Confrontational garage rock fourpiece Ghost Car are the London-based band rallying against political injustice. Combining 60s psyche with spiky punk and gorgeous vocal harmonies, their sweet and sour sound is the perfect delivery for impassioned rallying cries against patriarchy and inequality as heard on debut album Truly Trash.
See Ghost Car takeover Islington hotspot The Grace on the 6th of May when you grab tickets with Gigantic – CLICK HERE to book yours!
Continuing to celebrate International Women’s Day, we spoke to the group about the extent of the opposition to equality, the female figures who have inspired them most and the importance of solidarity to bring about meaningful change.
You’re credited as leading a fresh new wave of riot grrrl. How did the band first get going?
Ghost Car started in 2014 in a bedroom in South London between friends. Our mission since the beginning was to start a creative project and have an impact on the male dominated music industry. To speak up about life experiences, but in particular injustices, or things that make us angry.
I guess that’s how most riot grrrl bands started, different years and cultural context, same anger.
Last year saw you drop your killer debut album Truly Trash. Which tracks are you most proud of?
We are very proud of our whole album as a piece of work, it meant a lot to be able to finally share it with the world.
I guess if we had to pick one track it would probably be “Terrible Feelings” for the simple reason that is the first track that we wrote all together as a new line up as soon as the lockdown restriction made it possible for us to be in the same room and write music. We feel like it encapsulates what we were going through during that time and it’s the perfect anthem for our comeback.
And now, your headline show at The Grace is fast approaching. What can we expect to see and hear at a Ghost Car gig?
We always do our best to make sure that our gigs are a safe place for people. We like to see our gigs as that moment of your night where you can enjoy the music you love knowing that you will always have someone looking after you and taking your side if you are feeling unsafe.
What will you be doing to mark International Women's Day, and what does it mean to you?
International Women’s Day was originally intended to mark the inspirational struggle of the half of the world oppressed because of gender. During the years, like most things in this capitalist world, it’s been stripped of the original message and commercialised for profit.
It’s important to remember and be reminded of why we need an International Women’s Day; inequality of gender still exists and affects women’s lives every day.
I think this year is important to use this day to dedicate the focus in solidarity to Iranian Women who are courageously demonstrating for their fundamental human rights.
Zan. Zendegi. Azadi. Woman, Life, Freedom.
Female solidarity is incredibly empowering; what have been your best experiences working with women?
When we started the band, we hung out a lot with our dear late friend Lyndell Mansfield. She was a beacon in integrating people in east London to have a safe, queer space for music. She brought us so many amazing opportunities like the people we met through her, touring with Beth Ditto but also having that friendship and support from the community is something we will always treasure and try to expand through London.
In what ways is patriarchy a problem in the music business? And how do you think this can be best challenged and overturned?
Of course it’s a problem, we will be here forever listing what ways it’s a problem but the amount of opportunities we’ve had to turn down because of creepy men in bands or snide comments from “industry” people for being too much this way or not enough that way, it’s exhausting. We really think men in the music industry need to step up and call out gross behaviour more, it shouldn’t solely be on the shoulders of the people that are affected by it. Come on lads, do the bare minimum.
Equality is a simple and unambiguous concept. Why do you think some people are so scared and even violently opposed to feminism and queer politics?
Maybe because the political is personal but people don’t like change if it doesn’t personally benefit them. That’s what is sad in queer politics; we wanna see more white cishet men doing more and learning more. We want to do more as white women! We need to do more! The best way we can all empower each other and those around us is by learning and being more empathetic.
Who are your political heroes?
There are so many brave women that fought to change history, it’s hard to pick.
Irma Bandiera was one of the many brave Partigiane that liberated Italy. She was a primary school teacher and decided to take up arms to fight in the name of liberty. She was captured while fighting the German SS, undergoing ferocious torture, yet she did not speak a word that would compromise her comrades. After she was blinded, she was cruelly slaughtered on the public road. The most pure, heroine-worthy of the virtues of Italian women, she would be a guiding light for all Bolognese patriots in the war of Liberation.
Italian history would have been very different without the Partigiane.
And who do you consider the worst offenders in Britain today?
At this point, the whole political class in Britain is disgraceful. The hellscape that is British politics has created this disfranchisement of young people, immigrants, people of colour, any minority basically. It’s hard to not get overwhelmed with how crap the political situation is at the minute, but you just have to keep going and standing up for people. But obv fuck the Tories/fuck the DUP.
What advice do you have for any women first starting out as a performing artist?
Reach out to other women in bands, talk to them, be honest and share how you feel. Hearing how other women have overcome the barriers that this male dominated industry creates will help you understand how to move your next steps and having a supporting network of women there for you will make a massive difference.
06/05 Ghost Car – The Grace, London