Rough and Girlie!
If you are looking for one of the coolest, hottest and wildest bands around look for the Cleopatras out of Italy. “We are a girl band from Tuscany, Italy, active since 1998 and constantly evolving ever since. We play our own mix of punk rock, rock’n’roll, garage rock, surf, power pop and new wave…we are a nightmare for the “purists” of each of these music genres! Our main goal is to have fun together, on and off stage, and to play a music that reflects our attitude. We also have a very strong feminine identity that we want to bring into our music, in a sort of “rock’n’roll girl style now!” mission, to misquote.”
Camilla, Alice, Marlo and Vanessa rock the music and all deliver excellent musicianship to the stage and recordings with a heavy dose of attitude mixing 60’s garage rock, punk, surf, and power pop that creates a potent force of music that is intoxicating and addicting. You will be craving this music and band once you get a taste of their infectious sounds. “First of all we want to have fun, play the music we like, stay together, travel and reach as many people as we can. But we also want to spread our message and our attitude. When writing our songs, it might seems that we don’t take ourselves very seriously, which is partially true. But there we always have something we want to say or someone in our mind.”
The current line up has changed but the band have kept their energy and sound and look forward to making new music soon. “Yes we have a new line up: 3 years ago Vanessa, singer and keyboard player joined us, while 2 previous members (singer and second guitar) left the band. Marta – guitarist – Alice – bass player – and Camilla – the drummer – play together since 2007. At the base there is a great passion for the Cleopatras project. A great friendship and a great desire to play rock’n’roll. When we have to make a decision and we don’t all agree, we discuss a lot until we make a common agreement.”
The band have evolved and matured since forming over the years but one thing remains constant…their love and desire to create rock and roll music in their own way. “When the Cleopatras were formed they played very rough punk. Over the years we have changed and our music has changed too. Now we play garage rock’n’roll. Now we pay more attention in the writing of the songs and also in our live performances. The Cleopatras are a landmark for us. Over the years, partners, friendships, jobs and many other things have changed, but the Cleopatras have remained”
The Cleopatras have also opened the door for other women in Italy in music to follow as they have been a band to break the stereotypes of females in rock and roll. “By building our own identity and musical path. We know how we are, for better or worse, and this self-confidence is growing us stronger and stronger. Girl bands encounter a lot of criticism: for being too feminine or too masculine, too winking or too little alluring, too pretty or too ugly, too young or too old, and last but not least, being hired just as women (as if having only one girl band on a all-boys festival bill would represent some sort of advantage for women!). You need a lot of awareness to just keep moving forward!” Unfortunately, in our society, in all fields: in the family at work and therefore also in the music sector a patriarchal masculine culture prevails which is very difficult to break down. The hope (even if it will be very difficult and tiring) is that women will be able to achieve full equality of rights by overcoming the always present phallocentric point of view.”
On the music front the Cleopatras have released three albums with Things Get Better on Pirata Records in 2010; Curse of the Pharo on Ammonia Records in 2014 and Cleo Power on Ammonia Records in 2017. In 2019 the Cleopatras released Onigiri Head on Ammonia Records a 4 song EP.
“Concretely Onigiri Head is a word pun. We compare “shallow people”, “poker face” with the onigiri. We love onigiri, they look nice and special, but in the end it’s just rice. We think that a part of society is like this: look very cool, smart and special but in the end isn’t like this. That’s why in the video we eat a cursed onigiri and we turn in shallow people.”
The video of “Forty” was released on the occasion of the day against violence against women and was made thanks to the contribution of many friends and fans. The song is an invitation to all women to subvert the gender stereotypes they have always been victims of.
As for current plans the Cleopatras had to cancel their tours for 2020 due to the Pandemic and have seen first hand the heartbreaking spread throughout their native country of Italy. “It was really scary at the beginning, as Italy has been the first Country in Europe hit by the virus..it was simply inexplicable to us. Then the horror stories started, from friends who got sick or lost their parents and loved ones…it was a real nightmare. All these terrifying stories of churches full of bodies and collapsing hospitals are real. So we just locked up in our homes and waited diligently for the storm to calm down. It took almost 3 months, with a lot of “everything is going to be fine” rhetoric in between, while it was and is clear that with an highly privatized healthcare system and super high public debt, nothing is going to be fine. Culture, tourism are one of Italy’s main sources of income along with heavy industry, horeca and fine clothing, and all of these sectors are struggling now…we may face years of high unemployment and escalating social tension, and such scenario is really disturbing. The pandemic really shocked us, but we’re still positive and we hope to come back on stage very soon. At the same time we think to work on a new album, maybe it’s the best way to face this crazy awful 2020.”
In the meantime….make the best of it all and get a hold of their music and gear! You will be glad you did as they open up a whole reason to make the world a better place with their music and attitude. You can find them on Spotify, Bandcamp and Youtube as well as Facebook and their own web site as well as their label site.
Ammonia Records http://www.ammoniarecords.it/shop/