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INTERVIEW: Sadness and Complete Disappointment on their debut EP, Fun

Midlands-based trio Sadness & Complete Disappointment have released their chilling debut EP, Fun, and it's just as beautifully eerie and self-indulgent in misery as you'd expect from their apt band name.

Formed in 2019, Sadness & Complete Disappointment were just three people living in the pits of despair (well before the world forced the rest of us to join them). With their four-track debut EP, the band thrive in their intense bleakness to conjure a sound that is uniquely gothic, grungy, and gorgeously melancholic. With Esme's heavenly vocals contrasting the monstrous, heavy arrangements - from the creepy, dreamlike riffs on Survivor's Guilt, to the brutal headbanging drums of Oh, Rapture!, and the rich and thick bassline of Monotony - the ironically-titled Fun EP encapsulates the band's mighty and commanding power as they confidently stride onto the rock scene and prove themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

It's hard to believe that this is their debut EP with how effortlessly and relentlessly assertive the tracks are. S&CD know who they are - and you need to know who they are, too. Luckily, we spoke to the trio about the Fun EP, so we have everything that you need to know!

Introduce us to the band! Who are the three of you and how did you meet?

Esme: Hello! We are just three miserable people making music. Me on lead vocals and drums, Kit on guitar, and Beka on secondary vocals and bass.

Beka: Me and Kit met when we were teenagers when we both joined a band and subsequently moved in together to make music and live the teenage dream. This fell apart as teenage dreams are want to do, but we kept in touch for a few years, both working on different projects.

Esme: Then, me and Kit met through a mutual friend at a gig Kit was playing, and then soon after formed another ill-fated band. BUT - from the ashes of this failed band - we all joined forces and formed the glorious trio you see before you today.

Congrats on the release of your debut EP! Do you each have a favourite track on it, or a song that you're most proud of?

Esme: Thank you! We are very proud of ourselves. I think we all love each song for different reasons; overall Survivor’s Guilt has become a favourite to play, it’s just very satisfying and fun, 'cause of the time signature it feels more jaunty than the others - and it’s a total ear-worm! That’s probably the song I end up with stuck in my head the most!

Beka: But Monotony will be a great one for live shows, it’s gonna feel really big and get people going.

Esme: The words in Oh, Rapture! are some of my favourites and I think they are the lyrics that seem to resonate with people.

Beka: Including me, I resonated. Hard.

Esme: But we decided to release Status as our debut single as it is a ‘good-all-rounder' and we felt like it is the song that best represents us on the whole, in overall general sound and vibe.

The line "You make-believe that I'm a weak-willed woman, 'cause you didn't want me any other way" from Oh, Rapture! is so powerful. What was the inspiration behind the song, lyrically?

Esme: This song is about being with someone - whether that is romantically or any other way, could be an oppressive family member, an authority figure - anyone really that you are meant to have faith in and who is meant to love and support you, but doesn’t. Instead, they just put you down and put you down and put you down until you start to believe it, because yeah, they don’t want you to be anything other than broken. Because if you are broken enough, then you can’t ever have the strength to walk away, or stand up to them. It's a situation that is horribly common, and therefore incredibly relatable, and that is important to me as a musician and a lyricist - I want people to be able to identify with what I am saying.

Beka: I think we have all been there, and have been made to feel that way, so yeah, I love that song. For me, it’s really important for lyrics to be honest, even if that is hard. Music is very uniting in that sense; you listen to that song and you know you are not alone.

We love your music videos and how different they all are, especially the witchy vibes in Status and the 1920s aesthetic of Survivor's Guilt. How do you come up with the concepts for them?

Beka: Well, the video for Status was all about trying to portray greed; the main concept of the lyrics and the song is ‘Eat the Rich’ (which we decided to take quite literally at the end). We wanted to make greed and gluttony look as grotesque as possible, but to show us three as an opposition to the capitalist way of life that we hate so much.

Esme: We never specifically chose to look witchy - but I think it’s just our natural vibe and the kind of thing we are drawn to. It definitely comes across like a coven, but I think that’s a lot to do with what it means to be in a coven - it's about a group of people supporting each other and coming together, which is what we are in this band.

And with Survivor’s Guilt, basically - we are all big fans of silent movies, we love that aesthetic, and it seemed to suit this song in particular - the slower tempo, the opening verses you can imagine playing through a gramophone, so it all works together nicely. It also was a choice we made due to the massive limitations making this video during lockdown put on us - we were only allowed a very small team (literally the three of us in the band and one extra/cameraman), and because of this, plus a shoestring budget, it seemed to be a fitting style.

Beka: Yeah - it was a very fun challenge this one! Personally, I enjoy the challenge of making something out of nothing! For all our videos, we made all the props, costumes, sets etc. ourselves. I even edit the videos myself - we are the definition of a DIY band - and this gives us all a massive sense of achievement at the end!

We love that DIY artistry. Speaking of the witchy aesthetic from the Status music video, that's obviously our thing here at the Coven! Do have any favourite witches, or badass characters or figures at all, that influence your aesthetics?

Esme: My middle name is actually Morgan, after Morgan Le Fay - the enchantress from Arthurian legend - so that’s obviously a good one to mention. And on a more cliché note - I have a tattoo of Nancy from the 1996 film The Craft in full colour on the back of my calf... she is and always will be my style icon. We have also taken to being called Kate-Bush-Core and we naturally dig her aesthetic in videos like Wuthering Heights. (And, finally - Kit couldn’t be here today to answer these questions, but I am sure they would want us to give a shout out to Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

It's currently Women's History Month in the UK! Who are some women, or gender non-conforming people, that inspire you?

Esme: This is such a huge question! It’s impossible for us to narrow down! Obviously, we are inspired by trailblazing women in music like Patti Smith, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, and as a teenager my entire life seemed to revolve around Brody Dalle.

Beka: Bjork is a legend - I love how self-assured she is, she seems totally embodies her art, and that’s really cool and inspiring. And a big shout out to the absolute legend that is Dolly Parton.

Esme: But with regards to women and non-gender conforming people that inspire us day-to-day - the list is just too big. We are inspired by all women and non-gender conforming people that are helping move the world forward, especially environmentally and politically, from Greta Thunberg to Kamala Harris to Jacinda Ardern to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nzambi Matee.

You're based in the Midlands - what's your relationship like with your local music scene? Any favourite venues, or any local bands we should be listening to?

Esme: Fun fact about Sadness & Complete Disappointment is that we have actually never played a show! We had officially formed in October 2019 and spent the first few months writing and working on our sound, and that process took us right up until Spring 2020 when lockdown began and live music got taken off the cards for the time being. So to be honest, we (as a band) don’t currently have any relationship with the live music scene!! But we will start making those bonds to venues and other bands and everything, the very second we are allowed to start!

Me and Beka have a favourite Midlands band and you ALL have to check them out immediately (if you haven't already!!) - they are called Haggard Cat and they are the best live band you will ever see, hands down. Go listen.

Beka: One local venue to me I wanna shout out because they do so much for the scene is The Crew/Queen’s Hall in Nuneaton - if you are ever in the area, go pay them a visit!

Thanks so much for talking to the Coven!

Check out the band's latest gloriously macabre music video for Oh, Rapture! below:

Stream the Fun EP on Spotify and Apple Music

Review and interview by Chloe Robbins

Photography by Derek Bremner

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