The Soap Girls recently unveiled their eagerly anticipated third album Elephant In The Room.

It’s fair to say that things haven’t always been easy for the South African based outfit. Having to endure haters online has become an almost daily issue for the group. But despite this, they laugh in the face of adversity and stand up for what they believe in regardless.

So when the group recently returned to the North East of England, they invited us to tag along for a couple of hours to catch a bit of a glimpse of life on the road with The Soap Girls.

So you are currently out on tour across the UK. It seems like you’ve been everywhere over the last few weeks. How have the shows been going so far?

Insane. Like fucking amazing. Like every show obviously is completely different. It’s the crowd that makes the energy

It’s kind of like a blind date every time.

So you don’t have to know what to expect, but people are there to have fun and really just love music.

I think people that resonate with that, when they come to a show, maybe they come with a different perceived idea and then they leave with something completely different, which is cool.

I love the fact that people leave the show with a new way of thinking. I guess you could say they feel a lot more confident in themselves.

And empowered.

So it seems that you spend a lot of time touring the UK these days. Do you feel that the momentum is building with each and every tour?

Definitely, yeah. I mean you get out and you evolve as an artist. I think we’re constantly getting new levels of consciousness in what we’re doing and I think people resonate with it.

But also coming with that too, not to sound negative, but when you gain momentum and I think the bigger your band or whatever gets and the more people know about you and also the more shit comes with it. And then people start getting jealous and they start turning nasty.

But the haters also spread your word. So I mean if you get a fuck load of hate, you’re going to get your name out there. But we also luckily have a lot of great support.

It seems like you split your time between South Africa and the UK these days. Like where do you feel most at home now?

In the tour van when we are all together. Then it’s home.

So would you say sort of your long term plan is to maybe move to the UK or Europe?

Maybe in Europe.

Yeah, definitely somewhere like Germany or even France. We love being on tour now. I guess it’s much easier from Europe. I mean, you can get to America, you can get to England or the rest of the UK a lot more easily.

I love Germany so much. Yeah, it’s my favourite country.

I mean things are not great here in the UK at the minute with the likes of Brexit causing major issues politically. You know, how does the current state of affairs here inspire you as artists and songwriters?

Oh it definitely inspires us to empower people to wake the fuck up and use their voices because people don’t realize they can sit at home and moan about things, but unless they all unite together and they all have one common goal or whatever, which is for everybody to live a happy fucking life and then you just going to be shit on every day.

We love taking issues that are happening and like the rage that we feel it comes out in the music. And I guess that also again encourages people to get out of the dreams that they are in – I mean you have to wake up and see the shit that’s happening.

I think now more than ever it’s important for people to speak up.

And support live music as well, because if all the live music venues for independent bands start shutting down, there will be no place where people can hear things that get them like ignited you could say – because I mean TV is very censored. So live music is pretty much the only way people hear like a message and issues. What’s happening.

I mean obviously, you’re very comfortable in your own skin. Do you find that the message behind your music is just kind of be yourself would you say?

Completely. Yeah, that’s it. What we’re saying is be comfortable enough in your own skin to know your rights. Stand up for your freedom. You can be dressed, you can be undressed it’s not up to anyone else to impose their restrictions and their prejudice on you. It’s not up to anyone else to define how you should be, how you should act, what you should be thinking. It’s ridiculous.

I mean, you don’t fight other people’s freedoms. If people get more offended by the sight of someone’s appearance instead of war, instead of the gratuitous violence that we’re exposed to every single day – that’s pretty fucked up. And I mean the fact that we encourage people to get out and not give a shit what anyone else thinks about them – I love that.

Even there was a guy a few nights ago at a show and he didn’t have a six-pack, he didn’t have a fucking male model body or whatever. And he took off his shirt for a photo with us because we were standing without our shirts on and he wrote a post about it, and he said there were other people standing and laughing at him. And he said because of the fact that he felt so much body confidence from us, then he didn’t give a fuck. He said he just turned his back so that they could kiss his ass more easily. I love that. I thought it was fucking great.

So back in March, you put out a new single, which is called One Way Street. Could you tell us a little bit about that song and kind of the inspiration behind it?

Well, that song basically it’s about being in a relationship or friendship or any kind of partnership where it’s a dead end. So the person keeps telling you like, I dunno, how shit you are.

It’s like a frenemy. It’s about trying to just find yourself, even though someone’s been keeping you prisoner, basically and you’ve come to terms with that and you realize that it’s just wasted your time.

It’s a dead-end – you need to get out.

So I hear that due to problems with rolling blackouts in South Africa, you had some pretty horrendous problems trying to shoot that video. Is that right?

The video and record. Oh my God, we just recorded our third album in South Africa in March. And do you know that for about eight hours a day the power was cut out, you just couldn’t do anything. And it was like you’d have power for two hours and I mean you could track like bass and guitar, but it’s very expensive to record. So obviously we tried to get it done as fast as possible.

