing family .