The Soap Girls are rapidly becoming that band, the one you can’t ignore, the one that pricks society’s conscience, the one that always follows their own path. The South African sisters have been very busy in the last few months so it seemed a good time to catch up with them. Gary Trueman chatted to Millie and Mie about their new music, warped perceptions on nudity and bathing in water fountains.
The last time we spoke was in Blackpool for our what to take on tour feature. Since then you’ve been back home to South Africa and on tour in Europe.
“Yes, Europe is always crazy. We loved Germany, and performing in Holland, Belgium and in France too which was amazing as we’re from there and it was the first time back in 17 years. We played Amplified festival for the first time, and what an insane festival. We’ve been playing non stop.”
Playing France must have been a real homecoming.
“It was, it was a bit weird to find that we share the same sense of humour so our show went down really well.”
We known that you’re from Cape Town where there’s been quite a severe water shortage and then went on to tour in Europe where people take their water supply pretty much for granted. Was there an incident in Europe though where you ended up taking a bath outdoors?
“Yes, it was in a water fountain round a traffic circle. By the time the cops came we had already got out and just acted stupid asking how you get to Florence. He was confused thinking he should be berating us but ended up saying you go here and then here. It was fun and the water was refreshing but some people complained. Fuck them though, it’s nature and it’s water and it just happened to be in a fountain.”
We’ve been hearing some new tracks on the gigs you’re playing. So have you got anything recorded and have you any plans to bring out a new album?
“We recorded nine songs before we started the tour and we’ll record about another nine when we get back to South Africa. We’re continuously writing and we’ll be touring with the new album next year. We think we might release an EP first or a single.”
So something as a teaser?
“Exactly, so people get used to the new music instead of turning up to a show and hearing a completely new album and thinking what the fuck is this? People will feel they know the music before we release the whole album.”
Sometimes a band will put out an EP and put all those tracks out again on a full album, some don’t put any on and some put a few on. What’s your intention on this, do you know yet?
“We have no real idea yet. Just the songs we are recording we might take one or two songs from our first album which was very raw and reproduce it a bit more and add them on. We’ve got so many songs it’s difficult to choose what goes on.”
Really speaking the songs that you write and put out have to be relevant to where you are now and speak about your experiences to date too?
“Those things kind of are always relevant. Anybody with a stance against something people can relate to, then you’ve always got something to say. We’re never short of content. Being censored the whole time enrages us and makes us want to fight against it and say something. Music is the best tool. Someone was saying about their favourite song, a Depeche Mode song called New Dress. That is relevant now, like there is a war going on and bombs are falling but they’re commenting on Diana’s got a new dress. It’s fucked up.”
It’s the media skewing things so that you become passionate about what they want you to be passionate about rather than what’s really important.
“Exactly. People get so outraged by the sight of a nipple or a woman’s breast in a non sexual context. If you see it in sex and pornography that’s normal to people and accepted. But when people see someone who is maybe topless but they don’t want anything and they’re not selling anything, it’s just skin, people get angry because they don’t know how to react. You’ve shifted how they’ve been taught to react to something like that. People get so frustrated about skin but they don’t take that same level of anger towards animal abuse, towards homelessness, towards war. How can you get enraged over skin? There was that red carpet event where all women that had been affected by sexual assault wore black. Kylie Jenner wore black and all the media could go on about was how dare she go out with acne on her face. What kind of message is this? It’s insane, people need to get real about things. Musicians now are so scared of rocking the boat. If you look back people didn’t give a fuck, they said it how it was.”
So people like yourselves are taking punk back to what it originally was?
“We hope so, people need to give a fuck about the real things in life. They shouldn’t be so concerned with bullshit. People are too self absorbed and obsessed. They don’t look at the bigger picture. They think I’m free and I’ll always be free but you don’t know when your freedom is going to be taken away. You can see it happening to people around the world in other countries and eventually it will happen to you. Just because you’re free right now doesn’t mean you’re always going to be. It’s a bit late fighting once you’ve got no voice left.”
What are your longer term plans? Are you looking to visit a new country?
“Yes, for the first time we will be touring America next June for a couple of months. It’s going to be insane. It’s a very big country and it’s a bit scary. Their police are fucked, it not a very free country so it’s just a little bit scary but we are very excited. In England what makes us feel safe is that you’ve got some humanity. We will be coming back to Europe and England of course.”
For each of you.If you could travel into the past 20, 30, 40 years and change one thing to change history what would you change?
Millie: “I wish Princess Diana was still alive. I think she reminded people to be human. There was no one else like her that reminded people that it doesn’t matter who you are you can still have humanity. I think she was cool.”
Mie:” I wish I could show people then what it’s like now so that they could do things to make us go the right way instead of the wrong way. Like social media is brilliant but a lot of the time people use it to hurt other people which is dumb. Life is too short to waste it hating.”
Interview and photos by Gary Trueman