Reddit AMA 16 January 2018 Highlights from the Screaming Females “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit: Excuse me while I fangirl a little bit. Marissa, you are a huge inspiration to me and one of the main reasons I finally decided to pick up a guitar and start playing. I know you probably hear it all the time but it’s true. Anyway now that my gushing is out of the way, questions. If you had to guess, how many times have you had to correct people and tell them there is no “the” in your band name? When are y’all gonna come back to Iowa? If I could suggest a venue there’s a really cool place here in Waterloo called The Wedge. Jeff Rosenstock has played there a couple times and said he really likes it btw. And I’m totally not suggesting that venue specifically because it’s near me ;). Either way I hope to finally see you guys live for the first time in St. Paul this March. And thanks for the AMA and all the awesome music. Marissa: Thank you so much! Our guess is 10,000 + but I bet it’s a little lower than that, maybe 900 something. We love playing in Iowa and when our touring schedule permits we will be there with bells on! Thank you for the venue tip, we always are looking for cool new places to play! I love you guys! Marissa’s guitar playing is a huge inspiration and I’m hyped for the new album! PS I love the bass on starve the beat and think that desperately needs to be said. I am really sad tho because the venue you’re playing in Buffalo is 18+ :(. Any plans at coming back anytime soon at a different venue? Hello it is Marissa! Thank you for the kind words! We have played all ages spaces in Buffalo a few times, but not recently. Are there all ages spaces in Buffalo or nearby that you could recommend to us? We always play all ages shows when there are spaces in town available. It’s incredible how dynamic and cohesive you guys still are after all these years, especially being a DIY band. When you guys first started, how did you go about booking shows outside of your hometown? How do you settle creative differences? I’m not sure how certain tasks are divided within your group, but this question applies more to what’s occurring in my band-if certain tasks are claimed by someone in the group (like making t shirts or other types of merch) and you and your other bandmate don’t like what they’ve created despite how fervently they want their idea to be shared, how do you compromise? Marissa: Thoughtful question! We try to operate on the basis of consensus. When that isn’t possible, we sit down and try to find some sort of healthy compromise that will appease all parties. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of processing. I always think: what is best for the sustainability of my band? What is best for my relationships with Mike and Jarrett? Sometimes you have to pick and choose your battles. Some things just aren’t as important as making sure your band mates feel included and creatively satiated. Unity over everything! Sometimes a t-shirt design you aren’t totally stoked on isn’t as important as the bond you have with your bandmates. What are some of the best parts of touring? Any funny stories? Jarrett – Lots of funny stories. One time in Vancouver BC Mike stepped in human poop in the alley while we were loading out of the venue. He didn’t realize at first and we got in the van to make the late night drive back to the USA. Almost immediately I started asking why the hell it smelled like broccoli poop in the car at which point Mike realized he had been unknowingly smearing the poop all around the van. The smell quickly increased and I started dry heaving while driving. I ran into a gas station and demanded cleaning supplies. I must of looked serious because they didn’t ask any questions and handed me the heavy duty cleaners from behind the counter. I earnestly apologize on behalf of Vancouver. They don’t have their shit together. Hey there, appreciate you guys taking the time for this. About a week ago on the New Jersey sub reddit, someone was talking about an interview you guys did on a podcast and was wondering where they would be able to find tracks from a compilation that was released through Rutgers, any info where one may come across this sort of thing? As someone who was attending Rutgers almost in unison when you guys were kicking off, was there any particular basement venues that you liked the most? Do any of you have any favorite WFMU programs? Hi. Mike here. Wow! I have no clue how you could track one of those CDs down, but if you do, please rip us a copy. There was this cool song about french fries on that CD. The lyrics were “give me all your french fries, give me all your french fries” Meat Town, The Parlor, and Courtlandtland were our favorite houses, but maybe only cause we lived in them. So