‘A Female Black Punk Rock Band is a Normal Thing’: An Interview with Big Joanie

Interview by Karan Teli

One of the most exciting upcoming artists in Punk music is Big Joanie. A London based band, consisting of 3 black females. They have gigged all over the United Kingdom, appeared in national and worldwide music publications, with one main goal: to remind the world that People of Colour have always had a place in Punk music. I spoke to the band’s lead singer, Stephanie Phillips, about everything from her growing up around Punk music, how the band was formed, the transformation of Punk music over time and what Big Joanie has planned for the future.

14HQ: Growing up in Wolves, what was the music scene like?

Big Joanie: It’s a small city. There’s a small music scene, not as dynamic as London. Plus, I was too shy in Wolves. I left when I was 18 and come to London. There is much more awareness of music in London.

Have you always been to punk music? Was it what you grew up listening too?

More or less. I started off as a kid listening to Aaliyah and Destiny’s Child. I then really started getting into female fronted bands.

Like who?

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bratmobile, PJ Harvey. Women who would be expressing emotions. The music taught me a lot about feminism and politics, which is something I needed to learn as a 16 year old girl. But all 3 of us do really love punk. We all love 60’s girl groups and Motown music.

How did yourself, Chardine and Estella meet and create Big Joanie?

Well, I was living in London. I was in a punk band called My Therapist Says Hot Damn. We just used to gig. There was a gig called ‘First Timers’. The point of the gig is to have bands that do something new and unique. It encourages marginalised people to get involved and do things they may usually not. After that, I wanted to start another band. I wanted to start a black punk band. Literally, I put it on Facebook. Chardine got back to me straight away. We had a bassist, but she moved to Glasgow. Then Estella stepped in. She can play everything. Drums, guitar, bass. Everything.

Did it take you guys a while to find your sound or was it something that clicked from the beginning?

It actually worked well from the beginning. I already had a few songs I had written. We clicked immediately. I think that’s why it works so well, because it’s never really been too hard for us. We complement each other, both in the sound we want and the things we want to achieve.

Big Joanie’s songs are very passionate, often with deep meanings. What are some topics or themes you guys plan to discuss in future?

Usually when we write, I’ll come up with the basis of the song, but it is generally whatever is going around. Relationships, friendships, how it feels to be a black woman in the society that we are in. We have one song coming out that deals with people who fetishize black people. You know them people who say ‘I have one black friend’.

Big Joanie makes known that People of Colour have always been a part of Punk and Rock and Roll culture. Do you think this is something that has been forgotten over time?

Definitely. I think it has definitely been forgotten. For a number of reasons too. The people that write history are more invested in creating an illusion that makes them feel bigger than they actually are. Throughout history, Punk and Rock and Roll is influenced by black culture. Even the people who went too gigs, took the photos, documented everything; they were black. The idea that it is just white people is ridiculous. Black people themselves do it too. We get stuck in investing in music that’s slick and well produced like R&B. We as black people don’t appreciate that creating Punk music takes hard work too.

Is that the aim of Big Joanie? To let everyone know that People of Colour and Punk have always gone together.

Think back to the 1970’s. There would have been loads of black female punk rock bands. We think beyond what you see. A female black punk rock band is a normal thing.

Big Joanie has performed Boiler Room sets and festivals like Supersonic. What was the reception like from people in attendance?

Generally a good reception. It’s nice to play those different gigs, because it’s not necessarily our audience. It’s nice to introduce ourselves to new people. I do sometimes get nervous before were about to go on stage, but once you’re out there, you get into the zone and don’t even know what’s happening. You just want to give as good a performance as you can. It’s nice to do gigs outside London. The audience is always really enthusiastic. Outside of London people are more likely to sing along and show what they are really thinking, in my experience.

Who are some artists that you would love to work with one day?

There’s so many people. It’s all about who you would complement. I love Sacred Pause, they’re a band from Glasgow. FKA Twigs. Erykah Badu. I’m not sure she would need my help with song writing though.

You guys were listed as one of The FADER’s 15 artists to look out for in 2018. What was it like to see yourself on a list like that?

Really nice. We have never really been on a list or anything where people are expecting us to live up to a hype.

What are some goals that Big Joanie have set for 2018?

Release our debut album. Untitled as of now. But soon it will be about. Were just thinking about last minute things. We want to tour more, go to Europe hopefully. We want to make a name for ourselves. Make sure that people know what we are doing. Let people know about us. Have fun.

Is having fun while doing all this important for you?

It is. This is something that I have always wanted to do, but never had the confidence to do it. I am serious when needed. I think about the image I would want the 16 year old me to see. 3 black women who are strong enough to rebel against society. Were outside the norm of how were expected to act.

Reflecting on Yung Lean – A stranger of the new school

Reflecting on Yung Lean – A stranger of the new school

What’s Me? And What’s The Medication?

