Three girls, three stars, loads of glitter and ass-kicking punky rock tunes – this is Jane Doe. The Würzburg “bad girl indie rock” trio – as they call their style – just got everything you need for a fine pogo party with friends: their beats, voices, melodies and pure party attitude literally move the crowds on their gigs. They will make you stamp your feet, shake your hips, sing along and circle put as if there were no tomorrow. Don’t believe me? Just step by on one of their next live gigs and you’ll see for yourself.
And for now, have fun reading this interview they gave me. I am very proud to present Jane Doe and their new album “Freak Out” as the culmination of my Girl Power Weeks! And look, even Jem found a good mention here ;-)
How did you originally get together as a band?
Each of us always has played music for herself. Besides, Ronja and Claudia already know rach other from their childhood and school time. We’ve got to know Uli, our drummer queen, on a concert of a band we’re friends with. We arranged a date for a jam session the same week and it just fitted perfectly.
I am also wondering about your band name – after all “Jane Doe” is the English equivalent for “it could be anybody”. To be honest, you don’t sound like anybody and I have the impression you never intended to sound like anyone could. What is the story behind your band name?
When we started to write our own music we were about 16 or 17 years old. At this time we were not sure about both the "identity" of our music and our own identities. We absolutely didn’t know how our music would develop. Meanwhile we simply don’t want to be pigeonholed and also have understood that our music is continuously developing just like our personalities. Consequently, the name “Jane Doe” worked out for us quite well. For us Jane Doe is not the nameless “could be anybody”, but rather gives us the freedom that we can by anybody and we can do everything. Maybe today we are punk, tomorrow we could be folk…who knows what comes next?! ;-)
And what is the story with the glittering stars that spangle your faces? I personally was reminded of the 80s series “Jem and the Holograms”, when I saw it the first time, not sure if this was your intention ;-)
(Laugh!!!) Although we sometimes have pink hair and sparkle a lot on stage, we have nothing in common with Jem, but the love for music. Although it wasn’t our intention to remind of her, it is a nice attitude ;-)
In the beginning we didn’t like to be reduced on the fact that we are three women on stage and do “girlie-rock”, until we realized that this could also be an advantage for us, as “the eyes judge before the ears hear”. So, as a combination of defiance and the game with the stereotype, we started the sparkling glitter-look. Actually this turned out to be absolutely helpful as an eye-catcher - first to get the audience’s attention before we convince them with our music. Unfortunately, performing music mostly is not only about the music itself but also about entertainment, show and self-staging.
What can fans expect from your newly released album “Freak Out”?
It took us years to finally release “Freak out”. It is a great combination of indie, a little punk and classic rock. Although some lyrics go a little deeper and encourage thinking about it twice, it is full of verve, danceable tunes and fun. Its main themes are about personal struggle (“Even if”, “Oh Lord”, “Better on my own”), how we see the world and the people around us (“Fake reality”, “EGO”), how to deal with that and get over it (“Revolution”, “Freak out”), topped by a charming ballad (“Lovefool”). Thus, it is a precious little piece of us, meant to be fun and entertaining.
How is the (male) audience reacting when a bunch of power-girls like yourselves are hitting the stage with indie punk-rock tunes? Admittedly, pure girl-bands are much rarer to be seen in this musical style than guys. I am wondering if you can realize any difference…
Being an all-female band is a double-edged situation. Sure, at times blunt sayings like “Show your tits!” occur, but are not the common rule. Some people are tuned softer in their musical judgment, saying things like “They are just women!” or “Considering they are women….”. Again others are even harder to convince, thinking “They only have tits bonus. First they should prove that they can rock!” Both can be arduous! We see ourselves simply as musicians who want to have fun on stage and are happy every time we get the audience to have a good time and enjoy our music and show.
Being all girls, would you say you have more catfights within the band than others, because of this? And how do you handle them?
Honestly, we can’t tell since we don’t have any direct comparison. However, we all made our individual experiences in “man-dominated” bands before Jane Doe and, as far as we can tell, disagreements and conflicts happen quite naturally when a bunch of people work together creatively. And sometimes men are even more bullheaded and diva-like than women! However, within Jane Doe small differences are quickly solved without any catfighting and hair-pulling. After all we are not just band members, but also friends. With one exception: When it’s about who gets the last salmon sushi, friendship comes to an end! ;-)
What was the weirdest thing ever happening to you as a band?
Once we meet the guitarist of Jan Delay’s band for a cup of coffee. He was so curious about our music that we spontaneously invited him for a small rehearsal. At that time we played in a grubby, dirty 10qm room - without windows, heating or toilet - which we shared with three other metal bands. Without turning a hair he sat down on this horrible piece of sh**, which used to be a couch once, and got totally absorbed by our music. He really liked our music. That’s probably not the weirdest thing happening to us, but one of the coolest ones. You know, some things happen, but you never talk about it ;-)
What was the greatest gig you ever played and why?
In 2014 we had the chance to play as support for The Bones at Stattbahnhof Schweinfurt. This was a special gig for us, because we are also fans of their music. It just feels awesome to play on the same stage, at the same night with a “famous” band, whose music you love!
The greatest Jane Doe gig so far was clearly our release of “Freak out” 2015. We finally reached this milestone and now everyone can listen to Jane Doe whenever they want. Our support acts, the audience and fans that night were overwhelming and really made it an unforgettable night for us!
Touring, giggin’, video filming…. – what are your next plans for conquering the world of indie rock? Any nationwide or international projects planned?
Coming up is probably a music video shooting for “Freak out” next spring. Moreover, gigs, gigs, gigs! Likely we’ll do a little touring in and around Germany and possibly play many Open-airs. The new impressions and experiences will clearly give us some inspiration for new songs.
Thanks for the interview, ladies! And my dear readers, make sure to stay up-to-date with Jane Doe on their Website and Facebook page and check out some of their songs on Soundcloud.