interview: girl friday

Girl Friday just released their debut full-length album Androgynous Mary. We had the chance to talk to them about the making of the album, their quarantine activities, and their advice for young women in music.

 

What inspired you to get together and start a band? How did Girl Friday come to be?

Sierra: We all came together after what I assumed would be a horrifically formal audition process but was actually a group of people making very quiet music underneath a loft bed at 9pm on a school night.

Libby: Nothingness.

 

Your debut album Androgynous Mary was just released last week. What was the writing and recording process like?

Virginia: We started recording the album with Norm Block during the summer last year while we had a few days off in LA (we were touring with The Beths at the time).  We tracked about 3 songs that week, then finished recording after our North American tour supporting Marika Hackman in the Fall.  We only had about a week to record the rest of the tracks, then another week to mix all 10 tracks so that was definitely a wild wild ride.

 

What is your favorite track off the album?

Sierra: I’m gonna cheat and say the whole thing because I only have the CD version with no track divisions on my iPod. To me it’s all just one big file baby!!!

Libby: Would Ian Curtis have picked his favorite song off of Closer? Yes. And my guess is that it would be “the Eternal” and you can take a wild guess as to which Girl Friday song that is.

 

I love the new music video for the single “Public Bodies.” Where did the inspiration for that video come from?

Sierra: Gussie Larkin (of Gussie & Ezra fame) came up with what I like to consider Little Shop of Horrors’ bratty progeny, and I couldn’t be happier with her performance.

Vera: I will add that I ubered home with my face painted green to scare my nephew and niece but they were both asleep when I arrived. Meanwhile in a panic I told the driver, “I would just like to acknowledge my face is green in case you get a fright” to which he replied, “Weird. I didn’t notice.”

 

Have any of you picked up any fun hobbies over the past few months in quarantine?

Libby: I started making very psychedelic oil pastel drawings.. Not for the faint of heart..

Virginia: I became pretty obsessed with the idea of making things with wooden pallets at the beginning.  I did successfully build a workbench out of them but it’s definitely not straight at all and I’m going to have to pick up a redemption project before I feel like a competent carpenter.

Sierra: I am learning to treat my mint plant with the respect she deserves!

 

If you decided to start a cover band, what band would you cover and what would you name the cover band?

Sierra: I’d start a Tears for Fears cover band called Queers for Tears and/or Fears, Depending on Your Persuasion.

Vera: The shitty beatles

Libby: Boy Monday, and I would play the six-stringed bass.

 

Who would you love to open for on a nationwide tour?

Virginia:  Oof, I’m currently deep in a Phoebe Bridgers hole so that would be an absolute dream.

Sierra: I’d love to open for Dinosaur Pile-Up. Or if we’re talking about childhood dream material, My Chemical Romance.

Vera: I’d like to open up a can of whip a*s on a nationwide tour .

Libby: I’d like to open up Pandora’s box.

 

Being a non-cis male band within a very cis male-dominated genre, I’m sure it has come with its trials and tribulations. What’s been your biggest challenge with creating Girl Friday?

Libby: My hair never looks right and I can’t get rid of those vultures flying above my head.

Virginia: I don’t think we really had much of a problem creating Girl Friday, but sometimes we tend to be more critical of our own abilities because we’re not cis-men.  Also, we have to spend more time answering questions like this instead of things like, “what musicians inspired you to start playing, what do you find helpful when practicing or learning something challenging, which artists do you think are currently knocking it out of the park as people and as musicians, what pedals/instruments do you use, etc.”  

Sierra: We once had to explain to an old man that we play instruments and are not, contrary to popular belief, a top-tier a cappella group yearning for the male instrumentalist who would never arrive : ( 

Vera: Biggest challenge has been playing and writing music cause all I think about is my boobs.

 

With everything currently happening in local music scenes regarding the exposure of abusers and misogyny within the industry, what is something you hope to see change for women and gender non-conforming people in music? 

Virginia: It would be great if people in the music industry were more proactive in addressing these issues instead of being reactive.  For example, if you’re booking a lineup and it comes to your attention that one of the bands has been accused of abuse, take them off the bill instead of apologizing for it afterward.  Or if you notice your co-worker at a radio station, label, PR firm, venue, etc is being disrespectful to someone, speak up and let them know that’s not okay and why it’s not okay.  It’s been really wonderful to see so many resources being shared because of this spike in attention, and I hope that people continue to educate themselves, remain vigilant, and look out for each other long after it stops trending.

Vera: Well said V. It’s so embedded in the culture. In every form it creeps in. Whether it’s sound guys or producers or bands or bookers or audiences. We really need to dismantle it all and rebuild it for sincere change. A band aid won’t cut it. We all have a part to play in that growth.

 

What’s one piece of advice you would give to any young women who are trying to make music but might feel intimidated to do so? 

Virginia: Men have made lots of bad things so why can’t you?

Sierra: It’s super important to nurture your craft, but it’s equally as important to nurture yourself and build up confidence. I was sabotaging myself for so long by thinking and saying that I was a bad guitar player, and the moment I started believing in my abilities, things became easier for me.

Vera: Drink water. Don’t talk bad to yourself. 

Libby: At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with your work and you’re the one who has to sit with your brain. Don’t  keep making room for things that don’t nourish your creative vision. Especially to people who think that they know better than you. Trust your gut. Listen to all types of music and don’t get stuck on one thing.

 

Anything you want to let fans know?

Sierra: I am a loud and proud superfan of all of my favorite bands. Being able to have even a sliver of that connection with all of you is pretty high on the list of things I want to achieve in my life. Thanks for the opportunity to create a kind community through the UNCHAINED HORSEPOWER of ROCK AND ROLL.

 

Follow Girl Friday on Instagram and listen to Androgynous Mary here:

Photo by Al Kalyk

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