Because time is money in the recording studio.

And yeah, it was very difficult.

Can you tell us anything about the new album? Give us the lowdown?

It’s called Elephant in the Room and obviously, that means like in this album its issues that people would maybe rather choose to ignore because it’s quite hard to speak out about it. And it’s easy to just ignore all the facts and things because I mean, people don’t want to acknowledge there’s as a problem.

And so we are always the elephant in the room wherever we go, to be honest. And the album reflects a lot of issues and things that we’ve been through personally and things that are happening in the world. So if you listen to all the tracks on there, like In The Name of God – it’s about the unfair slaughter of animals. You see it’s one thing to eat meat, but the way in which it’s done on such a disgusting scale because of greed and like people are too overzealous for profit.

Then we have One Way Street – I mean like sometimes people stay in a relationship because you know, they are scared and they don’t want to address the issues that are there.

And then even the song My Development – that’s basically about all these live music venues closing down because people with a lot of money are coming in and gentrifying places.

And kicking people out. I mean look at the homeless people in London, they have nowhere to go. In South Africa they are now fine-ing homeless people, charging them for being homeless.

It is a double album as well. It is about 19 songs. So yeah, there’s a like a whole load.

Did you not at any point think maybe we should like split it into two and put the other part out later?

No, it was too difficult. Like we always do it like this. So after every tour, we write so many songs and then we recorded about 10 or 11. And then that will be like towards the next album, and we’ll record it. And then we leave it and we start incorporating it into the shows. And then when we finished that tour and then we write more at it and then we’ve got the next album. But people have already gotten familiar with some of the songs. Yeah, there were too many songs for us to decide which ones we would leave and keep.

The song Hate Breed, it had a very special meaning to us. So with a name like Elephant In The Room, it wouldn’t have made sense to us to put it on something later.

There’s a song called White Flag. And a lot of people didn’t want to acknowledge the fact that sometimes people want to give you shit and unfortunately you got to give them hell back. So there’s that.

Then you’ve got Hate Breeds again. What we’re saying is people should be careful. They should stand united, because hate breeds hate and the more people give shit, the more people hate on others. It divides everyone and it makes it so much easier for the government to exploit people and to blind them to what’s happening. Like, look at Brexit.

So the album is kind of a representation of where you are right now. So who did you work with on this album?

We’ve produced everything ourselves. We use a recording studio in South Africa and then we have a sound engineer. But it was mastered in Nashville.  Yeah, it was really cool.

Our manager Sam is absolutely amazing. She designs all the artwork for the albums. We are so lucky because even the artwork of this album, I’m so proud of it. It’s insane. It’s my favourite album to date.

So what’s the timeframe for the new album?

It’s going to come out in July. Yeah, we recorded it in March but we didn’t have enough funds to release it then, it’s been ready to go. But we had to do quite a few shows until we could afford the printing and stuff.

Do you have a favourite song to perform live and if so which song and why?

Mine’s My Development because I love how angry I can get in that song.

For me at the moment, it’s all song called Fall Down. Yeah, it’s a new one.

It seems that social media, in particular, is a bit of a double edge sword for you guys because you know, obviously, it’s helped to raise your profile and I see all the videos you post and you know every time it looks like thousands of people are watching – it’s crazy. But at the same time then you’ve got the guys who are trying to shut you down and censor you. It must be like a daily battle for you guys. I mean how do you deal with this?

It constantly is. I mean look, we love the fact that we get to stay in touch with our fans. It is unfortunate that we had our original page that we had for seven years shut down now and we had 90 something thousand people on there. For years those people had gone to shows and now they are finding us again, but it’s quite slow. Because even when people search the name, they can’t find us. Which is very weird, but it’s true.

And we love the fact that people can go onto YouTube, people can go onto Spotify, they can follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and we do our Monday live every week. And it’s great to stay in touch. But it is also shit that people feel that just because they can write things then they need to write ugly things. And I mean look, if you don’t like something, there’s no reason to like …., some of the shit that gets said, it goes beyond.

Like some people will sit on your profile and they’ll report as many things as possible. Right now, I have a month ban so I can’t access my Messenger, I can’t do anything, which is very frustrating. But, I think in a way, we show people hopefully, not just us, but like other artists too that do it, that censorship is bullshit, especially when it’s something stupid like a nipple or something. Because I mean our drummer, he plays topless and we have photos of him and his nipples are out and yeah, it’s fine. And I think it’s fucked up that in 2019 it’s still an issue for a woman’s nipples to be shown.

Do you know what it is though? It’s because society sexualizes woman’s bodies in order to commercialize it. That’s why like they don’t care about men because they don’t make as much money off men. Like you don’t get men that like do as much, how can I say, like adult entertainment maybe. Like it’s not such a taboo.

