💖 What’s ‘The Empty Page’ all about/where did the name come from?
Jim: We’re all about finding the perfect chutney. I’m not even close yet.
Kel: Haha! The name came from a Sonic Youth song, which in turn came from the beat generation writer Jack Kerouac. Something like ‘I saw that my life was a great, glowing empty page & I could do whatever I wanted’. I think it’s a bit like the glass half full or half empty thing. An empty page can be overwhelming & scary, it can represent a lack of productivity, or it can represent potential & possibility. It was a fresh start for all of us so it worked.
💖 What best describes you as a band?
Kel: We’re just 3 mates who all like the same kind of music, & music is really important to all of us. We all agree that life would be pretty bleak without it. We’d been in heavier bands before & we kind of started by just getting together for a jam of some 90s covers by more melodic bands like Sonic Youth, Veruca Salt, Weezer, Dinosaur Jr, The Manics etc. We had loads of fun & started writing songs inspired by those bands who had really shaped us all when we very young. We haven’t wanted to stop yet so here we are.
Giz: Musically it’s just guitar based, grungy, alternative music.
💖 What inspires you to play music?
Giz: I don’t think anything inspires me to play music any more, I just play music because it’s part of me. It would be really weird if I didn’t. It’s just a natural thing that I enjoy & want to do.
Kel: For me, it’s not just inspiration (from a massive catalogue of artists that would be boring to list), but it’s damage limitation. It’s art therapy. My mental health is fragile, & music is my lifeline. No joke.
‘It’s damage limitation. It’s art therapy. My mental health is fragile, & music is my lifeline’
💖 Who are your main influences in music/life?
Kel: Strong characters & people who broke down musical barriers inspire me. Although I really do love so much music. Big influences for me have been Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Bjork, M.I.A., Courtney Love, Tom Waits, Richey Manic, Mina Caputo, Tori Amos, Eugene Robinson, Kim Gordon, David Bowie…
Giz: For me there’s just so many great musicians, artists, film makers, just inspiring people. It’s all momentary. One day something might just grab you & it sparks something.
💖 You’re about to release a new single ‘He’s Very Good at Swimming’, what can you tell us about the content of the song?
Kel: It’s a heavy one & not a three minute pop ditty.
The song is about the dragging through the mud that people who come forward with a rape accusation very often experience.
The dissecting of every aspect of their personal life to look for a reason to blame them, & reduce the onus on the perpetrator. & at the same time, there seems to be a pattern of doing the opposite with the accused.
The media very often foregrounds the sporting or academic achievements of the accused & sidelines the victim. What initially inspired the words was the Brock Turner case & the victim’s letter, but it’s about the whole practise of it in general.
There’s been a spotlight shined into a lot of dark corners recently, & hopefully things are changing. But I think it’s a really important thing to talk about. Artists have a responsibility to reflect & critique real life, however dark the subject.
‘The song is about the dragging through the mud that people who come forward with a rape accusation very often experience. The dissecting of every aspect of their personal life to look for a reason to blame them (. . .) Artists have a responsibility to reflect & critique real life, however dark the subject.’
💖 When you’re not doing band stuff what do you get up to?
Jim: I spend a lot of time with my kids.
Kel: I teach English as a second language to inspiring, bright, ambitious & often hilariously funny students. I also write about food, drink & community in Manchester for a lifestyle website.
I have just finished doing an OU degree in philosophy, arts & humanities. I like to read as much as possible, currently reading Rose McGowan’s book.
I play with my beautiful cats. I watch films. I sing in a classical choir, & I try & get some sleep in between it all.
Giz: I spend my time going to gigs, playing in another band (Death Blooms), playing guitar, life stuff.
💖 What does feminism mean to you?
Kel: I mean, it’s essential to me. The short answer is that it means fighting not just for change here in the UK but all around the world.
There is a lot of injustice to fight against that people might not see in their everyday lives, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The long answer would involve several hours of deep conversation . . .
Giz: Feminism to me is about equality & unfortunately we’re not quite there yet, so it’s still relevant & important for both men & women.
Jim: To me it means positivity & progress.
💖 What one word best describes you as a band?
Kel: Hahaha! Erm… sweaty.
💖 What’s next for you guys?
Kel: We’re releasing a series of singles this year, so there will be another one along in a few months. We’re hoping to keep going in that fashion for a bit.
Maybe we’ll release an album at some point, but this is working for us for now.
We have a London show on 20th September too, with Pussy Liquor, A Void & Graves.
For other UK-wide dates keep an eye on our social media 👀
💖 ‘He’s Very Good at Swimming’ is live now! Go check it out 💖
Lori on He’s Very Good at Swimming: deep, pensive, cathartic – exactly as angry as you should be at rapists.
The latest release from The Empty Page challenges rape apologists with a seething sarcasm like no other. I don’t know how they do it but god damn ✨🌹✨🌹✨🌹✨🌹✨
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