I’ll start this article like I started the interview, by explaining that “Rose Mountain,” by Screaming Females, is still my pick for best album of 2015. The album has it all, from the epic riffed “Triumph,” to the soul searching ballad “Hopeless.” I’ve spun it countless times and I’ve urged anyone near me to grab it, it’s refreshing amongst the shoegaze-heavy scene these days in NYC.
Being that I’ve seen them a handful of times in the last year and how important I think the new record is, I was unusually nervous going into the interview; but it all faded when I sat down on the floor cross-legged across from Jarrett, King Mike, and Marissa and talked about whats going on in the world of Screaming Females.
2015 has been a busy year for you with the record release and European tour, how’s it going thus far?
Jarrett – Everything has been great so far, it’s a boring answer [laughs]. I feel like everywhere we’ve been, has been the best time we’ve been there, which is what you’d hope for. We spent a lot of time on the record and we released it at the best time to tour around it, it’s all worked out really good.
Talking about Rose Mountain, it’s my pick for album of the year so far, and find some strife and heartbreak throughout. Is there an overall theme of the album, it feels like the songs compliment each other.
Marissa – When we write an album, its in a very particular period of time and we usually don’t revisit things from the past. It makes it a collective snapshot of the band from the last year or so. When we were writing Rose Mountain, I was having a lot of health problems which were directly impacting our lives together as a band. There are some songs very exclusive to that situation and some that aren’t. It’s not a concept album, there’s no real narrative, but there’s certainly reoccurring themes.
What’s your favorite song to play live off the album?
Mike – I love playing “Hopeless” live, because it adds a new dynamic to our set. We don’t normally play quiet songs live. We started playing “Little Anne” from our second album a couple of years ago and now having that song, as well as Hopeless is really exciting for me. Make everyone shut up and pay attention for a second; so if we’re lucky people will be really captivated as watching Marissa sing a very, very personal song is a really cool moment. I also don’t play half the song [everyone laughs].
Don Giovanni Records seems like one big family. As a band, what is the support like in that atmosphere, and do you get creative energy from being amongst bands similar to yourself?
Mike – Absolutely, some of our favorite bands ever are on that label, Downtown Boys, Tenement, Vacation and Shellshag are our absolute favorite artists that inspire us in so many ways that it’s hard to sum up. It’s nice to work with people who we can relate with on a personal level, they are our friends.
Jarrett – Dealing with Joe and Zack, who run the label, is super awesome. They’ve been there in different ways and have grown with us. They come up with new ideas and push us and all those important things, but knowing how a lot of the music industry works now; having people who’s honest intent is to do whatever we want to do and to help us do it the best we can, is so inspiring. With them, there’s nothing in the way and they only have the best intentions in mind.
Marissa – I helped Joe’s mom install her cable-box last week…I couldn’t get it to work. We then discuss the possibility of Marissa’s second career as a cable technician, with many laughs.
How did you all go about choosing the name Screaming Females?
Jarrett – We needed a band name so we opened a book of poetry and pointed, and there it was (they don’t remember the name of the book but it was a toilet reading book that belonged to a roomate). It seemed like a powerful image right away after trying to come up with a band name. A lot of people take it literally but is more of an image and works well. We then talked about various bathroom books including The Far Side and Marissa’s favorite – Butthole Magazine.
Since you’re from Jersey, you’ve played countless gigs here in NYC. Is there still a special draw playing here?
All- It’s exciting, especially playing outside during the day like today at 4Knots. All of our friends come to see us and is our biggest market. Growing up in Jersey, we associate it a lot with traffic and expensive tolls and such. But it’s really so close that it’s like an extension of Jersey, we just call it “The City.”
As a band, you can have one super-power, what is it going to be?
Mike – We have this really, really, big problem with anxiety in this band. Our best bet would be to be able to calm down. Super-Calm Band! Industrious, conscientious but relaxed!
Your going to get stuck on an island, and can bring only one album, what would it be?
Everyone agrees the only way to deal with this situation is to “kill themselves.” It just isn’t acceptable to have only one album, but the Clash’s 1980, 3 LP album – Sandinista! is mentioned as a possibility.
Are you planning on a new record or writing any new stuff we can look forward to?
Marissa – We are always working…on the grind . We got our ears to the streets, we got our eyes to the sky, and our feet on the ground…I don’t know what any of that stuff meant. [we all laugh].
Mike – We have started some new songs but have nothing planned, always writing new music.
Since I am from Pancakes And Whiskey, I must ask, do you drink whiskey; and if so, what’s your favorite hooch?
Mike – Jameson, it’s so drinkable. Jameson can sponsor me, King Mike – by Jameson!
Marissa – I don’t know if this is my preference but it tastes good… *digs through her bag, tossing underwear out of the way* and presents me a bottle of Knob Creek to swig, I gladly accepted.
We ended the interview by them mentioning my Pearl Jam tattoo and that they are huge fans of theirs, which pretty much made my day and kind of completed a music circle for me.
Watch their newest video for “Empty Head” and be sure to catch Screaming Females on tour, which resumes next week.
|Jul 27||Now That’s Class*||Cleveland, OH||Tickets|
|Jul 28||Empty Bottle*||Chicago, IL||Tickets|
|Jul 29||Subterranean*||Chicago, IL||Tickets|
|Jul 30||Borg Ward*||Milwaukee, WI|
|Jul 31||The Frequency*||Madison, WI||Tickets|
|Aug 01||Triple Rock Social Club*||Minneapolis, MN||Tickets|
|Aug 02||The Mill*||Iowa City, IA||Tickets|
|Aug 03||Sweatshop Gallery*||Omaha, NE||Tickets|
|Aug 04||Larimer Lounge*||Denver, CO||Tickets|
|Aug 06||Neurolux*||Boise, ID||Tickets|
|Aug 07||Mississippi Studios*||Portland, OR||Tickets|
|Aug 08||Media Club*||Vancouver, BC||Tickets|
|Aug 09||Chop Suey*||Seattle, WA||Tickets|
|Aug 11||Rickshaw Stop*||San Francisco, CA||Tickets|
|Aug 13||The Manifest||Honolulu, HI||Tickets|
|Aug 14||Downbeat Lounge||Honolulu, HI||Tickets|
|Aug 16||Berserktown*||Santa Ana, CA||Tickets|
|Aug 17||Soda Bar*||San Diego, CA||Tickets|
|Aug 18||Valley Bar*||Phoenix, AZ||Tickets|
|Aug 19||Lowbrow Palace*||El Paso, TX||Tickets|
|Aug 21||Red 7*||Austin, TX||Tickets|
|Aug 22||The Foundry*||Dallas, TX||Tickets|
|Aug 23||Fitzgerald’s Downstairs*||Houston, TX||Tickets|
|Aug 24||Siberia*||New Orleans, LA||Tickets|
|Aug 25||Stone Fox*||Nashville, TN||Tickets|
|Aug 26||Aisle 5*||Atlanta, GA||Tickets|
|Aug 27||Pinhook*||Durham, NC||Tickets|
|Aug 28||Rock and Roll Hotel*||Washington, DC||Tickets|
|Aug 29||Union Transfer*||Philadelphia, PA||Tickets|
Article/Photos: Shayne Hanley