But also, unfortunately, a lot of, and I’m sorry to say this, but a lot of men have this idea and I’ve seen at so many times that they own a woman. So when they see a woman that’s free then and she’s not asking for anything they can’t wrap their fucking head around it.

I mean, imagine if we were as desensitized to nudity as we are to violence. Like you get the violent video games that kids are playing. You see it in the media all the time. And when we hear stories about countries going in and bombing innocent people and animals, I mean, look, it’s shocking – but we should be outraged. We should be saying what the fuck and this is enough, but we don’t.

But yet when people see somebody like even Miley Cyrus, how she is on stage or whatever, they’ll say, oh, she’s disgusting and this but why? But if you look at fucking Rod Stewart, have you seen how he moves up and down on stage like he’s riding a horse on his knees and she’s doing the exact same thing, but she could have been influenced by him.

Women are not allowed to own their own sexuality. They’re not allowed to be these de-sexualized when it comes to nudity as well. I mean, look, there’s nothing wrong with being sexy, but it’s funny that it’s only on the terms of people making money off that. So if a woman picks up a guitar, she has to look a certain way.

Because she can’t be too sexy, otherwise she’s selling sex.

But if men are playing then and they’ve got like a naked woman dancing on stage, that’s fine. I mean, they’re not selling sex, those guys they are just talented.

And nobody comes to the shows just to see those women and I mean because they are really talented.

But if it was the opposite way and then people would go insane.

But I’m glad that we show people even though we keep getting shut down, we keep coming back like cockroaches.

We are like weeds. I mean like you can cut us away but we’re going to keep coming back.

Does it ever get you down?

Yeah, sometimes it does.

Every time I see you online or whatever you’re always really up and you seem very genuinely happy.

Sometimes I lose it and I have like a huge like rage for it. And like when people give shit, like sometimes you’ll get people on a live video, they’ll constantly like argue and give you shit. But what I say to them is this. If you picked up something, you ate it and it wasn’t your liking and it tastes like shit, but you keep eating it and saying it’s shit. What is wrong with you? Go Away, fuck off.

Put down the apple and walk away.

So I mean, obviously it is difficult because of everything that you’re up against and all the adversity and everything. I mean, what’s the end goal? What’s the long term goal? I mean, for the band it’s never going to get to a point where you could be mainstream or anything like that. And that would never be what you want?

No, we want to have our music. Live our lives, tour and do as much as we can. Like we want to rescue animals, we want to have enough money, eventually and want to rescue people in shit situations. If we know of people that are single parents or people that have talent, but because of financial reasons, they can’t do it, we would want to step in and help. But we also like to use our music as a platform to raise awareness of issues and stuff. And we will tour as long as we can – and that’s what we want to do with our lives.

So off stage, I mean, in terms of your own sort of musical tastes, what do you kind of listen to you and you’re kicking back at home?

We are both completely different.

I love everything from disco and soul to like death metal, black metal, thrash metal. I love metalcore. I love everything. I love Helmet’s music. I love Suicide Silence. I love Napalm Death. Alice In Chains are my absolute favourite band of all time. I would say I’m the hugest fan of grunge and then metal.

I listen to like a whole mix, maybe Crowded House, Dinosaur Jr, Fleetwood Mac, Local H – I like them. Marcy playground – I like a lot.

I respect Local H that they’ve been around for so many years and they are still doing what they love and I mean, they don’t care to go like mainstream. They’ve been successful, but without it like, I don’t know, being a total mainstream success. Look at Beck as well – same kind of thing. He got onto MTV, but he’s also stayed true to his roots.

We’re like halfway through this year. I just wondered if you’ve kind of got like the next 12 months mapped out. What’s on the cards or are you just taking it as it comes?

We kind of take things as it comes because we’ve seen sometimes in life, especially with doing what we do, even with what happened with us with the American thing. We had the whole like June, July, August, we were meant to be in the States and then so we didn’t have any shows booked for here. And then that got screwed up.

For next year, or whatever — the plan is to go to Japan, America and just tour non-stop. I mean, while you can do something, do it. And we fucking love what we’re doing. So yeah, we have the energy and we love it.

And also life is very fucking short.

And so rock it and do what you want to do. And that’s also why no matter how much hate we get, I don’t give a shit, enjoy it. I mean, look, you can get upset and we used to worry about what people said, but at the end of the day, that’s exactly what they want. If you don’t give a shit what people think, I mean if you let words of other people control you, then everyone’s got power over you.

Obviously, sometimes it can upset you.

We are human, but like a lot of times, I’m just like, fuck it.

I just look at where it’s coming from and some of my favourite artists, I see the hate that they’ve gotten, and I just think to myself, man, fuck it. If this was the most amazing song I’ve ever heard and this is getting dissed, fuck that shit.


Elephant In The Room by The Soap Girls is out now. For details of upcoming live shows please visit the social links below.

The SoapGirls
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About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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