Interview - Gen and The Degenerates

Gen and The Degenerates - Pic credit acidmaia

Historically Rock and Roll as an art form has had it's imagery well and truly formed from a male gaze viewpoint. You know the type - high heels, short skirts and women more often than not depicted in a subservient way.

With their high octane, tenacious, version of rock and roll Gen and The Degenerates, are well and truly leading a revolution, smashing up this outdated view and bringing it into the now.

If you've had the fortune to hear 'Underwear', their first single since signing with Marshall Records then you'll know what I'm talking about. It's confident, it's sexy, it's full throttle rock and roll without the sleaze. The band are on a mission to bring their influences from the past and in applying it to their rebellious spirit; they're creating something that's as intoxicating, as it is commanding.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Gen (vocalist) and Sean (guitarist) last week to find out more about their influences, their signing to Marshall Records and their plans for world domination!

To understand an artist I love finding out who their influences are. Gen's first cognisant artist she was drawn to was Amy Winehouse but she grew up within a household that played Jimi Hendrix, Aretha Franklin, the trippier Beatles tracks and old school blues. For Sean he too grew up on The Beatles and also Robbie Williams (his mums choice) - his first loves was punk so bands like Green Day and Faith No More heavily feature.

When it comes to current artists the band have great taste again, "We absolutely love Nova Twins, Rina Sawayama, Black Peaks, Yonaka, The Pale White, Bob Vylan, Dry Cleaning, Black Country New Road, Courting. There's so, so, many great bands. Our producer Kurran Karbal who releases stuff under his own moniker Munkey Junkey as well - he doesn’t get enough love, he’s incredible." Having seen Kuran support Zuzu live I have to concur.

Gen and Sean both went to JMU in Liverpool, but the band was a gradual thing that started as fun in halls.

Gen told me "It started me, Sean and Jake in our uni halls for fun. Evan and Jay knew the rest of the band for a while, so it all just fell into place." Their first forays into recording weren't exactly high tech either, they made do with what they had, "We used to make tunes in uni and we didn’t have amazing equipment. We used the mic that Jake had and to make a vocal booth I would stand in a cupboard and we would put a blanket around the door to make a soundproof cupboard."

The bands are great friends with Zuzu and supported her on 28th Feb 2020 in Liverpool Live Arts Club. It's a gig that will go down in their history as certainly one of the more memorable ones. Broken guitars and dresses made sure of that! Gen: "I just thought it was quite funny to be honest – I felt one button go and I was like bloody hell this is coming off! The other button went almost immediately." Sean: "That first whole song was a bit of a disaster really – within the first song your dress had come off, my guitar strap had failed and Jay’s bass had cut out. It was funny the song’s still sounded good. We looked a bit of a state – I ended up finishing the song playing my guitar on my knee" Gen: "and I was half naked! It was great! Any excuse to get my kit off!"

Through hard work, knowing the right people and a faith in their ability they're now signed to Marshall records. "I think that was just a matter of working hard and meeting the right people. Our manager Zander West (RAMPAGE Talent) had been a friend of the band for a while. He’s really passionate about the band and being a manager and he’s really ready to put the graft in. We’d already been grafting at it for a while. Charlotte, who's the PR at our label had worked with him before, so he showed her the demo. She showed it to the label and they were excited and it all happened quickly from there.

Their first single released via Marshall 'Underwear' is an incredibly sexy song. I had goosebumps when I first heard it! I love how it breaks down the heteronormative ideals of sexuality and gender expression and it’s all about the passion of attraction without being vulgar.

The video had the same effect – it felt sexual without ever getting gratuitous, "I think that’s the beauty of being able to learn from bands that went before us and were awesome. Of a time and era when their sensibilities were different to the way we want to conduct ourselves. We want to take that swagger and style and apply it to our own sex lives and swagger" Gen told me.

Sean, "It's like we’re taking our rock and roll swagger and updating it for the 21st century. Times have changed - You can still do that sexiness with that rebellious attitude but what they thought was sexiness and rebellious then is not what it is now."

Gen "Yeah what’s sexy in a queer femme perspective. I find things that are sexy across the board and you don’t need to have a super specific male gaze sexiness to appeal to everyone. There are elements that are very feminine, but there are also elements that are very masculine/assertive and that’s hot. You don’t have to be a 50’s horror damsel to be sexy... I’m here and I’m sexy."

Their mission is to not stop until they've achieved their plans for global Degeneracy. Naturally I asked what their plans are and where can we sign up? "You’re already part of it! You’re already it! It’s too late for you! (laughs) We just wanna get our music out there and tour as much as possible. We wanna create as many parties in as many venues as we can! Hopefully shake things up a little bit. Show the boys how rock and roll is done! Get on Jools Holland – be fucking massive. Go to America."

I always love finding out what people's hidden talents are - Gen is an aerial gymnast and has double jointed (Victorious) thumbs! Sean is by all accounts a very gifted limbo dancer, but let him have a few drinks first!

If you love 'Underwear' and want to hear more then you won't have to wait for long. The band have another single recorded and ready to go. Details TBC but we won't be waiting around too long.

You can also purchase a ticket for their headline tour here

Their hometown end of tour party 18th December promises to be special and I personally can't think of a better way to start the festive season (see you down the front).

Gen and The Degenerates - Pic credit Glam Gig Pics

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Dreaminisfree always has and always will be free - Any artists looking to collaborate please email me


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