Speak Into My Good Eye

Interview: A Conversation With Screaming Females Aboard A Fancy Yacht In NYC

Mike Mehalick August 11, 2015 Features, Interviews No Comments

Screaming Females

Photo Credit: Julia Drummond
Entering their tenth year as a band, Screaming Females have a lot to celebrate and look forward to with their latest LP, Rose Mountain, out earlier in 2015 through, of course, Don Giovanni Records. They’re currently in the middle of a tour that sees them crossing a difficult bucket list state off their nearly complete list, with a great new album to contribute to the varied set-lists they craft each night.

One of their stops earlier this summer included the 4 Knots Festival on the furthest reaches of the west side of Manhattan. I met up with Screaming Females on a docked, air conditioned yacht, which I hope I’ll get to type out more than once in my life for reasons, before their set to catch up with the talented trio for a great conversation on a picturesque Saturday afternoon.

SIMGE: So you guys are going on another tour.

Marissa Paternoster: Yeah!

King Mike: I am sure it’s going to be a special one though, because we are going to Hawaii in right the middle of it. It’s going to be awesome.

SIMGE: Really? Is this just a headlining gig?

Jarrett Dougherty: Yeah, for the first time.

Mike: It’s not just going to be “another tour.” (laughs)

SIMGE: So, it’s Screaming Females, plus Islands? Right?

Marissa: Yeah! And Vacation.

Mike: We’re bringing Islands with us on the tour.

Marissa: Some nice people in Failed Orbit Records have been raising money, and having benefit shows to have us come to Hawaii. It’s very exciting.

SIMGE: Oh shit, that’s cool. That’s almost like how other countries have like, “arts budgets,” and they spend it.

Marissa: Oh yeah… I almost forget about those places.

Jarrett: Yeah… it’s like, “there’s no budget.” Then there’s no way to figure out how to pay for money. (laughs)

SIMGE: Exactly! I like that model.

Marissa: Yeah — and then, people are like, “What’s Screaming Females?!?” And we’re like, “Just trust us please!” Yay money!

SIMGE: So cool… Islands are on the docket.

Marissa: Yeah, we’re going there. We’re gong to set foot there and explore.

Jarrett: It will be our 49th state that we play.

SIMGE: So what’s missing? Alaska?

Jarrett: Yup.

SIMGE: Shit! I mean you could do that.

Jarrett: Yeah, I got a contact. We’ll get it done.

SIMGE: I think Beach House did like an “All Northern Lights Tour.”

Mike: Oh yeah, that sounds cool.

Marissa: That’s rad.

SIMGE: I’d get into there. Seems like a very lucrative market. They have all of this money and nothing to spend it on. Except you know…

Marissa: I am sure there’s Apple products they’d want to buy.

SIMGE: True… “Apple?! Son of a bitch!”

Marissa: I think we are all feeling lucrative. I mean, look around you!

SIMGE: If only we were all Apple products!

Marissa: Someday, we will be! (laughs)

Mike: But we’re bringing Vacation on tour, so it’s going to be a fabulous tour. Apple aside.

Marissa: It’s like a family reunion.

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SIMGE: With Rose Mountain, you guys got picked up by almost every major press outlet from what I could see — widespread, acclaimed, fame and fortune, etc. From what I’ve read in interviews, and from kind of just knowing you guys, you all don’t seem too interested in moving up to playing headlining theaters and stuff. It seems more to be about what’s always been at the heart — playing more intimate show…

Mike: I mean, we would like to do that kind of stuff, but we always do shit on ourown terms.

SIMGE: Exactly. That was more what I was driving at.

Mike: Yeah, it’s not like “we don’t want to.”

SIMGE: I was always curious about that.

Jarrett: I think that, we’ll be playing with Dead Moon as one of the headliners at Berserktown, and they did what they did for so many fucking years, and they werereally successful with it.

But they never got to the point of playing huge shows or anything you know? They just kept putting out albums, and sell out “big bar” kind of venue places.

SIMGE: Yeah, I think that’s the thing that people can connect with.

Jarrett: I think there is something about being okay with that. I think that there’s a constant drive with bands maybe especially now… I don’t know, it feels like especially now, but that might be just because “I am living it” of like always to be something bigger, and somehow different, or better, or something, but I feel like there is something to be said for consistency and like, longevity that don’t necessarily have to do with doing something “bigger” at that time.

But we’ll see — if there’s more people that want to come out to the shows, we’ll play places big enough to fill them. That’s for sure. (laughs)

SIMGE: I mean the ten years that you’ve been together — is this the tenth year?

Marissa: Yes!

SIMGE: Congratulations!

Mike: August will be our 10th Anniversary, and we will be playing our 1,000th show in August within a few days of each other.

SIMGE: Any plans for an anniversary show, or anything like that?

Marissa: Yeah, I was going to say, we’ll probably do a tequila shot! (laughs) Maybe in the next 1,000 we’ll do two tequila shots.

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SIMGE: But yeah, getting back to that point, I think that’s the thing that really connected you with people, especially on this record was that you are a band that prioritizes being able to do things on your own terms. I’ve seen so many..you can just tell, “manufactured” or “some label got their hands in early on”…

Jarrett: There’s a lot of young artists that just immediately before they’ve toured or really released anything have like, managers, and even labels, and booking agents, publicists, lawyers… I can’t even imagine like… I feel like it would be so hard to create any sort of longevity if you never have done any of those things yourself. Because, you don’t know if you’re getting screwed, and you also don’t know how to keep up those relationships.

If your first tour ever, you play with local band that you haven’t met before, or probably would never talk to again — like, the next time you go to that town, you’re not going to have anybody to call to be like, “Hey, who’s a cool local band that is playing?” or “Do you guys want to go eat before the show?”

I feel like it would just be more a grind, and way harder to just build long term connections. And those people that you meet, they could be friends forever — which is really cool having that experience. It’s probably the most important thing, but also people who are involved in music end up around you know?

We just ran into our friend Bryan, who we’ve known for almost ten years, and he’s shooting for The Village Voice here do you know what I mean?

Mike: He used to invite our band to play at his like, Warehouse in Brooklyn.

SIMGE: Yeah, he was telling me — he lives around the block from me. So, you want to talk about small world!

Mike: And he helped us out immensely when we first started to play shows in New York. We didn’t have anybody to play to, and he helped find people for us to play to.

SIMGE: Well cool… I’m trying to think of something else to say….

Marissa: Don’t worry about it, you can always email us.

SIMGE: The pressure’s off. Really.

Marissa: Yeah, if you ever need any more “juicy quotes.” Just email us. No fret.

Editor’s note: No additional juicy quotes.

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About The Author

Mike is a graduate of the School Of Visual Arts with a BFA in Film & Video focused on screenwriting. His career stops have included editing positions at AOL, The Huffington Post, and BuzzFeed. He regularly contributes to a variety of outlets. Follow him @mmehalick

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