The sophistication of Echo & The Bunnymen with the angst of the Pistols
Drowned In Sound tracked down Susan Heyat who moved to the UK from the States formed Pillbox in which she produces, writes, sings, plays guitars and also set up her own label NYC Records. In-between all this she had time to give us an interview!
Matt: What are your influences music or otherwise?
Susan: Love, Politics, The Social Climate, Stupidity, Passion, Sex. Musically- Punk, new wave, goth, glam, grunge.
M: What is your band philosophy/motto?
S: Nothing is impossible, never take no for answer, always convey an opinion, always prove you are right!
M: Why did you move over to the UK and has it given you more inspiration with the contrasts and similarities between here and the USA?
S: I moved to the UK because I wanted Pillbox to be an international band with world appeal. British punk rock & new wave led me to London, & the old days of Camden Palace & the Batcave were too glamorous & innovative for me not to try and implement in my band. I think the Britishness of Pillbox is what separates us and all the bland Wheatus geek-rock bands & nu-metal bands coming out in the States. I am of Persian origin myself, so no one in my family is American or white trash. I never had a family member who lived the American cliche of wearing wife beater t-shirts, driving pick-up trucks carrying a 6 pack of beer in one hand and a signed picture of the President in another. I always wanted the sophistication of Echo & The Bunnymen with the angst of the Pistols.
M: Do you find it annoying when you are compared endlessly to certain female rock/pop stars that shall not be named.
S: Yeah. At least they are women I really like musically. It is frustrating because I am so much my own person and I not a junior Courtney Love or Chrissie Hynde. I personally have so little in common with them. I would never marry for status and I have no soft spot for the Kinks. Neither one of these women ever sang about real political issues like I do on the Pillbox EP. Courtney was obsessed by being pretty and getting surgery, and Chrissie sounded like she just wanted to get fucked.
M: Do you feel that the Riot Grrrl movement never actually died out? Is it now time for it to re-emerge with sexism and misogyny now seeming to be ok with the current crop of nu-metal bands.
S: The Riot Grrl movement is still going strong especially with Sleater-Kinney in Olympia. They are worshipped like goddesses in Seattle and there are many other girl bands that emulate the same message on the Kill Rockstars label. The press just got bored of covering it but the scene is still there. I can't say I'm a part of that scene, as my musically snobbery leaves me right out of it. These bands have a great message but their music needs a lot of work. The sexism & misogyny has always been there and who better to lead the movement of idiots but nu-metal juvenile delinquents. What kills me is the girls who go to these gigs in their baggy trousers and sing along. Hello? At least in the 80's with bands like Poison, Whitesnake, WASP & Motley Crue (who I actually like) the girls were smart enough to know that their only role in this male-dominated genre of music was to be every inch the bimbo.
M: What affect do you think your music has?
S: I hope it disturbs some people and makes them think. I really want girls to wake up and stop dreaming of being models, housewives, mothers, presenters. There is so
much to achieve and women have been intellectually ignored for years.
M: Your lyrics are extremely vivid especially in your new single Sterilise Me. How important are they to you?
S: Lyrics are everything to me. If you don't have anything to say you should shut up. There is nothing worse than hearing an illiterate butcher our beautiful words.
M: What are you future plans gigs and record wise?
S: We are recording our second album now which should be due for release early next year. The plan is to do another UK Tour starting in October. We might fit in some festival dates in the UK if are not called back to the US.
M: What is your number 1 must have?
S: Information. I want to know everything.
M: What do you hate most about the world?
S: The Complacent Attitude of giving your life away 40 hours per week to some capitalist who gets rich off of you and all you get is a few lousy weeks of vacation a year, and you breed more kids to follow in your same blind
footsteps. Basically contributing nothing to this world and never asking why.