In the first two parts, we have explored the Roadkill scene and Saint Agnes’ musical identity. In this third and final part of a thought-provoking interview with Saint Agnes, we talk about politics and how Brexit will affect the UK music industry.
Asking bands for their opinions on Brexit has become routine and in my recent interviews I found that they all share the same concern. To quote Kitty: “Touring Europe is going to be a fucking nightmare now.”
This feeling of indignation is shared by Jon: “It’s sad. You know, we’re citizens of the world. This idea of drawing divisions between us regardless of whether the economy is going to be better or worse off.. All that stuff is essentially irrelevant. England is a more successful country than other countries in Europe. Rather than jealously guarding that position, we’re in a position to help other people come up to this level. Or we can share some of that greatness, rather than jealously guarding it to our own detriment of our travel, culture. People looking at us must think we’re fucking idiots now. We’re gutted. Touring’s going to be hard.”
Politics can often reflect an artist’s angle and direction in their music, so I ask if this is the case for Saint Agnes. Kitty responds: “I don’t know how much it influences our music, but we’re very political, very left wing. I think it’s quite hard to incorporate politics into music. Punk is obviously a very good medium to do that because anarchy, punk and the lyrics, it all ties in.”
Jon elaborates with a detailed and considered response: “I don’t think lyrically there’s politics in our stuff, but I think music and rock ‘n’ roll is a political statement. Just by the fact that you’re not doing it [music] for profit means you’re not a Tory. You’re not a capitalist. You’re doing music because it enriches the soul and life. That is a political thing.”
He continues by comparing politics with the act of going out to watch bands: “People going to a gig, they’re not necessarily musicians. They’re going to a gig to go and lose their shit for a night, that’s a political act. Everything you do is a political act. Music is fundamentally left wing. There’s bands out there who won’t even necessarily know what that means because they’re not politically motivated. But what they are doing by providing entertainment at cost to themselves is a socialist act. You’re saying, ‘I want to enrich society’. And I think that’s important. We don’t claim to be a great authority on anything like that, but we do believe in people. We believe in togetherness, we believe in the hippie ideal: Let’s love each other, let’s not shoot each other, let’s welcome refugees, let’s help less fortunate people. All that stuff is good.”
Despite the current political events, Saint Agnes continue to look forward. “We’re not going to stop,” says Kitty passionately. “We’re not going to stop doing music, so it’s kind of pointless being frustrated or bitter. And to be honest we’re having a fucking good time.”
Jon adds: “You go from today-forwards and that’s it. That’s what Pantera said: ‘Yesterday don’t mean shit.’”
So, as fans prepare to ‘lose their shit’ at tonight’s gig, we come towards the end of our three-part interview. Jon concludes by promoting their new single: “This is exclusive – it’s going to be called ‘Merry Mother of God Go Round’, with a video. So yeah, that’s the next thing that’s definitely going to be happening for us.”
While releasing a new song and video may be the next thing happening for Saint Agnes, the next step for Great Britain – unfortunately for its bands – looks to be Article 50. Discontent, however, engenders art, and it will be intriguing to see how those bands respond if Brexit really does mean Brexit.
‘Merry Mother of God Go Round’ is set to be released on 9 December.
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Cover photo by Rob Blackham