The Origins of the Riot Grrrl Ethos

Interview with Alva: Guitar and Vocals for This Girl Will Self Destruct



"all inequalities within society bother us and we try to challenge them by our words and actions and showing solidarity with others even though their problems seem to not directly affect us."


Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Alva and I play guitar and sing in THIS GIRL WILL SELF-DESTRUCT. We are an all-girl chamber grunge outfit from Cologne. I mostly call us that because one of my big inspirations (and friend) is original riot-grrl Bonfire Madigan, who called her music chamber punk and is an amazing cellist. Since Ruth plays cello in this band I necked the label for us. But we are not super punk although this is where our ethics are rooted. So judging by my power chord riffs it is probably closest to grunge plus our drummer Mel does mainly listen to Indie and Ruth loves Hardcore so we kind of meet in the middle. We have been going for a little over a year. We also organize gigs and queer parties and are part of the collective that maintains the autonomous centre in Cologne where we also rehearse. I have been doing a zine, TOILET PAPER for a long time, too but now mostly contribute to a music-focused one, TRUST. As for money I teach adults for a second chance to obtain their a-levels, Ruth is a biologist and IT person and works in those fields and Mel is a social worker in prison.

Who or what inspires you?

The people around us, both in a good and bad way. Our circle around feminism and social justice issues. Seeing how people are ostracized by society at large but also niche groups and scenes inspires me to write about their (our) stories. We and our surroundings have personal experience of sexualized violence and we strive to educate people about the consequences of the way we react to such stories and allegations. And we are inspired by transformative justice processes and our friends who invest a lot of time in making the world better or at least bearable.

What challenges do you face?

The above mentioned and also the way women are treated inside and outside of the music world. People have so many prejudices that can harm how one views oneself and influence how people present themselves or dare not to present themselves. Obviously, on a more general level, all inequalities within society bother us and we try to challenge them by our words and actions and showing solidarity with others even though their problems seem to not directly affect us.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I would not call it a career but for our second gig we were able to support Bad Cop/Bad Cop from L.A. and since Ruth and I are both fans of them it was extra special (and also quite a busy show). We enjoyed all our gigs so far and it was a real bummer we had to cancel our tour around Easter due to Covid-19 of course.


What are your hopes and dreams for the future?


Although this is really of the lowest priority in the current crisis we obviously miss playing live shows at the moment and hope to do that again soon. Also, we are in the midst of recording our album but our engineer works with the elderly and thus can’t accommodate us right now in order to protect them. Hopefully, soon we will be able to finish the recording and mixing process and release „Reclutter“ onto the world.