Straight Edge Sisters: Bratakus Talk Punk and Ethics

Screeching in from the north of Scotland, sisters Breagha and Onnagh are Bratakus. A two piece hardcore punk band bringing with them a furious blend of abrasive driven riffs, ferocious vocals and a pounding drum machine, Bratakus’ brand of full-tilt hardcore has been turning the heads of punks the country over. With lyrics reflecting on many ideologies, including feminism, climate change and veganism, Bratakus are certainly a band with a lot to say.

Your band name, your logo, and indeed even the name of your record label, Screaming Babies Records, all seem to follow a similar theme. What was the thought process that lead to these names and theme?

We had been a band for a little while just practicing in my bedroom when a guy we know wanted us to write a bit about our band for an article he was doing. We didn’t have a name yet so we had to quickly come up with something. We chose Bratakus because I always wanted to call a band that. It was a name our Dad used to call us when we were younger if we were being bratty. The logo just kind of came about because I had the idea for a while of this mean looking baby, Onnagh drew it up and we thought it looked cool, so we went with that! As for the record label, it’s a Crass lyric and we just thought it went with the baby theme we already had going.

As previously mentioned, you have followed in the punk tradition of the DIY ethos and started your own record label. Do you have any hopes for expansion, possibly signing other bands?

For now we’ve mainly just put out Bratakus stuff, our EP and album. It’s a family run label though and our Dad has just put out a digital track for his new band Brain Anguish and is hoping to release some more stuff soon. We have some other plans for the future too, so keep an eye out on the Screaming Babies Records Facebook page!

You identify as a straight edge band. How did you first discover the straight edge subculture, and why is it important to you?

Indeed, important enough to brand your band with. Both of us were never really interested in drinking and smoking, so we were already straight edge before we actually looked into the movement. I honestly can’t remember how we first discovered it. We grew up with punk parents who never really drank a lot when we were young and now neither of them do at all, so we were always around alternative people. We both decided to become straight edge because we just don’t identify with the drinking culture that was around us (outside of our family), it was never for us. It wasn’t that much of a big decision for us though cause we just never started drinking and carried on like that.

Veganism and straight edge have certainly had a lot of crossover across the years, particularly in the punk and hardcore scenes. How do you view the relationship between the two? Do you view them as two separate entities, both of which you adhere to, or as a single combined movement, sometimes known as ’true’ straight edge?

For us, they’re definitely separate things. We consider ourselves vegans and straight edge. I guess you could argue that they go hand in hand since veganism is about not harming other living beings and being more healthy yourself and straight edge partly is about not harming yourself too, so it’s a similar way of thinking, and now that you’ve said it we realised pretty much every straight edger we know is vegan. We definitely do them for separate reasons though and I don’t think you need to be vegan to be true straight edge!

How have you found being in a band with your sister? Have you encountered any sibling rivalries at all? Has this caused any creative differences?

It’s been good. I had tried to form bands for so many years that didn’t work out, so it’s been great to be in a band with Onnagh cause we have pretty similar music taste. It’s good to be able to point things out and feel like you can say stuff cause you know the other person won’t be offended. We were both home educated so we’ve always spent a lot of time together. No sibling rivalries yet!

Bratakus now have an EP and a full length album to their name, and, like their music, they don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon, so keep an eye on Bratakus and Screaming Babies Records!