What’s Me? And What’s The Medication?

Samm Henshaw: Scala – Concert Review

Samm Henshaw: Scala – Concert Review

We Miss UK Funky

We Miss UK Funky

My Favourite Black People

My Favourite Black People

5 Games That Will Never See The Light of Day

5 Games That Will Never See The Light of Day

ICONS

ICONS

Kojo Funds – Golden Boy Review

Kojo Funds – Golden Boy Review

Black History Month: Remembering 5 Historic Black Inventors

Black History Month: Remembering 5 Historic Black Inventors

An Interview With Toffem

An Interview With Toffem

The Most Important Rhythm In Pop Music Today

The Most Important Rhythm In Pop Music Today

FIFA 19 Review

FIFA 19 Review

Tory Lanez: O2 Academy Brixton – Concert Review

Tory Lanez: O2 Academy Brixton – Concert Review

We’re In Another Golden Generation of Rap

We’re In Another Golden Generation of Rap

An Interview with Phaze-What

An Interview with Phaze-What

Ammi Boyz: O2 Academy Islington – Concert Review

Ammi Boyz: O2 Academy Islington – Concert Review

An Interview With Jain

An Interview With Jain

Top 5 Celebrities to Appear in Video Games

Top 5 Celebrities to Appear in Video Games

BREXIT: Who Does It Affect The Most? Part III

BREXIT: Who Does It Affect The Most? Part III

Brexit: Who Does It Affect The Most? Part II

Brexit: Who Does It Affect The Most? Part II

BREXIT: Who Does It Affect The Most? Part I

BREXIT: Who Does It Affect The Most? Part I

What 22 A Million Means To Me

What 22 A Million Means To Me

Stefflon Don – SECURE Review

Stefflon Don – SECURE Review

Jain – Souldier Review

Jain – Souldier Review

Why Pharrell Was A Great Choice On Sweetener

Why Pharrell Was A Great Choice On Sweetener

Elba, Idris Elba

Elba, Idris Elba

The Cool Kids Are Taking Over – Lava La Rue

The Cool Kids Are Taking Over – Lava La Rue

The Real Talking Point Of Stormzy’s Scholarship

The Real Talking Point Of Stormzy’s Scholarship

90’s Dancehall production is Avant Garde Genius

90’s Dancehall production is Avant Garde Genius

DON’T YOU… EVER… GET TOO

DON’T YOU… EVER… GET TOO

The Year of Pierre

The Year of Pierre

Buddy – Harlan & Alondra Review

Buddy – Harlan & Alondra Review

The FIFA eWorld Cup 2018

The FIFA eWorld Cup 2018

An Interview With Samm Henshaw

An Interview With Samm Henshaw

The Rise of Grime at Eastern Electrics 2018

The Rise of Grime at Eastern Electrics 2018

An Interview With A$AP Twelvyy

An Interview With A$AP Twelvyy

An Interview With Misterrcha

An Interview With Misterrcha

Lovebox 2018

Lovebox 2018

The Nuances of Knife Crime

The Nuances of Knife Crime

Inside Rick Ross’s Port of Miami II Listening Party

Inside Rick Ross’s Port of Miami II Listening Party

Fair or Unjust?

Fair or Unjust?

An Interview With Buddy

An Interview With Buddy

Wiz Khalifa: Roundhouse – Concert Review

Wiz Khalifa: Roundhouse – Concert Review

Capturing the moment: London’s new generation of music photographers

Capturing the moment: London’s new generation of music photographers

INSENSITIVITY

INSENSITIVITY

Jamie Isaac – Village Underground Review

Jamie Isaac – Village Underground Review

LDNRBS – Highground Review

LDNRBS – Highground Review

Rasharn Powell – Gold On My Neck

Rasharn Powell – Gold On My Neck

An Interview With Kwaleö

An Interview With Kwaleö

Inside Ebenezer’s Listening Party

Inside Ebenezer’s Listening Party

Azekel – Our Father

Azekel – Our Father

Unlucky Number 7

Unlucky Number 7

Exploring Sudan – Politics

Exploring Sudan – Politics

An Interview With Ada B

An Interview With Ada B

Exploring Sudan – Sport

Exploring Sudan – Sport

An Interview with Jamie Isaac

An Interview with Jamie Isaac

Exploring Sudan – Music

Exploring Sudan – Music

Peter Xan – Swagie

Peter Xan – Swagie

Lauryn Hill: 20 Years on. Still Relevant

Lauryn Hill: 20 Years on. Still Relevant

Global Citizen 2018

Global Citizen 2018

Lil Uzi Vert: O2 Academy Brixton – Concert Review

Lil Uzi Vert: O2 Academy Brixton – Concert Review

Top 5 Concert Venues In London

Top 5 Concert Venues In London

Charles’s 2018 NBA Pre-Season Predictions Review

Charles’s 2018 NBA Pre-Season Predictions Review

An Interview with July 7

An Interview with July 7

School shootings, video games and Trump

School shootings, video games and Trump

Boy Pablo: Queen of Hoxton – Concert Review

Boy Pablo: Queen of Hoxton – Concert Review

Anderson. Paak: O2 Academy Brixton – Concert Review

Anderson. Paak: O2 Academy Brixton – Concert Review

Catching a Vibe with CeeCee

Catching a Vibe with CeeCee

Are Mobile Games Ruining the Video Games Industry?

