Big Joanie are a Black feminist punk band whose passionate live shows and punk rock ethos have led to them becoming one of the most talked about bands on the UK live scene.
The band formed in the heart of London’s DIY punk scene in 2013 to play at First Timers (a gig where each band plays their set for the very first time) and is a space where its members (singer/guitarist Stephanie Phillips, drummer Chardine Taylor-Stone, and bassist Estella Adeyeri) can be completely themselves as black women.
Their sound – a distorted meld of Raincoats’ inspired post-punk and ‘60s girl group pop sensibilities – earned the band some impressive champions, including Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz who signed the group to their label Daydream Library after spotting them at a gig.
The band released their debut album Sistahs in 2018 to wide critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, The Guardian, The Quietus, The Nation and more, along with copious airplay on BBC Radio 6 Music and KEXP-FM. Of the release, Pitchfork’s Jenn Pelly said: “Big Joanie’s barebones rock songs always sound like they’re simmering with possibility, with pure conviction, something that the best DIY bands communicate almost telepathically.” Rolling Stone called Sistahs, “a record that’s bold, catchy and arresting”.
The band built a reputation supporting acts like Parquet Courts and Downtown Boys. They have continued to tour the UK and Europe on their own headline tours and in support of acts including Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Gossip, and The Raincoats.
In 2020 the band released a one-off single on Third Man Records, a cover of Solange’s Knowles’ lauded Cranes in the Sky, and announced they signed to the legendary record label Kill Rock Stars to release their second album in the US.
A year of summer festival spots at End of The Road, Green Man and Latitude, along with more touring in Europe was planned for 2020 but those plans were cancelled due to the pandemic. The band are currently working with producer Margo Broom on their second album, which the band hope will be released in 2021.
Outside of the group the band all work on their own individual projects. Stephanie is preparing for her book Why Solange Matters to be released in May 2021, Chardine is involved in LGBT activism and is writing a book about Black feminist activism, and Estella is busy coaching new talent at Girls Rock London. Band members are also involved in the collective behind Decolonise Fest, a DIY punk festival created by and for people of colour in the punk scene.