The Tuts: Pop-Punk, Feminism, and Mental Health

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Any frequent readers of my blog / friends of mine will know how much I believe in music being a big healer for mental health. I have personally found solace through particular songs and musicians, and always feel a connection to any artist who speaks to openly about their struggles. Introducing The Tuts; a 3 piece all female pop-punk band from West London, whose stompy, feminist pop sounds have been recognised by the likes of Kate Nash and Billy Brag.

When The Tuts reached out to me wanting to get involved with JYDMRA, I was thrilled already being a fan of Let Go Of The Past. I then came across Worry Warrior, the track that inspired this whole feature, and why The Tuts are so important when linking music to mental health.

Nadia, Beverley and Harriet we're all kind enough to open up to my readers about the track, and their own personal struggles with mental health whilst being in a band.

Nadia Javed (Vocals, Guitar):
"Harriet wrote most of the song and it’s about her anxiety and constant worrying. Personally, I battle with on/off mild depression. I went through a phase where doing simple tasks like getting out of bed, brushing my teeth and doing basic shit was taking me the whole day. I was punishing myself thinking it was laziness or lack of vitamins but really I just felt down. I don’t now why, I just felt down… All the time. Being in a band is amazing but it’s very manic - one minute you're playing to packed out crowd having the best time of your life, and the next you’re home alone with ringing ears… The morning after (the come down) is even worse. I got to a point where I was living off adrenaline and it was the only thing that got me buzzed and happy. I feel like keeping myself busy, getting out the house and laughing, is the best cure to my up/down moods. Sometimes I can’t be bothered to resist my shitty mood and get on with my day and then something will happen; we might receive some good news, or something that will provide my next fix. I get addicted to people to who make me laugh but then they get they get the wrong idea, they think I want more than jokes (pokes), next thing I know - I’ve lost a friend and I’m more sad than I was in the first place."

Beverley Ishmael (Drums):
"This was one of the first songs Harriet wrote for the band, and I’m glad she did as so many of our fans relate to it. I personally went through a stage of mental health struggles when my parents moved back to the Caribbean for a while. I don’t know if that triggered something, I don’t know what it was, but I wouldn’t leave my room unless I had to go to work. Not even to get something to eat. I remember one time I didn’t eat for like three days, and when people would say 'oh my god you’ve gone so thin!' I would lie and be like, yeah I got really bad food poisoning, that's why I’ve lost loads of weight and I’m finding it hard to put it all back on... I would hear my stomach rumbling and I would get cramps, and I would just sit there and not do anything about it. At the time, I didn’t really see it as a big deal, I would just see it as part of a routine that I got used to. I also remember being sad all the time. No matter what I did, there would be this sadness at the pit of my stomach. I couldn’t get rid of it. What I couldn't understand was I had nothing to be sad about. I would constantly think to myself snap out of it. I would always think, okay, tomorrow I’ll feel better. But it would be the same thing. This went on for months and months, and I never really told anyone because you yourself don’t know what it is, but you know something isn’t right in your body. That's why self-health is so important. You have to make sure you look after yourself, care for yourself, and be selfish about looking after your own health. The one think that did save me was the band though. It just pushed me into a more positive light, where I viewed myself positively."

Harriet Doveton (Bass, Vocals):
"I wrote Worry Warrior a long time ago and almost want to write a Worry Warrior Part 2 now, as I played it very safe with the content, which is very telling of the stigma around this topic in the first place. Admitting you have anxiety makes it seem like you're weak or just feels silly to admit, but I've learned about myself over the years that I am naturally an anxious person and I have issues with the perfectionist type of obsessive compulsive disorder. But I am still very strong and can handle a lot, which is where the "warrior" part comes in. I struggle with mistakes, if I make a mistake it physically hurts my body, but if a friend makes a mistake, I am so rational and comforting about it - funny that! I think a lot of people suffer from this type of double standard. My stress also led me to an eating disorder that lasted just over a year, which was also hard to admit to and I hid it for a long time. Although my issue with food wasn't even about food itself, turning vegan majorly helped me along the way with getting over my eating disorder, and I'm the healthiest I've ever been now and my perfect BMI. People need to not let themselves fall into bad habits that could impact on physical health, triggered by mental health. It's hard, but self-care is crucial. Sometimes I feel like I could run on nothing. No food, no sleep and no rest. But the truth is that can only last so long and isn't sustainable."

The Tuts debut album, Update Your Brain, is out now. The trio also hits the road this month for a full UK tour, dates and tickets via their website here.

Image Source: Noisy

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