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Maid of Ace

Written By Juliet Harris

Consisting of sisters Alison Elliott – guitar and lead vocals, 24, Abby – drums, 22, Amy – bass and backing vocals, 25 and Anna – guitar and backing vocals, 21, Maid Of Ace have been a presence on the local gig circuit for nearly a decade. However, with their self-titled debut album due imminently, and their first European tour starting in May, Maid Of Ace are now truly coming into their own. 

JH: So there seems to be a lot going on for you at the moment. What excites you the most?

MOA: Playing gigs in April, and then getting our album ready is a big moment for us, but we’re also really looking forward to touring Germany in May, which will be the first time we’ve played properly together in Europe, other than on a school trip! We’re playing 8 dates from 23rd to 31st May 2014, finishing in Berlin, something we’re all looking forward to. 

JH: Going back to your origins, who was the driving force behind your formation?

MOA: Alison and Abby initially started playing together when we were in our very early teens, then Anna joined us on Bass. Finally, Amy decided that she wanted to join the band and found it easiest to pick up the Bass. Luckily Anna didn’t mind being pushed to the guitar instead! 

JH: So how long have you been playing together as a unit, in total?

MOA: Probably since around 2005, when we had our first gig together at our school. Being so close in age really helped us early on as it meant that we were all at school together at roughly the same time, which gave us lots of opportunities to play together. 

JH: In the early days and/or now, did/ do your parents have much involvement?

MOA: Obviously they like what we do and they’re very supportive, but they weren’t the ones that made us go into it. Some people think that, because we’re all sisters, but it’s not true. They probably like to think they’re punk parents, but they’re not really! Our music teacher was much more of an influence on us, as he taught us how to play instinctively, rather than relying on theory. 

JH: When you first started, what was the kind of music you were listening to, and what influenced you?

MOA: We’ve always naturally moved towards Punk music. Initially like a lot of musicians of our age doing the sort of things we do, we were really into Green Day, although we went off them quite quickly! We were probably more influenced by Rancid, and The Distillers. 

JH: Interesting that you reference The Distillers, who were probably the biggest female-fronted Punk band of that era. Are there any other female musicians that have particularly inspired you, or is that something that you don’t tend to think about?

MOA: There have definitely been some. Poly Styrene was a huge influence, and we were very encouraged by the fact that she liked us so much. We also supported Viv Albertine from The Slits. Whilst we particularly got into The Distillers because they were more of our time, we also all really like bands like L7. Alison’s discovery of Hole’s “Live Through This” album, in a second-hand shop, was a big moment in terms of inspiring us as we were starting to shape our sound. Also, Pussycat and the Dirty Johnsons.

JH: Do you think that your sound has changed as time has gone on?

MOA: We’ve definitely moved on a lot since the early days when we were searching for our own thing. Playing more gigs out of town around 2012-2013 helped us to grow a lot. Our set has changed a lot too – we don’t even play the songs that we had on our first EP!

JH: Alison, are there any particular female vocalists that you think you sound like, or aspire to? 

AE: I don’t try to sound like anyone, but quite a few people compare me to Brody Dalle from The Distillers, and I don’t mind that. Lots of people immediately compare me to people like Joan Jett, but I think that’s more because it’s the first female punk band singer that they can think of! 

JH : Does being lazily compared to other female bands frustrate you?

MOA: It does happen quite a lot, and it can be annoying! It also depends how much people are into Punk as a genre. If they don’t know much, then they compare us to bands like The Runaways just because they happen to be all-girl loud bands, and we really don’t sound like them at all. It’s a compliment because we like bands like that, and are very proud to be one of the only all-female bands locally. But we still don’t want to sound like anyone else! 

JH: Have you had any issues with the way that men interact with you as an all-female band?

MOA: We’ve had some great male managers, and we work a lot with Mark Richards on our videos. But we’ve also had people trying to make us into something we’re not, like the guy who said we should dress up in matching uniforms. He was gone pretty quickly after that, we never saw him again!

JH: Finally, tell me about your debut album, “Maid of Ace”. 

MOA: We hope to have it ready for our gig at Flairz on Good Friday, 18th April. It has 11 tracks, including a cover of ‘Rules and Regulations’ by Fuzzbox. The band have given us their approval, which we’re pleased about. There are a couple of older tracks that we’ve re-recorded, and songs we’ve done videos for like ‘Enemy Within’, together with some newer stuff. We’ve taken a long time to build up as a band and work out who we are, so now seems like the perfect time to unleash it on the world!

For more info about Maid of Ace, visit maid-of-ace.com and facebook.com/maidofaceband 

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