Skinny Girl Diet specializes in noise; the raucous punk two-piece from North London are DIY to the core. We spoke with the duo about body confidence, social media, whether punk is dead and more...
My first question was going to be where did you guys meet but…
Haha, yes we’re sisters!
How did you come up with the name Skinny Girl Diet?
It was actually from Tumblr; I used to go on there as a kid. I was still finding my identity and one day I saw an image of a rib-caged girl with the caption #skinnygirldiet. I came across a whole bunch of anorexia stuff and I thought it was wrong for girls to be seeing that. And me being an angsty teenager who was super into punk, I thought ‘why don’t we just call the band this?’
How old were you when you came across that?
I was 14. I was quite body confident, but it did make me think ‘am I too fat?’ It made me question myself, so it was probably even worse for body-conscious girls. I want our name to empower people.
How do you feel about the current state of body image, with YouTube, Instagram etc.?
I love insta for visuals - like art and old school images, but there's a really sinister side to influencer culture. I saw an article about brands not supporting LBGT or POC influencers, which is awful, it perpetuates negative beauty ideals. It's getting better, but at the same time worse. There's definitely a dark undertone.
Do you think social media translates to the real world? Sometimes it feels like an alternate reality…
It’s like a little hub that doesn't always translate to real life. I feel like people get angry about stuff online, but don’t do anything about it in real life. We’ve done a lot of charity gigs to raise money: we recently did an anti-marine pollution gig. A lot of musicians make music for clout, but music is an energy that needs to be used for positivity.
"A LOT OF MUSICIANS MAKE MUSIC FOR CLOUT, BUT MUSIC IS AN ENERGY THAT NEEDS TO BE USED FOR POSITIVITY."
You guys formed at an early age, can you remember what your first song was about?
I think it was about aliens. We used to write songs together when we were kids, our parents would take us all to gigs. When we were teenagers we just thought - ‘Let's start a band’ - so one Christmas we were like: ‘We need a bass player’ - then I put some songs on MySpace.
MySpace that's a blast from the past, who was in your top 8?
I think at one point I had the baitest bands in there like Nirvana and...oh, I can’t remember now, can you remember yours?
No Idea, but the Myspace era was fun. When was your first SGD gig?
It was in a pub in Deptford. Thinking back, we were so naive, we just wanted to play. Going back to the whole social media thing, I think it stunts your imagination. You spend way too much time comparing yourself to other people, It stops you from going out and doing shit.
Where you nervous?
I'm more nervous now than I ever was back then. I'm too aware now, I worry about what people are going to think.
You’re doing some solo work now, can you tell us about that…
I always wanted to make music, but it didn't really fit with the band’s sound. We’re a punk band, so I was scared to say I wanted to make abstract music with soulful and psychedelic influences. When the band had a natural break, I thought I’d put some stuff out on SoundCloud - music that I felt was truthful to me.
You released your mixtape Lady Luck Vol. 1, was there an overall theme?
Being a Londoner, nightlife and modern-day dating - all my experiences.
What do you think of the dating scene?
I'm not gonna lie, it's fucked up. I’m an old school girl, I like wining and dining, going on dates and stuff. I was saying to my Dad the other day, you can just download Tinder now and meet someone.
Which can be good and bad…
I don't know what our generation is going to say to our grandkids - ‘Oh, I met your grandad on Tinder’? - there are no cute stories anymore.
What does London mean to you?
It’s home; it’s just everything. I just got back from Spain, it was great, but it really made me miss London. I feel like I'm surrounded by a lot of ambitious people, everyone's grinding. Plus the music - you can go to a grime gig one night, then a bouji party, then a punk gig, and on to a weird squat rave - there are so many different adventures to be had.
Is style important to you? I know you’re against being labelled a ‘fashion band’…
I’d always say I’m a fan of style rather than fashion. I get my clothes from everywhere, I think you have to mix it up.
Who do you look to for style references?
Old school 50s pin-ups - not the housewives, the bad girls - the ones who would have been exiled by the housewives. Also, 60s girl groups like The Ronettes and The Supremes.
Do you see yourself as a bad girl?
I'm not actually, even though I look like one.
I’ve seen the title ‘Girl gang state of mind’ alongside the band’s name, is that your slogan?
I'm gonna say yes. We coined it when we were listening to Nas’ NY State of Mind track. I wanted to make it punk and feminist.
How do you feel about punk at the moment?
I’m an old school girl; I think punk is dead, it’s more of a mindset than a genre now.
I guess the punk attitude can fit into different genres…
Exactly; I feel like grime music is punk. There are many different styles of punk, the way you interpret it comes down to race and how traditional you want to keep it. I’m not down for that, punk is all about breaking rules.
"THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT STYLES OF PUNK, THE WAY YOU INTERPRET IT COMES DOWN TO RACE AND HOW TRADITIONAL YOU WANT TO KEEP IT."
Do you think it’s important for music to have a message?
Definitely. If you’re just doing it to stunt on the ‘gram and show how many followers you have, that shit is soulless. You should make music to help others.
Is it possible to maintain a level of musical integrity and make money?
Sometimes. I think you have to make a compromise as an artist, but if your heart’s in the right place you can do both
Do you want to be famous?
No comment haha. In all honesty, I don't know. Fame is another level of dark and a lot of people abuse their power. I’d prefer to be recognised for my hard work and for people to resonate with my music.
Wallet by Comme des Garçons Wallet, Lip Salve by Fat and the Moon.