Named after a type of dagger used by witches during rituals, Athames is the new EP from hardcore trio Shooting Daggers, a visceral but versatile barrage of punky antagonism, grungy guitars and gritty grooves – all pointed towards the injustices of our society. The band have been kicking up a storm on the live circuit, from Desertfest 2022 to a support slot for Amyl and The Sniffers at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, but Athames is an opportunity to more directly discover what it is that they’re all about.
From ‘No Exit’ taking on toxic beauty standards and the male gaze through to ‘Missandra’ disavowing the notion that sexism “goes both ways”, it’s an EP with its sights set firmly on righting wrongs. We were keen to learn more about the thinking behind each track, so we had the band compile a track-by-track guide to the release, and we’re now thrilled to see it accompany a full premiere of the EP ahead of its release on Friday. Check out the EP below, read the track-by-track guide as you go and then be sure to support the band by ordering the release on vinyl, tape or CD.
In ‘No Exit’ we are claiming that we want an end to this toxic spiral that is beauty standards. Male gaze is ruining us, leading us to psychic death. They get to choose our worth based on physical appearance, this way they keep control.
We’re also saying that it’s not worth it to tear other women down only to exist in men’s eyes.
‘Liar’ is a song about breaking the silence over abusers, a song that calls them out for who they really are with no more excuses. This is a really important song to us, and we would like to spread this message to not only the victims of rape and abuse, but also to the entire community, encouraging people to not engage with abusers and to stop trying to justify their rapist friends.
Manic Pixie Dream Girl
‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ is about the movie trope from the same name. It’s a stock character that has no discernible inner life. It’s usually a cis woman that only exists to make the main character (usually a cis man) look good and to provide the protagonist important life lessons.
Sal [vocals & guitar]: The MPDG trope also occurs in real life, at least in my experience. I personally felt like a MPDG in my romantic relationships and the lyrics are the words of a manic pixie dream girl if she could actually be heard. Claiming that she is someone and stating how bad it feels to be nothing else but someone’s sexy stooge.
‘Carnage’ is a track in which we sing about animal rights. We really want to wake people up and make them realise what happens to animals everyday. It’s cruel and very real. We can’t ignore it anymore.
We Will Live
We wrote this song as it was a prayer, a cry for help to the Goddess Guanyin. She’s a Buddhist Bodhisattva who is sometimes represented as male, mainly in Indian iconology, and as female in Chinese Buddhism. She’s the representation of transcendence and she helps mortals to reach Nirvana and find peace.
When you’re queer you find so many obstacles during your journey and this song is about that and the feeling of hope you have when you finally find yourself again and survive. You realise that your gender does not preclude you from finding happiness and from doing what you want with your life.
You Can’t Kill Us
‘You Can’t Kill Us’ comes right after ‘We Will Live” for a reason: the fear now has become rage, and a will to fight.
It’s a song about queercore and how we’re here to take up our space in the music scene. We’re not going anywhere and we’re going to say what we have to say. We have to build this ourselves because we can’t wait for the cis-het world to approve us and let us in. This is a riot and we’re here to make noise.
The song ‘Missandra’ is about deconstructing the concept of misandry and stating that there is no such thing, it does not exist.
Given the reality of women’s oppression, male privilege, and men’s enforcement of both, it’s hardly surprising that every woman should have moments where they resent or even hate men.
Misandry is not discrimination, misandry is a healthy reaction to oppression. Hatred towards bad treatment is emancipation.
Athames is out 20th May on New Heavy Sounds. Order here.
Words: George Parr