INTERVIEW

FRANKLY, IT’S ALL A BIT EMBARRASSING. Back in my day (about a fortnight ago) you had to be at least 21 years old before you were allowed to be cool – nowadays the music scene is awash with young pups so darn hip it makes me consider cashing in the ¬£17.50 I’ve got stored up […]

FRANKLY, IT’S ALL A BIT EMBARRASSING. Back in my day (about a fortnight ago) you had to be at least 21 years old before you were allowed to be cool – nowadays the music scene is awash with young pups so darn hip it makes me consider cashing in the ¬£17.50 I’ve got stored up in my pension fund. I’m talking about bands like Cajun Dance Party, Pull In Emergency and, best of all, Poppy And The Jezebels. These four girls are barely old enough to have stopped believing in Santa, yet they’ve already got their sights set on world domination. Comprising 14-year-olds Mollie Kingsley (vocals), Dom Vine (keyboards/bass/guitar/vocals), Amber (guitar) and OAP drummer Poppy (she’s getting on a bit at 15 years old), the band visit better charity shops than The Long Blondes and write brilliant piano-tinged indie-pop that sounds like everyone from Britpop girl-groups to the Langley Schools Music Project to Blondie to Fleetwood Mac. They all met at school in Kings Heath, Birmingham, and got to work arranging gigs via MySpace so they could play to kids their own age rather than boring old adults all the time. We caught up with them for a chat (don’t worry, we didn’t let the Santa thing slip‚”).

WHAT’S THE POPPY AND THE JEZEBELS MANIFESTO?
Poppy: “For the Jezebels its more in the mixing up of stuff and not caring about what’s ‘cool’. We’ll mix Toni Basil and Bow Wow Wow with The Velvet Unerground and Joni Mitchell. Who cares? We like mixing up eras and fashions from charity shops, flea markets and the high street.”

IS THERE AN UNDERAGE REVOLUTION GOING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Poppy: “Yes, but lots of underage bands just try to copy acts that they like from the last generation – the Dirty Pretty Things boring old stufflike that..It’s like any scene that breaks, there’s going to be good stuff and not so good…”
Mollie: “But there’s definitely going to be a kids revolution! It’s like we sing on ‘Nazi Girls’ [the girl’s trooping pop debut single] – “World domination just 14!” We’ve also got a new one we’re working on that goes: “Poppy, Mollie, Amber, Dom / washed up! Wonder why? 21!”

WHO ARE THE NAZI GIRLS YOU SING ABOUT?
Poppy: “Nazi Girls confuses people. It’s about the kind of kids who try and dictate what you should wear, listen to or do. We’re NOT Nazi Girls!”

WHY THE DEMAND FOR UNDERAGE CLUB NIGHTS?
Poppy: “We get angry at the ticket prices being so high for ‘name bands’ – and if you do go often you know there’s going to be hassle on the door – doormen treating you like 2nd class citizens – so you’re always worried and yet we’re a big part of the people who buy these band’s records – well maybe not anymore! Older bands are so lazy and just go along with how the clubs are set up.”

WHAT’S THE WORST THING ABOUT PLAYING ADULT CLUB NIGHTS?
Mollie: “Getting hit on by drunken men. Also you have to realise that your friends aren’t going to get in or are going to be fretting about it all night. So we always try to sort out an all ages door policy before we agree to play. A few times with hometown gigs we’ve just risked it and had the venue swamped with kids and then they don’t really have a choice! But they probably won’t ask us back!”

WHAT’S THE BEST PARTY YOU’VE EVER PLAYED AT FOR A CROWD YOUR OWN AGE?
Poppy: “I’d have to say our last Birmingham show. The kids our age seemed to start to realise that something was starting to happen for us and that we were their band. They were really with us and even seemed kind of proud. They were screaming and dancing and having fun.”
Mollie: “Under 18 kids are just excited to be out because nights for them are so rare and it’s a chance to let off steam – and it’s the same for us”.
Dom: “It can also be a problem cos’ we care about our audience – if they come and see you at a ‘normal’ gig and manage to get alcohol and get drunk then you do feel responsible’.”
Poppy: ” A crowd that is our age is usually with us from the start of the set. They can connect with us, they can imagine themselves doing the same thing, up on stage too – especially the girls, they can see we don’t need some 20 something session guys behind us!”

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