Ferocious two piece The Pearl Harts are pure Girl Power, but not in a Spice Girls kinda way (though there’s nothing wrong with the Spice Girls – ‘Say You’ll Be There‘ is unstoppable!) Arse kicking, snarling and riffy as fuck, they’re a real throwback to the days of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin – with a bit of Heart thrown in for good measure. They’ve got a really dope sound and it translates well to their live show, with pure infectious beats and great lyrics.
Thankfully, they didn’t kick my arse when I met up with them both – they’re lovely girls really. Having made the long trip up from down South in what would be their first Manchester show, Kirsty (geetar) and Sarah (drums) were in good spirits, if a little tired. That night saw them perform alongside Manchester cool kids Pedro Don Key and Bad Grammar, the latter duo who were releasing their new EP ‘Forced Fun’ that same night, and who had kindly taken the girls to one of the latest pie-themed eateries around the Northern Quarter. “They showed us the way of pie”
Having only been performing as The Pearl Harts for a short while, the girls are already creating quite a buzz down South. On the subject of the band’s formation, guitarist Kirsty “Sarah and I were in a band together previously, we’ve been in bands for quite a while – I guess just developing musically. We were always going on about trying to do our own thing, ‘cus we never really fitted in with the other bands that we did, and we were like ‘we need to do something like this’ We talked about it for ages and then finally just pulled our fingers out and we did it, and we started writing, and we went to the studio – Yeah, The Pearl Harts kindof evolved from a long time coming I think”
So far they’ve released three singles, all of which you can hear on their swish website. Lyrically, they are very much story tellers.
Sarah “‘The Slanderer‘ is about making a deal with the Devil. It’s quite bluesy, quite Led Zeppelin-y on the drums. We bought that out about a year ago, and not long after we bought that out, we bought a track called ‘Wolf Eyes’ out. We got together a video of all our favourite bad ass female movie heroes.”
Kirsty “Films that we always watched as young girls. We were brainstorming about the song, ‘cus the song is about a girl, or any girl – yourself or a girl you might know, or your mum or your aunt or whoever was just a crazy woman in your family – just basically breaking out, running away and just being a bit like.. I’ve got a fire there, I just want to do it and be a bit mad, and it was quite relevant to when we first started out, because we were new and nobody really – nobody still, i’m not saying anybody really does know who we are – but the point is, we were just trying to make a statement to say this is who we are and this is what we’re all about.
We wanted to put some visuals to it, ‘cus that’s always fun, Sarah did a really really good job of doing that montage. Montages are also really fun”
S “Even Rocky had a montage, now The Pearl Harts have a montage”
K (Having sung a line of ‘Montage‘ from Team America) “So yeah, we wanted to do a montage, and we were just basically like – The Craft, the Aerosmith video, Time Square, Fried Green Tomatoes, Switchblade Sisters”
S “There’s quite a lot of stabbing in there…”
K “That’s basically a film about girls on rollerblades stabbing people”
S “Which is kind of – it is a cool film, but we just didn’t want to be like…”
K “We don’t wanna kill anyone”
It was at this point that Kirsty produced a knife…(*jokes*)
K “…There’s no death, we’re not gonna kill you after this interview, put it that way”
S “A lot of our audience members have disappeared, but…No, it’s just cool to have something where people don’t really give a fuck, not in a way they don’t care about anything…”
K “On the women in rock thing, it is hard and you don’t need to rant about it all the time, but we have been in bands and we have been playing music for a long time, so we’ve experienced that casual sexism in music that exists – and it exists both way, I’m not trying to preach – but the point is that was just wanted to establish that we’ve got a right to be here too. All these other people have done it as well, whether it’s movies, films, writers, illustrators, performance artists – everybody Is trying to pave their own way, we just wanted to show a bit of all round respect for that, in a fun jokey Thelma and Louise kinda way. Maybe we’ll kill ourselves on stage, that’ll be a good way to go”
S “Just set fire to the stage, go out in a blaze of glory”
The month of March saw the release of new single ‘Black Blood‘ – A dynamite combination of pure sleazy riffs and dominating drums. The track has been getting everywhere since its release, with the video premiering on Clash, and Artrocker featuring it as SINGLE OF THE WEEK. On the reception for the new single:
K “I think it’s been really good actually. We got it premiered at Clash, so that was really good, We were really really really stoked about that. We’ve had some really good write-ups, luckily there’s been no negative “ooh they’re just a bunch of girls” And as for the descriptive terms? They came thick and fast…
K “Bone crushing, firebombing”
S “Badass..Kicks butt…”
‘Black Blood’ really sees The Pearl Harts showing what they’re about. The riff is soooo sleazy, and you can just hear the Black Sabbath influence screaming out of the drums.
K “We wanted to do something that was quite like riff based, Black Sabbathy but still quite bluesy and lyrically the song is about like how frustrating it can be sometimes that your blood will turn black, your blood’ll boil or whatever, but in this instance it turns black and you just get a bit annoyed and you’re trapped. We used the track as quite a forward, punchy, angry release. I guess it’s probably most people’s first hearing of us. The first time people will have heard of us with that track, so they might be a bit scared (laughs) Hopefully anyway”
S “It’s a live track as well. We’ve released a couple of demos online before and made a homemade video, but this one we kind of – ‘cus we want to be about our live sound – we were like ‘we’re gonna make a live video, produce it ourselves, get somebody amazing to film it, which is a guy called David Lieb, he invested quite a lot of time and equipment into the project. It was kindof to showcase our live sound”
K “That was really important to us for that song”
S “It’s not your traditional kindof single, it’s not like we’ve been into the studio, spent ages producing it blah blah blah, literally what you hear is what you get”
The video for ‘Black Blood’ was filmed at The Ivy House in Peckham. Once a key venue on the pub rock circuit of the 70’s, it’s featured performances from the likes of Elvis Costello, Ian Dury, Joe Strummer and Dr Feelgood. Watching the video, it might appear to look like a regular old down on its look boozer, but it’s steeped in history.
K “It was a really good pub for a while, and then it was abandoned. They’ve just reopened it as a community pub.”
The decision to film the video at The Ivy House was a pretty easy one for the girls, what with the previous greats gracing the stage, and as Kirsty points out “…and it’s local (laughs)” an important factor… “We were at gigs previously with bands that we knew at that venue, we were like ‘It’s derelict, what’re we gonna do?’ We kinda like the idea that it’s derelict”
S “We just thought it would be more interesting. You don’t really see many performances like that, where we’re going mental, and it’s got all the old feel about it. It’s quite important to us to have that live, dark vibe”
K “‘We’re proud of it, we’re happy with it”
The girls seem to have a good idea as to what they’re all about and where they’re headed. The aim of the game now is where to go from here.
S “We want to get another couple of tracks out, maybe a double A side track, because we’ve got a couple of tracks that we recorded before Christmas that we’re really happy with, and another video – ‘cus we do like making videos. I think it’s important to have something that’s visual that goes with the band. We’ve done – I wouldn’t say as small as a handful, ‘cus it’s not a lot of gigs in London, somewhere between a handful and a bit of a handful.
The aim is to record the new material that we’ve got, so we’ve got a big body of work. We do a lot of stuff with loops and samples, and I don’t really think we’ve captured what we can do, and that’s the side of music that we’re trying to offer that’s different to what’s around at the moment. We’re trying to create a full band sound with just the two of us. We want to go back into the studio, get these new tunes recorded. Probably got an albums worth of stuff, see what goes from there really.”
I had a great time chatting with The Pearl Harts, and they totally killed it later that night on stage.
You can listen to the full interview below: