Hailing from South Africa, The SoapGirls have been performing together since they were 8 and 9 years old.
The sisters Ca(Mille) and Noe(Mie) Debray were given the name The SoapGirls having spent 9 years selling soap and performing on the streets of South Africa for various charities.
The SoapGirls, who stand for freedom and non-judgement, recently arrived in the UK and have been touring extensively in support of their debut UK single “Bad Bitch.” National Rock Review recently caught up with Mille and Mie before their first ever show in the North East of England at Trillians Rock Bar in Newcastle.
NRR: Thanks for taking the time to speak to us today, we really appreciate it. So you’ve been out on tour across the UK recently, how have the shows been going so far?
Mille: Amazing, like insane. You don’t ever do a show with an expectation, but we are always surprised at how crazy and willing for madness people are.
NRR:What’s been the highlight of the Disturbd tour so far?
Mie: For me, I would have to say maybe in Liverpool at The Crazyhouse. The whole crowd was covered in shaving foam.
Mille: I liked the Rock and Bike Fest in Derby. It was like thousands of people and it was just a lot of energy. A lot of people were just there for the music to get lost in it and just let go, it was great.
NRR: For those who have not actually seen one of your shows before, how would you best describe a SoapGirls gig?
Mie: Chaos (laughing).
Mille: I would say don’t go to a show with any preconceived ideas. It’s all about freedom, so you are not going to be judged, you can be yourself without fear of anything else. But also don’t go there expecting something based on photos and stuff that you see. Until you are there you won’t know what it is, you have to be there.
NRR: What’s your favourite track to perform live and why?
Mille: “Real,” because I love the aggressiveness of it and I just feel it.
Mie: I like doing “Hater,” yeah because I like hearing what people hate.
NRR: I was wondering, based upon your live shows, what was the first band that you actually saw perform live?
Mille: We’ve never actually watched a band live, besides when we tour, which has been years. So wherever we go, if there’s a local band we always end up watching them, but we’ve never actually watched another band live.
Mie: I’ve seen stuff on YouTube.
Mille: The reason is, in South Africa none of my favourite bands have ever performed there. So I’ve never felt like oh shit man, I’ve got to go and see this. It is really rude, and I do apologise, but I just have to be honest.
Mie: The Deftones did come but we weren’t there.
NRR: So obviously you are from South Africa, are you now based in the UK or are you just over here temporarily?
Mille: We are here six months, or in Europe as well seven. I don’t know it’s weird we are in two different worlds I guess.
We are French-born, we grew up in South Africa and we love it, but the thing is it’s a beautiful place but it’s like right at the end of the world. If you are doing music, it doesn’t matter what you are doing, you are not really going to impact the rest of the world.
Mie: You have to get out.
Mille: You have to.
Mie: And also I think the country situation is kind of going ….
Mille: It’s great for song lyrics and stuff and a lot of material arises from all of the shit that we see there every day, but I think probably in five years I don’t reckon it will be the best place to be, even less than that.
NRR: I just saw you released your debut UK video for “Bad Bitch” and I was wondering could you tell us a bit about that song and the inspiration behind it and the video?
Mille: Yeah for sure. Every song we write is born from an experience that we’ve had. That one we were touring the UK last year and towards the end of our tour we were invited to play at a venue. We arrived and there was nothing set up. Then we eventually got everything set up by ourselves and like made a plan for amps and stuff. Then whilst we were into our third song we had people come up and throw like copious amounts of red liquid at us. All over our faces, all over our guitars, and like hit my mic into my face, I was like ok, it was really, really shit.
The thing was the owner of that place came out afterwards and he said he ordered those people to do it, one of which was his girlfriend because we were ..
Mie: A threat to the feminist movement.
Mille: Damaging to the feminist movement, a man decided. Sorry, I just find that weird, it’s like a white guy saying to a black man, man I feel your struggle bro, you don’t fuck off. Sorry I’m not being rude, you can sympathise but you cannot empathise, you do not know.
So that was just like really, really bad. He tried to find any justification, like our sexuality and like saying we are sluts and whores and that, which is ridiculous. Even if we were, we are virgins and we don’t believe in sex before marriage, it’s irrelevant, though you just do not do that. If I was walking down a street and someone shouted stuff at me, that is assault, plain and simple, you don’t hit mic’s into people’s faces.
Mie: But when bad things happen …
Mille: We release it through songs, so sorry I’m like going on a tirade. Then we wrote it and it was our therapy so, we do the song as like a fuck you, we are not going to take shit. The thing is we’ve never felt so victimised in all of our lives, we were so stunned and we felt like shit. She [Mie] was like …
Mie: It was the worst thing ever.
Mille: It was bad, she just wanted to leave and stuff. The thing is no, you can’t allow that to happen. So “Bad Bitch” was born. It changed me, it made me a much harder person. I don’t know “Bad Bitch” is definitely, if somebody messes with you don’t turn the other cheek, get them right back, that’s it sorry as they will keep going for you.
