By Chris Jarvis
In November, Muncie Girls announced the release of their debut album From Caplan to Belsize, set for a release in March 2016. They followed up this announcement with two singles – Gas Mark 4 and Balloon, and kicked off the New Year with vocalist and bassist Lande being featured on the cover of Kerrang! Magazine as one of the ‘Stars of 2016’ as well as being interviewed and played on Daniel P Carter’s Rock Show on Radio 1. It looks as though 2016 will be the breakthrough year for Exeter based indie-punks Muncie Girls. Having been part of what is so often a political scene, The Norwich Radical spoke to Lande about the new album, the politics behind it and how she sees the role of political music our series Music That Matters.
Given the forthcoming release of the much anticipated first Muncie Girls full length, I ask about that and its lyrical content, and whether it will contain a more explicit political message than previous Muncie Girls EPs and singles. Lande is forthright in her affirmative response and her explanation for it – “This has been the first time I’ve actively tried to raise political issues in Muncie Girls’ songs so I would say the album is half political and half personal. Before, I would always try and steer clear of any politics because I was scared of talking about things that I didn’t know about. I’m not sure what happened but I realised that now I don’t care if I come across like that. There are more important things to worry about.”
“More recently I’ve started writing songs for the purpose of communicating my political frustration. So for the songs that lyrically touch on politics, the role of politics is the reason they exist. And I suppose in a more roundabout way, we’re in a band and a part of the scene because of the way we choose to live our lives”
“Before I got into punk rock, I was in a blissful
bubble of ignorance and denial. Listening to
punk bands and talking to new people forced
me to learn and care about politics.”
In light of this move towards producing overtly political music, we delve into the political nature of the music scene to tease out the political influence that music may have had on Lande. “Before I got into punk rock, I was in a blissful bubble of ignorance and denial. Listening to punk bands and talking to new people forced me to learn and care about politics.”
That being the case, I ask about the role of radical cultural and specifically musical spaces in achieving radical goals. “It’s hard to imagine maintaining any part of a countercultural lifestyle without being surrounded and reassured by likeminded people. It’s incredibly important that we support spaces that we can all feel a part of and safe in. I see it more as music scenes rather than just music that incites discussion and consciousness, apart from maybe when a young teenager sits on the end of their bed, listens to Propagandhi and turns vegan for life.”
Muncie Girls have shared a stage with some of the more prominent bands on the scene including RVIVR, ONSIND, The Filaments and Roughneck Riot, many of whom are renowned for their political lyrics, their radical politics and their alternative lifestyles. As a part of this scene, I am interested in discovering which of her peers Lande sees as being the most effective at blending music and politics. “There are some bands in the UK that do music and politics really well at the moment, whether it’s in their lyrics or the examples they set. I’d say Colour Me Wednesday and Martha are both inspiring in that sense.”
After discovering that Lande would describe herself as “somewhere between a socialist and an anarchist” as well as a “Tony Benn/Emma Goldman fan”, we finish up by discussing the band’s plans for the new year, the album release and what comes next. “I have no idea how anyone will respond to the album! I hope people like it, and find something they can relate to within it, but if they don’t that’s okay too because we’re really proud of it. It’s the most work we’ve put into anything really, so that’s satisfying enough.”
“We’re going to try and play as many shows as we can and keep seeing all the friends we’ve made all over the place over the last few years. Also we need to shift some records so we’ll have to tour!”
Going into 2016, Muncie Girls have never been in a better place. Over the course of the next 11 months, the band will go from strength to strength, with a supporting tour with math rockers Tellison already in the diary immediately after the new album lands. Musically, they are one of the most exciting bands of the moment, the fact that their future releases will see a more overt espousal of progressive values is welcome news. Keep an eye out for Lande and Muncie Girls this year, because they’re set to take music by storm.
Muncie Girls’ new album can be be pre-ordered here.
This interview is part of the Music That Matters series. You can read all articles in that series here.