many great programs. I love Evan Funk Davies, The Duane Train, Toddophonic Todd, and Jeff Sarge Ha. I was the one asking about that CD. I’m still on the lookout, and will let you know if I find one Heyyy!!!!! Fan from VA!!!!!!!! Love y’all so much!!!! With the upcoming release, how do you think you’ve evolved as a group and as individual musicians? And can you describe the new album in one word???? Love y’all!!!!!! Jarrett – I think we are always evolving as people/musicians. Releasing albums is an interesting thing because it has a specific date/year it gets released so to listeners they get to compare 2018 Screaming Females to 2015 or 2009 Screaming Females. But for us it is everyday changes that happen in imperceivable, small increments. I guess I will need some time to take in what we have done with All At Once and check back to Rose Mountain to really know in what ways we have changed. one word: SICK!!!!! I am the #5 BAD CANOES fan and am wondering if the BAD CANOES will ever grace us and return. I’m also curious on what other projects the three of you are invested in. Marissa: Bad Canoes is forever linked in Sisterhood. Our drummer, Dawn Riddle, is a leaf in the wind who travels all over the world and far be it for the Sisterhood of Bad Canoes to keep her locked down. If she ever returns to us, I promise Bad Canoes will rise from the ashes. Thanks for riding the Bad Canoe! Thanks, I only say I am #5 because I live I Detroit and never actually seen the Sisterhood in person, but I am there in spirit! Marissa: If you had to get into a guitar duel with the devil for your soul, what would be your strategy to win? Also, how’s Little doing? Marissa: I am not competitive and they can totally have my soul, if they don’t have it already. Little is doing GREAT! Yesterday I took her for a walk, then we took a nap, and then I gave her a bath and trimmed her butt hair. Thanks for asking about Little! Hi guys! love your music, i hope you can make it to Amsterdam on your EU tour. Thanks! We will be there on May 27th at Sugar Factory! Tix here: https://www.sugarfactory.nl/event/screaming-females-us/?tickets=1784 oooh.. getting tickets now. See you in a few months! Hey! Thank you guys for doing this AMA. The first time I saw you guys was in 2009 at a show in Beloit, WI. It was at the C-Haus so it was pretty much like a basement show and it was one of the best shows I have ever experienced in my life. I’m curious, do you guys remember and what did you think about that night and the town? Jarrett – WOW! We will never forget Beloit! We showed up way too early with a few friends in tow including famed artist Perry Shall and Nick Fit, lead singer of Carbondale, IL’s best band The Conniption Fitts. We had a really intense frisbee session in a quad that seemed like it might have freaked out some students. Then we went and got the absolute worst burrito I’ve ever had in my life. We were all starving and we still couldn’t finish the things. The restaurant was more like a bodega that sold snuf magazines. We offered up the burritos to the fans and they were literally fighting each other over them. How was the writing process for this album different from previous albums? What did you all think of the popularity behind your t-swizzle cover? Marissa, what’s your inspiration when it comes to writing lyrics? Mike, how can I improve my bass groove and funk? Jarrett, I love your shirts. Lights out was my most played song for 2017 according to Spotify, can’t wait to see y’all at the record release concert next month! Mike: Our writing for this album has been largely the same as it’s ever been. We write and arrange all of the music together and demo it a thousand times making adjustments each time. Regarding the bass groove/funk — you just gotta feel it, baby! Marissa: Recently I’ve been focusing a lot less on my personal life and more on my perspective as a citizen of humanity. I’d like to write lyrics that are universally relatable, or at least….I’m trying. Jarrett: Thank you! Most of the shirts I wear in band photos and on stage I made myself! Tell a friend to buy one! https://www.etsy.com/shop/JDoughertyDesigns Hello guys. I love your music. I wish I would have heard you back when you started releasing music, little teenaged me would have loved it all so much. ANYWAY, has touring changed much since you started playing shows, and how? Thanks and love from Canada Marissa: Touring hasn’t changed much for us. We still drive our own van, load our own gear, sleep on floors, and sell our own merch. We bring a friend on tour with us to help with all that stuff, but beyond that, not much has changed besides the fact that we aren’t playing as many house shows as we used to. Hope to see you in Canada sometime soon! I heard the working title for your new album was “Tara’s