Lambrini Girls: “The goal is to cultivate as big of a platform that we can in order to incite change”

Lambrini Girls don’t take themselves too seriously – but they do wholeheartedly believe in their music. Just as much about “popping the p*ssy” as it is empowering others, debut EP You’re Welcome is the thrilling start of what’s to come…

Lambrini Girls: “The goal is to cultivate as big of a platform that we can in order to incite change”
Rachel Roberts
Bridie Florence

Lambrini Girls aren’t ones to downplay their dreams. They’re just getting started, yet within the next few years, they reckon they’ll be playing gigs live in outer space.

“Space, baby. Let’s go,” vocalist and guitarist Phoebe Lunny enthuses.

“Elon Musk? Hello?” bassist Lilly Macieira chimes in, forming a pretend phone with her hand.

After various line-up changes, the two of them and their elusive new drummer – who, um, they allege is the famed street artist Banksy – have settled into their own identity, and Phoebe says the band have been “popping their dicks off” and “taking over the world” ever since. And Lambrini Girls’ debut EP, You’re Welcome, makes a strong statement that they’re not here to fuck around, with tracks that tackle everything from transphobia and TERFs, to catcalling, to lad culture, and even ongoing sexual misconduct within the music scene.

“Before we got signed to [record label] BSM, we weren’t in a release schedule or anything – I didn’t know what a fucking release schedule was,” Phoebe admits. “We were sitting on a lot of material, and they were like, ‘Do you guys want to release an EP with us? And we were like, ‘Yeah, sick.’”

“It went really quickly and suddenly we just had a million things on our to-do list. It was like, ‘Oh fuck, okay, let’s scramble and get our shit together!’” adds Lilly.

Take the soundscapes of IDLES and Bikini Kill, and stick cowboy hats, fishnet tights and plenty of cheap, fruity fizz (Lambrini, naturally) into the equation, and that pretty much sums this band up. Having climbed their way to headline sets and the title of Iggy Pop’s new favourite band, their humble beginnings in Brighton are slowly dissipating as they enter the next league.

But it’s been far from plain sailing. Although both Phoebe and Lilly agree that their hometown is an accepting and welcoming bubble for exploring identity and being a queer person, they both recognise that to make it as a musician means battling a toxic social hierarchy culture.

“I don’t experience it now, but I remember trying to get into bands and people didn’t really want to give me the time of day,” Phoebe recalls.

And as Lilly argues, this problem isn’t limited to Brighton’s music scene – gatekeeping, shunning, and playground politics are all icky parts of the industry, or any creative sphere, that we all hope will eventually subside.

“You’re only really cool by association,” says Lilly. “It’s fucking awful. I remember before I was in any bands, just going to a gig was just so fucking demoralising because you’d get introduced to people and you would literally get looked up and down. You don’t get asked how you are, you don’t get looked in the eye.

“That’s one of the aspects of the music scene that I absolutely despise, this sort of strange social standing that people give you and think it’s okay not to have basic decency to people that they don’t know is in a band that they like, or that they can stand to gain something out of.”

Once on the other side of the fence, the band quickly came to face another hurdle: the power imbalance that led to the conception of the EP’s opening track, Boys In The Band. “[When] Lambrini Girls started playing local shows, with the more people I met and the more gigs we played, there were so many people I’d hear so much fucking shit about,” Phoebe says.

“People would be like, ‘Don’t hang out with this person, they’ve assaulted someone,’ and then you’d see them and their friends be able to walk into any music venue they wanted in Brighton. The reason why it happens, I think, is because people don’t really want to call out their friends because no-one wants to lose social standing. That is a massive part of creative circles, unfortunately.”

Being an activist and an artist can be a hard act to balance. When taking on such tough topics, both Phoebe and Lilly admit that it can be hard not to get too involved, at the expense of their own mental health.

“The only thing you can do when you’re dealing with things like that is to have your personal boundaries and to try and remember that you can’t fix it all,” Lilly explains. “Once you start to get really passionate about something it’s like, ‘Oh my God, but there’s so much I need to fix.’

“The best thing you can possibly do,” she continues, “is get conversations going and to just do something, with whatever your resources are.”

For most artists whose work overlaps into political territory, their live shows are often the space where they can shake out their demons, have fun, and allow for pure shits and giggles. Should you find yourself at a Lambrini Girls gig, you’ll find a mixture of wholesome, tender moments (audience members coming out for the first time, for example), or you’ll get Lambrini in your eyes and find yourself dancing to Bangarang by Skrillex.

They chuckle together, remembering their most wacky onstage moments like we’re at a shabby afters feeling delirious and overtired. “We played in Reading and Phoebe opened a can of beer onstage and said, ‘Who wants some?’ And this poor guy went, ‘Me!’ and she started to pour it very gently but then just poured it all over his face and called him a dickhead,” Lilly reflects, trying to stifle her laugh.

“We did a headline at Green Door Store and it was lit, we played with HotWax and Slant who were amazing,” Phoebe chimes in. “They got the crowd really fucking going and it was crazy, people were losing their fucking minds. Towards the end, we were like, ‘Let’s make the sound guy play Bangarang and we’ll just all start going crazy!’”

Although a false start may have knocked their confidence slightly, when that chorus dropped, things got messy.

“Lilly jumped into the crowd flying Lambrini everywhere, pouring it into people’s mouths, like popping the fucking pussy. I totally had the rug pulled from under my feet. I was just going up to people like, ‘Do you want some Lambrini?’ and just pouring it in people’s eyes,” Phoebe chuckles.

Along with hopes to cause more chaos at their live shows, Lambrini Girls are focused on getting their music into the ears of those who need it most, and hope that their EP serves as a springboard for important conversations: “I think there’s something that everyone can acknowledge and check themselves on from listening to the EP,” says Phoebe.

“It’s important that we all challenge ourselves to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, even if we haven’t experienced anything similar,” Lilly agrees. “And obviously, the important thing for us is to empower people who personally relate, too.”

The band are heading out on tour across May and June, with a range of Europe dates and festival shows set to go ahead this summer as well. You’re Welcome is just the first taste of what is yet to come, so strap in and get ready for space.

“[We’re] so excited to write more and cultivate as big of a platform that we can in order to incite change,” enthuses Phoebe. “That’s the main goal, we’re not gonna fucking stop until we do that.”

You’re Welcome is due out on May 19 via Big Scary Monsters

Check out more:

Now read these

The best of Kerrang! delivered straight to your inbox three times a week. What are you waiting for?