While hanging around the highly enjoyable 'Q Alternative' Stage at Brighton Pride, we caught up for a little chat with both Saffron Sprackling, front woman of the legendary Republica, and Mel Sanson, front woman of Kenelis and one of the main organisers of the stage.

R13: How did you get involved with curating the Q Stage for Brighton Pride?
MS: I've performed and coordinated live music at Brighton Pride for the last few years.
I wanted to bring more live music into the park and music of different genres that don't always get the opportunity to play at pride festivals. Kenelis rocked Pride's all over the UK but we were literally like the only rock band doing it. My girlfriend Vicky basically demanded that they play us! We did nearly all of them. Imagine that, Kenelis on a mainstream variety stage. People liked it though! Not all Pride goers are mainstream. Manchester still say we are too heavy. What so LGBTQ community and supporters don't like rock? It pissed me off. So we created a stage for ALL alternative music at Pride.

R13: Your band are playing too - you must have your hands full with organising and preparing to play?
MS: I know right, I must be insane! It's so much work and it's all voluntary. I don't want our performance to suffer because I'm running around like a headless chicken all day dealing with constant challenges to keep this thing running to schedule and everyone happy. We do have a great team though. The Kenelis set has to be awesome. We are main support to Republica!

R13: Who came up with the name 'Q'? Nice twist on the magazine reference (guessing R13 would not have the same affect)!
MS: Ha! Well the ideology behind Q Live Music Stage at Brighton Pride was born in 2011 when my band Kenelis played at Pride Toronto on the Alterna-Queer Stage. Pride Toronto has 10 open-air stages hosting all genres of music and championing LGBTQ performers. This experience planted the seed which has now grown into the Q Live Music Stage at Brighton Pride 2014. Diversity, talent and success in music at Britain's favourite Pride Festival is what the Q Stage represents. What does Q magazine even stand for anyway? I hope they don't mind the similarity. I don't think you can own a letter though right? They can't take away our Q! We are here and Queer!

R13: And you got Republica to headline, did that take a lot of persuading?
MS: We met a year ago when Kenelis won an award at the Brighton Music Awards and Saffron was there and I was like Oh fuck the award, we need to put on the best performance of our lives! I've loved her for years so obviously wanted to impress her. We won the award and did impress with our performance as well! It was worth asking everyone to do all that voting bollocks, what a great night. So a year later we've since become friends and as soon as I got the OK to ask if Republica would like to headline Q Stage I called Saff and she was well up for it. Boom!

R13: Republica have been back for a few years now, how are you finding the music scene today compared to the 90's?
SS: The music scene has drastically changed compared to the 90's now from the whole writing, recording and production process of recording music to the business side as there are only a few major labels left signing mainly very commercial acts. Plus the internet has opened the whole world up to new music which I think is mainly a good thing. The downside is the commercial programmes like Xfactor are so high profile that modern pop, which I love, gets more profile than young up and coming indie/alternative bands. There is such a burgeoning, strong underground scene of new music that's simply not been heard or given the right platform but I strongly feel the good will out and people will refuse to be brainwashed and seek out great stuff!
Which is why the Q Alternative stage at Pride this year is so damn important for giving alternative live musicians a platform.

R13: We can only imagine it must have been crazy at times during the height of the Brit-Pop era?
SS: Yes the Brit-Pop Era were definitely crazy times indeed musically and socially, felt like a revolution like the acid house scene my band came out of from 1988 hearing early Chicago and Detroit house music and Balearics beats in gay clubs like Heaven in London.
Was a great time for new bands and artists to get played on the radio especially lots female fronted bands which before they would not play on national radio only pop. It was a time for British bands, fashion and style to be heard and seen on a world stage too. To be living in London at that time was loads of fun, new songs, bands, clubs, clothes, artists, albums, parties every night!

R13: What's it like having tracks that is one of the most instantly recognisable songs from the intro, even today?
SS: We are always grateful and to this day in disbelief that our songs Ready To Go and Drop Dead Gorgeous are still instantly recognisable 20 odd years later. You write a song in a moment and if one person hears it and smiles and has a good reaction to hearing it then great. Your wish is that they last forever and are immortal. I'm humbled that young kids today know our music and dig it. What more could you ask for that you're work be remembered and enjoyed so many years later!

