You might’ve seen Mannequin Pussy tear up the stage at one of our issue release parties last year, but a lot has been up since then. The raucous Brooklynites have been keeping busy, most recently touring to promote the release of their first full-length album, Gypsy Pervert, in October. This record showcases a mix of Manny Puss’ signature lo-fi punk sensibilities with some chiller rock ‘n’ roll melodies. Vocalist Marisa Dabice will throw you for a loop when she switches from sweetly crooning some mellow tune to wail-screaming at the top of her lungs, like on stand-out track “Piss Drinker.” (Bonus: there’s a song called “Clit Eastwood.” What more could you ask for?) We sat down with brazen frontwoman and all-around amazing human Marisa to get the latest in the world of Mannequin Pussy.

It seems like you guys tour a lot. How was the tour with our good pal Colleen Green a few months ago? Any good stories from that?

MP doesn't tour a lot! This past October was our first. Earlier this year though I did that 6 week tour with CG, so my time out on the road was almost 3 months this year. But that's not nearly as intense as other musicians who tour constantly. Good stories from the CG tour? It feels so long ago now... We drove through an intense thunderstorm in Washington State while driving through the town where Twin Peaks was filmed. We ate food at the diner and while we were eating, the rain stopped and we drove to see Snoqualmie Falls and just as we were walking up, the clouds parted, the sun came out and the most beautiful rainbow I've ever seen appeared. It was total magic.

How was the October tour? Best show?

I was kind of panicking before the tour started because I had no idea what would happen - this was our great experiment and there were months of build up... then it happened and it was the best ever. We toured with Lust Cats of the Gutters, who were the most perfect companions we could hope for. It takes so much work to pull off a tour but every ounce of energy you expel prior to it comes back. The best show of tour is hard to answer because it's basically a 7-way tie. We went to so many amazing places: the Cuddlepunx Riot House in Tallahassee (which is organized by this group of incredible ladies), Charlottesville, VA (where I'm pretty sure we met a white witch/goddess), Austin, TX (full of drunks and romantics), New Orleans (!), St. Augustine, FL at Nobby's (the best bar in America), Hot Springs, AK, Detroit, McAllen, TX (my heart of Texas)....

So I’m super into Gypsy Pervert. Some of it sounds slightly more melodic, almost doo-woppy. Is this something you were aiming for?

There is a distinct balance to the record, it's diverse in its own way. It's just 18 minutes long and if anything maybe we tried to cover a lot more emotional territory? These songs came out of a more reactionary place and because of that we didn't want to aim for anything other than how we felt. I'm not someone who always thinks clearly when confronted with a negative situation and I think that shows up. It's a balance of feeling overly antagonistic and then retreating back to something slightly more romantic.

Are there ‘50s and ‘60s bands that you’re really into or that influenced the record?

I love the music of these eras but they haven't influenced Mannequin Pussy in a direct way. When Thanasi and I write it's just us drawing from our own experiences to create a sound. "My Baby (Axe Nice)" is definitely the most poppy, 50's style song on the record but it came out of a simple melody I was obsessively humming to myself and not a want to recreate a sound heard elsewhere.

I definitely consider you guys a punk band above all. How did you get into punk? What were some of the first albums you really connected with?

I grew up in a place where 99% of the people around me listened to OAR and Jack Johnson and I was just never satisfied with that sort of innocuous feel-good shit. You know? I didn't feel good and it wasn't until a late night on TV that I first heard songs from the MC5 and The Stooges records. It was a feeling like someone had lit fire to my chest... it was the first time I understood that you shouldn't have to compromise anything that you believe in to make art. That above all, music is your opportunity to be honest. I was a ballet dancer so I was used to using my body to sweat and tell a story, but the marriage of body and voice together in such a primal way seemed infinitely more powerful.

You had a Meatslave EP and Gypsy Pervert has two songs with that term in it. Can you explain what this whole “meatslave” trilogy thing is about?

It's a gentle obsession I have with trilogies. Think the original Star Wars, Lord of The Rings, The Hunger Games, Naked Gun trilogy, uhhhh what else is there? OH! The Imaginationland episodes of South Park.... If you know a trilogy I haven't heard of, please tell me. I'll probably be super into it.

I know you’ve mentioned being judged based on your looks as to what kind of music you would make. As a female musician, does this ever frustrate you?

Eh, it doesn't frustrate me too much because I'm both sympathetic to the fact that this is something that most of us our guilty of and also, the majority of people aren't actually idiots who care about this. We try to assess, many times much too hastily and based on the external, what we expect a person to be like before they have a chance to represent themselves to us. We look for those signifiers. Playing music puts you in a place where this form of assessment is so much more immediate because you're in a position of performing in front of a bunch of people who are going to judge you anyway.

I just don't share anyones sentiment of relief or shock. If your first experience with an aggressive female or music is watching a Mannequin Pussy show then you have not been paying attention. This is part of a larger movement that has been going on for literally decades. It's not new but it is a genuine representation of how we feel. I think most people "get it." It isn't a fucking trend, you know? This has been going on for ages and we'll keep doing it until people stop treating it like some novelty act.

Listening to your recordings makes me want to see you guys live again, real bad. What’s your favorite song to play live? And why?

“Sneaky.” Every time we start to play that song all the blood rushes to my head and I feel like I might pass out. Some people do a juice cleanse to get the toxins out but I think the MP family would rather do this.

You can listen to and buy Gypsy Pervert by hopping over here!

Photos via Alex Citrin and Mannequin Pussy’s bandcamp.

Tagged in: rock bands, rock 'n' roll, Q + A, Punk, Marisa Dabice, mannequin pussy, lo-fi, indie, grunge   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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