A Chat With: Mannequin Pussy

Mannequin Pussy is an American punk rock band from Philadelphia. The band have been making their mark in the punk scene for a few years now so it was great to get insight on their old and new music! We caught up with Mannequin Pussy before their show in Ottawa supporting Turnover on tour.

Photo by: CJ Harvey

How did you getting on the bill with these bands happen? How has the tour been so far?

Marisa: The tour’s been great so far!

Thanasi: Yeah, it’s been pretty awesome. It’s always weird touring with bands you don’t know personally, so we didn’t really know what to expect. So far, it’s been beautiful, we get along with everybody really well and everyone’s been really awesome.

How is the vibe at the shows? Considering your music is more punk rock and the other bands playing with you on this tour are more pop

Marisa: The vibe is pretty good, it seems to increase with every set, like the energy in the room is good. We’re definitely at the point where I hate being in tour now, I want to go home! It’s almost over though.

Does playing live change the way you perceive certain songs? What changes about them?

Marisa: We play a lot of our songs live before we go to record them, so we give them time to change and it’s a real kind of natural thing.

Thanasi: Yeah, I feel like playing them live changes how it feels more than it changes how they are played, because until they are recorded you only have your own opinion and anybody else who’s seen you play opinion. If something is working or you’re not sure if it is working, it gives you insight.

Does coming from Philadelphia reflect in your songwriting? How’s the music scene there?

Marisa: The music scene there is great, but Philadelphia definitely doesn’t have any effect on our songwriting.

Kaleen: I started playing shows there when I was younger, it’s the closet cool place to play cool shows from where I live in New Jersey. I feel like you play more of the bar venues when you’re younger, which is weird that it works that way, but they were definitely not as fun to play as the ones we play now in Philadelphia.

You’ve been working on new music, what can you tell us about it?

Bear: On the new album, we took some steps in different directions, but you’re just gonna have to wait! [Laughs]

Marisa: It still feel on the realm of Pussy’s world, but our universe is expanding.

When can we expect it? Soon?

All: No! [Laughs]

Bear: I’d say soon as within the next two years or so?

Marisa: More within the next year!

In another interview you (Marisa), said that it’s not as much music that inspires the writing, but more the human experience – what’s something that you experienced that affected you in a way that you just had to write about it?

Marisa: I’m not someone who knows often how to put the way I’m feeling into words until I communicate that to other people. I tend to really bottle up and get really overemotional about things. So, songwriting is a way to coherently assess the way you’re feeling about something and to put it in a song in a way to make sense for you. I don’t really like to get into specifics, but yeah there’s been a number of different experiences that affected me like that.

Is there something you never wrote about in a song, but you wish you would or could?

Marisa: There’s certain things. In this next record there’s some things that I never thought I would write about that I ended up writing about. You will see soon!

How do you feel about being a female fronted band in this punk rock music scene? What are some of your favorite female bands at the moment?

Marisa: Well, we prefer the term band. I actually don’t know how it would feel to not be that! You know, this is the experience of the band, I wouldn’t know how it would be like to not be us. There’s also a lot of really incredible women making music through every genre of music right now and it’s nice that people pay attention to that, but we prefer people to focus more on the music than on the gender.

What’s one thing you really want to achieve as a band?

Marissa: Thanasi wants to play Madison Square Garden!

Thanasi: Yeah, that’s probably my main goal. To headline there would be pretty good!

Marissa: I don’t know if I want to say mine out loud, cause then you’re afraid it might not happen!

Thanasi: I feel like we all want to play places we haven’t played yet. We’ve been to Western Europe, but it would definitely be a career goal to be playing Australia or Japan.

Marissa: To continue to go to different places in the world that we haven’t been before.

Kaleen: Like to complete the United-States.

Marissa: There’s so many things! I think it’s important for bands to be goal-oriented that way. You have to have a vision for yourself and imagine where else you could be.

Thanasi: It’s easy to get complacent and keep playing the same type of shows and having it be sustainable and cool, but I feel like if you’re not pushing yourself, you’re shorting yourself in your band. You have to get out of your comfort zone.

Bear: I personally want someone to say our name on the radio without hesitation and without being overly confident! [Laughs]

Check out Mannequin Pussy here!

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