Louisa Roach: 'It's quite stark but the machine hasn't changed and it's not gonna unless someone does something about it'
- Fiona Shepherd
- 5 November 2019
Singer-songwriter and frontwoman of Wirral four-piece She Drew the Gun discusses the band's UK tour and her own musical evolution
Two albums into their career, Wirral four-piece She Drew the Gun, fronted by songwriter Louisa Roach, are turning heads with their complementary mix of melodic indie pop and no-messing socio-political comment. Their current mammoth UK tour is titled Trouble Every Day after their updated cover version of the Frank Zappa track of the same name, which was originally written in response to coverage of the Watts riots in LA in 1965.
'It's amazing how reflective the words were,' says Roach, 'but I thought if I changed some of the verses into what's happening now then it might have more impact, so it's using a song which is 50 years old to say the same thing, that the media's really not serving you. It's quite stark in a way but I suppose the machine hasn't changed and it's not gonna unless someone does something about it.'
Roach has come into her own as a succinct songwriter in the last couple of years, having first dabbled as a teenager. Life took over – she had a son and went on to study psychology as a mature student, at which point the muse returned and Roach found herself graduating with a batch of songs in her back pocket.
She initially performed solo as She Drew the Gun, using spoken word to grab attention and as a useful tool for the more declamatory material. 'What I've ended up doing is nicking the spoken word bits and turning them into songs,' she says. A She Drew the Gun set will cover call-to-arms activism, the status and experience of refugees and mental health alongside more poetic, impressionistic work set to a softer, psychedelic soundtrack, in the grand Liverpudlian tradition of trippy pop music.
'I decided to give it a go with the music,' she says, 'and that's what I'm still doing, just giving it a go. I don't know if I was just blocked for many years or whether it takes a certain point in life to become a writer. Toni Morrison's advice to writers was don't start until you're 40. In the literary world, it's not expected that you have to start that trajectory so young, but the mainstream pop idea is that you've got to be set for something when you are a child. It doesn't have to be like that.'
Riverside, Newcastle, Tue 5 Nov, and touring.