Song” but you scrapped that at the last minute. I wanna know how come Marissa: I’m gonna kick u in the butt!!!!!!! <3 You have played with some awesome bands over the years – who’s your favorite to tour with? Any fun stories? Pumped for the new album! Jarrett – We could never pick a favorite! We have tours coming up with Radiator Hospital, Thou, and HIRS who are all amazing bands in different ways that everyone should definitely check out. One time we went Go-Karting in Virginia Beach with Aye Nako and your friend Elliot. That’s the day I discovered that I’m a Dance Dance Revolution natural. I’d never played before but I was busting high scores. Another illustrator here. Just wanted to say, as someone who messes with ink a lot, Marissa is a huge inspiration when it comes to doodling. I’m pretty sure we use the same pens btw lol. When will Omaha see you again? Marissa: We were just in Omaha! Hope you made it out, that show was fun! Thanks for the kind words. <3 Yeah me and my buddy have been to all of your omaha shows since you played in sweatshop, along with the last show at Rose Music Hall in MO and the last one in St. Louis. Also I puked on the bar at the last Omaha show you did. I’m so sorry. Thanks for doing this AMA! I absolutely adore all of you and I love seeing you live! The music industry now is really different from how it was when your band started, so do you think new musicians need to take a different approach to starting up their music career? (As opposed to how you guys did it back then) What artists/albums were you guys listening to the most while recording All At Once and did they influence the sound at all? Jarrett: 1. The music industry is WAAAYYYY different now than when we started. The “big” music industry world did not give a crap about bands playing to 20-100 people a night. You could barely get a mention in the press. It allowed for a really great DIY world to develop in the USA with a bunch of bands and labels and venues that didn’t really consider the music industry. Now it is definitely possible for a band to get some hype off a bandcamp demo, play a couple of shows, get a manager, and land a huge “indie” record deal. Ultimately I think that model is really bad all around. Artists who “make it” don’t get a chance to develop strong ties to community and to learn how the “industry” can work. It means the get taken advantage of and when they aren’t the latest hype thing anymore they can get left behind as quickly as they appeared. More importantly I think it creates a world in which young artists tie their self-worth to the number of plays they are getting and the number of likes they are getting. Although things are different now I would suggest the “model” we followed to anyone. Make lasting relationships with people. Create a community. Be ready to challenge yourself. Get out into the real world and be ready to bring it every time you get the chance. And love that experience because that IS LIVING and it is probably the best reward an art project can offer. While we were recording we honestly didn’t listen to anything but ourselves for like 12 hours a day for 3 weeks straight. We did watch a lot of the netflix show GLOW. So everyone should try to figure out how All At Once sounds like GLOW. Oh my gosh thanks for the really detailed answer! I really didn’t consider some of those points. hello!! @ Marissa: do you have any LGBT bands/singers/artists you’d recommend? thank you!! i’m so excited for the next album and I can’t wait to see you in Paris in may <3 lots of love from me, my girlfriend and my friends! Marissa: always! Snakeskin: https://snakeskinmusic.bandcamp.com Spowder: https://spowder.bandcamp.com Aye Nako: https://ayenako.bandcamp.com Moor Mother: https://moormothergoddess.bandcamp.com Street Eaters: https://streeteaters.bandcamp.com See you in Paris! <3 thank you!! i love love love shanna she’s stuff a cool person, i can’t wait for her new album too :3 if you see her sometimes soon tell her she got some big fans in France, also give a kiss to Little from me please ^ Marissa: I WILL KISS LITTLE FOR YOU!!!!! Hey, big fan! I love pretty much everything Don Giovanni has put out, but some artists (i.e. Waxahatchee, Downtown Boys) have moved on to release records for bigger labels. Have you ever felt that pressure to sign to a bigger label for more exposure? Does that factor have any influence when working on a new record in terms of like “Oh this could be the one to get us more hype”? Marissa: It’s important to us to build long lasting friendships and working relationships with the people who are involved in our band. Joe Steinhart, Zach Gajewski, and Don Giovanni Records mean a lot to us beyond label work: they are our closest friends. We aren’t interested in being part of the hype, our interests lie