Dylan Strain talks to Efa Supertramp about her new album “Apocalipstick Blues” and her revolutionary outlook on life
Efa Supertramp hit the headlines around the time of Glastonbury 2019, with first The Times, then the rest of the media trying to drag the owner Michael Eavis through the dirt thanks to him giving a platform to Jeremy Corbyn in 2017.
Her song (also created in 2017) was “Kill Tory Scum”. Performing under the name Killdren, her and partner Nick Ronin were due to play in a tiny tent somewhere in the wee small hours of the morning, however The Times ran pictures of the main Pyramid stage.
Clearly Glastonbury is too left wing for Her Majesty’s Government and for Rupert Murdoch (the two, it’s often suggested, are one and the same).
It is an ever increasingly crazy right-wing world. Trump is in power. The unelected Dominic Cummings (who, let’s face it, has dabbled in genetics and eugenics) arguably runs the UK with Bozo Johnson as his British bulldog puppet. These are dark times and during such times art comes into its own.
“People are getting angrier. The way this pandemic has been handled… Now they see the Tories giving all the contracts to their mates,” says Efa.
And it’s no wonder that the political Bristol band Idles are the biggest rock band on the planet right now, having just released their third long player Ultra Mono that’s gone straight to number 1 in the album charts.
And it’s no wonder Public Enemy are still releasing relevant singles 30 years on such as State of the Union calling out Trump as a Neo-Nazi with typical hard-hitting sonic force whilst also re-releasing their classic “Fight The Power 2020” with new lyrics as well as a new album.
“When I hear a song and it makes me feel empowered… It’s good to cheer someone up and get them through the day,” says Efa. She is a rebel, a revolutionary, a dreamer and an activist and she’s certainly not afraid to sing it loud and clearly as her new album Apocalipstick Blues shows.
As someone very hurt by the dismal end and failure to the Jeremy Corbyn project, to be constantly swimming up stream since 2015, only for Labour’s crushing defeat to Boris Johnson in December 2019, Efa Supertramp’s new long player has certainly cheered me up.
Hailing from the Welsh mountains and being totally bored with the limitations of her surroundings, her musical career began as a teenager telling her 11-year-old brother to learn to play the drums.
Her band, The Stillettoes, quickly got attention on the Welsh language music scene. “Being 15 and on TV was a strange experience.”
However, Efa’s political message wasn’t much wanted within the scene, though Birmingham and Cardiff came to the rescue offering gigs and showing her the power of punk music, especially political bands like The Dead Kennedys and X Ray Spexs.
The last track on the album, Keep Looking says “I’ll never understand how punks became Conservative.” Me neither, John Lydon leaping to mind.
It’s a stunning end to the album, full of subtle changes saying the right always say the young eventually grow up and grow out of socialism, but there’s a killer chorus where “You’ll probably still find me looking out to sea… ‘looking for a better world.”
She also asks why is it so easy to think of the end of the world, instead dreaming of something better than we have it. “There’s Nothing broken that we cannot fix” is sung repeatedly to end the record and it hits its mark, nail on the head, making this listener sit up and take notice.
There’s 15 tracks on the album made over a five-year period which began just as a friend died due to lack of mental health provision, something that has clearly made its way onto the album in terms of lyrics, anger, sadness and wanting change.
Efa sings well with great clarity, soul and passion throughout her songs and it’s a mix that can’t fail to leave you impressed and asking yourself if you’re doing enough to do your bit in the world? Another stand out track on this theme is the Angela Davis sampled How Far.
Very recently Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak said musicians should retrain to which Efa replies, “I’m already very well trained, doing numerous crap jobs to keep going. Rishi Sunak should retrain as a human being instead of being a capitalist robot man.”
Efa Supertramp is actually more SuperPunk – with special powers to change the world. She’s just got to keep on following her heart, having the sheer balls to get up on a stage with political lyrics, some songs sung in Welsh and be the unique artist she is.