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Olivia Johnston, student at Leeds University, recently caught up with Natalia Tena, lead singer of Molotov Jukebox to chat about their upcoming tour.
You’re currently recording your second album and before your last album (Carnival Flower) you released 3 EPs. What’s it been like for you moving from where you were initially as a band to where you are now?
Blood, sweat, and tears with a lot of joy. Basically it’s all been trial and error. We didn’t know what the fuck we were doing me and Sam when we first started the band. Doing all the festivals helped and then kind of moving away from just being festivals and really focus. Carnival Flower was the first time I really felt proud of how we sounded on a record. I mean I’m relatively happy with it, you always think it can be better. After it was released we sat down and realised that it was a bit chaotic and while it’s good to have different styles, this time with Tropical Gypsy we wanted to actually be as professional as possible and start sieving out things and hopefully getting better.
You’ve again decided to use PledgeMusic to make this album. What was behind that decision?
Yeah I mean last time we reached the target it was such a gamble. We were like “how are we going to make this album?” and then someone told me about Pledge and I was like “This is amazing.” There’s something really fucking beautiful about the fans being part of it. We are only able to do this music because of them. Obviously you want to do the best job ever but you’re like “I owe it to every single person who has put money into it.” Also you can use charities so last time we used The Orchid Project which stops female genital mutilation and this time we’re supporting Womankind Worldwide.
Why did you choose Womankind Worldwide as your charity to support?
Essentially I’m a massive feminist and we’re living in the 21st century and I can’t believe that this shit still happens. These women just don’t have a voice they’re prisoners in their own homes. Our music can help them have a voice especially with a charity that works with communities and community leaders. Obviously you can’t just go in there and say “No that’s wrong”. They work with them and help them to honour their culture and traditions without abusing women.
Part of PledgeMusic is the rewards system. When people pledge a payment they get a reward depending on the amount pledged. You have both musical and non-musical rewards. What inspired those choices?
Yeah the musical ones were Adam’s idea which I really liked. You know one that’s really good is remixes that he’s done of our songs from Carnival Flower and I’m like “Fuck I think they might be better why didn’t we do them like this?” For the non-musical ones I love cooking so I decided that I want to go and cook for someone. So it’s me making lasagne for someone which is wicked because you can actually go and hang out and lasagne takes a while to make, a good lasagne takes about three hours. So you go to someone’s house and you hang out with them, you drink some wine and you make some lasagne. I mean, I would like that if I liked a band.
Although you’ve recorded excellent songs you are in a lot of ways a live band. Last time you toured you had costume and dancing competitions. Do you have anything similar planned this time?
Last time we were sort of short for ideas but this time I’m really excited to be able to try out the new stuff. It seems to work but maybe live we’ll be like “huh, no.” Also we have a fucking amazing support act. I cannot tell you how amazing they are. We went backstage in one of the tents at Glastonbury and I saw this act on stage and I thought “Am I dreaming? Is this actually happening?” They’re like a comedy gospel epic. The happiest, most incredible show. So in a way that is the event. Hopefully the two bands are enough of a show.
Finally if you had to describe the band to someone who had never seen or heard you what would you say?
Well at gigs it’s like a tropical gypsy sweatbox really. That’s what tends to happen. I’ve always sad that what I really want is for people to relate and this is where we’re influenced by the Spanish, South American thing and the Eastern European thing. Historically they do a lot of songs where the lyrics are remorseful and deep and saying “Yeah life is fucking hard and we are all going to die.” But put to music that kind of elevates the soul and makes people want to dance.”