in sustainability, community, and making good music + art. Hey, I’m a massive fan! Your music has helped me through some rough times in my life. I have a couple questions, I hope that’s okay. As a band, is there a different mindset you go into when playing a normal live show versus recording something like The Chris Gethard Show, the live album, or the AV Club recordings you did? Marissa, I absolutely love your art (commissioned a piece last year). I’m an aspiring artist myself, but I always find myself being way too critical of my own work and only like a small percentage of what I create. As an artist, is that a problem you ever encountered and if so how did you overcome it? As a fairly closeted queer person living in an oppressively conservative town, you’re an inspiration. Thanks for your time, so excited for the new album. – Poya Thanks! It’s Marissa! The first time we played the Chris Gethard show we showed up with very specific requests and props: a potted plant, a crucifix that said “JARRETT DOUGHERTY”, and I asked Chris to get us a teenage girl who could chew bubble gum. So yeah, it’s fair to say we entered that scenario with certain intent. Typically, though, we just try to play to our best abilities. I remember talking to you! Thanks for buying my art. I believe that being critical of your own work is a good thing – maybe don’t perceive it as a negative trait as much as a stepping stone towards getting closer to being the sort of artist you’d like to be. Thank you so much for the kind words. I hope to meet you at a show someday! Thank you so much! We actually met in Seattle in 2016, I was the Canadian who took the bus ride down for the show 🙂 I wanted to do the same for the show this past October, but was in LA that day, and then missed your LA show by a matter of hours with my flight back. I hope to maybe get you guys up to BC this west coast tour? I know some local show promoters in a few cities and would love to set something up. Mike: What is your favorite shirt design that you’ve ever printed? And what are you most excited about upcoming with State Champion Records? Jarrett: What is the hardest part of managing a band in terms of booking gigs, getting records made, etc? What is your favorite material/design pattern to make shirts out of? Marissa: What is your favorite vegetable and how long have you been vegetarian/vegan? Do you have any plans for any side projects like your past art books or any Noun releases? All: What is your craziest, funniest, scariest or most memorable fan encounter you can think of? Marissa: My favorite vegetable is probably a beet. I have been vegetarian since I was 18 and I’m 31 now but I still can’t do math, so you do that. Sure, I plan on making a new art book and some Noun stuff soon, I just haven’t had time! Jarrett: The hardest part honestly is finding people you can trust to get things done in a timely manner at a consistently high level. We constantly trust people to work with us on big projects and it is such a bummer when that doesn’t come through. tl/dr Answer your dang emails! I make very classy collared button up shirts! Check out my etsy! https://www.etsy.com/shop/JDoughertyDesigns The best material to make shirts out of is quality Swiss or Italian 100% cotton shirting. Everything about it just makes the projects better but honestly a lot of the patterns are kind of boring. Just stripes and checks and stuff like that. So I often find myself working with fabric that isn’t exactly made as shirting because it is going to look wild! Mike: Lots of super exciting stuff going on at SCR! We’ve got the new Snakeskin LP coming out in just a few weeks and we are working on a series of comedy releases and a tape for an amazing new band called Resounding No. The t-shirt question is a tough one cause I’m real hard on myself. I never think any of my prints are good enough. I’m still figuring out what I’m doing. Question for Marissa: Have you ever taken a paternoster? 🙂 No! Sadly I have never ridden a Paternoster. They seem very scary. – Marissa Mike, I saw you at the Ergs! show in Asbury Park last year. On a scale of 1 of 10, how would you rate DIRTY WORK that night? Never seen it before so with the Ergs so rudely playing their cacophonous punk music while it was playing, I missed a few key plot points so I can’t really give it a fair rating. Hoping to catch you in Detroit in April. Say all 3 of you are in an elevator with a stranger, they notice somebody farted, who gets blamed and who actually did it? Jarrett: Marissa did it and she will say “I’m sorry everyone, I just farted.” The stranger will comment on one of our youtube videos about the experience. I saw you guys play in Fresno a few months ago and I was way too scared to talk to you guys at the time, so i’m really glad you’re doing this