Some of you are really acting up out there, and Private Wives want to help you be better.
It’s healthy to keep yourself in check, and for musicians, punk offers a great opportunity for that. Few genres can act as such a shucking knife to help exhume the soft gooey centre from the hardened outer. However with their debut EP Bad Taste, Private Wives offer us an ever-critical reminder that before you tell yourself you’re crazy – take a look at the people around you.
Names are avoided entirely and specifics are purposefully lost in the whimsy of songwriting but it’s clear that since the EP’s release earlier this month, no doubt a select few – those who wronged Private Wives, have been keeping a low profile. But Bad Taste isn’t a submission to shitty people, or a defeat – It’s a meditation on this shit, a pivot on how we approach this shit and ultimately, a teachable moment on it all.
Nestled between the driving bass, cutting guitar work, effortless drums and jagged wordplay lists a multitude of teachable moments, tough to swallow home truths and hard lessons to learn to boot. Following the release of the EP, we dove in and exhumed what we could find, with the band giving us a few sentences on each.
1 – Friends will turn their backs on you
‘Hey Bestie’ is a chance to be angry at people who’ve turned their back on you but also be angry at society for turning women against each other.
Everyone has had a friend who has suddenly (or not so) changed and feels like they’ve turned against you, they are lying to you and treating you like the enemy, but one they keep close. This song isn’t just about beef with an old friend, ‘Hey Bestie’ is bitchy and a little shady but it’s more of a fuck you to society that has for years pitted women against each other, in life, in love and especially in music. Women are constantly fighting each other for appraisal and approval from men when we should all be fighting on the same team. I’ve seen this tear up friendships my whole life and it’s a hard situation to navigate.
2 – Creeps won’t listen to reason
They will get all up in your space, and will keep bothering you no matter how much you tell them to fuck off.
We hate it when you go out, whether it be to a show, the pub or even a house party, and there’s someone there that won’t leave you alone. That’s the premise of ‘Senseless Tragedy’. We scream “don’t touch me” over and over again we’ve done in these situations and how we are fed up with it, but also the song deals with the shame that is put on you by others for not going about the interaction in a “delicate” way that people would prefer you to do. In the bridge it feels like it’s the end of the road and we are completely fed up, and we really fight back, daring those people to mess with us and see what happens. And then again, repeating the “don’t touch me”, to really ride it home.
3 – It’s normal to get lost after a break up, just don’t stay lost
‘Drown’ is about how low you can stoop after a break up, realising how easy it is to get caught up in the hysteria of a highly emotional breakup but then reflecting on the progress you’ve made.
I wanted to write something that really hit you in the feels but at the same time you can scream cause you’re just so angry that the person that told you they loved you and made these promises to you broke them all. When I first wrote this song one of the lyrics was “I thought it was gonna end me but I’d do it all again for you”, but now it’s “i thought it was gonna end me but I deserve better still”. Changing them was a big turning point for me.
4 – The DMs are dark and full of horrors.
‘Thirsty’ discusses the trials and tribulations of social media harassment.
All three of us have fallen victim to the unsolicited messages from men after we post a picture of ourselves on our accounts. The story that inspired this song in particular, was when Lucy and I (Phoebe) went on a hike with a few friends during lockdown. Our mate posted a picture of Lucy, then this guy sent her a heap of messages which I actually quote in our lyrics, basically asking if she’s available and easy. I scrolled through all my old messages on instagram (even from way back when I was in highschool) and just took quotes and references from what these dudes were saying to me online, and took other statements from friends’ experiences with these guys online. Everything that is sung in the verses are real things people have said to us online, and we made the song into this back and forth of different perspectives, going from the gross dude to us hitting back in the chorus. We ended up making this song which is quite angry into something that is comedic, where we decide to laugh and shame these people for the things they say, rather than them shaming us for how we present ourselves. It’s definitely one of our favourite songs to play, because we make it fun and cheeky while pointing the finger.
5 – Men expect you to be nice, and can’t handle when you’re not.
I worked in pubs and bars for 6 years, and the amount of sexual harassment and assault I endured in that time made me feel worthless and like I was nothing but my body parts to these men. We named the song ‘Coyote Ugly’ after the movie, where all the really beautiful women work behind the bar and sing and pour drinks over themselves, and I always thought that’s what all these patrons would want to see from me behind the bar.
Men in these bars expect you to be nice, kind and sexy while they order their drinks and make comments on what you look like, then they lose their minds when you tell them to back off. When you report it to your superiors, they are more concerned with making money than their staffs safety and wellbeing. I wrote the lyrics after constantly hearing the cliche “you’d look prettier if you smiled”, being called “bitch, slut, slag, whore” and groped more times than I can count One day it broke me and I decided I would no longer give in to the comments and I’d just fight back.
6 – People will feed off your doubt.
‘Never Again’ was actually inspired by a drunken night at a “friends” house. I was so blind I couldn’t keep my head up, I managed to mumble to my friend and asked if I could go sleep in his bed. I trusted him that I would get a peaceful sleep, whilst nothing happened in that bed a few weeks later I’d heard that this “friend” was telling people that I tried to sleep with him. This enraged me, made me wonder what he might have done to me and how dare he have the right to say those things when he knew how drunk I was. But that’s the catch, my state that night was used against me to disprove my innocence, just like so many sexual assault victims are dragged through the mud about consent and being in an “altered state”. So yeah, this one is for all the people that have been asked to prove their story because our word and our experiences aren’t good enough.
7 – You can choose your family.
The song is a really emotional one for me, in particular ‘Pity Party’ came about after an intense situation with my family occurred and everyone was split on to different sides, and I felt incredibly lonely in the side I stood on. I drove home after this ridiculous argument, screaming and crying.
It was one of those situations where the words you wanted to say but didn’t think of at the time, came to me and I pulled over and wrote everything down. We always talk with the audience before we play the song, that the saying “you can choose your friends but you can’t choose your family”, is false for us. I know for me, I have chosen who my family is and we all strive to lift each other up and support one another. Pity Party really explores how frustrating and confusing it is when your side is not heard, and it can be applied to a heap of different situations. A Lot of people have found comfort in this song, and have told us they felt really heard when they first listened to it/saw it live. That’s what I think is really beautiful and important about the music we make and the impact we are having in the scene.
Private Wives’ debut EP Bad Taste is out now.
Bad Taste is out Friday, 5th May
Private Wives Australian tour dates
Tickets via Private Wives
Friday May 19th
Fitzroy Pinnacle, Melbourne
Saturday May 20th
The Railyard, Tecoma
Thursday June 1st
Vinnies Dive Bar, Gold Coast
Saturday June 3rd
Friday June 9th
Lass O’Gowrie, Newcastle
Friday June 16th
La La Las, Wollongong
Saturday June 17th
Vic On The Park, Sydney