Photography by Kieran Webber

Kieran Webber
Kieran Webber

Founder of CLUNK Magazine. Normally found hunched over his desk searching for new music.

We hung out in the cellar style venue in Austin called The Creek and Cave with Panic Shack to chat about TikTok hate, dance moves, and more

On the fourth day of our SXSW adventure we got some facetime with the iconic Welsh band at the darkened walls of The Creek and Cave. We had a deep dive about the hate comments they received on TikTok after they posted THAT video, new music, USA, and MORE!

Kieran: So, first time in Austin, Texas! How has it all been so far? 

Meg: It’s all been too exciting and everyone’s been too lit everyday (laughs). 

Kieran: How have your shows here gone so far? How’s the response been and is there a difference between UK audiences and US? 

Romi: We’ve only played one official show so far and that was amazing, so much fun. 

Em: It went so well, it was just after the first night we got here and we had an amazing time. 

Romi: The crowds were enjoying it, I hope. They looked a little bewildered but I love seeing Sarah get into the crowds towards the end. UK crowds can be a bit more still and it doesn’t feel as inviting to do that. 

Kieran: What do you aim to achieve from playing SXSW? 

Meg: We want to expand our fanbase really, just have more people hear our music. A US booking agent would great, we just want to penetrate the USA. 

Romi: Perhaps we mean infiltrate (laughs). 

Sarah: No lets penetrate (laughs). We would love to jump on an American tour as a support band with someone. 

Kieran: Any artists in particular? 

Romi: Ermmm that is a good question!

Meg: Viagra Boys would be a dream. Anyone really, whoever wants us we’ll play!

Kieran: I want to chat about some of the comments you guys have received online, a fair amount of it was pretty negative. I am curious to know how you feel about this and was it expected? 

Meg: We didn’t expect it at all and it made me feel like a bag of shite (laughs). 

Sarah: We struggled for a few days when we were on our own. It was a bit of a shock to be honest, some of the things that were being said were really savage. It’s fair enough to not like our music but to be calling us all these names, tories and posh when we’re so not. It was the last thing we ever thought we’d hear about ourselves. 

Meg: It was quite savage. Nick our drummer got death threats.

Nick: They found my personal address and I was getting personal messages daily. It was pretty funny though as some of them were really creative (laughs). 

Meg: Yeah, one of them was like I hope you join the 27 club early but we’re all over 27 (laughs). 

Sarah: Jokes on you suckers! 

Listen to ‘Meal Deal’ here:

Kieran: Why do you feel these people feel emboldened to behave this way and why did they call you Tories?

Sarah: I don’t know, I feel like that was just a hot buzz word of TikTok at the time. 

Nick: It’s a trend on TikTok. If you go on any other bands or musical acts page it’s the same comments, they do it to get likes. 

Romi: I think it’s more contained to TikTok. 

Sarah: That’s why it was such a shock because feedback we’ve received outside of that channel has been lovely. 

Em: We thought everyone had been gaslighting us up to that point (laughs). 

Meg: Yeah, we thought it had all been one big prank. 

Sarah: I think as well that the video that did go viral of us playing at the BBC Intro stage at Reading made it look like a big deal, which I obviously was. However, I feel maybe some people almost find it hard to beleive that a group of working class people can make their way there without any help from rich parents. 

Kieran: I do think that if you were all males you wouldn’t have been subjected to the same abuse. A lot of it comes from the performance and the lyrics and perhaps it puts peoples back up. The truth is there are male punk bands doing similar things! 

Meg: It’s interesting actually because I was reading an article about Meg White and all the hate she got. It’s the same thing, that band wouldn’t be that band without her. 

Kieran: I do feel like we’re moving away from people slagging an artist off for their simplicity but there is still a lot of work to do. Speaking of Meg White the hate she got was obscene, she’s a good drummer in the same way that Ringo Starr was for The Beatles. 

Romi: If there was a drummer going absolutely ham in The White Stripes, it wouldn’t be that band.   

Meg: And also she just looks fucking cool!

Kieran: I find it very interesting and I do wonder as time goes on how it will play out for you. The gates opened now and people will almost be primed and ready to make a negative comment every time you post a video. 

Sarah: Luckily for us we don’t care anymore. We have each other and we only care what we think now. 

Kieran: To be honest you back yourselves with your live show, it’s fucking solid. 

Sarah: That’s where we come to life! 

Meg: Yeah, we’ve worked on our live show a lot and feel that’s where we thrive. 

Romi: Our next release is going to sound so different to our earlier stuff as well, we’ve worked hard on this and have grown a lot as musicians. 

Kieran: So are you already cooking up the new batch of songs? 

Romi: Yeah! We’re just waiting to get down to recording them, we’ve been playing them live though. The problem is we tour so much and then we’re working in-between that as well. Finding time to write is near impossible but we will do it. 

Kieran: I was really fascinated by the theatrics you’ve brought to your sets as well, was that something that was in place when writing the songs or was it something that developed by playing? 

Romi: I think the idea of dance moves was always there. We absolutely love pop girl groups. 

Meg: Yes! Artists like The Saturdays, Girls Aloud and that. 

Sarah: It just looks good doesn’t it! We love a gimmick. 

Romi: We’re just trying to hide the fact we’re terrible guitar players. 

We actually got really drunk last night and made a new dance routine (laughs). 

Kieran: So what do you have planned for the rest of 2023? 

Nick: We’ve got so many gigs booked and then we roll into festival season, so pretty much we’ll be non-stop.