ama. You’re one of my biggest music influences, and you’ve really inspired me to get together a band. What advice do you have for a young band trying to get their music outside of just their local scene? Jarrett: Thanks for coming to the gig! The best thing to do is to show up to local DIY shows, check out as many small touring bands as possible, and say what’s up. Ask them where the spots are to play in their hometown. Try to book a show in that spot! Check out where small touring bands are playing within a few hours of you. Check out what’s happening in Bakersfield, Pomona, Long Beach, LA, Santa Cruz, Oakland, etc. Head out to some of those shows and ask around for the person running the gig. Tell them if they ever need to add a band as an opener you would be willing to make the trip. Ultimately people like booking bands that seem like they are part of the scene and trying to help out rather than use it as a stepping stone to something else. It is a great way to make lasting relationships and to have some real human experiences in our dreadful world. OH and I have to ask you all about this because it’s driven me crazy for ages. So at House of Blues in Houston in ‘12 you guys played a show w/ Garbage, and you played this one amazing song that I’d never heard before, so I figured that it could possibly be a new song for the next record, but when the new record came out, it wasn’t on there. All I can remember is that there was a lyric that was something like “I’ll have what I want”. Was that a cover, or a song that you decided to shelve? That is a song called “Take it Back” that was just released for the first time on a flexi that comes with the new issue of New Noise Magazine. We recorded it with Steve Albini right at the beginning of that tour and haven’t played it live since 2012. Would you guys ever consider covering Cyndi Lauper, and if so what songs? Yea. The one from The Goonies is cool. Haha! Good Enough! Thank you, loved seeing you all in Oregon last year! When are you playing in New Brunswick again? Marissa: We’ve played in Boyd Park a few times within the last couple years but we don’t haven’t any New Brunswick plans on deck right now. In the meantime, check out Spowder from New Brunswick if you need some good NB-based tunes: https://spowder.bandcamp.com If each member of SFs were a character on jersey shore, who would each member be and why? Marissa: JWOWW because she likes to talk about everyone’s feelings. Jarrett: Vinnie because he’s the only character who reads books. Mike: Pauly D ’cause he’s just trying to have a good time First off, you’re my favorite band and I can’t wait to see you in Buffalo and Cleveland! Thanks for the great music, it’s been a huge inspiration to me. Two questions: if you weren’t in a band, what would you be doing with your time? And for Marissa, I hope you to the standards that some hold Jimmy Page or Hendrix and you’re my favorite guitarist out there, which guitar players do you hold in that same regard? Can’t wait for the new record! Marissa: Yay! So good to hear that you’ll be at the shows! Thanks for the friendly words. When I first started playing guitar, I was really into the Smashing Pumpkins. I wanted to be able to solo like Billy Corgan. I was also a massive Pixies fan, and Joey Santiago was a big inspiration to me. Other than that, I was really into punk…like Bikini Kill + Huggy Bear, so not a lot of guitar soloing going on there. Absolutely! Bikini Kill and pixies are two of my all time favorites! Thanks for the answer Hello! I saw you play in Rochester, NY, at the Bug Jar a couple of years ago. During the set a couple of very large dudes were moshing and pushing around the smaller people in the crowd. Marissa, you made it a point to ask them to stop and stood up for, literally, the little people, and I thought that was very cool and inspiring. Thank you for doing that, and I am sorry for our crowd. Anyway, my question is: What’s the writing process like? Do you sit down and write a riff separately from the group and then bring it into practice? Do you come up with songs organically, in kind of a jamming format? A combination of the two? Or something else altogether? omg i was at that show with my girlfriend as well, it was so great of Marissa to try to calm things down and to make the show more safe and accessible. i hope you had a good time back then! Are any of you Ween fans? Yes Hey guys! I was curious about the status of some earlier recordings. Is there a chance we will ever get to hear stuff from Surgery on T.V. or stuff like that I’m also curious to know what pushed you towards some of the sounds on the upcoming album. Stuff like Black Moon and Glass House sound very Screamales, but Deeply isn’t like anything we’ve heard out of the group before. I assume that some other songs on the record are outside of that box too. Anyway, I’m a huge fan and your music means so much to me. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this AMA. I already have the album on preorder and tickets bought. Marissa: Gosh, I really hope no one ever hears Surgery on TV. It’s private, you have to be part of our inner circle to gain access. I’m sorry. It’s just not fit for public consumption. Since we made All At Once with Matt Bayles (who also recorded Rose Mountain), we tried to push the new album in a myriad of new sonic directions by using different instrumentation (ie: the farfisa on Deeply) and a bigger, more malleable live room. I hope you like the new record! See you at the gig! Question for the band, roadies to if they are there. I read Rebecca Henderon’s article about the issues of touring, and what to do, and what to avoid. My question I guess is what lessons you have learned from your 10+ years of touring that you would pass down to a younger version of yourself, or any musicians that tour or plan on touring. This can be about your physical health, avoiding heated arguments, mentally dealing with being away from ‘home’ for such long periods of time, anything really. P.S. I first saw y’all when you played at The Loving Touch in Ferndale MI. I wandered in buzzed on a whim and became a lifelong fan soon afterwards. I think I drunkenly asked Marissa about her shoes. Can’t wait to see you in Detroit. Mike: If I could ever figure out a way to effectively block out all the noise and distractions in the van and actually get some meaningful reading done, I would teach it to a younger version of myself. Still working on that though. I am too easily distracted by the passing landscape or a song on the radio or the conversation in the front seat. Hey Marissa! I just started learning guitar not too long ago and seeing you play for sure inspired me. What advice would you give a beginner? I wanna shred like you one day \m/ Marissa: Hmmm, not too sure I’m qualified to give advice. If you really want to play and genuinely enjoy it, you’ll shred in no time. I promise. You just gotta be patient with yourself, everyone learns at a different pace. We are seeing ya’ll in Tallahassee this April, we are sooo stoked!!! Could i gift ya’ll an old Smashing Pumpkins vinyl single at the show?? It’s an old favorite of mine and i heard that ya’ll are early Pumpkins fans. Thanks, See Ya’ll In April Absolutely love you guys! ‘cus of you I got into the New Brunswick scene and actually started to get into music more than i was before i found out about you. What’s your guys’ favorite albums at the moment, and if you have one, of all time? Marissa, you have clearly created your own interpretation of what it means to be a girl, from rocking out in a black dress on stage to covering some very traditionally feminine singers like Taylor Swift and Sheryl Crow. You have inspired me and others to be comfortable with our gender and sexuality, and more importantly have given us the courage to create our own brands of femininity. What does being a girl mean to you? Marissa: Being a girl means a lot to me, and I’m so glad that I could be of some assistance on your life journey! It took boat loads of reflection struggle to come to terms with my sexuality, which at first scared me to DEATH (back when I was a teenager) but after discovering bands like Sleater-Kinney and Bratmobile, I was galvanized into radical feminism and felt empowered as a gay woman to persist in my desire to make music and art. Those difficult experiences gave me the tools I needed to become the person I am today – a person I am pretty happy with. What was your favourite part of playing the Rec Room in Edmonton? A)David Attengorough’s “Great Barrier Reef” playing behind you? B)Four tiers of seats while chicken fingers are being served throughout the set? Or C) the fact that it was at an arcade in the middle of an outlet mall at the absolute edge of town? Marissa: I must admit, all of those things were pretty cool. They gave us a pass so we could play nearly unlimited games. That was a thrill. Also, there was a nice goth kid there who was wearing a nice outfit and I enjoyed that, they looked fabulous! How is Dawn doing? marissa: i think dawn is doing really great!!!!! thanks for asking about dawn. Have you guys considered implementing any other instruments to your songs? Maybe another guitarist or even just a feature from a cello or trumpet or something? Thanks. Huge fan of the new singles. Mike: I like to call the hired multi-instrumentalist who stands in the shadows on stage the “texture person” I don’t know if we’ve ever really considered that. We like to improvise on stage so if we did add another musician, it would have to be someone with that special cosmic connection to the three of us.