cumgirl8 Launch Clothing Line with BABY.TV Telethon

cumgirl8 are neon goths making intraterrestrial post-punk tunes. The collaborative power of Lida Fox on bass, Veronika Vilim on guitar, and Chase Noelle on drums creates a sound both calculated and chaotic, drawing inspiration from The Slits, Diplo, and even video game soundtracks. Their non-musical influences include anime, drag queens, future tech, sex positively and so much more.

cumgirl8 have perfected their brand of punk elegance with hypnotic drum and bass hooks paired with an unmatched on-stage style, all while retraining a sense of humor. It’s no surprise they have been spending their quarantine working on a clothing line that launched Saturday, September 19 with a Telethon to raise money for the LBTQ+ homeless outreach organization Ali Forney Center.

We chatted with cumgirl8 about their debut EP, AIM screen names, and new gear they’re experimenting with.

AF: How was the process of writing and recording your self-titled EP? Are there any stories behind specific tracks you would like to share?

LF: We recorded and mixed it all in three days, tracking drums, bass, guitar, and vocals all together like we do when we’re playing live.

VV: It was very special – we recorded all the tracks live and would dance in the soundbooth to every track. I couldn’t stop crying all those days, maybe because I was PMSing, or maybe it was just the energy but it was pure magic.

CN:  It was sooo magical!!! I don’t think a lot of people realize that we recorded live to tape, not track by track. It was a moment in a room of the three of us together. It still surprises me that we did all of that in two days. We were just so excited to finally record after playing a ton of shows in the city.

LF: My fave moments were banging on the tubular bells, VV playing percussive drill through her guitar amp on “Clay People,” and when Dani came to do a feature on “Clay People” too. Shoutout to Ben Greenberg at Strangeweather for being the best!

AF: You have a really unique bass tone! What’s your set-up like? 

LF: Thank you! I used to play my bass through a Fender Super Reverb… I found my bass for $80 in a recycling shop. It has a super high range and you can change the tone a bunch, almost like a toy. 

CN: Lida, you know that Carol Kaye also played her bass through Fender Super Reverb??? (A guitar amp instead of a bass amp). She had someone cart it for her to every recording session. Lol that amp is so fucking heavy. 

LF: No way!! I don’t miss dragging it around.

AF: Do you have any new gear or sounds you’ve been experimenting with recently?

VV: My favorite sound for my guitar is my synth pedal. It’s so wild. I find new sounds with it every day! We used it for “Clay People” and it’s on some of the new tracks we’re recording too!

CN: Started running my drum machines through The Filter Factory by Electrix and getting crazy little freaqs out of it. I run it through a delay too and go wild. And finding new sounds with VSTs now that I finally bought logic.

LF: I’ve been making my own synth sounds and experimenting with new pedals on my bass, mostly inspired by video games and wind up music boxes. 

AF: What were your first AOL/AIM screen names? What’s your favorite meme format?

CN: chasehatespants. My favorite meme format is solely visual, like Oprah and Whoopi Goldberg’s faces photoshopped perfectly  on top of two girls in a super super sexy Fashion Nova outfits, with their full titties and ass out looking incredible, dancing on a video gamer chairs with a spilled bowl of Spaghetti-Os in the corner of the room. It’s not even funny. I just laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh. 

VV: RuBbErDuCkYvV. My favorite meme format is using make a meme+ (the most basic cause I find the more basic the easier to understand).

LF: Totally – it’s like wtf but it somehow it just clicks.  I never had AIM :/

AF: I read that Veronika would make her outfits before shows. Was that part of the inspiration for the clothing line? 

VV: I make everyone’s outfits! I love making clothes! I don’t really use patterns, I’m more of a trial and error kinda girl with everything I do. I feel like that’s where my creativity comes out the most. And yes, the outfits for the clothing line 100% come from the past looks we have worn for shows. Actually we’re selling the worm outfit I made for the subway show too!

LF: She is literally a tailoring genius.

CN: Veronika made us outfits out of socks we couldn’t find the matches to. We wore them for a show we played on public access TV.

AF: How would you describe your clothing line in three words?

VV: Funky, fun, and neon.

CN: Loving, fearless, confident. 

LF: Hardcore Lisa Frank!

AF: Can you tell us a bit more about your telethon live stream and the organization you raised money for?

LF: It just happened but we’re putting it all on YouTube. We played hours of never-before-seen video content, a new music video, our cumgirl8 collection 0.1 fashion show, and the first live set of our EP since it came out, straight from the studio where we recorded it. We had some technical difficulties but it worked in the end.

The Ali Forney Center provides shelter and services to LGBTQ homeless youth. Their center is located at 224 West 35th Street, 15th Floor.

AF: What are your plans for the rest of 2020 and beyond? 

CN: SO MANY THINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

VV: We take it day by day! Who even knows! But def release a few more tracks and some music videos!!

LF: Shake the 8ball and stay tuned ;)

Follow cumgirl8 on Instagram for ongoing updates.

PLAYING ATLANTA: Moriah Piacente Curates the Wild & Weird with Major Mars

Picture Credit: Alex Seibert

For Moriah Piacente, Athens-and-Atlanta-based artist, vintage fashion curator, and lover of all things weird, wacky, and wonderful, the lines between visual art and music are nonexistent. Blending the enigmatic charisma of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka with the delicate, ethereal creativity of David Bowie, Piacente exists in a glittering, psychedelic, purple-tinted Victorian Wonderland where modern fashion caves to ’60s-Mod stylings and drudging normalcy is the only unwanted guest.

After her elegant yet visceral performance in Pip the Pansy’s “Siren Song,” I was thrilled to land an interview with Major Mars herself. Read on for a sneak peek into Piacente’s mystical world.

AF: Let’s start at the very beginning: how were you introduced to visual art? When did you realize you wanted to pursue it, or that it was your life’s calling?

MP: Oh my gosh I am insanely excited and blessed to have my first ever interview with you! Thank you so much for having me! I would say it first sparked my interest I when was introduced to Of Montreal. The way they created this insane atmosphere and brought their own world to life made me want to do the same. 

I’ve always been passionate about music, and, for a long time, I thought it was what I wanted to do with my life. I could never really fully express myself through it though. I started getting into fine art photography in 2015, and I was hooked. I worked with a photographer out of Athens, Ben Rouse, and he ended up introducing me to a bunch of amazing creatives in the Athens scene. That ended up connecting me with a visual artist, Dana Jo, who was kind of mentor to me. She asked me to be a part of her DJ set at the 40 Watt during Slingshot Festival 2016, and that was my first ever experience on stage! I realized that being able to express my passion for music visually was all I’ve ever wanted and more. As lame as it sounds, my soul ignited that night. 

Photo Credit: Beau Turner // All editing & design by Moriah Piacente

AF: Who do you consider your greatest inspirations? Was there any one person who made you say, “This is what I want to do with my life”?

MP: I’d say my greatest inspiration is David Bowie. I’m also very inspired by the director David Lynch, but I’d say I’m the most inspired by a good, strange film: Valerie and Her Week of Wonders, Weekend, The Holy Mountain, and Clockwork Orange are some of my favorite films to flip on when I want to feel inspired. I really love how visually stimulating and bizarre those films are. It made me want to create my own world outside of my mind that others could enjoy. I’m also just super inspired by the people around me. I’m lucky enough to know some amazing musicians and artists that inspire me on the daily.

AF: How has visual art allowed you to truly express yourself at times when you don’t feel like you can otherwise?

MP: I can be a pretty shy, awkward person when you first meet me. I can be really bad with words. I get nervous and shy and make myself feel small. However, when I’m creating or performing or whatever, I’m focused on that and putting my all into it. I put all of my emotion into it. And sometimes when I’m feeling super depressed or anxious, but don’t know how to say it, I can go and take that energy and create something beautiful from it. That’s probably why most of my art is a bit creepy. Depression and anxiety are feelings that sometimes don’t have reason backing them up, so when I can’t find the words, I just go be weird.

AF: You’ve been part of some incredibly powerful performances with POWERKOMPANY, as well as music videos like Pip the Pansy’s “Siren Song.” What experience has been your favorite?

MP: I’m super proud of everything I’ve done and been a part of! My favorite experience, so far, was driving down to Vero Beach with Pip The Pansy and three other girls to shoot the music video for Siren Song. I had never done choreography before, and I didn’t know these girls very well so I was super nervous! It ended up being one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences ever. Pip is incredible, and I love that she’s always down to create and try weird things. Working with her is amazing!

AF: What’s your dream performance?

