I recently caught up with Kathryn Woods, the energetic and vehemently feminist tomboy singer from Fresh, and Resident DJ of the grassroots monthly event #Genesisters. We discussed mental health, abortion access and celebrating her upcoming 21st in style…
How long has the band been going, and how did it come together?
We’ve been a band for a little over two years. I (Kathryn) had some demos and I had always wanted to play in a band, so I recorded them with my friend James (with him on guitar) and we went from there! I met George (bass) and Daniel (drums) later when Fresh played with their old band Sad Blood, and I came to know our new guitarist Myles just by loving his band/project ME REX.
Kathryn you also organise the event Genesisters when you’re not busy gigging, do you describe yourself as an activist feminist?
I have hosted and DJ’d the Genesisters nights as well as playing them, but the organising is done by Laura Maw and Michael James Hall, among others. So I can’t take credit for that! I’m always trying to be more of a direct activist when it comes to feminism and gender politics, but with a band and university it’s hard. I’m really interested in the Repeal The 8th movement about abortion access in Ireland. My parents are both Irish and moved to London to start a family, so it’s an issue that resonates. I try to use Fresh shows as a space for activism, but I’m quite introverted and anxious and I still find it hard to be assertive, especially when stuff happens to make me feel uncomfortable. So, in short. I am an intersectional feminist and I want to be more of an activist intersectional feminist!
You’re lyrics also seem to be focused on empowering your female teens, would you say that’s your target audience?
I would say that achieving that empowerment and sense of community for young women and non binary people is a goal of the band, but we don’t have a target audience. Frankly, I don’t often write with other people in mind. I write about my own experiences and they’re often about marginalisation and mental health, and so I understand why younger women and teenagers would be drawn to that because they’re groups that more affected by those things. Seeing girls and women liking my band and coming to shows does make me feel especially happy and excited.
Do you have any bands that have particularly influenced your sound in mind?
I think bands like Joyce Manor, Modern Baseball, Charly Bliss and Martha really shape our sound, because they’re the bands I listened to as a teenager and just fell in love with their style and attitude. I think everyone has that formative band and sound, and a band is more than just one person but those are mine!!
How would you best describe it in your own words?
Our sound? When people ask, I say “indie punk.” We’ve got some pop and rock n roll vibes too. I tend to prioritise lyrics over melody, or at least I spend more time on lyrics, so I’d also use words like “confessional” and “angsty”!
What gigs have you got coming up?
We have a Genesisters show with Fightmilk on the 18th of November, my 21st birthday!! But before that we’re going to Europe for five shows with Happy Accidents. You can find all the deetz on our Songkick or on Twitter (@freshpunks).
Any new singles/an album in the pipeline?
We released an album last month on Specialist Subject Records that I’m hugely proud of. It’s self-titled and you can find it on Spotify or bandcamp (freshpunks.bandcamp.com) plus loads of other places. And we’re always writing. We’re working on new songs and shaking them up, and I’m very excited about them.