Les trois londoniennes s’inspirent autant des punk de Misfits, que des Ronettes, groupe vocal noir des années 60. Une tournée avec Bikini Kill, un premier album, Sistahs, paru sur The Daydream Library, label de Thurston Moore, ex-leader de Sonic Youth. Il n’en fallait pas plus pour susciter l’attente autour de Big Joanie, trio punk londonien nourri au mouvement Riot Grrrl et à l’activisme politique, féministe, antiraciste et LGBT. D’autant que ces trois « sistahs », Stephanie Phillips (chant, guitare), Estella Adeyeri (basse) et Chardine Taylor-Stone (batterie), n’ont pas oublié de composer des chansons à la hauteur de leurs combats. Entre punk-funk vénéneux (It’s You), pop amère et mélancolique (Used To Be Friends) ou garage revendicatif (Fall Asleep), la musique de Big Joanie, souvent lancinante et répétitive, aimante par son étrange simplicité.
Big Joanie are a black feminist punk band. They’re like The Ronettes filtered through 80s DIY and 90s riot grrrl, with a sprinkling of dashikis.
Based in London, UK, Big Joanie formed in the summer of 2013 to play at First Timers (a gig where each band plays their set for the very first time) at the close of the year. The band also functioned as a space where its members (Stephanie Phillips, Chardine Taylor-Stone and Estella Adeyeri) could be completely themselves as black women, and within it discover their own power in creativity.
In 2014 Big Joanie’s Sistah Punk EP was released on Tuff Enuff Records, and in 2016 they self-released their haunting single ‘Crooked Room’. Establishing themselves amongst London’s thriving DIY punk scene they have since toured the UK and Europe supporting acts such as Downtown Boys, Shopping, Parquet Courts and more.
One evening in June 2018 Big Joanie were discovered by Thurston Moore, Eva Prinz and Abby Banks whilst supporting seminal Dutch punk band The Ex. Numbers were exchanged, a coffee date was set – and by the next morning the trio had confirmed they would release the band’s debut album Sistahs, and that they’d be launching a new label imprint called ‘The Daydream Library Series’ in order to do so.
Big Joanie recorded Sistahs over several sessions from November 2017 to January 2018 at Hermitage Works Studios with producer Margo Broom (who has also worked with Fat White Family, Goat Girl and Meatraffle). It’s a bold record about friendships, melancholy memories, and hope for the future. It was released on the 30th November 2018 to wide acclaim from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The Quietus and more, along with copious airplay on BBC Radio 6 Music and KEXP-FM.
Outside of the band all three members have strong community ties, from helping run the festival for punks of colour Decolonise Fest, coaching new talent at Girls Rock London, or launching the ‘Stop Rainbow Racism’ campaign which works to stop racist performances in LGBT venues. Black feminism is at the heart of Big Joanie’s music and actions, and with the release of Sistahs the band hope to spread their message even further.