Five Favourites: Deux Furieuses

Having previously wowed us with their truly immense live show at The Finsbury a couple of years back, duo Ros Cairney and Vas Antoniadou – aka Deux Furieuses  – have been going from strength to strength with their powerful offerings.

Now, with the release of their poignant new album My War Is Your War, they continue to blow our minds with their explosive post-punk and stirring raw emotion.

We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspires them or influences their writing. We caught up with Ros from the band, who has shared her “Five Favourites” – five tracks that particularly resonate with her and Vas. Check out her choices below, and scroll down to watch the new video for ‘Let Them Burn’ at the end of this post.

PJ Harvey – ‘All and Everyone’
This makes me feel ill. I first listened to the album lying in a hospital bed which was a mistake. The track alternates heart-stoppingly between urgent and woozy sections as she plays with time, life and death. When the drums come in with a dull thud they sound stilted, then soon stop to leave the build up of chiming autoharp chords which introduce the voice with the words “Death was everywhere, In the air, And in the sounds, Coming off the mounds, Of Bolton’s Ridge..”. The vocals echo with a sense of place and history. Verse 2 is propelled along by churning chords until the rhythm slows and the song just lets go into the most sublime free fall with “As we advance in the sun, As we advancing every man, As we advancing in the sun”.  After the last line “Sing death to all and everyone” the track descends into a repetitive outro with long trombone notes conveying an out of tune malaise. I didn’t think PJ Harvey could improve on Dry until I heard Let England Shake. I had always loved PJ Harvey the actual band, that first trio with her distorted guitar riffs locking into that fantastic rhythm section, rather than her songwriting or her ‘solo’ albums. Vas and I saw them many times and are honoured to have worked with drummer Rob Ellis on both our albums. But on Let England Shake, Polly Harvey surpassed all her previous work.

Bert Jansch – ‘January Man’
I first heard Bert Jansch on an old battered copy of 1965 album Don’t Bother Me, borrowed from my aunt Aine Carey who actually taught me to play guitar. I loved his voice and the track ‘Ring a Ding Bird’ with its mesmerising major to minor and back to major key mood shifts. But this is my favourite Bert Jansch song for the combination of his voice and guitar playing on this fantastic song written by Dave Goulder. “And the January man comes round again in woollen coat and boots of leather, To take another turn and walk along the icy road he knows so well, The January man is here for starting each and every year, Along the road for ever”.

Joni Mitchell – ‘Amelia’
I took a year off university in Glasgow to work as a houseparent in a ‘free school’ near Dumfries and would take off into the countryside on a bike. It was summer and I loved to sit under a tree in a field and listen to Hejira, Joni Mitchell’s electric guitar road album endlessly on headphones. I loved the words and guitar on ‘Amelia’, skies streaked with vapour trails that look like “the hexagram of the heavens, the strings of my guitar… The drone of flying engines is a song so wild and blue, It scrambles time and seasons if it gets through to you… I dreamed of 747s over geometric farms”. The song progresses without a chorus, powered by her finger picked electric chords with sonic textures and a line at the end of each verse addressed to Amelia Earhart, another solo traveller with a dream to fly. I was considering moving to London to pursue music but then stayed on in Glasgow for a few years until I realised it was now or never. When I finally moved I met Vas. 

The Beatles – ‘A Day In The Life’
It was tough to choose between ‘A Day in the Life’ and ‘Gimme Some Truth’ by John Lennon solo, which is the only cover we have ever played live and is so relevant to now. But ‘A Day in the Life’ won through. Wafting in with atmospheric guitar and piano which reminds me of PJ Harvey, the dead pan vocals intone the almost callous words. On verse 2, thunderous rolling drum fills propel the track along without playing a beat. “He blew his mind out in a car… A crowd of people stood and stared… Nobody was really sure if he was from the House of Lords”. This experimental track has a violent cruelty about it which is lightened by Paul McCartney’s middle section which ends with “And I went into a dream…” before returning to John Lennon’s evocative wailing “Aaaahs”. ‘A Day In the Life’ evokes for me an indifferent England sleepwalking into catastrophe which resonates even today.

Kate Bush – ‘Sat in Your Lap’
This is the track Vas and I put on to remind ourselves that we have a very long way to go and should possibly just give up. In fact all of these tracks do this. But you have to keep going if you are driven to communicate with music like we are. With its thunderous drums and absolutely insane vocals, this is a masterpiece. The words have a great rhythm to them. “Some say that knowledge is something sat in your lap, Some say that knowledge is something that you never have.” It comes to a thunderous and operatic end which I can hear us trying to emulate in some of our songs. Is this rock? Who cares. We don’t make music to fit your genres! These artists inspire and challenge us and brought us together with their music.

Massive thanks to Ros for sharing her Five Favourites with us! 

