Introducing… The Tuts

The Tuts
The Tuts

The Tuts: “We want to develop as songwriters by always writing…Our music will evolve subtly”

Archaic and free-spoken: the punk-pop trio storming the DIY scene. But this is just the beginning of their beckoning career

Name: Beverley Ishmael (drums), Harriet Doveton (bass/vocals), Nadia Javed (guitar/vocals)

Age: Mid-twenties

Location: London

Style: Punk-pop indie – not pop-punk

Look out for: Debut album Update Your Brain, out now

September 2016 saw the release of the band’s debut album Update Your Brain. A record that deals with the dire state of politics, class, race and sexism. But the music that accompanies those stark and thoughtful lyrics is so upbeat and danceable, that the overwhelming feeling of hope left behind, long after the record has finished, is inspirational from a band in its infancy.

Well, that’s what it seems anyway, as guitarist Nadia explains: “Some of these songs were written 10 years ago, I’ve been playing guitar for about 13 years. When I was younger, we went on a family holiday to Africa where my uncle lived before he passed away, and it’s his guitar that I use today. I’m mostly self-taught from learning tabs. I had lessons for a bit, but the teacher was a prick. Since then I’ve worked with one of the members of Asian Dub Foundation who has helped me develop.”

Bev agrees: “Same as Nadia. I started when I was 15, so about 13 years ago, I had lessons at school, then my parents got me my first drum kit. I think they regret that now.”
Harriet adds: “I started playing guitar when I was about 16, but only learned bass the night before my first practice with The Tuts, in 2011.”

With songs like Give Us Something Worth Voting For and What’s On The Radio, it is clear that there is a focus on world events, as Harriet explains: “The songs are about life stuff; I find it difficult to write about happy stuff. Nadia usually starts writing and will give the song to me if she gets stuck. In the future, I want to write more fictional songs.”

Nadia continues: “I have a book where I write lyrics and I’ll revisit them later when the chords come. Sometimes I’ll record on my phone, then play a riff over the recording to see if it fits. But, if it’s good, you know.”

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As the songs developed and the gig offers started coming in, the band befriended some interesting people, as Harriet explains: “We met Billy Bragg backstage at Glastonbury. Kate Nash snuck us in – we had to pretend we were her backing dancers and nobody questioned it. It was the first time Nadia was star-struck, but he eventually took us on tour.”

The album went down well with fans on social media, and music reviewers, with more people recognising the band by the week. Interviews and live performances on outlets like the BBC’s Asian Network helped to expand their fan-base. Harriet tells us what is next for the band: “World domination! We toured the album all over the UK, so neglected Europe. A short European tour, a few UK dates and festivals are our aim next year.”

An equally ambitious Nadia cuts in: “We want to develop as songwriters by always writing. While we are doing that, we are going to build our YouTube channel and continue expanding our social media presence.” Harriet takes over: “Our music will evolve subtly, as we expand on the genre.”

“We’re punk-pop indie,” continues Nadia. “We want to be more two-tone, but we listen to so much music, it’ll all be on the second record. It’ll have to be two separate albums, one punk and one arty. We’ll piss off the fans – they’re all into punk-pop.”

Growing up on the outskirts of West London, in a multi-cultural, multi-racial environment, provided the opportunity to be subjected to a broad range of people, music and styles. Something that all members of the band embrace daily. Bev defiantly explains: “Grime is the new punk. Skepta is so inspirational, for years he has worked off his own back. He provides a positive message, especially to black men. And Jme is vegan, and loves computer games, and you wouldn’t expect that, I don’t think.”

“In the past, it was all about Feeder, The Libertines, and Kate Nash,” adds Nadia. “Now, it’s Giggs… Kanye [West]… and always the Spice Girls.” Harriet has the last word: “I’ve always loved bands that are around me. We toured with Kate Nash for her third album. I listen to Craig David while driving to work; he always gets me through the day. Charlie XCX is another one.”

Interview: Dave Chrzanowski

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