Interview: Fyzz Wallis Band “I think it’s good to ask questions with songs rather than preach with them.”

Hailing from deepest darkest Lincolnshire the Fyzz Wallis Band have made quite an impact on the local music scene with their punchy music and well crafted lyrics.  It can only be a matter of time before they move up the ladder and start playing further afield.  Gary Trueman had a chat with vocalist and guitarist Fyzz and drummer Chris before a recent show.  Up for discussion was the ever pertinent subject of the treatment of female musicians, their new EP, and also just who the pair would love to share a stage with.

How would you describe your music?

Fyzz: “ When you write the music it’s really hard to explain it.  It’s like trying to explain to somebody what your child is like. Chris…..”

Chris: “We’ve settled on femme punk grunge.”

Fyzz: “I’m also known as the punk poetess of Peterborough.”

So as the punk poetess of Peterborough you would assume that your music is lyric heavy and that your lyrics are meaningful?

Fyzz: “Yes, sometimes they’re about big serious things like feminism and mental health, And sometimes they’re just about things I like such as chocolate or sex. So some are deep and aren’t but they’re all kind of important. I like to put lots of ideas into a song and maybe be a little bit flippant about things which are really important. I think that’s quite a fun way to do it. Sometimes I write about things like not having a lot of money or bringing up children, just life things, but they’re probably in the same song which is also about how much I like sex and chocolate as well.”

Do you think that sometimes people with opinions get themselves into entrenched positions and that that little bit of flippancy in your songs can be a good way to open up channels?

Fyzz: “I think it’s good to ask questions with songs rather than preach with them.  So suggest ideas or different viewpoints maybe in the same song, and let people have a think for themselves.  Although some of our songs are about particular things and sometimes we introduce them as such.  Such as Pretty Good For A Boy which is about how female musicians can find themselves being treated, sometimes I’ll introduce the song as being about that and sometimes I’ll let it just stand.  If you just let it stand you can let people have a think about it.  If they think it’s about something completely different that’s also completely fine if the song works for them.”

Pretty Good For A Boy is a song you’re well known for.  We’ve had the MeToo campaign take off a couple of years ago which has made a big difference in a lot of areas particularly the film industry.  Do you think there’s a lot to come in the music industry yet, a lot of men waiting to be outed?

Fyzz: “I don’t know and I’d be interested in Chris’ perspective with this as he works with two quite strong minded women.  There’s a lot of ground to make up in a lot of areas but it’s also a good thing to remind people how far things have come.  It’s good to look backwards and forwards really.”

Chris: “I’m in a different situation to a lot of people because this is the only band I’ve been in and I’m used to being around strong minded women, I have been all my life with my family being female orientated,  For me the Pretty Good For A Boy song and with the lyrics, I didn’t really know that that kind of thing was going on.  It’s opened my eyes up, just hearing the lyrics to that song in particular and realising what women like Fyzz and Zoe face on a daily basis, stuff I didn’t realised happens.

Fyzz: “The conversation that started the song was talking to other male musicians that we’re friends with. When we say you turn up and somebody thinks you’re somebody else’s girlfriend, oh you won’t have that because you’re a man. Even understanding that for ourselves was one of the things that motivated me to write that song and just have a bit of a laugh about some of the silly things people say. It is supposed to be funny but it is also making a point that continues to have a need to be made.”

You said things have improved.  Is there more awareness generally?

Fyzz: “One of the things about culture now is that you do tend to link up with other people with similar values to yourself and not be aware of areas where people don’t.  So within my own circle yes.  However I don’t know outside of that. I don’t know what it’s like if you play in a reggae band or a covers band.  I don’t know what the experience of women in different areas is really like.  So I can only answer for us really.”

You put on an event called Twisted.  What’s that all about?

Fyzz: “Twisted is basically a party night for adults.  So we have dressing up and cake but from what I hear from other people they feel it’s a really safe environment to express themselves.  We do encourage people to come in drag and fancy dress.  We’re fetish friendly.  We’ve had trans people come, we’ve had drag queens come, and they’ve been able to just express who they are very openly.  A guy who regularly comes feels he can come along with his partner dressed as a woman and just be himself.  That’s really important.”

Do you find with Twisted people are happy to dress up even if they wouldn’t normally do so?

Chris: “Yes.  We’ve got a guy coming tonight, one of our really good friends.  He’s going to try dressing up in drag for the very first time.  He may decide he’s never going to do it again.  But the fact that he does feel comfortable to even try it in a public setting is great.”

Fyzz: “We just want to be wide open.  We get people of different ages coming, we’re very broad in every way and very comfortable to be so.  I think that’s really important.  We played at pride recently and some of the people that stewarded there got to know each other through Twisted.   I’m extremely proud that we introduce people to each other.  People have met their partners at Twisted.”

You had an EP out not that long ago.  Do you have anything planned for the future?

Fyzz: “Absolutely.  We are in the process of making and finishing Pretty Good For A Boy which is our next EP which will be out soon.  No date as yet but soon.  We really wanted to record Pretty Good For A Boy but we wanted to get it right.  So this time instead of me engineering it we’ve gone to a recording studio and got somebody else to record it.  There are three tracks, the title track, Juliet which is about loss and Lose It.”

If you could pick any band you like to come down and play Twisted one night who would it be and why?

Fyzz: “One of the most profound gig experiences I had was when I went to see Hole.  That was one of the first proper gigs I went to so yeah, Hole.

Chris: “I’d probably go with Queen. I’m not into some of the more obscure stuff that Fyzz and Zoe are but I’m learning a lot.”

Interview and photos by Gary Trueman