Legal Aliens are fast, angry, unapologetic and here to show that female fronted is not a genre and women are not a novelty! Before making the trek from Sydney to play Bombay Rock Saturday June 29th, singer Mal took some time to have a chat to us about the history of Legal Aliens and what they stand for.
To get things in motion, could you tell us how Legal Aliens got started?
Aliens began in 2015 (as a thought vomit) when Stacey (bassist) and I decided to start a female fronted punk band, due to the under representation of women in the Sydney and Wollongong punk scenes. 6 months in, Lawson joined on drums helping to settle on a band name- Legal Aliens.
Awesome, what is the story behind the name Legal Aliens?
The name is a play on our country’s history of colonization, current refugee policies and, the fact that all of Legal Alien’s members are white Australians that come from family histories of immigration to Australia.
Legal Aliens is heavily influenced by the 90’s underground feminist punk movement known as Riot Grrrl, what drew you to that style?
I started Aliens with Stacey, after being heavily influenced by Kathleen Hanna and Bikini Kill. I became obsessed with their D.I.Y culture of art that was girly, vulgar, and said something important, all in one. Drawings, poems, songs, zines, bands: all done their own way outside of the dominant male culture that deemed alternative female expression as valueless. The zines and music were angry and poignant, infusing ideas of feminist social theory and, punk ethos. The bands were girls and women making their own sounds outside of the hyper masculine hardcore and punk scenes of the 80s. Don’t get me wrong, we love the D.C hardcore sound (for example), but without the Riot Grrrl Movement and the likes of Kathleen Hanna, I wouldn’t have known that I could stand up in front of a crowd of drunk men and scream we’re not your fucking novelty! She taught me that I didn’t have to smile, be polite and quiet just because of the social expectations imposed upon my gender.
That’s is downright cool and very empowering for women everywhere! All in all, what is it that Legal Aliens stand for?
We stand for what a lot of people stand for these days; no to the exclusion of people based on race, gender, identity, age or class. No to the trivialisation of female ability in any context. No to classism and a political system and culture that perpetuates inequality. No to racism, yes to refugee immigration and the list goes on.
What is the songwriting process for your band?
The music is a group collaboration. I am the parasite that leeches off the musicians (hahaha), so I write the words. Whoever is playing guitar will write the guitar, Stacey will write the bass and Laws the drums. But it always starts with the guitar.
We all have an agreed idea of what we would like to address with words- which is always essentially political/social commentary. As well as the odd exploration of inner existential dilemmas.
I tend to write poems, collecting them in a book and waiting until we have a riff to work with it. Unless that comes first and then words follow after. Either sound or personal experience will evoke thought, just depends on which comes first.
Tell us, what does a normal day look like for Legal Aliens?
Like everyone else’s: wake up, drag ourselves out of bed. Drag ourselves to work amidst the concrete. Cry and eat baked beans in the toilet cubicle at lunch time. Count down the hours till next gig and therefore, escape of ordinary life. Mmmmmm normality.
So where to after Bombay Rock?
We will be playing Yours and Owls Festival in Wollongong in October. Anything else? ……. too disorganised!
See Legal Aliens high energy set at Bombay Rock Saturday June 29th with fellow Sydney band Swine and locals The Murderballs and The Fckups. A night of hardcore punk not to be missed!
Photo Credit @thismelomaniclife