Birdeatsbaby play the kind of music that stomps all over the notion of genres still being relevant. Their fan base encompasses a rich and diverse cross section of the music community. Vocalist and piano player Mishkin Fitzgerald is the living embodiment of that diversity, her style is quite simply unique. Here she chats about her signature orange hair, early punk influences and a love of Killstar clothing.
What are your first memories of experimenting with a more alternative look?
“I remember wearing a Misfits t-shirt to church one day with my parents and being told off repeatedly for my style in clothes. I think that’s when I realised I really like gothic clothing much to the disappointment of my family. I guess for me it all started with band t-shirts and the music and supporting the music. I think that does lead you into an environment where you experience alternative people and look at their fashion. I’ve always been interested in dressing differently, I love piercings, I love tattoos and I think when you go down the path of loving rock music the rest comes with it. Right now I really like wearing Killstar clothes because they have really obnoxious sayings on them, they’re quite offensive and I quite enjoy that.”
Are there any bands or people that have inspired specific things with you, things you’ve adopted?
“I was quite into a lot of 70s punk as a teenager, stuff like the Sex Pistols and I really loved Siouxsie Sioux, I thought she looked awesome, so different from how I’d seen women in magazines. Siouxsie Sioux is probably a big influence on the way I dress. I like Courtney Love’s look too, she looks kinda trashed all the time. It suits her, it’s a good look.”
Is there anybody around today in TV or music who you can admire for their style even if it’s not particularly for you?
“I’m not really up on popular culture. I really like American Horror Story, there are quite a few strong characters in that. The costumes and make up in that are insane. I just like horror in general. Rob Zombie is pretty cool. I like what he does because I don’t think he takes himself too seriously. I wouldn’t say I base my fashion on him but I appreciate he doesn’t give a fuck.”
More specifically about you. What make up do you use, what are your favourite products and do you have any you won’t use for any reason?
“I use products that are not tested on animals, that a big deal for me because I’m a vegan. I won’t spend a lot of money on make up, I don’t think you need to. There’s a lot of emphasis on women having to wear this and look like that and do this and I don’t think you need to spend loads of money on cosmetics. All the Superdrug brands are totally vegan which is cool.”
If you had to give up make up altogether except for one thing what would you keep?
“That’s easy, black eye liner all the way. It’s a close one between that and foundation because I’m really pale and sometimes I look really ill, which for a goth isn’t that bad, so I’d have to go with black eye liner.”
Moving on to hair. You have a distinctive orange colour and shaved sides. What inspired you to develop that particular look?
“I really like Mila Jovovich and when I saw The Fifth Element I just thought that’s cool. You don’t see many people with orange hair, it’s a colour that they tend to avoid. Then it just became my thjing when the band started to do well. I can’t really change it now because it’s the thing that makes me recognisable. I have had it in lots of styles though.”
Presumably you use vegan hair dye but what brand?
“Yep vegan but any brand. My hair dresser is really good and always makes sure all the products used on me are vegan. Manic Panic is vegan but it isn’t permanent and with orange you need permanent. So a lot of popular brands aren’t permanent.”
You have quite a distinctive style clothes wise. Where do you shop for it all?
“As I said I really like Killstar. When you find a brand that really fits you it’s great and I like a lot of their stuff and it’s not expensive. They’re a vegan company. All their shoes are vegan. Most of the rest is pretty much from charity shops. I live in Brighton and there’s loads of students and goths there so it’s really easy to find stuff. And then there’s t-shirts because when I go to a gig I don’t buy cds any more so I’ll buy a piece of merchandise like a shirt and you’re advertising a band as well.”
Like a lot of alternative people you have quite a collection of tattoos. What was the first one you got? And have you got a favourite and least favourite ones?
“I don’t regret any of my tattoos. I love all of them. My first ever tattoo is on my back which is an anchor with some Russian script and then it extends out into a raven. It’s quite big, I didn’t start out with a small one.”
This questions often stumps people but it’s almost certain you’ll come back with a quick reply. If someone was to make a film of Birdeatsbaby who would be best suited to play you?
“Haha. Mila Jovovich. I think she’s awesome.”
If you were trapped on a desert island and had everything you needed to survive, what three vanity items would you want to have with you?
“I’d go with my favourite dress which is a Killstar dress with nobody cares on it. It’s black but it has pink and rainbows on it. Probably a pair of black high-waisted jeans because they go with everything. And I’ve got this corset which is like a cat so I’d like that as well. With the dress, the jeans and the corset I’m good for Fridays out on the beach.”
Snaps and chats by Gary Trueman