My War Is Your War, the new album from Deux Furieuses, is out now. Watch the searing video for latest single ‘Let Them Burn’, here:

Catch Deux Furieuses live at the following dates:

2nd November – Blossoms, Stockport
5th November – Banshee, Edinburgh


Photo Credit: Dan Donovan

Track Of The Day (Comic Review): Deux Furieuses – ‘Year Of Rage’

The fifth in our ‘Comic Reviews’ feature – where illustrator Sally-Anne responds to a new track with her wonderfully unique drawings – we checked out the seething new single from London duo, and GIHE faves, Deux Furieuses.

My War Is Your War, the upcoming album from Deux Furieuses, is out on 18th October via Xtra Mile Recordings. Watch the new video for ‘Year Of Rage’ below:

Sally-Anne Hickman

Guest Blog: Deux Furieuses at Nasty Women UK, 22nd – 24th September 2017

Last weekend, self-identifying Nasty Women artists, comedians, musicians, spoken word poets, workshop panelists and arts volunteers came together in London in one glorious fuck you to the current president of the USA. Donald Trump’s “such a nasty woman” aside to the microphone while Hillary Clinton spoke during the final presidential debate has galvanised a global arts movement in a show of resistance and solidarity.

With an aim to give everyone who has ever felt silenced a voice, Nasty Women UK is an intersectional movement bringing together people of all genders, races, faiths and LGBTQIA identities. Nasty Women UK Co-Director and Producer, Kasia Uscinska, explains: “The last twelve months have seen a spate of sexist news stories, with women’s rights being threatened, both here and around the world. The political climate has normalised intolerance in our culture. An estimated 100,000 people attended the Women’s March in London in January. We want to carry that momentum forward, ensure our voices are heard and inspire new generations of Nasty Women.”

Deux Furieuses marched on that Women’s March and when we were invited to play Nasty Women UK’s event, we were determined to find a way to play a part. As we could not perform our normal drum-powered assault in the gallery space we decided to make our acoustic debut. We very much felt that there should be a nasty element to the music at this event. We challenged ourselves to put across Deux Furieuses without the power of drums and a Marshall stack. Ros played ‘Can We Talk About This?’ and ‘Are We Sexy Enough?’ on acoustic and changed the lyrics from “Are we angry enough?” to “Are we nasty enough?”. Vas joined in on vocals and tambourine for new song ‘Let Them Burn’. The response to our short set on the night and the following day has encouraged us to get our message out in as many ways as possible.

Following the crowds round from Hackney Wick station to Stour Space on Friday evening, we found the opening night in full swing. We wanted more of Bishi on her sitar; we were introduced to the wonderful Phillippa Egerton who has created Donald Trump’s head in fruit cake form and invited us to the slicing and eating event at her house on 15th October; we were thrilled to find that rock photographer Iona Dee had a photo print of Ros playing guitar at our album launch at The Lexington in the exhibition… Guess who bought it?!

On Saturday night we were welcomed to Stour Space by moonlighting Southbank Centre volunteers who showed us to the performer green room. We looked down to a packed audience sitting on the floor and laughing uproariously in recognition at the comedy of Sindhu Vee. We loved that she was smart and could handle her British-born son but was quite defeated by the ‘old people logic’ of her Indian parents. Fatiha El-Ghorri also had us laughing while allowing us some insight into her struggles as a female Muslim Londoner in a head scarf who clearly leaves the house armed with a cutting comic retort. A drink with Saturday night’s DJ and Clit Rock founder Ms Mohamed led to a discussion about female musicians’ isolation in London and her idea for a monthly meet up.

We squeezed our way into the Art As Activism workshop on Sunday and felt our own struggle reflected back by the many other artists there. The panelists told us about their work, talked about female artists often suffering from imposter syndrome, and during the Q&A an audience member asked about the soul destroying need to measure the impact of your art for the purposes of funding – “GO SMALL!” said panelist Sam Roddick.

As we came down the stairs from an inspiring workshop, we heard singer songwriter Madame So soundcheck in the main space. As sound engineer Isabella Dibi adjusted the sound, people milled around looking at the art as photographer Suzi Corker captured everything with her camera. From the organisers’ production grid to real life, here was Nasty Women in action; at its best when the different sections of curation overflowed and merged together in one common creative endeavour.

Later Feral Five front woman Terry Tyldesley (whose photo on stage giving it her all in a home made Nasty Woman T shirt pretty much nails it) encouraged us round to witness Selena Godden in full flow spitting out her spoken word to a spellbound audience. Here was all the depth, power and comment that we aspire to as musicians and songwriters.

Nasty Women’s weekend event has raised over £7500 for End Violence Against Women and was a smash of a success. But it is not over. It feels like it is just beginning – and, as we look at the photos and find each other online and plan to meet up, the work starts again! This is an art movement on the march.

Words: Ros & Vas, Deux Furieuses
Photos: Suzi Corker