Vassiliki Lazaridou
My Band is a Coven

My Band is A Coven is a podcast about how my Athens-based queer pop punk band, Bitchy 101, resembles a witch coven. Established in 2015, Bitchy 101 has three members and many working partners, friends who help out every time, and even a small following who supports every gig we play, small or large, DIY or more commercial, showering us with love, appreciation and sometimes with beer (usual act in punk concerts, no harm done here). Our audience even knows the lyrics of the songs without us having released an album yet and if this ain’t magic spreading little by little, I don’t know what it is!

Bitchy 101 sets three rules for those who show up to our shows:

RULE 1: Queers to the front

RULE 2: Be kind to each other

RULE 3: Be gentle to us after the show

RULE 1 is for honoring our people. As participants of the queer community, we share kinship with certain types of people and we need them to be up front so we can vibe together. They lift us and we lift them, we are elevating together and when this happens it’s like getting hit by an electric current, then floating on a pink cloud above everything and eating space candy made of glitter. It’s a drug and allows us to stay charged and returning the power to the audience, three times amplified.

RULE 2 is a reminder. It reminds everyone that being together is a state of consciousness and not a matter of place and time. It needs work and it needs tending. It is like a behavioral perma-forest in which everyone has their place and space to breathe, to flourish, to thrive, and we all have to help each other do so.

RULE 3 is about us being vulnerable and exposed. We know that the space we create when we perform live is a very emotional gate to a magical universe and we learned the hard way how intense this can be. But as in every culture, creating such a powerful moment can take its toll. Transitioning to the entity we become when performing takes time, focus and strength. The same goes for transitioning back to our everyday selves. Most of the times, after we finish a live set we feel drained, tired, empty and somewhat sad. On the other hand, our audience is hyped, agitated and craving for more contact. In that state, it is crucial for our well-being to be approached gently and softly, without persisting demands.

Thinking about how this project begun and what it has become, I couldn’t help but notice similarities between the ways we interact (both with each other and with the audience) and with the depiction of witch covens – whether in literature or pop culture. We live together and each one is part of the other’s life, not only as friends and colleagues, but also as sisters, as comrades, as therapists, even as caregivers. Somehow, as time went by and we kept being together in the band, the three of us found ourselves bound through the everyday difficulties, the shared trauma and the almost excruciating perseverance to our creative practices.

This process was shaped by multiple incidents, with different impacts each. And besides how it looks from a distance, being involved in it wasn’t easy. There were times that the triangle dynamics and their products became unbearable. Each of us has a dark period to remember where they have been stuck in the middle of difficult manners, overwhelming behaviors, emotional ups and downs and scary ego trips. But we stayed together and worked it all out, producing, finally, really metaphysical communication patterns, whether these concern our everyday interactions or the way we make music.

Within the last year, we have all noticed that we “melted” ourselves together into a living entity with three minds, several limbs and a red invisible thread that keeps us together, as long as we acknowledge its existence and tend to its maintenance and celebration. Music brought us together and created a platform for us as a group: made our words and feelings accessible to people around us. And we worked on staying that way, because we saw that it does us good and gives us power; a power that has scared away some, allegedly, but brought others closer.

Being part of the band feels very much like being part of a special and very powerful coven and I want to share this newfound knowledge with whoever needs to hear about it. This is a tribute to one of the longest and more serious relationships I have ever had; the one with my bandmates. Much like witches, we heal ourselves and each other, crafting our shape into existence.

— Vasiliki Lazaridou

about, by, through, towards, despite is a podcast series on different aspects of the independent Athens art scene in the aftermath of documenta14. Produced for p o  s   t  documenta: contemporary arts as territorial agencies, the series provides a multilayered imprint of the local scene by inviting artists, curators, and critics to contribute their thoughts, experiences, and critical positions.

Queer visual artist and filmmaker Vassiliki Lazaridou’s podcast My Band is a Coven pays tribute to the queer arts communities of Athens. Situating themselves outside art-world conventions, these craft their shape into existence through creative processes of mutual empowerment and caregiving. Featuring original music by Bitchy 101, the Athens-based queer pop punk band that Vasiliki is part of, My Band is A Coven is inspired by the group exhibition COVEN: witchcraft for love politics, curated by Vassilia Kaga and Caterina Stamou at the Feminist Autonomous Centre for Research in 2021.

Queer pop punk band Bitchy 101 was established in 2015 in Thessaloniki and is currently based in Athens. Members include Vasiliki Lazaridou (aka bitchy) on lead vocals and guitar, Krista on drums, and Clo on bass guitar.

Vasiliki Lazaridou is a queer visual artist and filmmaker born and raised in the west side of Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1989. They are currently based in Athens, working on a multi-genre short film.