Are Mobile Games Ruining the Video Games Industry?

Rich Brian: O2 Academy Islington – Concert Review

Rich Brian: O2 Academy Islington – Concert Review

Daniel Caesar: Koko – Concert Review

Daniel Caesar: Koko – Concert Review

PARTYNEXTDOOR: O2 Academy Brixton – Concert Review

PARTYNEXTDOOR: O2 Academy Brixton – Concert Review

Man City – Signings That Created A Dynasty

Man City – Signings That Created A Dynasty

Olivia Nelson: Servant Jazz Quarters – Concert Review

Olivia Nelson: Servant Jazz Quarters – Concert Review

Jhene Aiko: O2 Shepard’s Bush Empire – Concert Review

Jhene Aiko: O2 Shepard’s Bush Empire – Concert Review

Bay Blanco: Lago$City Trap$tar – Review

Bay Blanco: Lago$City Trap$tar – Review

Cosmo Pyke: The Garage – Concert Review

Cosmo Pyke: The Garage – Concert Review

Dragon Ball Fighterz – Review

Dragon Ball Fighterz – Review

My Valentine’s Date

My Valentine’s Date

An Interview With Lorenzo RSV

An Interview With Lorenzo RSV

Monster Hunter: World – Review

Monster Hunter: World – Review

Women at Wireless

Women at Wireless

Rip the Thorns Off

Rip the Thorns Off

MOTM

MOTM

An Interview with Malcolm Bracey

An Interview with Malcolm Bracey

An Interview with Big Joanie

An Interview with Big Joanie

12 Albums to Look Forward to in 2018

12 Albums to Look Forward to in 2018

An Interview with Marino Morwood

An Interview with Marino Morwood

Dedication 6

Dedication 6

14HQ’S MOST MEMORABLE MEMES OF 2017

14HQ’S MOST MEMORABLE MEMES OF 2017

KARAN’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2017

KARAN’S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2017

T’S TOP 5 ALBUMS OF 2017

T’S TOP 5 ALBUMS OF 2017

CAM’S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF 2017

CAM’S PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF 2017

CHARLES’S TOP 10 SPORTING MOMENTS OF 2017

CHARLES’S TOP 10 SPORTING MOMENTS OF 2017

JASON’S TOP 5 GAMES OF 2017

JASON’S TOP 5 GAMES OF 2017

KARAN’S TOP 25 SONGS OF 2017

KARAN’S TOP 25 SONGS OF 2017

An Interview with S1

An Interview with S1

THE RISE OF VIRGIL ABLOH

THE RISE OF VIRGIL ABLOH

23 YEARS ON…

23 YEARS ON…

SELFLESS

SELFLESS

BIG SHA…MICHAEL DAPAAH

BIG SHA…MICHAEL DAPAAH

ATTENTION. OPINION. OBSESSION.

ATTENTION. OPINION. OBSESSION.

