Bambie Thug is currently cooped up in Dean Street studios. Decked out in a black hoodie and trousers, the nightcore Barbie seems perfectly at home in their dimly lit den. The Irish rising star has made waves recently for their transgressive sound, emo-flecked tunes, and joyfully hyperpop beats. Now, off the back of Download, the artist is ready to prove what they can truly do.
For the latest instalment of our new music series, Queer & Now, we catch up with Bambie Thug to hear more about their latest single ‘Egregore’ and how they want to serve as a good example for the alternative scene.
What are you up to at the minute?
I’m constantly writing and making music all the time. It’s very annoying for me because I have so much music and then I make more. There’s too much shit to choose from!
You make a lot of music quite regularly. How do you decide when to move ahead with a track?
With ‘Egregore’ we knew this was a big song when we had the idea for it. Also, it was two years old before it came out. ‘Tsunami’ was three years before it came out. I hope my new stuff won’t take as long but it depends on what’s right at the time.
‘Egregore’ was still following that kind of rocky stuff and I have a lot more commercial base stuff in the pipeline so it’s about sticking to where the wave is at the time, I’m a songwriter and I write everything anyway and that will morph into everything, but it’s down to timing. I can’t be like doing ‘Egregore’ and then, tomorrow, released a country song straight away.
Do you feel you’re still able to relate to the music even after its later release dates?
They definitely change their meaning, not their lyrical meaning, but how they sit with you. ‘Egregore’, for me, feels very much more empowered than it did when I wrote it. I wasn’t in a good place when I was writing whereas, it gives me a boost. When I wrote ‘Tsunami’ I was depressed off my head I wrote that to pull me out of it. I will rinse a song after we recorded it for weeks but then I’m I can’t hear it for ages, so they all switch.
How would you introduce yourself to new listeners?
I’m from Ireland and my stuff is hyperpunk avant electro-pop. We call it grit pop or rot but recently I’ve been coining the term ouija pop. I got into the music industry about six years ago. I started off as a ballerina in Ireland and then I came over here to do a musical theatre degree. I switched to musical theatre because I had broken my arm before coming over on a dance scholarship. I was doing that for three years and realised I didn’t want to be in the back because I’m greedy for the spotlight!
I wrote a song or two a day and rewrote pop songs. I started writing dance music and then jazz music for a side project of songwriting. After that, I started writing some stuff with Cassyette and, then, I was ready to move on with Bambie Thug and I found my sound.
It all happened after I came out as non-binary. I had a different project before that. I changed my name to Bambie and then found Bambie Thug. Then, everything started changing and the universe was like ‘You’ve done the work and you’ve decided to follow yourself, fully’. The Bambie Thug project is only two years old but I’m proud of it.
Your identity coalesced into this non-binary experience. Did this change your perspective on your art and your personal appearance?
With my other name, I was still trying to stick to a bubble gum [sound] and I was conforming. I know I perform hyper femme, but I was living hyper femme. I allowed myself to figure out who I was. What changed when I found Bambie was the genre constraints I had myself under. Putting a label on my own genre makes me annoyed which is the same as having to put a label on myself, even as a non-binary person.
It’s funny that we’re trying to break free of those labels and still having to label ourselves But, I think it allowed me to be freer, definitely. When I came out as Bambie, I was in Berlin and I had seven German men cut off on my long blonde and christen me as Bambie.
You’ve put a lot of thought into it…
I put a spell in it too. Well, the spell came to me. I was in an abusive relationship a few years ago and the guy was trying to tell me to give up music. He was really abusive to me. I was on my way back to his one night and these words came to me. I kept repeating them and they became a mantra that helped me feel a bit more safe in myself. So, the spell is like moldavite, the meteorite, and when you wear it’s meant to bring up all the negative stuff in your life. I unlocked a horrible chain of events that were necessary for me to be able to leave the guy, so I put it in the song.
Do you have a favourite music memory?
I had a Christmas song come out after my breakup with a person in the industry but I won’t mention his name. I wrote a song called ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ and we had a show after Christmas and it was pretty weird but I got my first mosh pit ever at The George Tavern. I’ve played bigger shows and this was the tiniest show. Everyone was singing ‘Merry Christmas Baby’ with me which was really emotional. But they were like having a full-on mosh pit during it. I don’t even know why that’s my favourite music moment but it sticks in my head like ‘Fuck, I’ve got a mosh pit!’
We’re seeing a new wave of alternative LGBTQ+ artists breaking through. What does it mean to be a part of that movement?
I’m really grateful to be part of it. I’ve definitely seen it in our gang, with Cassyette and in my scene. It’s really important for us to be good role models in the scene. As I was saying with self-destructive behaviours, a lot of people still glamorise drug taking. Cass and I have had this conversation before too.
We need to parade healthy behaviour. It’s important if we are going to be breaking [through] so that younger kids and teens listening to our music, and looking up to us, aren’t fed this negative behaviour. I don’t perform ‘Birthday’ anymore it’s a song about taking drugs, which I wrote when I was taking too many drugs and I thought I was so cool. I don’t want to parade that for people.
I like being part of a cool queer rising scene. I also didn’t have that growing up so it’s important to have people you can relate to and have music that speaks to you and allows you more freedom to be yourself – more queer voices is what the world fucking needs.
You’ve played Download and built a cult fanbase following. Now, what’s next for you?
I have an EP that I want to do. I’ve been playing a song live in my last few shows. I have a song that’s called ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’. I have a load of stuff about my ex that I need to get rid of! It all veers more into pop but it’s still alternative [music]. I’d like to do an acoustic version of ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ as well.
I have the whole album concept but that will be when I have more resources to do the album and have made a bit more of a platform for myself. I don’t want it wasted but I have enough music for three EPs for now. I work on speedy planning so there’s definitely more music coming for you.
Bambie Thug’s new single ‘Egregore’ is available to buy and stream now.