Music

The Tuts: Fiercely independent three-tone band coming to a festival near you

Three-tone indie punk trio The Tuts on crashing the festival circuit, staying independent, and why they're worth voting for…

No manager, no PR, no agent? No problem! The Tuts are still coming to a festival near you this summer.

The fiercely independent ‘three-tone’ indie punk trio have been leaving chaos and controversy in their wake since playing their first gig in 2011.

As well as their pre-election Something Worth Voting For Tour, The Tuts – aka Nadia Javed, Beverley Ishmael and Harriet Doveton – are playing Handmade, Deadpunk, Alchemy, Fuse, Indietracks, Rebellion, Moosefest and Bestival this summer.

Unsuspecting crowds can expect infectious feminist guitar pop songs (live favourites include Dump Your Boyfriend), a winning mix of energy, chaos and charisma, and a punked-up cover of Wannabe by the Spice Girls.

The Tuts: Harriet, Nadia, Beverley (photo: Neil Anderson. Main image: Jennifer Doveton)

With Leicester’s Handmade Festival kicking off the season this weekend, we spoke to The Tuts, who formed while at school in Hayes, about how to access the festival circuit, how they’re changing the face of guitar music, and why this makes them a band worth voting for…

How do you go about accessing the festival circuit as an entirely independent, DIY band?
Nadia: We stalk people online and troll them on LinkedIn. We find out who the booker is and work backwards from that. Also, we built a solid contact list from years of gigging. We’ve already played some big ones – Glastonbury, Beautiful Days and Godiva. So we get approached by people as well.
Beverley: Twitter is your best friend. Use it.
Harriet: Yeah, when other bands ask how we get festivals without a booker I always tell them: instead of looking outwards look inwards. As in, check your Twitter followers. That is where you’ll strike gold. Because you’ll find people with influence or already involved with festivals but, because they already follow you, they’re invested and will wanna help you out.

What are you most looking forward to about this year’s festival season?
Harriet: When we show up everyone thinks we’re children because we’re that hyped.
Nadia: There’s an energy around us. We walk around, get a vibe of what’s going on in the crowd. We don’t feel any pressure, cos we’re playing to a bunch of new people and it’s like, come on let’s win them all over. Let’s show them what we’re about. Let’s shock them. Who are these three-tone girls playing instruments, looking amazing? Sell loads of merch, get buzzed and make a million pounds.
Harriet: Then go on the hunt for vegan food after our set.
Beverley: Our live show is our strong point. So when we go to a festival, it’s like we are giving you THE TUTS.
Nadia: It’s nerve-wracking but it’s all part of it. Adrenaline. We’ve built a lot of fans from festivals. It’s about getting your name out there and having as much fun as possible.

Why is it important to The Tuts to retain their  autonomy?
Nadia: The Tuts is about being authentic. Our songs are from the heart, from personal experiences and battles. Facing sexism, undercover racism. This goes hand in hand with being independent. We have to have full control over what we do.
Harriet: And we can’t be censored; people have tried.
Nadia: Also, we’re independent because we have to be… because we can only rely on ourselves to do the job properly at the moment.
Beverley: We wouldn’t turn away opportunities that came our way, though.
Nadia: It’s important we keep going cos if we stopped working there would be no band and the baby would be dead.
Harriet: The baby would be left on the bus.

It’s rare to see an Indian/Pakistani woman on stage playing punk/indie music and it’s important that we celebrate it so the message spreads

How is the way the band runs itself mirrored in the music you make?
Harriet: Perfectionism. When we write songs we’re like “Is this bit CATCHY enough?!” And we’re like that in how we run the logistics of the band too.
Nadia: We’re always kinda doubting ourselves. We’re making sure everything we do is the best we can do.
Beverley: But everything we do is usually the first time we’re doing it. Trying to make something we’ve never done before perfect. So then we’re hard on ourselves.
Nadia: It would be nice to write more songs. But because there’s so much admin and behind the scenes work that ordinarily a manager or booking agent would do for you, we don’t actually have that much time to write songs. And that sucks!
Beverley: Its funny, you’re in a band to make music but you don’t have enough time to make the music.

How do The Tuts wear their politics on their sleeve and how can this help you connect with a festival audience?
Nadia: Skin colour. Just look at us as a band, us three together. It’s eye-catching. Diversity is key. This reflects in our song ‘Give Us Something Worth Voting For’. We felt as young three tone, working class women that there was no one that represented us in politics. And we voted on a process of elimination, the best of a bad bunch.
Beverley: It shouldn’t be that way.
Nadia: We wanna be something that gives people hope. We’re bringing the colours together and uniting to show solidarity.
Harriet: There’s this young girl of colour who saw us at a festival last year and she really connected with Nadia. It’s rare to see an Indian/Pakistani woman on stage playing punk/indie music and it’s important that we celebrate it so the message spreads. This young girl saw Nadia as a role model and connected with her. Festivals are a good way to access younger crowds too and make those lasting impressions.
Nadia: We offer something to everyone because girls will look at us and be like “oh my god, those girls are playing instruments and maybe I could too” when they’re usually just seeing men doing it.
Beverley: Yeah, the way instruments are advertised and branded aren’t always appealing to young girls.
Nadia: There doesn’t seem to be as many people of colour into this type of music for some reason, but the ones that are, they’re not gonna feel so lonely when they see us.

What can you promise the festival crowd they will get from The Tuts?
Nadia: All angles.
Beverley: All Looks
Harriet: Dance moves
Nadia: We are the best party you could go to. We got the TUNES, the tunes speak for themselves. We got the looks, the sound, stage bantz, someone’s gonna get cussed in the crowd. We’re something worth voting for.

Tour dates:

28 April – Handmade Festival, Leicester
06 May – Deadpunk Special – The Exchange, Bristol
10 May – The Cellar, Oxford
11 May – Joiners, Southampton
12 May – Green Door Store, Brighton
13 May – The Victoria Dalston, London
19 May – Brudenell Games Room, Leeds
20 May – Private Houseshow, Cornwall
21 May – Moon Club, Cardiff
26 May – Alchemy Festival, Southbank, London (free)
2 June – 13th Note, Glasgow
3 June – Aatma, Manchester
7-9 July – Fuse Festival, Lichfield, Staffordshire
28-30 July – Indietracks Festival, Ripley, Derbyshire
3 August – Rebellion Festival, Blackpool
2 Sept – Moosefest, Orpington
7-10 Sept – Bestival, Dorset

Buy tickets / Hear more music.

More music stories – from Kate Tempest to John Legend, Max Richter, Leftfield and Igor Stravinsky in this week’s Big Issue Music Special – featuring our Festival Guide. On sale now…

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