REST IN PEACE LIL PEEP

REST IN PEACE LIL PEEP

CALL OF DUTY: WWII – REVIEW

CALL OF DUTY: WWII – REVIEW

5 MORE ARTISTS YOU NEED TO START LISTENING TO

5 MORE ARTISTS YOU NEED TO START LISTENING TO

THE MOST MEMORABLE OPENING MOVIE SCENES

THE MOST MEMORABLE OPENING MOVIE SCENES

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: ENTREPRENEURS

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: ENTREPRENEURS

THE GEMS FROM EACH EPISODE OF BLONDED RADIO

THE GEMS FROM EACH EPISODE OF BLONDED RADIO

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: SPORT

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: SPORT

TOP 10 MARVEL CASTING CHOICES

TOP 10 MARVEL CASTING CHOICES

CHARLES’S 2017-18 NBA SEASON PREVIEW

CHARLES’S 2017-18 NBA SEASON PREVIEW

KARAN’S NBA 2017-18 SEASON PREVIEW

KARAN’S NBA 2017-18 SEASON PREVIEW

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: MUSIC

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: MUSIC

THE SUPER TEAM ERA

THE SUPER TEAM ERA

TOP 5, TOP 5, TOP 5: KEY WANE

TOP 5, TOP 5, TOP 5: KEY WANE

F**K THE POLICE

F**K THE POLICE

THE BIG BALLER

THE BIG BALLER

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: INVENTION

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: INVENTION

RAPSODY – LAILA’S WISDOM REVIEW

RAPSODY – LAILA’S WISDOM REVIEW

5 ARTISTS YOU NEED TO START LISTENING TO

5 ARTISTS YOU NEED TO START LISTENING TO

DEDICATION

DEDICATION

EYES PEELED ON: MOSCELLE

EYES PEELED ON: MOSCELLE

MY LIFE, NOT YOURS

MY LIFE, NOT YOURS

EYES PEELED ON: KLEIN MACY

EYES PEELED ON: KLEIN MACY

COMMUNICATION

COMMUNICATION

ULTIMATE FIGHTING TALK

ULTIMATE FIGHTING TALK

VINCE STAPLES: O2 FORUM – CONCERT REVIEW

VINCE STAPLES: O2 FORUM – CONCERT REVIEW

HISTORY MAKER

HISTORY MAKER

MAYWEATHER VS MCGREGOR

MAYWEATHER VS MCGREGOR

IN THE WORDS OF OTHERS: BLONDE

IN THE WORDS OF OTHERS: BLONDE

NO EXCUSES

NO EXCUSES

FINANCE AND FIRST DATES

FINANCE AND FIRST DATES

TOP 5, TOP 5, TOP 5: SYK SENSE

TOP 5, TOP 5, TOP 5: SYK SENSE

THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF DIRTY LAUNDRY

THE DO’S AND DON’TS OF DIRTY LAUNDRY

KING

KING

TYLER, THE CREATOR – FLOWER BOY REVIEW

TYLER, THE CREATOR – FLOWER BOY REVIEW

Murals and Artwork around New York City

Murals and Artwork around New York City

A DOG WITH A BONE

A DOG WITH A BONE

YOU CAN’T RUSH ART

YOU CAN’T RUSH ART

How ‘(At Your Best) You Are Love’ Travelled 40 Years

How ‘(At Your Best) You Are Love’ Travelled 40 Years

PASSION BEATS ALL

PASSION BEATS ALL

WHATS YOUR TYPE?

WHATS YOUR TYPE?

RULED BY THE OLD GUARD

RULED BY THE OLD GUARD

HOW HIP-HOP TOOK OVER HIGH FASHION

HOW HIP-HOP TOOK OVER HIGH FASHION

CHANNEL ORANGE: 5 YEARS LATER

CHANNEL ORANGE: 5 YEARS LATER

An Interview with Benji Colson

An Interview with Benji Colson

MY EXPERIENCE AT THE BAPE STORE IN NEW YORK CITY

MY EXPERIENCE AT THE BAPE STORE IN NEW YORK CITY

PIERS JAMES – VIBES AND TRIBULATIONS II EP – REVIEW

PIERS JAMES – VIBES AND TRIBULATIONS II EP – REVIEW

La Decima

La Decima

…But It Do Sound Good

…But It Do Sound Good

Uefa Champions League Final

Uefa Champions League Final

Kevin Durant : The Time Is Now

Kevin Durant : The Time Is Now

Mamba Out

Mamba Out

So I Met This One Girl

So I Met This One Girl

Drake – More Life Review

Drake – More Life Review

PHIFE: THE DEDICATION

PHIFE: THE DEDICATION

The Team In Turmoil

The Team In Turmoil

Sacked

Sacked

NBA Mid-Season Round Up

NBA Mid-Season Round Up

Big Sean – I Decided Review

Big Sean – I Decided Review

Sampha – Process Review

Sampha – Process Review

Chance The Rapper: Past vs Present

Chance The Rapper: Past vs Present

The Friendzone

The Friendzone

10 Albums Were Waiting For In 2017

10 Albums Were Waiting For In 2017

Top 5 Anticipated Video Games Of 2017

Top 5 Anticipated Video Games Of 2017

Cheat 2 Win

Cheat 2 Win

Top 5 Games of 2016

Top 5 Games of 2016

Manga vs Anime

Manga vs Anime

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Why ‘Dumb Yanks’ Are Not To Blame For Trumps Victory

Why ‘Dumb Yanks’ Are Not To Blame For Trumps Victory

The Little Boy From South London

The Little Boy From South London

The Biggest Athlete In American Sports History

The Biggest Athlete In American Sports History

Rise And Grind

Rise And Grind

Real Friends

Real Friends

FIFA 17 Review

FIFA 17 Review

Why PES Will Never Be Better Than FIFA

Why PES Will Never Be Better Than FIFA

Best Of E3 2016

Best Of E3 2016

7 Video Games We Used To Play All The Time

7 Video Games We Used To Play All The Time