MP: Oh gosh, that’s a tough one. There’s a lot of artists I’d love to collaborate with, and I’d also love to do an art installation. Does that count? I’d love to do an art installation.

AF: Do you prefer to work alone, or in a collaborative environment? Who would be your dream collaboration, living or dead?

MP: I prefer to work in small groups. Two to four people is my sweet spot. I feel like I get the most creative when I’m brainstorming with others and having a good discussion.  I’d love to collaborate with a bunch of artists I’ve met over on Instagram like Danielle Hibert or Storm Calysta or Miss Lucy Fleur, but don’t make me decide, ‘cause they’re all too dreamy!

I’d absolutely love to collab with Jordana Dale. She’s a photographer out of Atlanta. I worked with her on a shoot for Pip The Pansy and she was incredible! Her work is insane. It was also my dream to work with Pip, and I’m so thankful that dream became reality! There are also lots of musicians I’d love to collab with. Hit me up, yo.

AF: You’ve also got a beautiful online vintage shop, Major Mars Vintage. Where did you get the name from (because it’s so rad)?

MP: Thank you so much! When I was first starting the shop, I was brainstorming with my boyfriend. He actually came up with the name! It’s supposed to be kind of like Major Tom, but it’s Major Mars, cause ya know that’s me! I’m Mars.

Photo Credit: Beau Turner // All editing & design by Moriah Piacente

AF: What part do you think fashion plays in visual art? Do you consider fashion design to be an integral part of visual art, or visual art itself? Did you ever consider going into fashion design?

MP: I think it plays a huge part. I think fashion is visual art if you want it to be. Fashion is a way to express yourself freely. That’s absolutely art. I mean, look at the Club Kids. Some of the coolest art I’ve ever seen! I’ve thought about it, yes. There’s just too much math there, though, honestly.

AF: What would be your advice to your younger self?

MP: Stop putting your energy into others that don’t give a shit and start putting it into yourself and your art. Speak up and stick up for yourself. Focus on making yourself proud of you. You’ve got this. Keep fighting the good fight.

AF: That’s beautiful advice! How can your followers and fans keep up with your work, and support you as you create even more magic?

MP: As much as I hate to say it, social media is huge for small artists like myself. It really helps a lot when you share posts and comment and all of that. I’m also on Patreon! You can follow me over there to support my art and keep updated on the projects I’m working on!

AF: What’s coming up for you and Major Mars?

MP: I have a few things in the works for the rest of the year! Podcasts and pop-ups and all kinds of weird. I’m not sure about the dates just yet, though, so keep an eye out on my Instagram!

Keep up with Moriah on Instagram, and shop her curated vintage store, Major Mars Vintage, for all the mod stylings and psychedelic pieces you could ever want.

PREMIERE: Drum & Lace “Outsider Complex Part 1”

Press photo by Ellie Pritts

Setting a mood takes more than wine, moonlight and the smell of jasmine in the air. The right music can inspire love, or, in the case of Drum & Lace’s latest single, fear. “Outsider Complex Part 1” starts off with a chorus of violins giving warning, their single note casting light into the darkness, allowing glimpses of a scene to come into view.

The song was originally a “late night piano doodle,” says Sofia Hultquist, the composer behind Drum & Lace. “When I was writing and fleshing this piece out, I was going through one of the many moments when I felt like I didn’t quite fit into any ‘boxes’ musically – a feeling I think we all go through,” she explains. “‘Outsider Complex Part 1’ allowed me to explore my anxieties and vulnerabilities in a more freeing way than I had done before.” The piano peeks in about a third of the way through the song, lending a playful tension to the violins; if the violins are the light, the piano is the protagonist, fighting her way through the darkness.

The song is set to appear on Drum & Lace’s debut album semi songs, scheduled for tentative release in mid-July.

Hultquist began her music career working within the fashion industry, scoring runway shows and short films for indie designers. Her work is now mainly in the film industry, working on films such as The First Monday in May, a documentary she co-composed the music for. That score landed her on the shortlist of composers for Best Original Score at The Academy Awards.

We spoke with Sofia about growing up in Italy, music school, and what it’s like to score a film. Listen to “Outsider Complex Part 1” and read our interview below.

AF: The name of your project perfectly sums up its original intent: to be the juxtaposition between indie fashion and composition. Can you tell us about the genesis of Drum & Lace and how you got your start in the music industry?

