Who likes a Potty Mouth? That’s not just a line your mom says before grabbing the soap: it’s the name of one of the much buzzed about bands performing at Gigawatts Festival this Saturday. We rang up Abby Weems and Ally Einbinder to learn more about the punk-pop trio’s upcoming show and to find out if they’re ready to spring the follow-up to their well received last album, Hell Bent, released in 2013 by North Brooklyn’s own Old Flame Records. They were tight-lipped (rather than potty-mouthed) about that, but we did talk about their band crushes, translating life into lyrics, and mansplaining. Yes, they know how much that pedal costs and, yes, they know how to use it.
You’re being pretty secretive about this new project but what teasers can you give us, if any?
Abby: We’ve been working really hard on our song writing and our personal goals as musicians. It’s going to be a really big step for us. We’ve done a lot of work to improve our sound since the last release.
How does performing in New York compare to your hometown of Northampton, Massachusetts?
Ally: I don’t think we’ve ever had a disappointing show in New York. New York is always so different depending on what part of the city you’re playing in, what venue you’re playing in and how many other things are going on in a particular night. There’s always a crowd no matter where we go.
When you’re in New York what venues do you enjoy playing at the most?
Ally: Back when they still existed we would perform at 285 Kent, Glasslands and Death By Audio, but they’ve all shut down. We’ve played at Baby’s All Right and Silent Barn a bunch. Basically all of those Brooklyn venues are our favorites.
Do you have any bands that you continue to look up to?
Abby: When we first started my influences were whatever I was into at the time (like Green Day). Since then, my bandmates have shown me a lot of different music that’s informed the way I write, like Juliana Hatfield. I think [our music] has gotten much more straight up pop rock [then when] we first started when we were more of a pop punk band.
So that’s how you’d describe your music? More pop rock than pop punk?
Ally: I’d say big rock ‘n roll but rock ‘n roll that’s melodic and hooky. We’re not saying we’re like the Foo Fighters, but the Foo Fighters are a big rock band with super hooky, catchy songs. Just to second what Abby said, Juliana Hatfield is someone we played four shows with back in April and she’s a true inspiration. The new material she’s writing is just as good, her voice hasn’t changed and she’s still such a songwriter and performer. It’s incredible to see that it’s still possible to keep doing this when it’s typically associated with being young and whatever. I really admire her and that group of musicians from the ‘90s who are still doing it.
Your previous album was described as being full of confidence. Where does it come from?
Ally: Abby and I were having a conversation about this — how you need to let go of your ego. By ego I mean the voice in your head that is overly self-critical and overly self-doubting and the voice that feels like you need to be the absolute best. Both voices are damaging and ultimately slow you down. I wouldn’t say it’s as much confidence as feeling comfortable and being like, “Fuck it, why not?”
What inspires you and how do you translate that into lyrics?
Abby: I would say that music is purely a way to process things and a lot of my lyrics are about my experiences or things I’ve witnessed other people experience. It’s my form of therapy. I’ve written a lot of songs at this point and some of them will probably never see the light of day. But it’s all just been a way for me to process good and bad things. To me that feels just as satisfying as talking through it with a friend.
Is it difficult to be an all-female band in what seems to be a male-centric rock universe? Do you have to deal with a lot of harassment during performances?
Abby: People are so curious about our gear and will ask us questions like we don’t know what we’re doing. Instead of being like, ‘Oh, I have that kind of pedal,’ they’ll point at your gear and be like, ‘That one does this, that one does this.’ Yeah, I can hear you. I know.
Ally: That kind of shit happens all the time, without question. It sometimes feels like by saying those things they’re not only trying to prove to us, but to themselves that they have the knowledge. [Then they don’t] feel threatened by us. Often I’ll catch a dude in the act of being wrong – saying stuff about my bass or my amp. They speak so confidently, but half the time they’re not even correct. I always thought that’s a good life fact: if you don’t know what you’re talking about, just act like you know what you’re talking about. Apparently, that’s what men do all the time.