Women on a mission: An Interview with God-Des & SheBottom Highlights Thursday, March 29th, 2012
Reprinted with permission from AnthologySD.com
God-Des & She may be best known for their debut on Showtime’s hit series, “The L Word”, but these ladies have come a long way since then. Since their appearance on the show, they’ve gone on to sell more than 40,000 albums, tour the nation, headline Pride festivals throughout the county, and give a voice to LGBT kids in a country that is starting to ban the discussions that are key to saving their lives. These women are pretty remarkable, and they are using their incredible voices to advocate for causes that hit close to home. Read on to find out what you can look forward to on their upcoming album, and what they’re doing to stop bullying through music.
CP: How did you two get started making music together?
She: We were living both in Madison, Wisconsin; I grew up there actually. We both had different bands that played around town and stuff, and we both ended up playing this event together for the National Organization of Women. God-Des’ singer was moving away and going to grad school for opera, and she saw me sing and was like, ‘Man, you should sing with me!’ (Laughs) So I was in a rock band and thought it would be fun to try something new, so I started to dabble in hip-hop and write hooks. Yeah, that was the beginning of it.
CP: Seems like that worked out ok!
God-Des: Yeah, it was a good move! A lot of people tell us when they see us that it’s cool to have two powerhouses in different ways kind of force this thing together. I couldn’t imagine doing it with anybody else, honestly.
CP: What’s your writing process like?
She: We write together quite often. We’re both each other’s biggest critics, and we hold each other to a really high standard. If we feel like either one of us isn’t really giving it our all, or taking the easy way out, we’ll take it back to the drawing board. It’s hard though. A lot of the best songs just come out 100% in tact, and you can tweak them, but some songs you really have to work hard on and rewrite and rewrite until it’s the right thing. We both can tell when it’s the right thing now.
CP: I know you guys have a new record coming out. I just heard the first single off it, “You Know My Name”, which by the way, makes me for some reason really happily angry (laughs).
[God-Des & She both cracked up at this one.]
God-Des: I love that! That’s awesome!
CP: It puts me in this great mood, but I’m also really fired up afterward! What sparked that song?
God-Des: I think She and I just got really annoyed with the music industry in general and how rude and snotty people are. There are so many music critics that aren’t musicians, but yet they are so critical about music. I just got so annoyed and frustrated. There are also people I’ve known that are just really mean to other people and think that they’re better than them. I was just over the whole “cool” thing, and She and I really just were over it. So we started, and that was actually one of the first beats I did, and the words just started coming really naturally for us. We really wrote that song together, and it just came out and we loved it.
CP: The song has such a good vibe. There’s no other way to explain the emotion though (laughs)!
She: I agree with you on the happily angry thing. It’s kind of like “Yes! Yeah!”
CP: I know you guys have another some coming up called “Never Give Up”, and I’ve heard this one is really important to you. Can you tell me a little bit about it?
She: We’re really excited about that song. As musicians, we hear so many stories and we do so many events. There are a lot of kids who are taking their lives. Friends that we meet of people who have lost people, it’s so enraging that we don’t have protection for our people. It’s frustrating to see how the government treats things. Federal government and the state government— in Tennessee they just passed a bill where they can’t even say gay in schools! LGBT kids are just kind of left out on their own then, and even if there is a teacher that wants to help them, it’s simply not allowed. That’s just something that can’t be anymore. You can’t ban a discussion! If they do, we’ll just have more deaths!
I think with this song, we really wanted to give strength to the kids, to the listener. We really wanted to hold the power structures, i.e. the state and federal governments accountable for banning discussion. That’s not what our country is founded on at all. That’s basically where we’re going to start. We want to partner up with everyone that can use the song for good. We want to start our own foundation, and it’s important to us to bring this whole issue to light with actual laws behind it. We want actual things that will forge change, and not just sit around and talk about it. We want to do something about it.
God-Des: If our kids can’t be safe in school, then where can they be safe? We really want to put pressure on school boards, principals, and teachers to hold kids accountable when they’re the ones doing the bullying. This needs to be from the higher level. The school board needs to create an environment in that school where they’re going to give repercussions to the kids who do the bullying. We hope that this song can be used to really start forging that discussion and hopefully bringing the powerful political groups together, and then trying to put a law on the books. The amount of stories She and I have heard over the last ten years is just unbelievable and unacceptable. She and I really had to do something major with this. We didn’t want to just write a sad song about bullying. We wanted to give kids that are being bullied something that they can listen to and really rock out and feel empowered from.
She: Like a Rocky theme! Something that makes them say, ‘I can do this, I am strong enough, and I can get through this shit.” Some people really look up to us, and that’s really awesome! If we can give them any amount of strength to say, ‘I think you’re strong enough to get through this,’ that makes me happy.
God-Des: That makes me the happiest! As a musician, that’s the best of the best. I just want to help kids.
CP: It sounds like this latest record is going to really empower everyone and have that whole vibe so far!
She: We’re really getting back to writing what we feel and where we’re at. We’re not worrying about what we think everybody wants. We’re writing from out hearts. We’ve always done that, but we’ve tried to be strategic about it. With our last record, “Three”…
God-Des: “Three” was different. I was in a different place. I just wanted to write something that was happy and fun. I didn’t think about anything. I just wanted to make a really fun record because I felt like everyone was depressed.
She: Right. We didn’t want to think about the state of the world and where everyone else was at. We just wanted everyone else to feel where we were at and feel happy too!
God-Des: But now, it’s at a point where I can’t even watch the news because I’m so angered and so disgusted that I can’t not think about it. Before, I just wanted everybody to feel happy. I feel like this whole climate of our environment was so down and depressed. Now, I think people are still down and depressed, but I personally really want to forge major change and not just be complacent about what’s going on. She and I have a voice that can reach so many people that we feel like it’s our obligation to address things that we think are just completely unacceptable, unequal, and unfair. That’s what we’re going to be doing on this record as well as a few things that you can let loose to. We had a fan say that they listen to our records to make them dance and make them cry. I thought that was pretty cool.
CP: I can completely get that! Especially with all of these happy angry feelings (laughs)
God-Des: (Laughs) For sure!
CP: So what are you guys most looking forward to about this west coast tour you’re coming up on?
God-Des: I’m really looking forward to just being on the west coast! We haven’t been there in forever, and we love so many cities that we’re going to. We’re looking forward to going somewhere a little bit warmer than we tend to be in winter and spring. We’ve also just had so many fans from the west coast reach out. We’ve never really done a full long tour on the west coast— just some dates here and there. We’re looking forward to getting on the road for three weeks and hitting up the west coast!
CP: Well we can’t wait to hear you!
Special thanks to God-Des & She for a fabulously entertaining interview! Be sure to not only check out their back catalogue on Spotify at the link below, but also head to their website so you can get happily angry listening to their latest single, “You Know My Name”. Tickets are on sale now for their show on April 1! Don’t miss out!
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