Music interview – Black Moth: ‘It’s a different experience, fronting a rock band as a woman’

Black Moth. Picture: Gobinder Jhitta Photography
Black Moth. Picture: Gobinder Jhitta Photography
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Black Moth frontwoman Harriet Bevan can’t quite believe that it’s been almost half-a-decade in since the band put out an album.

“Is it really four years?” she laughs when asked what’s taken so long, before adding that there is a legitimate reason for the delay. “We’ve had the album done for a year, but we’ve been changing record labels – that’s what’s held it all up!”

The West Yorkshire/London stoner-punk collective’s third record, Anatomical Venus, hits shelves next month and represents a new chapter in the group’s story in more ways than one. It is their maiden LP on Candlelight Records, the studio debut of new guitarist Federica Gialanze and the first album laid down without long-time producer and Bad Seeds drummer Jim Sclavunos with engineer Andy Hawkins stepping into the gulf and Napalm Death collaborator Russ Russell on mixing duties.

“We worked with Andy on (previous album) Condemned to Hope, so he’s an old friend,” Bevan notes. “He’s the most anti-cliché man I’ve ever met in music; he always wants to make something sound different. If it seems like it’s been done before, he’ll feel we’re not stepping out of our comfort zones enough. He’s always challenging us on those levels.”

How would she describe the album? “Psychological, visceral and heavy. Andy is great at producing high-quality heaviness. Russ too; the songcraft has definitely gone through the hands of heavier masters this time.”

To describe music as psychological paints a picture of music unlikely to trouble the BBC Radio 2 demographic, to which Bevan, a trainee psychotherapist, concurs. “I’ve always found us to be quite melodic and listenable, when compared to similar acts; but we’ve never written to please anyone but ourselves. The subject matter we try to tackle can be… difficult.”

Black Moth. Picture: Gobinder Jhitta Photography

Black Moth. Picture: Gobinder Jhitta Photography

The group will take to the road on a UK tour during the run-up to release day, before heading into festival season. With the debate around female representation on bills still very much in conversation, how does Bevan feel about the on-stage gender imbalance? “It’s a different experience, fronting a rock band as a woman; it’s only really on this album that I’ve embraced that. You could say that bookings are proportional to the lack of female-led groups, but I don’t really buy that. It’s going to take brave actions to change this – and if that’s the only way, then that’s the path we’ll take to get there.”

Black Moth play at Brudenell Social Club on February 16. Anatomical Venus is released on February 23. www.facebook.com/themothpit

The songcraft has definitely gone through the hands of heavier masters this time.

Harriet Bevan