Artist Interview: Dirty Heretics

Dirty Heretics are an electro-punk-thrash duo from

New York City putting their own modern spin on the CBGB golden era of punk. (CBGB was an NYC music club known as the undisputed birthplace of punk) The band is made up of the incredible lead vocalist Rachel Gavaletz- this woman has PIPES!- and Atesh Tur, the man behind those dark & heavy guitar riffs found throughout their entire current discography.

Their self-titled EP ‘Dirty Heretics’ was released in April of 2018, followed by the music video for ‘Black and Blue’ of the EP just a few days later. Black and Blue is a song about addiction and not just in a generalized sense. It is about a particular person’s addiction- Sterling Spiers, who was the brother of Rachel’s life-long best friend Tommi-Sue Spiers. Sterling passed away on December 6th, 2015 of a heroin overdose at the age of 27. According to Rachel, she has written several songs about Sterling throughout the years and ‘Black and Blue’ stood out the most and Rachel & Atesh knew they wanted to use the song for a music video.

Self-titled EP ‘Dirty Heretics’ starts out with a song called ‘Bathroom Stall’. The track starts out with a low, slow-building electronic sound followed by the fast-paced beat for the rest of the song. From what I gathered, the lyrics seem to be about a girl desperate for attention so she turns to drugs instead. Next up is their music video song ‘Black and Blue’. Starting at a slow and haunting pace, the track incorporates Turkish folk and electronic ambient sounds for a unique and angelic sound before picking up the tempo. The track is beautifully written, produced and executed with an incredible amount of emotion behind the music. The next track ’Fight’ begins with a rough and scratchy electronic sound that builds up and fades out until it kicks into high tempo. This track is the epitome of punk culture and what it means to be punk rock. The same heavy layered guitar riff repeats throughout, making for the perfect punk rock anthem. The last remaining track on the EP is ‘Big Black Gun’ which seems to be a ‘protect your own because you never know what will happen’ anthemic & beautiful track.

Dirty Heretics also released their newest single ‘Hey Kevin’ back in September of 2018, which is a beautiful song emphasizing the fact that you shouldn’t change yourself for anyone or anything if that means it’ll take away your joy.  We asked Rachel a few questions about ‘Hey Kevin’, their self-titled EP and any advice for women in the music industry.

Q: What was your creative process behind your latest single, “Hey Kevin”?

A: Writing “Hey Kevin” was one of those lucky moments that just kind of happened. I sang the first line into my phone’s voice recorder, sent it to Atesh, and I think we had the bones finished in a few days. Clearly, this message was something that needed to come out of me.

Q: Was the song inspired by a real-life event? If so, can you tell us a bit about it?

A: This song is definitely inspired by a real-life event. I moved to NYC about five years ago and was jumping around and doing a lot of side gigs. That in itself was a real bummer for me since I promised myself about seven years ago I would continue to remain a full-time musician, so the fact I wasn’t being honest with myself and taking the easy road was really messing with my head space. I was waiting tables at a really nice restaurant in Manhattan and making decent money, my coworkers were lovely, amazing people, but I just felt completely out of my element. I had to totally become another person to deal with the clientele and make my managers feel comfortable. I had to change my hair, my makeup, the way that I spoke, and it just got to the point where I was like, why am I doing this to myself? Why am I letting other people drive my ship? I left that job to go do a show which was the start of me going back to being a full-time musician here in the city. I’m not gonna tell you exactly who Kevin really was, but he represents all those people who we make uncomfortable by being ourselves. I don’t have time for that shit anymore.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the recording and writing process of your self-titled debut EP, Dirty Heretics that was released last spring?

A: Creating the Dirty Heretics EP was a mutual labor of love between me and Atesh Tur. I am so lucky to have Atesh as a bandmate and partner, as our merged skills streamline our process. We write well together… we speak the same language. I send vocal ideas or melodies to him and he creates what I didn’t know I was already hearing in my head. Since we are also a relatively young band, we were also getting to know each other as we were writing and recording these songs from our home studios. It was very experimental and new for both of us, and I’m so pleased with the end result.  

Q: Rachel, do have any tips for young women just starting out or wanting to get involved in the music industry?

A: Stay humble, and stay true. Find that voice that speaks within you, and meet with them whenever you can. There is nothing easy about this, but if you are in the practice of being in tune with it, I promise your work will be better.

Q: Are there any women that you’ve been listening to recently that inspire you?

A: Of course, I listen to the “classics”… Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Blondie, but more current artists/bands I listen to are Hop Along, Maria Brink, Nai Palm to name a few.

You can find the Dirty Heretics on Facebook, Instagram, and on their website. Check out their music video for “Black and Blue” below!