Kiss the Tiger Prove Representation Matters with “Grown Ass Woman” Video

Photo Credit: Sara Fish

Meghan Kreidler is an acrobat — or at least she feels like one most days. “I teeter back and forth between feeling very empowered and then just being totally thrown off by little things that happen in everyday life,” she says, “just behaviors that have been normalized by men, in particular, and how they talk to me and how they treat me.”

She’s speaking frankly about her song “Grown Ass Woman,” which appears on Vicious Kid, her third studio album with her band Kiss The Tiger. “The angel of death/Wants me to draw another breath/But angel won’t you leave me alone,” she sings, her voice coated in raw vulnerability over a quivering and dusty country-time signature. The video for the surprisingly stripped-down performance debuts today on Audiofemme.

“Grown Ass Woman,” and its tender climb to a thunderous vocal burst, speaks both personally and universally to experiences of womanhood. “There’s a lot of talk about feminism and female empowerment these days, and it feels like it’s very in style. That might make people think, ‘Okay, we’ve arrived. Women are equal to men.’ But in my experience, I still come up against moments in life, where I think, ‘What the heck? I thought I was this person, but now I feel so weak and vulnerable.’ I think I’m growing into a stronger, more nuanced person as I get older.”

With radical honesty, she reclaims her right to take up space. In another life, she may have simply swallowed micro-aggressions as an act of resignation, accepting the sting. But now, those moments seem to pop up more frequently, and she’s found herself “feeling a lot more hurt by them,” she confides, adding that she’s often “blindsided by those moments and not being able to respond back in the moment.”

The mid-album detour “is another one of those songs that is kind of scary for me. It’s a slow burn” she says. For a while, the singer-songwriter struggled with whether people would latch onto and appreciate its organic, subdued feel, but on a personal level, it’s opened the floodgates for her own needed transformation. “What I like about it is that it always forces me to face my fears and to tap into what makes me feel vulnerable. At the end of the day, when you’re able to grasp and own your vulnerability, that’s when your strength really shines through,” she says.

Back in April, Kiss the Tiger released a video illustrated and animated by Eleonore Dendy for “I Miss You.” Though very different from “Grown Ass Woman,” both videos frame visual storytelling “around a female experience,” a much-needed approach, particularly in the music industry. “We’ve tried to get women who are either featured in the video or who are working behind the scenes,” she says. The band enlists long-time friend and director Sha Cage for the clip, showcasing Kreidler pouring out her heart on a stage at the Cedar Cultural Center with glowing violet lights showering upon her shoulders. “I respect Sha very much as an artist. We couldn’t have done a music video for [this song] and not had a female director. That would have not made any sense,” she laughs.

The music video carries further significance as the camera pans to the concert crowd to reveal groups of young girls smiling up at Kreidler. It’s a simple gesture but a powerful moment to suggest representation remains crucial, inviting a new generation of hopeful women to not only see themselves on stage but to fuel them to follow their own dreams. “There are a lot of people that connect to our music, and when they see us live, they love it and have a great time. But I feel like women, in particular, are always really excited,” Kreidler reflects. “And it always really excites me when young women can see me on stage because whether they realize it or not, they’re probably having a moment where they’re like, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’”

“Probably the youngest girl [in the video is] the Asian girl. I’m Asian, and there are more Asian women in music that are at the forefront now than I remember when I was growing up. I was just reminded of the importance of that this past weekend,” she says. “We were playing a show, and this woman who I met recently was there, and she’s Asian. She was like, ‘I need to get my daughter to come see you guys. She’s just going through a moment right now. She dyed her hair blonde, and I just feel like if she sees you on stage that would click something into place for her.’ At the end of the day, that isn’t the only reason why I do this, but that is very important to me. When there are other Asian women in the audience, I see them and I recognize them.”

Growing up half-Korean in a suburb of Minneapolis, Kreidler didn’t have many Asian artists, in either music or theatre, to admire. “I am a little late to the concert-going experience,” she admits with a chuckle. Instead, she connected to such pop trailblazers as Christina Aguilera, whose 2002 Stripped album was remarkably influential on her life. “That album was kind of subversive,” she notes.

