Music

Muna rejects the term “girl gang”



	
		

	
		

	
		

	
		Muna rejects the term

Muna is not the band he was three years ago. Of course, the world is not the same either.

When Muna’s second studio album “Saves the World” was released in 2019, COVID was not a word of mouth, Trump was still president, and, remarkably, Phoebe Bridgers had not started her own record label still. Starting out on a self-titled album release on Friday, the band – which includes USC alumni Katie Gavin, Naomi McPherson and Josette Maskin – returns in hopes of reaching a larger audience than ever before.

Muna is very popular as an underground pop musician, who has been famous for some time for their genuinely sad music that they carefully performed with pennies and strange songs. But since the band signed with Bridgers’ label Saddest Factory Records last year, their message has become indie and ironically mainstream. This mostly started with a song that came out in September, “Silk Chiffon,” a collaboration with Bridgers that depicts experiences of feeling stoned and anxious at CVS, skating, and being gay in general. It’s the starting track of the new album, but it’s just a starting point for how far the band is willing to go to deepen their acoustic and thematic language, where the inspirations include everyone from Backstreet Boys to Talking Rock. Heads and Shania Twain.

The trio’s new music is bigger than ever, but its content is also more complex (and mostly happier) than the band’s previous projects. Muna tackles contradictions such as the desire to draw war, gender relations, and the central paradox of mourning on the dance floor. Speaking a few days before the album’s release, the three band partners explain why they reject the term “girl band”, why they find inspiration in academia, and why “energy” best “by Tori Amos.

You have said that this album is much more delightful and self – assured. Would you say that it took you more or less time to process real – life experiences and then put them into music?

KATIE GAVIN: I would say it is the latter. Our second album featured songs that literally took my whole life, like “It’s Gonna Be Okay, Baby,” and this album has so much more about body and life and relationships. It has this kind of expansion that happens when you have experiences and when you write from within those experiences. Some of these lyrics are contradictory and the emotional range of the album is quite large and not overly cohesive. But I think that’s because we write from the moment we meet.

About what you said about being bigger in your body. This album has some crazy beats and you just want to dance with it. Is that part of it?

JOSETTE SKIN: I think that’s the secret to the music that we’ve made from the beginning of Muna. We certainly come from the herd trying to do what Robyn did for us, to want to have some kind of emotional catharsis that could happen on a live stage where you are listening to a kick drum and you are crying because you’re listening to lyrics that make you feel like you’re being seen. So I think with all the music we make, we try to embody that ethic.

Do you all collaborate on the lyrics or do you all take on different aspects of the songs?

GAVIN: We certainly take different aspects of the songs. I am the main lyricist and the phrase would be the top line, so lyrics and melody. I know Naomi and Jo laugh that I say the main lyricist because in fact I wrote all the lyrics, but there were exceptions. And I also think that my lyrics are based on Naomi and Jo’s opinions and the conversations that we have about music. Part of what makes us a good band is that we are all a different piece of the puzzle. I can only help writing songs; I’ve always done it and it’s something that attracts me a lot. But I’m not so obsessed with the sound world, like finding the right kick drum to match the feeling I’m feeling in the song or exactly what part to play on a guitar. That’s the world in which Naomi and Jo live. So it’s very symbiotic.

Speaking of collaborations, you enlist the help of Mitski on “No Idea,” whose album this year has some similar trends toward truly sad dance music. What influence did she transfer to you directly or indirectly and how do you see the interaction of your musical life?

NAOMI McPHERSON: And also as Heads of Speech. It started out to be more like the Backstreet Boys disco, with strings and stuff, and then the orchestra kicked in. That song was the one that took the longest as a whole idea. The structure has not changed since it was first made. But I think we felt like it didn’t fit right into our entire sonic universe. It was pretty bare and consisted only of live bass and drums, and looked a bit inappropriate with the rest of the music. So we had to go on our own journey to get a little closer to the Muna synthesized universe, and that actually happened at midnight.

To address some of the issues they address on this album, let’s talk about “Kind Of Girl”, as they said: “It’s a big move for us as a group, people who had to let others know how we want to “understand”?

