Based in London and big in Japan, Abjects is a garage rock band with a global perspective.
“Travelling and being exposed to other cultures has been a constant for most of the part of our lives,” the trio’s frontwoman Noemi tells BTRtoday. She was born in Spain and lives in London. It seems natural that she’s brought Abjects’ music around the world—when we spoke, she was planning their third tour of Japan.
The international trio made up of Noemi (guitar/vox), Yuki (bass/vox) and Alice (drums) make edgy music that’s catchy as all hell. They’re releasing their debut Never Give Up next month via Yippee Ki Yay Records and it’s a collection of garage rockers that’ll get your heart pumping and blood boiling. Noemi not only sings about the frustrations of trying to love someone from another country, but also uses the music to fight the man and the ugly nationalism driving global political events like Brexit.
Read the entire interview with Abjects’ Noemi below.
Abjects, “Never Give Up”
BTRtoday (BTR): So you guys seem to be all over the world, how has that affected your musical inspirations?
Noemi (N): Travelling and being exposed to other cultures has been a constant for most of the part of our lives. This has shaped the way we think and is reflected in our music and lyrics. We love meeting new people and experiencing things in different ways. All these new approaches to life keep our minds fresh and engaged and are continuous sources of inspiration.
Strictly musically speaking it’s a real treat to be able to play and meet so many different bands every night, experience their music live and learn from them. We are totally self-taught so we’re always paying attention to different ways to do things we haven’t thought of before. When we see something that works we make a mental note and try to apply it in our own personal style.
BTR: How does being spread apart so much affect the band?
N: I’m not going to lie, it ain’t easy. We keep in touch through social media, but it’s a real struggle to find the time for all of us to meet and tour. On the other hand, that has pushed us to be more proactive at getting out there and that’s why we’ve been to Japan a couple of times already. Sounds pretty extravagant for such an underground band—we love it.
We’re also very lucky to have Teo onboard who’s been playing bass with us since Yuki’s been away. Thanks to her, we’ve been able to keep playing shows in the UK and Europe. She’s very bright and an incredibly fast learner that can pick up anything up in minutes and make it her own.
BTR: Why did you go with the name Abjects?
N: My friend Manu from the Spanish band Selvatica—check them out, they’re a stunning band—suggested we should be called that. He also gave me other options, but this one really resonated with me. Apart from meaning something bad, it’s also a philosophical concept used to explain misogyny—something between the concept of an object and a subject. It’s also used to describe marginalized groups of women, like unwed mothers or sex workers. Since we were a group of women trying to be accepted in a male-dominated music world we thought the name was very fitting. If we were going to disturb the social order we would wear it on our sleeves.
Unfortunately, we can’t say we don’t feel like objects or abjects anymore. The fact that critics or promoters usually compare us or book us to play with other female bands is a constant reminder that we’re considered second class and are not invited to play with the big boys. It’s something that annoys the hell out of us and we’ll never get used to.
BTR: Tell me about this debut LP coming out Never Give Up—what are some themes that are carried throughout the album?
N: “Never Give Up” showcases our evolution as a band, musically and at a personal level and it’s a good illustration of our ethos. Even if we don’t know how we’re going to keep on going until we get what we want. And what we want is pretty easy. We just want to be free to come and go, travel around the world and have fun. The current political climate has made achieving this complicated, so we’ve had to find ways to deal with it.
“Never Give Up” talks about the difficulties we’ve been through as a band living so spread apart in the world. “Fuck Brexit” is about our indignation towards Brexit, nationalism and populism. “The Storm” is about trying to hide feelings of impotence and frustration. “Mañana” is about procrastination and “The Secret” about not being able to talk openly about problems.
“A Long Way to Go” is a love song with a political backbone. It talks about having to jump through a lot of legal hoops to be able to be with the person you love because they’re from another continent or considered “illegal.” This is a recurring theme on the album as we’re all from different parts of the world living abroad and we’ve had to deal with this sort of bureaucracy at one point or another. We’re essentially examining how focusing on the positive and welcoming adversity can help overcome challenges.
BTR: How did you guys all meet and decide to start a band?
N: Yuki and I met at pub she worked at. We became friends and started collaborating musically. I used to play bass on her project before I went onto studying at Masters at Goldsmiths and quit music for a year. After that, I felt the itch again and started writing and recording songs in my bedroom. When I had a few [drinks] I decided to call Yuki up as ask her to join me on bass. I wanted to switch to guitar cause I thought it’d be too difficult to play bass and sing, so Yuki (who’d never played bass before) had to learn the instrument and get used to singing.
After a while, we started playing shows with Yuki’s boyfriend on drums. Then we met Alice when she was promoting gigs at a vintage shop called Paper Dress in Shoreditch and she booked us to play in the window of the shop. She completed our dream line-up.
BTR: What kind of purpose does writing music have for you?
N: We write to have fun, enjoy ourselves, enjoy music others, but also to get things off our chests, learn how to deal with problems and get to know ourselves better.
BTR: What should we keep an eye out for in the future of Abjects?
N: We’re currently working on going back to Japan this year. It’d be our third time over there and we can’t be more excited about it. They have an amazing underground scene where everyone helps each other in ways we haven’t experienced in Europe or the U.S. We’ve made tons of good friends over there and it’s always a pleasure to come back ‘cause they always treat us so well.