SH: Yes! I’ve been writing music and performing for as long as I can remember, and I started to write and work as Drum & Lace about five years ago. I’d been debating about whether to enter the freelance world using my name or whether I wanted a moniker, and in retrospect I’m glad I went with a different name. As musicians we’re all multifaceted and multi-tasking, and I felt like keeping my name for me while then encompassing all that Drum & Lace is under a different name was going to work best. Coming up with name was nearly a joke at first, as I was writing down potential names and this was the first one that stuck. I’m a big electronic music fan but then also it had a hardness and softness that I could relate to. Also it’s pretty catchy. Once I had the name, I started by trying to compose specifically for fashion and fashion film, with the intention to then progress into feature films and more. It was a great way for me to start, as I felt like I knew enough about fashion to be able to wing it and because I’ve always been really inspired by colors and textures.

AF: You grew up in Florence, Italy, which to Americans sounds like the most romantic upbringing ever. What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

SH: I get the question “why did you ever leave?” quite often actually, and yes, Florence is beautiful and it’ll always be one of my favorite places on the planet, but for what I wanted for myself it just wasn’t a good fit. Culturally and historically it is so rooted in classical art, and the city (and most Italians) are very set in their ways – change comes slowly, which can also be magical (just not for me). On top of that, when you’ve lived in the same place for 18 years, no matter how beautiful, you tend to feel like you’ve outgrown a place and need something new, which is what I was able to do! I grew up listening to so many different types of music, each style defining parts of my childhood. There was always a strong presence of classical music that came from my grandmother, whose piano I learned to play on. Once I started actively listening to music it ranged from rock and pop, to folk and electronic (house/trance) music.  My first obsessions and CDs were those of No Doubt, Alanis Morissette and Smashing Pumpkins, but then I discovered iconic acts like Ricky Lee Jones (my mother’s favorite), Nina Simone and Led Zeppelin. I also remember a summer where all I listened to was Tori Amos and Radiohead’s Pablo Honey. Unsurprisingly, I went through a big enough Rolling Stones phase that my high school final paper was analyzing the socio-political and musical aspects of two of their songs. To top all of this off, in high school I worked in clubs where a few nights a week I was immersed in house, techno and trance music. And then of course I grew up in the glory days of super-pop (Spice Girls, Britney, etc)…  Needless to say, I jumped around a lot, but all these influences have stayed with me for sure.

AF: Did you experience any culture shock when you came to the U.S. to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston?

SH: Absolutely, even though I’m glad that I went to Boston rather than a larger city. The biggest difference that I felt was the cultural day-to-day conversations that were rooted in a slew of pop culture references that I didn’t know. On top of that, the food was a bit of a culture shock for sure, and I definitely lost the ‘freshman 15’ rather than gaining it. It took a few months to adjust to things, but everyone was going through it at the time so it didn’t feel like I was more particularly lost than others.

AF: What’s one piece of advice you got in music school that you’ve used as a touchstone in your career thus far?

SH: One experience I can think of wasn’t as much as advice as it was realizing something that I still hold onto to this day. During my last year at Berklee, those who are in the film scoring major have to score scenes from films/TV shows as part of our courses. For one of these, I scored a scene and when it came to sitting with my professor to go over the project, he looked at me and said “I don’t even know where to start.” I was discouraged, as he seemed to imply that what I had done was wrong, but it also made me realize that my music is never going to sound generic nor cookie cutter. This very sentiment, as hard as it was to hear back then in that context, has been such a big part of my music making ever since. Realizing that people hire me for what I sound like has been incredibly gratifying – it has taken longer to find perfect fits for projects but all in all I haven’t felt like anything I’ve worked on was something that sounded like anyone else.

AF: Many of your earlier collaborations came about by finding artists to work with on Instagram. Were most of these artists willing and excited to collaborate?

SH: I did, and feel so grateful that the platform at the time was able to be such a great tool. I still meet a lot of people and get work from Instagram, but not like it was a few years back. Most people were pretty willing to work together, and others were curious as to why a composer would reach out to them, seeing as my messages were completely random. All in all, I think that most of the people that I reached out to I never heard back from, which is pretty accurate if you think of it like a blind email. Starting off was really hard, and most of the people who did get back to me were those who were also just starting out.

AF: Was there a big learning curve between writing for fashion projects and writing for film?

