Inspired by the spirit of riot legends Bratmobile and Skinned Teen, the Hackney-based Ethical Debating Society began in 2009 as the pseudonym for frontwoman Tegan Christmas who had been writing and performing anti-love songs on her hooty piano. Over time, this project amalgamated into the current lineup featuring Tegan, Su (percussion), Kris (guitar) and Rob (drums) with all four simultaneously adding their own noisy brand of vox.
With their bangy garage drums and fierce shouty vocals that bear witness to their riot grrl influences, they’ve had the pleasure of sharing stages with many seasoned acts within their genre such as Bearsuit, The Brownies, and Death of the Elephant, and have been on stage for a screening of the riot grrl documentary ‘Don’t Need You’.
Describing themselves as ‘uncool, untalented, unconnected’, the message they want to get across is that music is for everyone to have fun with, and they successfully do that with their raw fast paced songs.
In the wake of a riot genre revival, the Ethical Debating Society finds itself perfectly suited to a scene which is taking the original DIY principles and pushing them in all sorts of directions, as opposed to only erring on the side of nostalgia.
When it comes to this lo-fi DIY learn-as-you-go attitude, Ethical guitarist Kris Smith jokingly retorts that “sometimes it feels like we’re four people who shouldn’t be on the streets let alone on a stage”.
While their rough edges exemplify their genre, he also discusses how frustrating it can be when people don’t consider them to be ‘real music’. He especially disagrees with the point that people would rather see something that they can’t just do themselves because an audience uses a performance as escapism.
“Go into any music shop in the country”, he says “and there’ll be some guitar hero playing Freebird and hoping someone’s impressed. They give away free belittlement with every pack of strings. People are shut out from art and feel like it’s not for them…that’s not escapism, it’s alienating, and people are bored by it.”
When asked if they had any thoughts on the Hackney music scene, Shoreditch-based guitarist Kris Smith cheekily replied, “Well, I’m biased to be honest, as basically I feel like London is the centre of the world and Hackney is the centre of London.”
The Ethical Debating Society have just finished recording and plan to release an EP later this year.
For more information visit the Ethical Debating Society’s facebook page .
Listen to the Ethical Debating Society on myspace