So we did the video and we’ve got another song coming out as well, another video which we are excited about.
NRR: That was the next question I’ve got for you.
Mille: Ahh, we are very excited. That one is “Rather Be Dead” and maybe it’s not nice as a subject matter. We did “Bad Bitch” but the video wasn’t quite what we wanted. The guy who shot it with us, he held back a lot, he didn’t like some of the scenes, he called it incestuous.
Mie: There will be a director and they will say, oh no he is willing to do everything and you can do whatever you want. Then when it comes down to it, it’s not like oh no, no we can’t do this and we can’t do that.
Mille: Art is meant to shock you, it’s meant to make you feel something. It’s not meant to be something that’s pleasant or nice do you know what I mean? It can be, but that’s not really what we are about. So for us, when you watch something and it’s like luke warm water, it’s cool you know.
Mie: But what’s the point.
Mille: Rather burn or freeze, feel something.
NRR: Do you have plans for a new studio album anytime soon?
Mille: Definitely, we’ve got I think maybe three albums worth of songs written, and we just keep on writing more and more. So sometimes it’s a struggle though with albums we never know …
Mie: Which one to do. Like the album Calls For Rebellion has sixteen songs on it.
Mille: This next one that we are going to do, we have loads more. We are always like, we dig this one and then something else happens and we feel all of them. We just test it live and the thing is we love people’s reaction. So we’ve even kidnapped like a postman going to the house and whatever and just said dude get the fuck in.
Mie: Tell us what you think (laughing).
Mille: Like honest, we’ve got friends that they were just walking down the road and we didn’t know them and then she just dragged them in.
Mie: Come and listen to this and then they are like oh my god.
NRR: Obviously you guys have been playing together since you were eight or nine years old back in South Africa. I was just wondering, even at that early age did you know that your future was in music?
Mille: You know a lot of people say when did you decide? I don’t know, it sounds cliché, but we didn’t decide, it just like happened. I couldn’t think of doing anything else do you know what I mean? If I won the lottery, if I was made the President, I would still do the same damn thing. I wouldn’t change a thing.
Mie: But it’s weird if you look at things like everything happened in such an order to get to where we are like it’s weird.
Mille: We didn’t even consciously think about it, it just happened. When we were ready for things, they were there.
NRR: Being yourself and artistic freedom is obviously very important to the band. How challenging has it been to maintain that level of freedom within the music industry?
Mie: I think with whatever you want to do in life, people are always going to try and change you, but it’s up to you to be strong enough in yourself to …
Mille: Not give a shit. The thing is people are scared of being judged and that’s why people will …
Mie: Conform and blend in.
Mille: The thing is if you stand up and you are yourself and people have a problem, if you change, they will continue to change everyone according to their own personal wants. If they know that they are not going to have any effect on you, eventually they will fuck off. Sorry, that is how I live. You can insult me all you want, and guess what, it’s not going to change. I’m staying, I’m not going anywhere.
NRR: Obviously with you two being sisters, and you spend so much time on the road together, do you get on well?
Mille: There was a time where even onstage I think we did kick each other a few times. Like people thought it was part of the show, but no (laughing).
Mie:If she looks at me in a certain way on the stage, I’m like oh shit (laughing).
Mille: No because she looks at me .., I’m like what are you saying?
Mie:Then she will say into the mic what the fuck?
Mille: No I feel like saying shut the fuck up, what the fuck are you looking at me like that for?
NRR: In terms of your musical tastes outside of the band, what’s the one album in your record collection that you couldn’t live without?
Mille: “Dirt” by Alice in Chains.
Mie: I like Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” album. Yeah, sorry (laughing). It’s a good album, Lindsey Buckingham is my favourite guitarist.
Mille: I’m sorry I respect their music, I think they are amazing, but that music for some reason when I hear it, I want to go on like a rampage and attack anything. Sorry, I don’t know what it is.
NRR: If you could choose any band to cover one of your songs, which song and artist would you choose?
Mille: I would say Napalm Death “Bad Bitch” (laughing).
Mie: And me, I would choose. Do you know the band Marcy Playground? They are a really cool band. Actually, no Dinosaur Jr. I would want them to cover the song “Cigarettes and Medicine.”
NRR: What else do you have in store for the rest of this year?
Mille: We are going to tour the rest of the EU, not all of it. We are going to tour Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Italy from next month, for a month. Then we are going to head back to the UK and do some more shows, a few final shows.
Then back to South Africa, we are gonna suffer in the beautiful sun, no I’m joking. We are gonna probably just be in our music room and write, writing non-stop. Obviously, experiences from the tour, we are just gonna digest it. Then we are gonna start recording I guess and then preparing for the next tour. Probably tour South Africa as well, maybe Botswana we are not sure.
NRR: That also sounds really cool. Thanks for taking the time to speak to us.
Mille: Hey a huge pleasure.