Music: Ste McCabe


Pop-Punk-Electro-Queer-Noise from Edinburgh.

Ste McCabe blends punk rock riffs, pop melodies, dated beats, noisy electro and working class lefty queerness into songs, makes his own radio show on Dandelion webradio, organizes a scottish queer feminist festival called “Pussy Whipped” and on top of that drinks cheap wine. He has been making music in various guises since 1999 and started to do his noisy queerpunk solo thing in 2006. So far he released two EPs (Pink Bomb 2008, Harrowing Breakdown 2010) and two Albums (Hate Mail 2008, Murder Music 2009) on Cherryade Records, as well as the single “Accessorise” (2011) on Bubblegum Records. Time Out London calls him “a queer-feminist-punk-poet for the people”, Boy George states that “If you like punk, you’ll love Ste. If you’re queer and like punk, you’ll spunk your pants. Ste is authentic and brilliant” and the following is what he told us about himself.

LUYD: Ste, tell us about your Mission! What is your music all about?

My music is often about the things that annoy me. It often comes from a place of frustration, but also with a lot of humour, because the bigots, homophobes, working-class-hating-tories who I often write about, are too often like silly puppies, biting and chewing at your ankle, but really, you can’t help but go “Awwwww. He thinks he’s really tough doesn’t he? Poor thing.” Actually, maybe that’s too pleasant a comparison. Puppies are cute. Tories and homophobes, on the whole, are ugly inside and out. I think making fun of these people is really empowering. Music is a place where there are no rules about how something should be written, who should be writing it, what it should be about, and that suits me perfectly. Also I think that still, alternative music, punk, etc is still hugely populated with too many of the kind of people I sing about….so I feel it’s important for us “other” people to do this.

LUYD: Since your music is defined as queerpunk and you organize a queer/feminist festival I can’t help but ask: how are you queer or feminist?

Well I suppose it’s too late in the day to start saying “I don’t like labels”. I’ve been labelling myself and my music as queer and feminist for years, so let’s go! I’m gay but I relate that to a wider picture of queer culture where people whose sexuality or gender is not the so-called “norm”, I think we all have face similar horrible prejudices and experiences whether it’s sexual or gender differences we have.. As for being feminist, well homophobia is rooted in sexism, pure and simple. The “man” dominating the “woman”. I’m queer, I think that’s ridiculous, it’s not my life. I can’t not be a feminist. Gay Misogynists are their own worst enemy and I want to seperate myself from those people as much as possible.

LUYD: Which bands or musicians do you listen to? Are there any bands you would recommend?

Out of “known” bands, Morrissey, Shampoo and Bikini Kill are are probably the queens of my record collection. On the underground there are so many brilliant bands! I’d recommend Scragfight, ONSIND, Rauberhohle, Miss The Occupier, Maria and The Gay, The Lovely Eggs, Candy Panic Attack…these are true underground bands, being brilliant and true to themselves without caring how they will be received.

LUYD: You also organise the pussy whipped festival. What is that about?

We did a one-off queer/riot grrrl band night on Canal Street in Manchester in 2009 and it went really well, so we decided to do more. When me and my partner Lukasz moved to Edinburgh, it turned out that it was a great move for the night – they’ve been the best gigs that I personally have ever promoted – people are so enthusiastic and supportive here! We were lucky enough to have received some funding for our gigs, and it had to be handed back by the end of September unless we spent it, so we thought, let’s blow the last of it on a celebration of all things underground, queer and feminist. I think all cities need these kind of festivals – small, community-based events showcasing the queers and women who have something to say and who aren’t trying to water down their art or performance to pander the mainstream. The mainstream has always been horrible to us, encouraging our stereotyping and dismissing us in favour of one kind of straight man, so fuck them frankly! I think people need reminding that we’re not all happy with our lot and that we are creative people rather than just consumers. Of course, in the wider sense, the issues for queers and for women generally (who I won’t speak for because I’m not one) are often very different – however, in music, there’s a natural alliance as the history of “alternative” has been so in favour of women being portrayed as groupies and queers as tame people who have had to dilute their expression in order to get by in the culture. So this festival, simply, is a small cosy space where that doesn’t exist. We’ve also got some amazing queer short films and workshops going on. It will be brilliant, even if I do say so myself!

Thanks from Tina to Ste to take the time to respond to LUYD’s questions.