Interview – The Red Stains

Making waves on the Manchester music scene and beyond, The Red Stains bring a fresh blast of energy with their spiky tunes and brusque, incisive lyrics. Get to know them better here, then keep them on your radar when live music kicks off again…

Give us a quick intro to The Red Stains, who’s involved & where did it all begin?

The Red Stains are a Manchester based contemporary post-punk band. We started playing together last year. Our names are Natalie Emslie, singer, Sterling Kelly, bass, Ella Powell, synths and guitar, Ben Dutton, drums.

How’s lockdown been treating you, are you all ok?

Thanks for asking, nobody ever asks us if we are okay in interviews! We miss the pub and we are looking forward to being able to play together soon for the first time in ages.

Tell us about your recent single Mannequin

It’s a song about objectification and more specifically the objectification that you experience when you are a woman. It takes the piss out of the way that women are judged solely by their appearance.

Ella: The synths are fun to play cause it’s not following traditional chord structures.
Sterling: This is the fastest bass line out of all the Red Stains songs in our set. It’s kind of gritty and I see it as controlled anger.
Ben: For me it’s opposite to Sterling. It’s probably the simplest song in our set. It’s constantly keeping time, being the metronome for the band.
Natalie: It’s a protest against all the arseholes that have done me wrong in life. It’s a very powerful and personal song to me. When I play it I feel bloody untouchable and reminded how strong we are. We are nobody’s mannequins, nobody’s toys!

There are lots of venues struggling to keep afloat right now, are there any local to you that you want to give a shout out to?

Yes, our local favourite is The Peer Hat in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. It’s basically our second home. There is also the Night & Day Cafe, which is where we are going to play our postponed single launch, hopefully in October. We can’t wait!

And where else do you like to spend your time around Manchester?

We like the Greggs at Piccadilly Gardens.

Mannequin reminds me of The Slits, who else have you been likened to – any surprises?

We have been likened to The Fall, but that is not a surprise. We have heard it said that Natalie has an Ian Curtis stare and Sterling’s bass playing has been compared to JJ Burnel.

Last album/playlist any of you listened to?

Ben: The Professionals – I Didn’t See It Coming
Sterling: Nova Twins – Nova Twins EP
Ella: Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens
Nat: Felt – Let The Snakes Crinkle Their Heads To Death

As well as the music, you’re also putting together a zine called JAM TARTS, what’s that all about?

We wanted our friends and wider community to be involved in making art with The Red Stains. It’s fun and care-free with the goal of making art accessible to everyone, contributors and readers alike.

I guess future plans depend a bit on how things progress with the easing of lockdown but what are you hoping the rest of the year holds for The Red Stains?

We hope to record another single, to play our postponed single launch and generally just go back to gigging and being a band.

Catch up with The Red Stains here and listen to Mannequin below

Interview by Siobhan
Photo © Andi Callen 

18th June 2020