R13: I have been listening to both Republica and Speed Bullets recently, how do you feel both as the artist and a fan when you look back on them?
MS: I've listened to and enjoyed both Republica albums since I was a teenager to now. Bands like Republica, Hole, GnR I'll always go back to. I never get bored of great music like that. They're timeless masterpieces.
SS: Looking back at our first album Republica and second Speed Ballads I am like a mother, feel proud of my chicks as I see my songs as my kids really, going out in the world. Our first album we wrote and recorded ourselves in our own studio and we as a band put our whole heart and soul into that record. Working with US producer Ben Grosse was the icing on the cake as he totally got us/me and understood what sound we were trying to achieve and the marriage of rock/punk/electronica. Speed Ballads did not get the push/promotion it deserved as our label De-Construction collapsed the week of release and our fans couldn't buy it in the shops, now as a band that fucking Hurts. Selling over million albums worldwide and your fans begging 'Please Please' and we had nothing to give as the label did not physically print enough copies....hard one to explain...saying that I would have produced certain songs differently. I think we went overboard on strings for example but overall proud of course.

R13: Tell us a little more about the bands on the bill today? Who are you looking forward to see?
MS: Well, all of them! We (the Q Team and Brighton Pride) collectively selected the line-up but there isn't a single act performing that I don't want to see. I'm excited to watch Death Koolaid tear up the stage - they are so heavy. Joan Ov Arc always deliver spectacular greatness. Lucy Spraggan was brilliant last year, she will definitely be awesome. Most of all Republica. I've seen Saff tear up quite a few stages in this past year and they have serious hardcore fans. Brighton Pride Q crowd are going to go crazy for them and I can't wait!
SS: Very excited to see Kenelis, Lucy Spraggan, Marc Massive and all the acts on the Q Alternative Live Stage today. It's a Revolution for Pride, it's just so important it's happening for the first time at Brighton Pride. Birth of a new era representing the alternative - any gender, any band, artist, music - it's Punk Pride!

R13: It's been a busy summer for Kenelis with 3 festivals already - how have you enjoyed it?
MS: Yes, loved it, it's been a great year. Camden Rocks was, errrr, not the best. We did a competition thing and basically won a slot to perform. It was all very last minute. The venue was far away from the main area and we didn't play very well. It was a good wake up call actually because we made sure we absolutely nailed Guilfest (supporting Soulfly) and today there is no option but for us to put on our best show ever.

R13: What's next for both Kenelis, Republica and acting career?
MS: I'm just going to write for a bit. I love and miss writing music. I got a Micro Korg for my birthday so who knows what noises will come out of Kenelis next! I might even do a side project. Something a bit different. Everyone calls bands projects these days. We could call it 'Project Project'.
SS: Republica have done a brilliant and successful UK tour of O2 venues with our friends the band Space and a fantastic regional club tour. We are looking forward to writing new songs for a new album and German/European dates in the autumn. Future plans are working on new Republica album and I also have been acting in films.
The B.F.I accredited British Gangster Film Looters, Tooters and Sawn Off Shooters directed by The King Brothers Ltd. comes out in September, I play a Detective Sergeant!
The Film Seven Cases directed by Sean J Vincent was shown at Cannes Film Festival also starring Steven Berkoff and my close friend Samantha Fox.
The short film Banana Pearl directed by Ben Simon for Media Brighton who also directed our video for Christiana Obey our EP we had out last year, I play a female gangster/torturer called Champagne Charli.
I'm in a new app game called Reptile Resistance I fight alien lizards who are trying to take over the world which is in production hoping out Xmas if not new year.
Also new Youtube series Two Close For Comfort 2 by DT Productions starring Lynda Bellingham, Donna Taylor, Michael Peluso, Senel Karava, David Rubin, Vikki Michelle, Steve Collins, Sharon D Clarke and Belinda McQuirk.
So busy, busy I'd love to do another musical and if asked to go on Strictly Come Dancing I'd so say yes! (only reality programme I like).

R13: If you could cover one of each other's songs what would it be? Or, maybe better, which song of yours would you like to see the other cover?
MS: Hmmmm... Would have to be something I could do jusice.... Bloke - it's ballsy and punk. I can do that. I would like Saff to cover.... Oh wow hard question... Prodigy Witch probably, I think is her favourite Kenelis song even though we haven't actually recorded it yet. It's possibly my favourite Kenelis song too, so yeah Prodigy Witch.
SS: Has to be Prodigy Witch great track pure female rage Love it.

R13: Finally, who here at Pride is 'Drop Dead Gorgeous'?
MS: Everybody! It's Pride!
SS: Everybody is Drop Dead Gorgeous at Pride that's what it's all about! Especially Mel Sanson and Vicky Wilson for having the vision and tenacity to create the Q Alternative Stage.

R13: Thank you and well done on organising a great day and you even arranged good weather too!
MS: Thanks, big love.
SS: We are so honoured and excited to be here. The LGBTQ community has Always supported me and my band. We love you all, thank you for having us Brighton Pride, we Salute You. Love Saffron!

Our thanks to both Mel and Saffron for their time, especially Mel who was running around all day with her organiser hat on putting together a fantastic day with her team of helpers. There is a very clear message for the people behind Strictly from Saffron - let's make it happen!