SH: From my experience, not really – the biggest difference is obviously the amount of music and the development of more thematic ideas. The thing with a lot of the fashion projects is that they are a fast turnaround, and I mean fast. With a feature length film, or TV project, you still have deadlines but they tend to not be as sudden or tight. In a way, I think working on fashion projects and films helped hone in the idea of working to a deadline, and also working based on emotion and colors. If anything, composing for fashion is sometimes more daunting as there is seldom ever any dialogue, so the music really has to stand as a voice of the project. With film, it tends to be more nuanced, and you’re oftentimes working with and around dialogue.

AF: What music do you have on rotation right now?

SH: I’m not going to lie, I love listening to my friends’ music! So every week I’ll make sure to listen, like, love, save their music. Lately that’s meant at least 4-5 singles per week, which is amazing! The LA music scene and beyond has been so giving lately, and it’s incredible. I also tend to make Spotify playlists for myself (that I usually share) that capture different moods. Lately I’ve been on a bit of an ambient, neo-classical and slow-jam kick, and some of the artists I’ve been listening to are Kelly Moran, Rival Consoles, Delhia De France, Four Tet, Ryuchi Sakamoto and Sudan Archives.

AF: If you could look into the future, how do you see Drum & Lace evolving over time?

SH: I would love for Drum & Lace to evolve into doing more of what I am now, but on a bigger scale. I have all these ideas that I would love to pursue and bring to life involving film, dance, spatial audio and concert works. It’s taken a handful of years to hone in on what it is that I want to do moving forward, but I feel like my vision is stronger than ever. I can also see this not being easy, as a lot of the things that I want to achieve take time, so the biggest thing will also be to constantly learn to be patient and confident in the work that I’m doing.

‘semi songs’ LP, a new chamber-electronic record by Drum & Lace, is set to release July 19th on EverybodyHz Records. Pre-order the album HERE

WOMAN OF INTEREST: Meet Sustainable Couture Fashion Designer Mia Vesper

Mia Vesper is a New York based designer, creating sustainable couture fashion with a unique drive and collaborative ethos. With a studio space in the heart of Bushwick, Vesper’s aesthetic transcends counter cultures – think Debbie Harry meets Marie Antoinette. Her brand defines a world of romance, athleticism, and will leave you in a state of reverie. Aside from her striking designs, she exhibits a larger than life presence, and a strong intellectual understanding of the ever-evolving fashion industry. After generating major buzz for her one-of-a-kind leather tapestry moto jackets, she’s about to embark on an ambitious ready to wear collection and is opening a SoHo pop-up shop at 199 Lafayette later this month. In the course of our chat, I soon learned that her whimsical vision is backed by a sharp wit and vast knowledge.

All photos styled by Michelle Rose & Ola Wilk, shot by Ola Wilk. Models : Abraham Martinez & Michelle Rose

AF: In the current climate, sustainable clothing has become a tremendous movement. Can you talk a bit about your process involved with sustainable sourcing for your couture line?

MV: The word tremendous is generous I think. The movement is on the precipice of being tremendous, but high cost and lag in green technology means a lot of popular brands that we call sustainable are just a bit better – and  in just a couple of ways – than fast fashion. Still, I have hope that it will gain speed exponentially over time.

Couture, by virtue of being couture, is sustainable (not necessarily green, but sustainable). Quantities matter to your carbon footprint and couture has a quantity of one. In my couture line I also use vintage textiles and tapestries which is really fun! Still, while I try to use natural fibers or vintage where I can, I do make concessions for aesthetic. I love sequins and specialty fabrics that certainly don’t qualify as green. What I do feel confident in is my ability to create enduring pieces that people don’t throw away in a couple months. I never design just to flesh out a collection with basics that someone else has already made.  My sustainability concept relies on a fair trade, direct-to-consumer model that concentrates on small quantities, design integrity, special-ness and longevity.

AF: There are a lot of resources needed to go from idea to prototype to production to market. Can you talk a bit about small scale production, and your collaborative team?

MV: I am just now creating a ready-to-wear collection, but I stayed small for a very long time prior to this point because I found it difficult to maintain quantity, quality and my sense of self at the same time. It’s hard for clothing designers to get started because there’s this perception that they need to do it all; create a 30-piece collection each season, put on runway shows, etc. I never understood why clothing doesn’t take a leaf out of the accessories book and create a few thoroughly considered pieces per season, changing their colors every now and then.

Another reason that I’ve stayed small is because I wasn’t in a position to hire employees and don’t really think interns are ethical, so I’ve only been able to handle a certain amount of work on my own. It’s really enticing to accept help wherever you can in this industry, but I think it’s important to wait for the right kind of help or you risk diluting your concept.

AF: What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs coming to New York to materialize their dream line?

MV: I have so many…

Always write a contract – even for collaborations.

Concentrate on online direct-to-consumer models. Wholesale is usually costly and a bureaucratic nightmare for designers. You can spend your whole season and budget only to have a deal fall through.  

Make sure your clothing has a perspective and deserves its place in the world. ‘I could do that too’ is not a good enough reason to start making products that will impact the earth for generations to come. If your concept isn’t there yet, keep developing it.

And finally, in an ironic end to this listicle of advice, remember that everyone will have a lot of advice for you; don’t let it pull you in too many directions.

AF: Your designs are really innovative and eye-catching. What are your main aesthetic influences? What was the first moto jacket you ever acquired?

MV: I didn’t have any experience with design before I started my line so I relied on sewing classic shapes in extraordinary fabrics. I do think that’s where fashion is going – classic sportswear in amazing fabrications. To throw things back to the eco conversation, I also wanted a time-enduring silhouette. My first moto jacket was a BCBG jacket that I bought in freshman year of college. It was a mushroom color that made me look sick but the idea of a leather jacket carried more cache to me than the question of whether it was flattering.

AF: What are your musical/sonic influences? Do you listen to music while you design?

MV: Actually no – I find myself too distracted by music to work while it’s on. I think of listening to music as an activity; you dance to it, you mourn to it, etc. I usually work in total silence. Fun story, I know.

AF: If your line was a soundtrack, or a score to any movie.. what would it be?

MV: Maybe Blade Runner’s ’80s futurism soundtrack or Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette.

AF: Any inspiration from musicians’ personal style?

MV: Haha, Rihanna? I don’t think a lot about famous people’s style because it’s just way too easy for celebrities to look incredible. Anybody doing their own legwork to find cool clothes is more interesting to me.

AF: Is it true you staged a guerrilla fashion show outside of a Marc Jacobs show at NYFW in 2017?

MV: I did! I took a group of friends and models dressed in Mia Vesper suits on a fashion crawl through the city.

AF: Did this garner buzz? Seems like the perfect opportunity to gain DIY attention from paparazzi and press.

MV: Press wasn’t allowed into that show so I was able to get the eyes of every major fashion publication that I never otherwise would have gotten to open my email. It was an amazing way to launch my first collection without going broke.

AF: What exciting endeavors are coming up in the design world of Mia Vesper?

MV: I’m working on a more accessibly priced ready to wear collection with styles for men and women in 2019 and I’m also planning to open a short term retail space in Manhattan soon!

Follow Mia Vesper on Instagram and at


ARTIST INTERVIEW: Mexico City Blondes

Mexico City Blondes

Mexico City Blondes are a musical duo from Santa Barbara, CA, that know how to place the packaged whipped cream with the homemade cherry pie, so to say, lovingly delicious. Or, put more succinctly, “Sort of marriage between the electronic and organic sounds,” says Greg, one-half of the Blondes.

The group recently released the single “Shot the Moon,” a delicately sewn sultry couture dress of a song with layered synths laced with Allie Thompson’s seductive vocals.

 “It’s definitely a snapshot of our dark side,” says singer/songwriter Allie of the single. “A musical confrontation of some of my deepest fears, a way to address nameless faceless foes who don’t have the power to hurt us unless we let them. Even going to the dark side is more satisfying to me when there is redemption and light in the darkness, hence the imagery of a white moon in a dark sky.”

We spoke with Allie and Greg from Mexico City Blondes about fashion influences (Gwen Stefani of course, power to the blondes), the power of Black Sabbath, and getting in touch with their dark side.

AudioFemme: How’d you come up with the name Mexico City Blondes?

Greg Doscher: I came up with it on a flight to, of all places, Mexico City. Really loved it for the project, and Allie liked it immediately when I suggested it. It has a meaning to me, but I don’t like to spell it out for people. It can be whatever comes to anyone’s mind when they hear it, and it’s more fun that way.

AF: How did the band form?

