Words: Jasmine Uitermark-Thaung
Bells Rapids came on the scene late last year, captivating local music goers with their own brand of grunge pop. We caught up with lead singer and guitarist, Tanaya Harper over some quick bevvies to talk logistics from jamming to performing, shit boys and In The Pines excitement.
Well first up, what type of food would best describe the music Bells Rapids produce and why?
It’s definitely rich but whether I’m going to go with Asian, French or Italian cuisine, I don’t know? If it was French it’d be a Beef Bourguignon or if it was Thai, it’d be a really nice green chicken curry. It wouldn’t be spicy, it’d just be a warm, rich food.
Now you guys started performing in September last year…what do you think was the biggest struggle getting your music from just jamming into live performance mode?
I think what we did was quite smart, we started marketing ourselves on social media before we even had our first gig so that got us quite a big crowd at our opening. It wasn’t necessarily hard because we did it in an interesting way. So far as pre-gig, getting it all together the hardest thing is until you’ve played a few shows nothing is really tight and nothing feels like it knows what it is yet. The first gig wasn’t perfect but that just comes with time…the hardest part is feeling ready to do a gig.
All of the band have their own music projects on the side, how do you handle that with your schedules? Is time management an issue?
I don’t think we do, I don’t think we handle it very well. That’s why we haven’t really been able to record yet.
Yeah you guys only have one song out at the moment?
Yeah we do which we released in November, luckily enough it got used for the In The Pines video. People are always asking when we’re gonna do more and I’m just like we literally don’t have time to get together. How we manage it? I don’t know! It’s usually a bit tedious, if we get a gig offer then everyone has to check their schedules but most of the time someone’s free.
Do you have members that stand in when someone can’t make it?
Well, because Sara injured herself…which is so sad, now Ali Flintoff from Dream Rimmy and Boat Show is stepping in for us for In The Pines whilst playing in Dream Rimmy on the day as well. Sara might not be better as soon as we hoped, Ali might step in for a few more things. Other than that we’ve only had one other fill-in, which was Axel Carrington from Rag N’ Bone. He filled in for Stella one time and Kiera stepped in for harmonies as well because Bells isn’t real without the harmonies. That was really cool, to have half Rag N’ Bone and half Bells.
Do you like being defined as a girl band?
I got in a little bit of trouble for setting up our triple j Unearthed page and hash tagging us as a girl band. It didn’t occur to me that the other girls might not identify with that. The fact that we are all girls wasn’t pre-conceived. I really for a long time wanted to call the band ‘Shit Boys’ just because I liked the words and I had a few songs about shit boys but then I realised if I did that I’d really be boxing myself in, people would isolate it as a band that just sings about shit boys. It’s quite sobering when you realise the gravity of the things that you say or the names that you’re called.
And last but not least, what can we expect from Bells Rapids at In The Pines?
You can expect nervousness, gratitude and excitement just oozing out of us! We’re playing 12:30pm, so really early. We’re just so happy to be on the line-up because we’ve only been playing for what like 6 or 7 months? Hopefully people come in the beginning.
We might be selling a little bit of merchandise, we’re sourcing some shirts (hopefully they’ll be ready) from the HUSSY girls. They’re starting up their own business where they source second hand shirts, good quality ones. We’ll only have a few though, it’ll be pretty exclusive so we might have to do some pre-orders for our next round.
Answers have been edited for clarity and length.