Admittedly, she “spent a lot of time listening to music that the dudes that I had crushes on listened to,” she says, listing off the likes of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana. “That was all cool, but I’m still discovering and re-investing my time into artists that really do excite me.” Those artists include Patti Smith, an iconic pillar in the NYC punk scene.

More recently, she witnessed Japanese Breakfast play a show in Minneapolis, and it was life-changing, to say the least. “I saw other Asian people in the audience,” she says. Immediately after the show, Kreidler purchased band leader Michelle Zauner’s debut book Crying in H Mart: A Memoir, and it moved her to tears. “Within the first three pages, I was crying. It just felt like she was speaking to me even though I haven’t lost my mom,” she says.

Kiss the Tiger — rounded out with musicians Michael Anderson (songwriting partner, rhythm guitar), Bridger Fruth (lead guitar, pedal steel), Alex Sandberg (lead guitar), Paul DeLong (bass), Jay DeHut (drums), Victor Zupanc (piano, organ), Mark Moehlenbrock (guitar, piano), Diane Miller (guitar, backing vocals), as well as backing vocalists Chelsie Newhard and Andy Ebling — formed in 2016. Over five years, the mega-group have gained quite a bit of buzz around Minnesota, on the edge of breaking through the stratosphere into the national arena.

Originally, Vicious Kid was set for release early last summer, but the global pandemic forced them to slam on the breaks. That extra time to marinate with the music – and also reevaluate their career and ambitions – found Kreidler uncovering a deeper “appreciation and pride in what we’ve done as a band and what we’ve created,” she offers. “I revisited the songs so many times and wondered if we were going to want to put them out after this past year and a half, and I still kept finding myself being excited about the songs. Some of them we had started to integrate into our live show, but for the most part, we hadn’t played them that much. I still feel really proud of the songs and continue to find new layers as we play them live for people and build up that live muscle of playing.”

Vicious Kid may have been recorded nearly two years ago, at the tail end of 2019, but to Kreidler, it all feels fresh again. “Here I am talking to you about it and it still feels kind of new to me in a way and I think that’s exciting. Maybe it’s a testament to all the work that we’ve put in and the trial and error that we’ve gone through making albums and putting them out,” she says. “Music moves so quickly nowadays, and it feels like you have to be putting new stuff out all the time. I guess it just makes me realize that the lifespan of things is not as limited as we maybe think it needs to be.”

Follow Kiss the Tiger on Twitter and Instagram of ongoing updates.

PREMIERE: Molly Maher Hopes World-Infused Folk LP ‘Follow’ Can Help Heal Her Hometown

Photo Credit: Ilia Photo Cinema

Molly Maher has spent the last 25 years establishing herself as a singer-songwriter in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area, working as a guitar tech at the famous shop Willie’s American Guitars and playing at bars up to five nights a week, in addition to releasing her first two albums, Balms of Gilead (2007) and Merry Come Up (2011). Her previous music was made under pressure to sell beers in the pubs she played, and the lifestyle of constant live shows was exhausting. Then, ten years ago, a battle with breast cancer changed how she approached her work.

“What happens with a lot of cancer survivors is, you go through this traumatic experience and just can’t wait to get back to what you think is normal. Then you try to go back to normal and you find it just doesn’t work anymore,” she says. “That kind of gives you a moment where you’re like, what am I doing this for? I started to break down, what is it that I want from music?”

This realization led her to practice and improve her guitar skills, craft an album she was truly proud of, and ask for more money from venues where she performs. “I started to put actual value on my time and my band’s time,” she says. “This record took a long time to write and to cultivate. The process was probably six years, but I don’t regret any of it.”

The product of her new sound, attitude, and lifestyle is her latest album Follow, for which she ventured outside her comfort zone and incorporated elements of world music, as well as reflections on the past few years’ hardships.

The biggest theme of the record, she says, is following your instincts and being true to yourself, which reflects her process of making it. She initially recorded an album two years after 2011’s Merry Come Up, then decided to scrap it because she didn’t like how it sounded.

Influenced by the Tuareg band Tinariwen, which is part of a blues movement out of Mali, as well as guitarist Ry Cooder and Tex-Mex-infused rock band Los Lobos, Maher’s goal was to combine world music with roots Americana. She even borrowed a Mexican guitar called a jarana from Los Lobos to accompany her usual guitar, bass, and organ.

When drawing inspiration from other cultures, Maher makes an effort to give people from those cultures a platform. In “Bird Song,” for example, she recruited Mexico City artist Iraida Noriega to sing and had her add her own verse. Meanwhile, up-and-coming Twin Cities singer-songwriter Anastasia Ellis appears on “Open Road” to sing Maher’s lyrics, anchoring the record with a sense of hometown pride while also focusing a lens on the world at large.

There’s also a disarming intimacy to the record, thanks to Maher’s openness. She wrote the mellow, meditative “Find the Shepard” to cope with her brother’s passing. “[It’s about] going through that process with him and letting him follow the shepherd, whatever it is, to bring him from this side to the other side of life,” she says.

Between this album and her last, Maher has been busy with many other pursuits, including running a camp for cancer survivors in Maui and touring with folk rock band Trampled by Turtles. Throughout the quarantine, she’s been collaborating with other musicians online through a dropbox folder where artists add layers onto one another’s songs.

Currently, she’s focused on responding to the death of George Floyd, which occurred in her own community. Maher does bookings for The Hook and Ladder, a Minneapolis arts venue literally next door to the now-demolished 3rd Police Precinct. The venue is still being rebuilt, but once they have a working space, she and others who work there are planning to set up a set up a community outreach center. She’s also reaching out to black arts organizations and offering them space at Como Lakeside Pavilion, another venue she books in St. Paul.

“I’m proud of the work that the good people of the community are doing to honor the lives that have been marginalized for so long, and that we are learning how to have hard conversations,” she says. “Everybody here in our town is trying to figure out how we can help our community heal as we go through this great shift. I think the arts are very healing.”

Follow Molly Maher on Facebook for ongoing updates.

PREMIERE: Sister Species Celebrates Feline Friends & Feeling Grounded With New Video

Accordionist/singer/songwriter Emily Kastrul and her band Sister Species are the definition of wholesome, a breath of fresh air during dark and uncertain times. When she’s not running an after-school program for high school students or teaching sex ed, Kastrul makes music about science, plants, and living in your hometown.

The name Sister Species is borrowed from a scientific term for species as related as they can get while still being distinct, reflecting Kastrul’s background in biology and gardening and her music’s focus on relationships and boundaries. It initially consisted of her and her younger sibling Abby Kastrul on guitar, then expanded to include Ryan Hays  (bass), Lars Johnson (drums), Willow Waters (guitar, harmonies), and three trumpet players – Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Jake Baldwin, and Sten Johnson – after Abby left to start a baking business (did we mention they were wholesome?). 

Their latest video for the song “Heat Death (Hold Me Here)” embodies this image, featuring Kastrul holding and playing with various felines and cuddling with different objects and people. The song was inspired by winter in Kastrul’s hometown of Minneapolis and the concept that cold is the absence of heat. It uses this framework to explore a variety of topics from the end of the universe to the power of imagination, as Kastrul sings, “Beyond that final exhale of expansion / you can find me dreaming of the other side.”

The aim of the video, shot in Kastrul’s neighborhood, was to explore the questions: “What are the things that hold me here? Who are the people that hold me here? And how do we survive the winter here, year after year?” she says.

“‘Here’ to me mostly means Minneapolis, but I also mean here as in now — what holds me to the present moment? What keeps me from spiraling into a dark swirl of anxiety?” Kastrul explains. “I hope that the video has some lighthearted answers to the question of what holds me here and gets me through winter: animal friends, friends’ homes, band members, saunas, ice skating… the sequence of me spooning a bunch of different things has me literally holding some things that keep me grounded.”

Perhaps the most charming aspect of the video is the cats, which are all pets Kastrul personally knows: One belongs to her housemate and her sibling, another is her bass player’s, and several are her friends’. “The cats started as a B-roll concept, like ‘wouldn’t it be funny if I was lip-synching with cats while wearing all big-cat-animal-print-clothes?'” she says. “Then we slowly realized that cats are a great window into some of the themes of the song. Cats are creatures that we hold, and who we look to to ground ourselves in our daily lives.”

The song is off the band’s upcoming album Light Exchanges, which comes out May 22. The album centers on Kastrul’s experience spending most of her 20s where she grew up in Minneapolis, living in the same house and working at the same school for seven years, and maintaining her band for eight years — something considered somewhat unusual for the always-in-flux millennial generation. As a gardener, Kastrul has learned to appreciate the excitement and change that come from tending to something in one place. 

There have been so many songs written about leaving — I wanted to write about the more subtle changes that happen when you stay,” she says. “It can feel scary or vulnerable to be held in place, especially when the dominant narrative is that people who play music or people who want to ‘be successful’ should move somewhere bigger.”

Trumpets figure prominently on the album, and Kastrul likes to imagine them as “alien guides” escorting people through the galaxy of her musical universe. “The album starts far away with the heat death of the universe — like, the farthest point in the future that we can imagine — and ends with cottonwood trees in the June breeze, a very earthly, of-this-moment feeling,” she explains. “Sonically, it moves from an upbeat pop song to a slow, swirling, drone-influenced track. The trumpets are there to help us and the listener to move through these spaces.” 

Nature has always been an inspiration for Kastrul, and right now, the lessons she gains from it may be helpful to many. “There is something soothing in channeling my deep emotions into metaphors about the natural world,” she says. “It’s a way to release whatever I’m feeling, and to remember that even if it’s overwhelming, my current emotional state is not permanent nor even necessarily important.” 

Kastrul is currently working on self-releasing her album and creating a lino-cut print to accompany each song. You can pre-order Sister Species’ forthcoming album via their website or Bandcamp.

PREMIERE: Aaron Rice “Neverfade/For Dusk”

Aaron Rice by Ashley Camper

Aaron Rice by Ashley Camper
Photo by Ashley Camper

Statues half hidden by rising tides, buildings sunk beneath desert sands, a post-apocalyptic fever dream… Aaron Rice‘s latest LP Neverfade/For Dusk has a ’90s R&B familiarity, mixed with an otherworldly darkness all his own.

The opening notes of “In Time” immediately call to mind scenes from Blade Runner; Harrison Ford running down his list of Voight-Kampff questions, staring into Sean Young’s endless brown eyes. “Ghosttown” is a clear standout, with its computerized backbeat and soaring, catchy vocals. Overall, Rice showcases a tight vision for the record, with a mix of chill tracks and dance beats like “One Week” keeping things interesting. It’s easily a record to get lost inside, each landscape vanishing into the next. Everything is at once familiar and remixed.

Listen to Audiofemme’s exclusive stream of Neverfade/For Dusk and read our interview with Aaron below.

AF: You’re based in Minneapolis. Can you give us an inside look at the music scene there? 

AR: The music scene in Minneapolis is very much alive. It’s very much a scene. It’s a big community. It’s a small community. I would also mention I’ve been a little removed from the scene here these past few years so I’m probably not the best person to speak on its behalf. There’s a new wave of young kids doing some really cool stuff.

AF: You recorded this album in Los Angeles. Why the change of scenery?

AR: A couple years ago I moved to LA. One of my best friends and creative partners lives there and I wanted to be closer to him. I also wanted adventure and warmer winters. And though the move was short-lived, that’s where the first big bulk of work on the record started.

AF: Minneapolis is an indoor city much of the year, with underground tunnels and covered walkways connecting buildings. Los Angeles is freeways and ocean and ripe fruit. Did the change in scenery effect your music in tone or subject matter?

AR: Yes, for sure. I took long walks in LA almost every day… even in December and January. I think even that alone had huge effects on my well being and in turn my music as well. Life changes when you don’t have to fight the elements of winter and cold for months on end.

AF: What artists would you cite as influences for Neverfade/For Dusk?

AR: The Knife, Caribou, Sade. TLC. Whoever made the soundtrack for N64’s Wave Race. Asap Rocky/Clams Casino. I’m sure there are more, but those come to mind.