GD: Allie responded to an ad I put on Craigslist a year or so after the last band I was in dissolved. I advertised myself as a local producer looking for singers/songwriters to collaborate with. I can handle the production and recording, but can’t sing to save my life. Allie and I hit it off immediately and seemed to be on the same page as far as influences and the type of music we wanted to make. She’s also a great songwriter and we’ve had a lot of fun collaborating.

AF: Who have been your primary musical influences?

Allie Thompson: Growing up, I was exposed to a lot of folk music with introspective lyrics. Joni Mitchell, Dylan, Paul Simon…The art of crafting a song was always revered in my childhood home, and the production was an afterthought. It wasn’t until I started writing songs that I began to experiment with production style in order to bring the songs to life in the way I wanted to hear them. Around that time I was listening to a lot of Portishead and Beachhouse, and around that time I met Greg who was able to translate my rudimentary descriptors into the songs I wanted to hear!

GD: Aside from those above, as a teenager I picked up a guitar because of Black Sabbath and that’s still with me. Was really into the big 70s groups like Sabbath and Floyd, David Bowie and Zeppelin of course. As I grew up my tastes evolved a bit and realized that electronic music could be as sonically nuanced as some of the rock I grew up on.

AF: Do you have any fashion influences?

AT: I grew up with posters of No Doubt all over my walls, and I guess I never really got over Gwen! 15 years later I still look to her for fashion influence both on and off stage. I’ve always been a sucker for red lipstick, and it sure is convenient that she’s a blonde!

GD: Haha, my wife.

AF: Much is made of labeling sounds, what words do you like best to describe your music?

GD: Hard to say, but from a production standpoint I’ve always been really heavily influenced by groups like Massive Attack and someone like DJ Shadow who’s made incredible music with a sampler. That being said, I’m a guitarist with a pretty extensive rock background, so there’s always going to be some elements of that in there. Sort of marriage between the electronic and organic sounds I like and that we try and use. “Shot the Moon” is a good example of that mix. The electronic elements are the Moog synth that pulses throughout and a drum machine, but we also recorded live drums and live piano on top of those.

AF: Will you tell me about the meaning behind your new single “Shot the Moon?”

AT: It’s definitely a snapshot of our dark side. A musical confrontation of some of my deepest fears, a way to address nameless faceless foes who don’t have the power to hurt us unless we let them. Even going to the dark side is more satisfying to me when there is redemption and light in the darkness, hence the imagery of a white moon in a dark sky.

AF: How much of your personal life gets worked into your songs?

AT: The songs are always personal.  Sometimes I write in a moment of acute emotion, but often a song will take me a few months to complete. It takes me that long to process emotions and gain perspective. The songs have the most power for me in understanding a situation as a whole, and that often takes time to unfold.

GD: Just about all of it. Hard to separate the two because of course whatever you’re feeling emotionally or going through personally is going to bleed into the music in terms of the sounds you pick, the chords you play and more obviously the lyrics that get written

AF: What’s next for Mexico City Blondes?

GD: We have a single that’s sort of the B-side, companion to “Shot the Moon” called “Yellow Sunshine” that we’ll release soon and a video for “Shot the Moon” on the way. Aside from that, lots more music in the pipeline and we’ll try and get out and perform these songs wherever we can.

Listen to “Shot the Moon” below.

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INTERVIEW: Pearl and the Beard

Pearl and the Beard

Pearl and the Beard are some of Brooklyn’s finest, the pearl in our oyster. The band consists of Jocelyn Mackenzie (vocals, drums, percussion) Emily Hope Price (vocals, cello, keyboards) and Jeremy Lloyd-Styles (vocals, guitars, percussion) who all met an An open mic night. As a hint of what’s to come for their much anticipated forthcoming album, Pearl and The Beard recently released their new single “You,” a fuzzy-love pop rock track that will have your heart glowing and your booty bouncing.

Shortly after their sold out show at Rough Trade, we spoke with Jocelyn about their upcoming third album, drunk voicemails, and self-love. “It’s humbling and overwhelming to feel the love of hundreds of people directed at you all at once, like a giant Care Bear Stare being rainbowed directly into your heart. That’s a high we’ll ride on for a long, long time.”


AudioFemme: How did the three of you meet?

Jocelyn Mackenzie: Open mic nights. That shit works!

AF: What are your favorite words used to describe your sound?

JM: Intense, cinematic, sexy… we love feeling powerful through our music and it’s amazing when other people feel that too!

AF: What was the inspiration behind “You?”

