We talk to Natalie from Glasgow’s queer punk sibling duo comfort, fresh from the release of their new album ‘What’s Bad Enough?‘
‘What’s Bad Enough?’ touches on themes from the pressure to conform as a queer person, through to the unhinged nature of capitalism and the damaging ideologies surrounding grind culture.
Lead single ‘Real Woman‘ is about frontwoman Natalie’s existence as a trans woman. Melding glitchy electronics and off-kilter beats with hip-hop vocals, the track speaks on the intolerance of the transgender community, with lyrics such as “your prejudice is not my problem“, and “I’ve never had so much interest in what’s between my legs. I don’t blame them at all, I think I’m fit as well.”
Natalie took the time to chat to us about what inspires her music, how her relationship with Sean informs their music and why she loves Glasgow so much.
Clara: Thanks for taking the time to chat to us! Let’s start at the beginning – where did you grow up and how did you find your way to music?
Natalie: We both grew up in Aberdeen, Scotland. Our household growing up was not a musical place, we didn’t have a record player or the radio on outside of the car, yet for some reason we both found ourselves drawn to it. We reckon a large influence was the video games we played, particularly JRPGS, as they always had strong, unique soundtracks. We were both obsessed with them. Our Dad also had mentioned in his youth that he bought a guitar and this always intrigued Sean’s imagination. Eventually Sean began to learn the guitar himself, which was a beautiful example for me as the younger sibling. Overall it’s something indefinable, we both personally have always found music a beautiful outlet for our creativity, since being teenagers until now.
Clara: What is your relationship like as siblings, how did growing up together inform your music?
Natalie: Our relationship is incredibly close; we have always been a big part of each other’s lives. We have a deep-rooted trust that we’ve built throughout our life, which informs our writing process. There are no pressures or restrictions on each other and I think the uniqueness of what we do is only possible because we know each other so deeply. I haven’t met anyone else in my life that I can connect with creatively like Sean, and I don’t think I’d be able to make music as honest and true to myself if I wasn’t doing it with him.
Clara: How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it before?
Natalie: Defining music can be a bit like naming the clouds, we both see different things and we’re both right. I would generally, if pushed, just describe what we do as pop music, that is what influences us. We are just trying to make pop music without relying on tired formulas or emulating other people.
Clara: What inspires your music and what are you trying to communicate with it?
Natalie: Our music is inspired by all sorts. For me, it’s important to be as open as possible to the fact that creation is all around you, seeping into your soul – all you have to do is get out of the way and let it flow. I am inspired by a lot of poets, both contemporary and older (Ocean Vuong, Audre Lorde, etc). Musically, we love game soundtracks, pop music, hip-hop, just everything, really. A lot of the songs are inspired by my experience and I want to communicate that. Through listening to our music we just hope people can feel a bit more liberated, more empowered, and if they are so inclined, encouraged to do it themselves. Because we’re not special, anyone can do it.
Clara: How does Glasgow as a city and the Glasgow music scene influence your music?
Natalie: Glasgow has been a life changing place for us both, we have both grown so much and become indistinguishable to who we were when we first moved here. It is a vibrant, beautiful place, with incredible people and a nurturing scene, which encourages people to give anything a go. Glasgow will always feel like home to both of us, even if our paths will take us to other places in the future. Without it, we wouldn’t be the confident band we are today and wouldn’t feel empowered to push things as far as we can. We love Glasgow.
Clara: Tell us a bit more about your new album – what is it about, what do you want listeners to take away from it?
Natalie: Our new album ‘What’s Bad Enough?’ is, in general terms, a time capsule of what life is like living as a trans woman in the UK today. It deals with the ever-worsening economical inequalities, the continued subjugation and scapegoating of queer/trans people, and how it affects me living here. It is an album about questioning everything that has been inherited by us, all the things we’ve been told are “knowledge”. It is about freeing yourself from your own expectations, about wanting something more, about screaming for it. When you listen to the record I hope you feel empowered, or moved, that in all this mess there is still an inherent beauty to life that we all deserve to bask in, endlessly. I hope everyone reading this can find as much joy as possible in life. Supporting others is supporting yourself and supporting the world. The right-wing fascists never win in the end. Ever.
Listen to ‘What’s Bad Enough?’ here: