PREMIERE: Bloods “Girls Are Just Fucking Cool Like That”

Photo Credit: Lisa Businovski

Marihuzka Cornelius, aka MC, grew up in what many consider a rough part of Western Sydney, Australia. In the ’90s, you could find her dressed in regulation plaid, with Nirvana on blast in the background. It was her neighborhood’s diverse immigrant population, however, and her own modest upbringing that inspired the subject matter she still tackles today: racism, sexism, ageism, classism.

“It gave me a very grounded perspective on life in general and different people’s life experience,” MC said on a Skype call earlier this month. “It’s a blessing. I think when you’ve grown up that way, not necessarily in a picturesque, white-picket-fence situation, with lots of disposable income, your parents living week-to-week, that can feel really heavy on you when you’re a kid and you just want to live like they do in the movies. But I think when you’re an adult, having lived that, it just makes you have so much more patience and perspective. That lived experience I think is invaluable. Having a bit of struggle in your life, it ends up being a huge part of who you become as an adult.”

At the tender age of eight, MC picked up the bass. In high school, she played in a variety of garage bands, always as a bass player. The urge to sing was something she fought against (in spite of recording herself singing Madonna into her parent’s dictaphone as a kid). Even after she began to sing, bass remained the foundation of her music, with bass lines written first, lyrics second.

The original Bloods original lineup included Victoria “Sweetie” Zamora (vocals/bass), Dirk Jonker (drums) and Marihuzka (lead vocals/guitar). When they first started in 2011, no one knew how to play their instruments. “I hadn’t played guitar really before. Sweetie was a violinist, so she’d never really played bass. Dirk was a guitarist, so he’d never played drums,” MC remembers. “We deliberately started the band [saying] ‘Let’s just learn to play and write these songs and see how we go.'” The name was supposed to convey a bit of danger, as well as the connection the three shared.

Two years ago, Sweetie fell in love and moved to Melbourne. The band was in the middle of recording their 2018 LP Feelings, and after a schedule-conflict heavy tour, they parted ways. Jonker’s good friend Mike Morgan had been brought on as a producer during the recording process and subsequently joined the band. When he joined, MC didn’t mince words – she let him know up front what the terms of the deal would be. “In the tradition of Bloods, you have to play bass because that’s not your instrument. If you’re gonna be in the band, you’re gonna get out of your comfort zone,” she said.

Bloods’ new EP Seattle is the first for MC, Jonker, and Morgan as a trio. The EP marks the fulfillment of MC’s childhood dreams, as they recorded it at Jack Endino’s Soundhouse in Seattle, worked with audio engineer Steve Fisk (Soundgarden, Mudhoney) on production and mixing, and even got to use an amp Kurt Cobain played through. MC writes the songs, then takes them to the band to work out the parts. “Girls Are Just Fucking Cool Like That” is the third single off the EP and like all of Bloods’ discography: it fucking rocks.

“Well I had a baby, and I’m not dead, no matter what you say/Yeah she is amazing, but it’s okay, I’ve still got dreams inside my head,” the song opens, with MC’s voice happily belting over a steady drumbeat. MC wrote the song about and to her daughter; it’s a message of humor and hope, set against a lively, girl-band vibe. The video is an ode to the magazines and culture of the ’90s chick-flick aesthetic. MC has no qualms about loving those films, while also pointing out the lack of brown and black women within them. It’s the kind of nod the band is known for, an f-u sort of wink. There’s a casualness that’s refreshing within the lyrics: Women rock. There’s no need to argue or defend the gender. They just do.

“I think we have so many songs about how fucked up our situation is as women,” MC explained. “And all the shit: Fuck that guy, this is so hard. Those songs are so important because the struggle is real, everyone feels it. But I wanted to take an approach of writing a song about our resilience and how fucking cool that is. Iff you’re an older artist, if you’re a woman of color, if you have a disability, or if you’re a mother… all those things are seen as impairments and road blocks. And every day women get up and prove that they’re fucking not. I wanted to capture that positivity, instead of talk about what we can’t do, about how we actually do it. We do it time and time again.”

MC’s activism extends beyond her writing and even into band’s profits. Bloods joined the Share It Music label in 2018; the 501(c)(3) non-profit splits album sales between the artists, a charity of their choice, and the label. Bloods chose the Australian-based Indigenous Literacy Foundation, an organization that not only helps get books into the hands of remote Indigenous communities, but also helps those same communities write down and share their stories.

When asked what advice she has for young artists just starting out, MC didn’t hesitate: “Don’t fucking rush it. Don’t upload every song you write. Take time to figure out who you are and what your sound is and don’t fake it. It sounds so cheesy, but the only way to cut through is to be authentically you.”

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