Tali of Estrons is having none of my shit.
“It’s kind of a non-question” she says when I ask on her take on the refugee crisis, “it’s just fucked, isn’t it?”
She’s not fucking with my question about what makes someone ‘punk’ in 2017, either. “I’m so fed up of that word being thrown around. I just think it’s so easy to say ‘there’s a girl and she’s singing and not playing guitar, therefore it’s punk.’ But it’s actually just really heavy pop music.”
Honestly, it isn’t the music itself that makes “lazy journalists” box Estrons up as punk, it’s an attitude. It isn’t there in the riffs or the rhythm, or because of the female lead. It’s in the bubbling anger of the delivery. An Estrons song is a poisonous internal diatribe let loose like a shaken can of beer.
‘Refreshing’ is such a dull word, but for want of a better one, that’s exactly what Tali’s total lack of bullshit – both on and off stage – is. Case in point: cigarettes and alcohol are the things she’d choose to describe herself in a show-and-tell with an alien. “This is what I do to damage my liver [and] this is what I do to damage my lungs. We’re so miserable on the face of this planet that we just slowly commit suicide over the space of thirty years…if they lived here I guarantee they’d smoke as well.”
It’s this barefaced frankness that makes songs like 2015’s (Flying Vinyl B side) Make a Man and anti-fuck boy anthem I’m Not Your Girl as powerful as they are. Tali’s vitality is channeled through the whole band, fizzing from guitar to bass to drum kit and back again: mutinous, melodic and cathartic.
Out on the road, Estrons “want people to be…blown away by the songs.” This particular crowd certainly is, as crowd-surfing, mosh pit turbulence and general ecstasy peak during both new songs and ones that they already know all the words to.
“My son learnt to walk in a service station”
The crowd bay for EP opener Belfast, and Tali gives it to them, but only after debuting a slew of new tracks that take pop by the throat and thrust it into motorcycle boots.
As with any musician, there’s a softer side that doesn’t see the light of stage. As we discuss the “hours and hours of motorway travel” that make up a band’s existence, talk turns to Tali’s son who, I’m told, “learnt to walk in a service station.”
The M42 services, to be exact: “he kept trying to walk into the Over-18 gaming section: he wanted to gamble so much he actually walked himself there.”
Little Björn also went out on tour with Slaves, who he loved and who loved him: “they wear lots of jewellery in their ears so he was always going for their faces and tattoos,” she says, recalling the tour that took the band to some of the UK’s smaller, forgotten venues.
“The reason you do it in these towns is because big music doesn’t go there anymore,” Tali says of September’s Back in the Van Tour that took the two bands to Penzance and St Alban’s via Bridgend and Hebden Bridge, “we want to do another one.”
Before talk of a new road trip though, there’s the current headline tour to complete, the release of “a few singles over the next couple of months” and then an album, to be recorded “towards the end of the year.”
Through it all, Estrons will remain “not in any way manufactured.” Whether you think that Estrons’ music represents bitterness, frustration, feminism, no bullshit, ecstasy or all of the above, the fact of the matter is this: “I’m just representing myself.”
A version of this article first appeared here on Flying Vinyl