Words by Luke Buckler
Unbelievably Bad contributor
Screaming Females from New Brunswick, New Jersey are a little juggernaut of fuzzy punk rock. They’ve worked diligently and prolifically throughout their 10-year existence, their dedicated consistency seemingly undermining their casual attitude. They’ve released six LPs, a bunch of 7″s (including splits with Tenement, JEFF the Brotherhood, Waxahatchee and Garbage), a couple of tapes and live record. Despite all this, they don’t seem at all jaded.
They’re heading to Australia for the first time in August 2016, so UB had an anticipatory chat with Jarrett (drums), Mike (bass), and Marissa (guitar/vocals).
What do you know about Australia?
Jarrett D: I know a little bit about Australian football. When I lived in Ireland I had a few Australian friends. We went to the International Rules Match in Dublin that year. I also know that every Australian person owns a kangaroo.
What Australian bands are you into?
Jarrett D: The first big rock concert I ever went to was Silverchair. It was on the Frogstomp tour. It was for my birthday. I think I was 10 or 11. I saw some dude puke on a girl standing in front of him. Also I had the pleasure of seeing Eddy Current Suppression Ring in Philly once and it was amazing.
Marissa: I recently discovered that AC/DC has songs that supercede their hits. I know that it’s sort of preposterous for someone my age to just discover AC/DC, but I guess I always avoided them because of their gross amount of machismo.
How will you decorate the interior of your Australian tour van?
Marissa: Are we allowed to? I don’t know what sort of van we will be in, but if they’ll allow me to collage, I’d happily oblige.
Mike: We will sonically decorate it with conversation, music, farts, complaining, and snoring and stuff.
You played in Costa Rica recently. Is it a regular thing for US bands to play Central America? How are the shows there?
Jarrett D: I would say it is not a normal thing for US bands to play Central America but not unheard of. I do think the way we went about making it happen was very unusual. We just put a message out into the world saying we wanted to played some places that bands from the US don’t normally play. Some kids in Costa Rica responded and we made it happen. No booking agents, no sponsors, no real guarantees.
Screaming Females has been together for over 10 years now, and yet it seems like you’re all still having a joyous time doing it. What do you like most about your band mates?
Jarrett D: I like that Mike is very solid and doesn’t jump to conclusions or get taken over with his emotions. Sometimes I’ll be freaking out about some bullshit that we have to deal with and then Mike just keeps it cool and makes sure it gets done. I really enjoy Marissa’s company. She is a great person to spend a day with. It is easy and engaging to talk with her. She always can figure out something to do and it will be fun, even if it just means watching a movie.
Marissa: Mike and Jarrett are my family. Sometimes I feel like the only time I can truly relax is when we are in the van alone and we can just roll along in perfect silence and it all feels alright.
Mike: I’m really into their playing, obviously. Playing music with Marissa and Jarrett always is so effortless and fun. Other than that I’d say I like that Jarrett’s always dropping knowledge and Marissa is always cracking jokes. I’ve got it all as far as bandmates go.
It’s been almost 18 months since Rose Mountain came out; which means, based on the oscillating rhythm of your previous records, you’re almost due a new one. What’s the plan?
Mike: No real plans right now. Just ironing out a batch of new songs.
Marissa: Some people seem to think we put out too many records. I’m not really sure if we’re feeling a ton of pressure to produce a new album, we’re steadily writing and developing our new songs so that we can put forth quality instead of quantity. No plan yet, just building the songs.
What were the key points of difference between working with Steve Albini and working with Matt Bayles?
Jarrett D: Matt is a producer, which means that he will tell you if he thinks a song sucks. Both Steve and Matt don’t really eat at all during the day.
Marissa: Sometimes Matt will have a burrito with us but I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen Steve eat a solid food, even when he cooks dinner for us. That being said, some of the most delicious food items I’ve ever tasted were prepared by Steve Albini! Perhaps he just keeps his palette clean for tastings.
What are the key points of difference between the work of Terry Richardson and the work of Robert Mapplethorpe?
Marissa: I think that anyone with eyeballs can agree that Mapplethorpe has a superior taste for composition and perhaps content, but both dudes are exploitational monsters that treat their models like objects rather than people. In a way, they are both extremely similar in how they seduce and abuse their subjects, I just happen to think that Mapplethorpe made some better photographs and that Terry Richardson is a predator who has an expensive camera.