JM: My husband left me a (drunk) voicemail one night while we were away on tour, ‘I love you! Get it through your f*!king skull!’ I thought it was really sweet that he was so determined to profess his love for me that it made him angry. It’s funny that the ones we love the most usually need the most convincing of that, so we turned that feeling of raw desperation into a chorus and verse.

AF: Who is the “You” in the song?

JM: Well, originally it was my husband, but as the song grows and takes shape, I also relate it as someone speaking to him or herself. Self-love is an undervalued practice, and it can be hard to convince yourself that you’re worthy of your own care and praise. The song is becoming an anthem to me about proclaiming your love for yourself as loudly as you would to another human being.

AF: The track is pretty romantic. A bit cliche, but What are your relationship deal breakers?

JM: Hatefulness and closed-mindedness. Also I dated someone once that didn’t like birds. That didn’t end well.

AF: As a group you have a very distinct fashion sense, who and what are your style inspirations?

JM: Thank you! We talk a lot about how we want to FEEL rather than how we want to look. If an outfit makes us feel confident and sexy, we wear it. Normally we pick a color or two and then each of us picks out our own outfit based on the color limitations. Putting together a more stylish element, like something from ASOS, with a handmade item or something from the thrift store creates a look that’s unique and personal. We really inspired by Sia’s sleek and modern art-meets-fashion look that intertwines so flawlessly with her music. I also have a background in textiles and fashion, and I’ve done some styling for other bands too.

AF: You’re currently on tour – what has been the most memorable moment so far?

JM: We absolutely loved the show in Brooklyn at Rough Trade. It was truly incredible to be home, playing a sold out show in our home town, with people singing along, really getting into every single minute. It’s humbling and overwhelming to feel the love of hundreds of people directed at you all at once, like a giant Care Bear Stare being rainbowed directly into your heart. That’s a high we’ll ride on for a long, long time.

AF: What comfort of home do you miss most while touring?

JM: My bed! I have a mountain of amazing pillows and a very snuggly husband back there who is really good at keeping me warm… and other stuff.

AF: Can you speak to the sense of accomplishment that must come with selling out shows, such as your performance at Rough Trade in your hometown of Brooklyn?

JM: Every show is like hosting a party: beforehand there’s always that little fluttering worry of “Is anyone REALLY gonna come?” After seven years of touring that feeling still hasn’t gone away! This tour, thanks to being paired to support Wild Child, has been almost 100% sold out. It’s just awesome, and kind of indescribable. We’re very aware that we can’t do our jobs without the support of music fans, and knowing that they’re all going to be there before we even walk in the door lets us pause and feel grateful without those jitters. We can then be more fully immersed in the moment and it helps us host a better party.

AF: What’s next for Pearl and the Beard?

JM: In March we’re thrilled to be touring in support of Ani DiFranco, for our first time out on the west coast. Can’t wait! Then after that probably Disneyland, then death.

AF: How does your third album differentiate your sound from your pervious records?

JM: You’ll just have to get a copy when it comes out and tell me yourself…

Listen to “You” below.

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Every Thursday, AF profiles a style icon from the music world. This week our icon is Alexis Krauss, whose band Sleigh Bells is currently on tour in support of their latest record, Bitter Rivals.  They land in NYC Friday and Saturday for two back-to-back shows at Terminal 5.




A symphony of shredding guitars and synths opened up Sleigh Bell’s first album back in 2010. Behind those high-energy guitars and keyboards rocking is Alexis Krauss, the female half of the pop duo. In person, Krauss looks like she perfectly embodies her music, sporting distressed denim jackets, muscle shirts and high-waisted acid wash cutoffs as her go-to uniform. With her bold, black straight-cut bangs and signature black Ray-Bans, she carries the same cool, old-school punk/grunge demeanor displayed in Sleigh Bell’s music. From the moment the camera panned to her driving and wearing her usual acid-wash denim jacket that showed off her arm tattoos, complimented with layers of spiky bracelets, spiked driving gloves and sunglasses, she established that cool-but-a-little-bad-girl demeanor that she soon displayed by pushing bandmate Derek Miller — presumably dead in the passenger seat — right out of the car when he slouches over onto her. We’re enchanted by the girl herself, as well as her style. We’ve compiled a Pinterest board of some of Krauss’ signature looks and options from retailers Forever 21, Urban Outfitters and ASOS so you can emulate Krauss’ laid-back cool style.

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