The Coathangers stick to their guns
Baddass US-based punkers The Coathangers talk to somethingyousaid.com’s Julia Boyle:
Hey girls, I hope you had fun touring Japan recently. What did you do in the van to pass the time?
Mainly try to catch up on sleep, listen to music, stare out the window and take in all the beautiful scenery, etc.
What do you listen to (hoping for a mini-playlist here!)?
Them Crooked Vultures, Radiohead, Cosmonauts, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Black Lips to name a few.
You are one of the few girl bands to play in the garage/punk “big-leagues”, which is mostly male-dominated. What is it like to play a festival alongside mostly male musicians and bands?
Being a female amongst all the guys really isn’t a big issue, I mean sometimes on rare occasions some guys who don’t know us might think we are someone’s girlfriend or groupie but other than that it’s usually all good.
Along the same lines, since you are probably the biggest all-girl band around on the American scene at the moment, what do you think about this comment I found on an otherwise brilliant music blog about fellow all-girl band and up–and-comers from Memphis, the Nots: “just don’t call ’em a girl group, cuz this is some fierce recommended rock n roll!!!!!!!!” Thoughts? Have you heard similar comments throughout your career so far?
Yea we would agree with that, I mean there’s no getting around the fact that we are all women obviously but in the end we just want to be an amazing band like everyone else. It can be a double edged sword sometimes, but in the end everyone should be acknowledging our music more than the fact we are women.
Unfortunately, I feel like there are only a few ways for girl punk bands to get recognized. Either they have to play a type of “bubblegum- punk” with some cutesy elements or have to play a more arsty, “abstract” kind of punk. If you’re just snotty and badass I feel like it is very hard to get noticed next to all the guys and you get accused of trying to imitate them too. Do you agree? Was this something you had to cope with too? What advice would you give a girl band that is starting out?
We think female bands are just like any other band trying to find their voice through their music whatever style it may be, as far as being “snotty” or “badass” there’s no copy-catting there, maybe the guys are copying us. Advice to any band female or male? We would say just stick to your guns, always be yourself and only write music that you believe in, if you try to please everyone you end up pleasing no one and eventually disappoint yourself.
You recently covered the Gun Club classic “Sex Beat”. Pretty brave! Were you nervous at all about releasing it, since with such a classic piece of music there sure are going to be haters around? What was your process like, making the song your own? I really dig the outcome, by the way.
We weren’t really nervous per say we just wanted to do the song justice, we are HUGE fans of Gun Club and obviously they are a big influence to us. We actually got to play Kid Congo’s birthday show at SXSW last year and played it for him and he said we nailed it and now he is a friend so fuck the haters because we got the AOK straight from the main man himself!
You told Pitchfork’s Shake Appeal for their yearly round-up, that your favourite show to play this year was at the Burger-a-Go-Go (Burger Records’ female-focused festival). What made it the show of the year for you?
It was just so full of our friends and favorite bands and the crowd was so energetic, it was just the entire vibe of the show that made it stick out to us! Viva Burger Records!
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us at Something You Said!
Thank you so much!
Xo The Coathangers
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Inteview by Julia Boyle