AF: How do you approach writing music? Do you start with a beat, a lyric, subject matter?

AR: All of the above. More often than not it’s the beat or at least some chords, then vocal melodies, then lyrics or subject matter. The feel of the non-lyrical aspects of a song usually help shape the subject matter and lyrics.

AF: Which song from the record is the most personal for you? 

AR: That’s tough. They’re all very personal. Probably the first track, “In Time.”

AF: Can you tell us about that song? What was its genesis?

AR: I think the music started when my friend Alex and I were messing around with beats at his apartment. He made the strangest one or two bar, two chord loop, with an even stranger drum pattern. I loved it. We messed around with the chords and built them out to what they are now, and I think it set the tone for the whole project for me. It wasn’t the first track made for the album, but it’s the first one I would always think about when thinking of the album. The lyrics took a long time to write. I had a strong sense of what I wanted them to convey, but nailing down the way to convey them was tricky. I was in a fairly long relationship where I think I always knew I loved the person, but it was after we split that discovered that I was in love with them. The song is about that. It’s a declaration – and that sort of thing has always been hard for me.

AF: What feeling or vibe do you hope to convey at a live show? How do you want people to feel as they leave?

AR: I often think of this music as introspective dance music. It’s not really the kind of music you’d really want to dance to with someone- I guess the hope is that it might bring someone to a place where they can move and sort of dive into themselves. The best or favorite performances I’ve been to are the ones that make me feel, so I keep that in mind when preparing for shows.

Aaron Rice’s debut LP, Neverfade/For Dusk is slated for release on May 10th – follow him on Facebook for the latest updates.

PREMIERE: HALEY “Credit Forever Part 2”

Haley by Colin Michael Simmons

Since 2003, Haley McCallum has put dozens of releases out into the world as Haley Bonar – most of them with a folk rock bent and a focus on her clever lyricism and yearning vocals. That focus shifts with Pleasureland, released simply under the mononymous moniker HALEY. It’s a collection of instrumental only tracks, written in a time so bleak that Haley says she literally had no words to describe what she was feeling. An earlier single, “Infinite Pleasure Part 2,” featured ragged guitar layered with distortion; now, HALEY shares roiling piano ditty “Credit Forever Part 2,” accompanied by an eerie video montage of every day American television from the early 2000s.

By their nature, instrumental songs afford listeners something of a gift: the meaning is theirs to interpret, the melody a journey for the taking. Juxtaposing the lilting arpeggios of HALEY’s lively playing with a collage of cataclysmic natural events, absurd infomercials, and gooey sandwich fillings reveals the singer’s trademark wit in a new art form. Like so many of her songs, “Credit Forever Part 2” is more than meets the ear – it guilds this surreal imagery with nostalgic importance, almost as if we’re opening a time capsule. But inside, there are only meaningless artifacts, and yet HALEY’s majestic piano meditation swirls on, accompanied sporadically by restless, fuzzy guitar.

We spoke with Haley McCallum about tackling tough subject matter and how she’s navigated an industry that’s quick to pigeonhole female musicians.

Watch “Credit Forever Part 2” below:

AF: You’re a north country native, born in Canada, raised in Rapid City, South Dakota and currently residing in St. Paul, Minnesota. Do those north country winters affect the subject matter / mood of your music?

HALEY: I am a moody person, and weather definitely effects that. The winter is tough sometimes, but man can you get a lot of work done.

AF: What kind of music did you grow up listening to?

HM: I was obsessed with girl bands of the early 1960s like The Crystals and I loved the Beatles. That was not considered ‘cool’ but I felt like I was born in the wrong time. That being said, I also loved TLC, Green Day, The Cranberries, Enya, and Wilson Phillips.

AF: At what age did you start writing your own music?

HM: I was about 14.

AF: What were those first songs about?

HM: Oh, about being a sad sack.

AF: Traditional boys + blues? Or about living in the Midwest?

HM: The first song I ever wrote on guitar was literally called “Depression.” I guess I wrote piano songs when I was much younger. I started playing piano around age five.

AF: Wikipedia classifies your sound as “folk, slowcore, indie rock” – are those definitions on point or off base?

HM: Slow core – what a name! I don’t know, I am really bad at defining my own music because it isn’t defined in my brain when I write it. I just write it, and sometimes the songs are more rock, some ballads, some classical/jazz influenced. I think my goal is to bypass all the labels and be my own style, which is many.

AF: Your new album Pleasureland is instrumental. Was that a conscious decision or did it come from a more organic place initially?

HM: I started writing piano songs initially, just to play around with composition. After I wrote a few, the idea became solidified. I honestly was so blown away with the state of everything that I said, “What can I possibly have to say?” I’d rather convey a feeling. I needed to take a break from telling stories about myself that way.

AF: The state of the world?

HM: Yes. Election, MeToo, Black Lives Matter, immigration. So much negativity and violence, so many people crying out. It was overwhelming, and I found solace in playing piano and pushing myself in a new direction musically.

AF: Were you visualizing anything in particular when you wrote it? Was there a specific movement or subject on your mind?

HM: I envisioned destruction, chaos, a feeling of being out of control. But there is hope that comes through despite all of this. Beautiful parts of humanity and the planet we dwell upon, almost like a requiem for goodness.

AF: Have you had a chance to play this album live? Do you plan on touring with a focus just on Pleasureland as a stand alone piece? Or will you mix in some old favorites?

HM: We will be performing Pleasureland live when we’re in the UK in November. I’ll be playing other songs as well, but more stripped down versions.

AF: What feeling or emotion or vibe do you hope to convey during a Haley show? How do you want people to feel when they step out into that Minnesota cold?

HM: I suppose it would be nice to have folks walk away from the show thinking, “There is more to this artist than I thought.” People tend to pigeonhole, label, or be reductive in women’s capabilities as artists. It’s not intentional, just the way it is.

AF: Do you feel like you’ve been pigeonholed in the industry?

HM: Definitely. I have a lot of music, and it’s kind of all over the place. In my other band, Gramma’s Boyfriend, I write the lyrics/melody and sing my ass off – but the band is consistently panned as my “side project” and any review mostly references what I’m wearing on stage. They don’t understand that comprehensively, I’m a pretty versatile musician. I’ve always felt like the “biz” doesn’t quite know what to do with me. And that’s okay!

AF: What music are you into right now? What do you have spinning on the regular?

HM: Teyana Taylor’s new record has some serious tracks on it. Also really digging this Brit band Sleaford Mods. Oh, and Cardi B’s “Be Careful” is my JAM.

AF: There’s a young musician in St. Paul, she’s thinking of dropping out of college to go on tour. What advice would you give her?

HM: I’d say go for it. I learned a hell of a lot about life by doing that.

Pleasureland is out October 12 (preorder HERE) via Memphis Industries. Check out the band’s tour dates below.

October 4 – Minneapolis, MN @ Trylon Cinema (Video Screening Party)
November 3 – Glasgow, UK @ Stereo Cafe Bar
November 4 – Chester, UK @ St Mary’s Creative Space
November 5 – Newcastle, UK @ The Cluny
November 6 – Birmingham, UK @ Glee Club Birmingham
November 8 – London, UK @ St Pancras Old Church
November 9 – Cambridge, UK @ Storey’s Field Centre
November 10 – Manchester, UK @ St Michael’s
November 11 – Brighton, UK @ Rialto Theatre
November 12 – Amsterdam, NL @ Tolhuistuin
December 8 – Minneapolis MN @ Cedar Cultural Center

VIDEO PREMIERE: FIJI-13 “Mansplain It To Me bb”

Minnesota is a cold place, full of winter warriors trudging through the streets in search of bars with hot tunes. On first listen, FIJI-13 sounds like anything but Minneapolis: they are peppy, surf-infused, and upbeat. Yet on a closer listen, the reality of life seeps through. “Mansplain It To Me bb,” the first single off of FIJI-13’s new EP Heavy Breathing, swings a bat at the patriarchy with a level of sarcasm that’s pretty impressive.

Sisters Hilary and Heidi James handle lead vocals for the band, as well as writing the scathing lyrics heard on this latest track: “Explain to me how to throw a football pass, and what kind of pants look best on my ass.” It’s a stripped down middle finger of a song that could easily be picked up by a studio looking for the perfect female empowerment track to promote the next Reese Witherspoon box office smash (or the original Goldie Blox Commercial).

We sat down with Hilary, Heidi, and their drummer Steve Crowley to talk about how they came to land in the Midwest and why sex positivity is the word.

AP: I have to start out the interview by telling you all: I’m from Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

Steve: That’s in Minnesota!

Heidi: And that’s maybe all we know about Fergus Falls.

AP: That’s about all anyone knows about Fergus Falls. Are all three of you Minneapolis born and raised?

Hilary: No, we’re all from the far reaches of Midwestlandia. Sort of. Steve is from Milwaukee. Heidi and I are from Denver via Southeast Asia.

AP: Southeast Asia? Alright, we need backstory. Tell us a little bit about how the band formed and how you ended up in Minneapolis!

Hilary: Steve and I met at a bar in Iowa City and became buds. Heidi and I have known each other our whole lives, as we are sisters. We wanted to start a band but didn’t know how to play “rock band instruments” so we each picked one and learned how to sort of play them.

Heidi: Oops we didn’t really answer your question correctly! We all just moved here post-college cuz it seemed like a cool spot and we’re gluttons for weather punishment.

AP: Your sound is much more surf than snow. What inspired Fiji-13’s sound?

Heidi: First off, can we use “more surf than snow” in some bio stuff please?

Hilary: Well. None of us know how to surf but we thought it would be funny if we sounded like we could. Also we really like surf rock bands.

AP: I love that garage band / punk feel. What artists inspire your music?

Hilary: A wide range, from local Minneapolis punk bands like Kitten Forever to Sleater Kinney to the more melodic surfy/grungy bands like La Luz and Guantanamo Baywatch, and Ty Segall. Minneapolis has a really amazing and supportive punk and garage scene, which has definitely influenced our sound.

AP: Your new single “Mansplain It To Me bb” is a fun song about a painfully real problem: Mansplaining. Steve, can you tell us a little about the writing process on this one?

Steve: They sent me a video of themselves playing that song the day they wrote it and I immediately knew it was a smash hit.

Hilary: He is very good at telling us everything we never needed to know. JK, Steve is great.

AP: I’d ask where the song comes from, but as woman I think I know. It feels incredibly organic. As sisters, is it easy or difficult to write lyrics together?

Heidi: We actually don’t do a lot of lyric-writing together. We usually come to each other with songs that are mostly complete, but we do some edits and help each other through the parts where the words aren’t totally right.

Hilary: Sometimes we’ll come up with themes of songs together and then one or the other of us will pick it up and work it out.

AP: Who took the lead on “Mansplain It To Me bb”?

Heidi: I did. Hilary titled the song though.

AP: Your new EP is titled Heavy Breathing. What kind of subject matter can we expect from the album?

Hilary: The subject matter is mostly sex positive songs. As women (who spend a lot of time in the music world/in the normal world) there is such a frustrating difference between how people view sexuality and sexualization between binary sexes. Those songs are an attempt to normalize and be honest about that and poke fun of it all in a way.

Heidi: It’s almost like we’re blowing things out of proportion in order to make the point clear that people need to just chill out about women as sexual beings.

Hilary: There are also some songs on the album that are basically just big ol’ “fuck yous” to the patriarchy.

AP: I love the approach of using humor to tackle something considered taboo or controversial. Have you been able to perform the songs live?

Steve: Hell yea. We play a lot of shows in Minneapolis and around the midwest. We just got back from a little extended weekend tour two days ago. We love playing and bopping around in the car playing shows with our friends.

AP: Can we expect more tour dates coming up?

Steve: Yes. We plan to tour more in spring and mayyyyyybe winter. Heidi and I are teachers so there are very specific times that we are able to have time off to tour.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Eds. note: Here’s what they’ve got coming up!

  • 9/16 @ Eagles Club in Minneapolis
  • 9/23 @ Maximum Ames Fest, Ames, IA
  • 10/14 RELEASE SHOW @ Triple Rock in Minneapolis]

AP: Final question: I’m a music fan, a tourist in Minneapolis proper. Where do I go to see some killer tunes?

Heidi: One of our favorite places to play and go see bands is called Eagles 34. It’s like a functioning Order of the Eagles club for veterans, filled with the amazing neon and taxidermic eagle art, weird thrift-store decor and $1 jello shots every night. They have three different stages so you can go on a weekend and hear three very different shows, from Polka or Zydeco bands filled with old couples dancing, to wild heavy metal shows, to bedroom synth pop and more. Also they have the nicest bartender in the world there. Really everyone there is pretty dang nice.

The Homestead Records will be releasing FIJI-13’s new EP Heavy Breathing on October 13th.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

AF X CMJ 2013 ARTIST PROFILE: Time and Temperature

To get you as pumped as we are for our CMJ 2013 showcases, we’re introducing each band to you by asking them five unique questions  Time and Temperature is playing Sidewalk Cafe, 94 Ave. A in Manhattan on Wednesday, October 16th at 10PM.  You can RSVP on facebook or DoNYC.

t&tvalVal Glenn began Time & Temperature as 4-track recording project in 2005.  Though T&T occasionally expands to include other musicians, Glenn performs and records mostly solo, her soulful croon relating stories mournful and beautiful.  The music has a timeless, folk-noir feel; one gets the sense that these songs are beings of their own accord, birthed by magic into the air.  Her guitarwork is deliberate but takes its time, weaving through Glenn’s intimate narratives with confident ease.

AF: You recently relocated from Columbus, OH to Minneapolis. What has that process been like as a musician? Has it inspired any new songs

T&T: Well…I moved to Minneapolis because I wanted to be closer to a music community that I felt better understood in. I have some really good long term creative friendships there that I wanted to be closer to. But, I was thrown a curve ball when one of my dear friends was killed on her bike 2 weeks after I got there. It’s been a real tragedy and basically immediately changed everything in the community I’m involved in. Friendships changed, motivations changed. Also, a lot of great venues in Minneapolis have closed or stopped doing shows recently so it’s hard in a way for people not to have the ending of things on their mind a lot right now. The process has been more challenging, actually. In terms of my inspiration, I still think it’s been good. Having more time to think and feel and challenge the way I do things is still as good for my creative process as doing the rock star thing where I’m just going out being awesome with other awesome people all the time. It’s like a rebirth. Or something. 

AF: Where did you learn to play guitar? What artists inspired you to pursue a music for yourself?

T&T: Well, I started playing guitar when I was 11. My parents didn’t want to buy me a guitar because I was super shy as a kid and everyone at school thought I was a geek so they thought that maybe it was best to keep me away from things that would have me interact with society. I took lessons for a year but I’m mostly self-taught. My teacher wanted me to learn theory and I was like, jesus christ. A lot of people are like me and learn the basics and then just play along with their favorite records.

I actually listened to a lot of metal as a youth and a lot of classical, but I think initially I was inspired by early indie rock bands and proto-punk bands because it seemed like they were conceptually compelling but not like, prodigal musicians at all. Like hardly even good. I figured I could at least do that.

AF: Some time ago, you were planning to release a follow-up to Cream of the Low Tide but only released one single from those sessions. What are your plans for that material?

T&T: Yeah! I just self-released a tape of that material for this tour that I’m on right now. I also have a full length record coming out in a few months but I wanted to keep doing short run releases before that record comes out.

AF: Your songs seem so personal and yet you deliver them unflinchingly. Do you ever get nervous sharing your work in intimate spaces? Does it make you more nervous to play for strangers or for people you know? 

T&T: I initially thought this said “does it make you more nervous to play for stranglers”.

I totally get nervous. It always depends, it depends on the crowd. Nerves are always good for me. I get more worried when I’m not nervous. It means my head is not in what I’m doing.

AF: What kind of bird makes the worst sound?

T&T: Lovebirds, definitely. The bird kind and the human kind.

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