GAVIN: It’s a very interesting question. An opening has happened. We’ve been in this band for most of our 20 years, and when we first started to exist, even though we were already emerging as a queer band, the issue of the genre was much more complex – and a bit traumatizing – in terms of how people. understand. We have a history of being called a “girl band” and it’s only in this era that we felt comfortable saying, “Hey, we don’t really know that.”

We have certainly moved on with the big world. There is much more awareness of these things today, but it is still very rare and very fortunate that there are spaces in which we operate where the majority of queer people have experience and mutual understanding. Few things like haircuts have helped us feel more like ourselves, and it’s also different for each of us, as individuals. But I like to play with those things. It makes me think of my idol, Tori Amos, who is a straight cis woman. But she’s got a lot to say about her portrayal of sexuality, even though she’s like that … I don’t want to use overly harsh terminology, but Tori does when she’s acting. And it’s a joy to be able to play with those things and celebrate for them.

You also talked about desire ownership of this album, specifically the song “What I Want.” What does it mean for queer people to hold their desires in the way you know in this album?

Mc PHERSON: The queer community is often seen as hypersexualized, and we live in such a puritanical society that I think we are all taught to be ashamed of our sexuality. Shame can be deeply rooted, and free break can be a lifelong task. What music tries to do is challenge that paradigm. Our music is very much based on imagining realities that do not yet exist for everyone. “What I Want” is a song about agency, desire, freedom, sex and sexuality, all of which we are taught to be ashamed of, especially as queer people. Plus, it’s a very fun pop song.

“What I Want” almost feels like a sister song to “I Know a Place,” from what you’re talking about queer imagery.

There is a song on their last album called “Hands Off”, and there is a song on this album called “Handle Me”. What would you say about that thematic evolution – not necessarily opposition?

GAVIN: I didn’t even think about that. “Hands Off” was written at a time when I was trying to escape a relationship that was not good for me. I had to have this [momento de] empowering “I’m going to be alone and don’t fucking touch me”, but then with this album I was interested when I was in a relationship where the person is safe and we have a connection. I ran with that fear or reluctance to be open, vulnerable and involved. Interestingly, I came up with the idea of ​​reading about pruning different plants, because I was dating someone at the time, but I also did a lot of gardening. I have learned that it is beneficial for the health of a fruit tree to remove some of its fruit and that people prune and handle it. And that’s why I like that idea: We really need other people to manipulate us. It’s a healthy thing.

Other than the album, you covered Britney Spears’ “Hours” to complete the “Fire Island” movie. [El coprotagonista y guionista] Joel Kim Booster said that this happened because he sent you a DM.

He sent me a DM on Twitter. I’m a big fan of his stand up. And we all love Bowen [Yang] already matte [Rogers]. So when he asked me, it was because we can accomplish, we will. We managed and did it very quickly so they could include it, and it was a bit of a bumpy ride to the end, but we are enjoying being involved in the movie. It’s great to see so many people in the creative scene in Los Angeles so scared.

Did he specifically ask you “Sometimes”?

Did. There was another synchronization at that time, earlier. And I think because they had the karaoke scene filmed with Bowen singing that song, they wanted someone to cover it. And it was like, “You guys are the first people I thought of. I’m a big fan of your music. And it would be beautiful if you guys could do this.” And we were like, okay, let’s do it – you know, “Free Britney” shout – out. We are excited.

Where do you see your style after this album?

masc: I don’t really see any limit in terms of genre or sounds because we all like so many different musical styles. We’re all starting to feel fully capable of performing any style of music we want and feel free to do. It does not have to be pronounced a certain way to be ready. So let’s take a breath and do something and then ask this question. I think. Who knows?

Mc PHERSON: It’s interesting because some of us say, “We should make a folk acoustic album, like Lilith Fair’s record,” and then Katie launches this huge hard pop song she wrote and it’s like, well , shit. . It’s a relief not to go into an album or a song that you have a preconceived notion of what it should be and only make good songs, because that’s people.

masc: The song always determines. So maybe that’s the answer. What determines the songs they should be, is what it will be.

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Dan

I am Dan/ Anime/ K-pop/ ARMY/ Stay

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