Monday, June 27

‘I’m so glad you guys exist!’ Carrie Brownstein meets Linda Lindas | Punk


IIn May, American punk band Linda Lindas went viral with a rendition of their boundless track Racist, Sexist Boy. Written in response to a real-life incident in which drummer Mila de la Garza was racially harassed by a classmate, the song alternates between muddy punk and energetic hardcore thrash, topped off with cathartic and defiant lyrics: “You have racist joys. and sexist / We rebuild what you destroy. ”What made the performance even more surprising was its location among the generally silent bookshelves of the Los Angeles Public Library.

On the back of that viral hit (currently with 4.3 million views on Twitter), Los Angeles teen quartet Mila and her sister Lucia (guitar), her cousin Eloise Wong (bass) and her friend from all over the world. Vida Bela Salazar (guitar), have signed with Epitaph Records, recorded their debut album, due out in 2022, and released a punk-pop single with a snappy and concise title, Oh!.

The latter is not a cover of the 2002 song of the same name by Sleater-Kinney, the revered indie rock and riot grrrl band fronted by powerful guitarists and vocalists Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. However, like Linda Lindas, Sleater-Kinney has always found solace in self-empowerment and has favored poignant lyrics about real-life concerns, from mental health issues to feeling marginalized due to her gender. As such, Brownstein, who you may also know as one of the creators of the riotous hipster satire Portlandia, feels like the perfect person to pair up with Linda Lindas for an intergenerational conversation.

The younger band’s excitement for their burgeoning career (their oldest member, Bela, is 17, while the youngest member Mila is still only 11) is contagious: at one point, Eloise and Lucia demonstrate the coordinated kick they used to. perform on stage while performing versions of Ray Spex’s Germ Free X-Teens. And they’re clearly delighted to chat with a punk rock pioneer. The sentiment is mutual: Near the end of the talk, the band collectively and spontaneously launches into a solid rendition of Happy Birthday to Brownstein, who just turned 47. “You’re going to make me cry,” she replies, clearly shaken. .

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This article comes from Saturday, The Guardian’s new print magazine that combines the best features, culture, lifestyle, and travel writing in one beautiful package. Available now in the UK and ROI.

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Carrie Brownstein How have the last few months been for you, after the Los Angeles Public Library’s social media explosion? Describe how you felt and some of the highlights.

Mila de la Garza It has been fun, exciting and overwhelming at the same time.

beautiful salazar The day everything was happening, it was very surreal to watch. Everything is happening in a virtual … you know, like on our phones.

Thousands It doesn’t really feel real.

Charming Yes, it is very surreal, because we have not yet experienced exactly everything that comes with this.

Lucia de la Garza It feels like it’s been happening so fast. But, at the same time, the library event seems so far away. When we were offered to play at the public library, we were a bit confused. We think, “Oh, let’s do this. It’s going to be fun.”

The Linda Lindas on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Linda Lindas on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Photograph: Randy Holmes / ABC / Getty

Eloise Wong And we love the library. We use it a lot.

Thousands I go to the library every day after school.

Eloise It’s cool because it wasn’t planned. I feel like a lot of things have happened in your career that were not planned. And you’ve done so much! Can you talk about letting things happen and moving on?

Carrie Brownstein.
Carrie Brownstein. Photograph: Gus Stewart / Redferns

Carrie In the 90s, obviously there was no social media. But there were these critical rock watchdogs who really informed what people heard. A couple of very important critics, Robert Christgau and Greil Marcus, started writing about us. Robert Christgau came to our show at a small liberal arts college on the east coast. We played to, like, 10 people and he wrote this great piece about us on the Village Voice. Suddenly, Time magazine named us America’s Best Rock Band. AND nobody he knew who we were. I remember [on] one of those morning shows [NBC’s The Today show], the host, Bryant Gumbel, said, “Who is Sleater-Kinney?” We just couldn’t believe it.

I think it’s exciting when it’s not planned, because at the end of the day, it’s still your band and your friends. When you write, you don’t know that people are listening. And then all of a sudden [for you guys]It’s like all these eyes are on you Does that change what you’re writing about? Or do you still feel the freedom to write and do what you want?

Lucy We originally created the band because it was fun. We don’t think, “Oh, this is going to be a race for us.” We did not expect that. We didn’t expect to be here talking to you. [Laughs]

Carrie I didn’t expect this either. I am happy to be talking to you. And Amy Poehler [who used the Linda Lindas’ music in her high-school comedy Moxie] and Jimmy Kimmel [who invited the band to appear on his late-night talkshow]. I mean, it’s like marking a list.

Lucy AND [riot grrrl pioneer] Kathleen Hanna: OMG!

Thousands They are all so nice.

Charming Everyone has been great.

Carrie What were each of you hearing growing up?

Charming its [Mila, Lucia and Eloise’s] families listened to a lot more punk and I grew up listening to a lot of Latin music or Talking Heads. It was two different things that didn’t connect at all.

Lucy That helps a lot to balance our band. We grew up going to shows since we were little …

Eloise My parents put these punk shows on for my school’s music show. So we always went to those. And there was always a record in my house and we were constantly making mixtapes. He was like surrounded by punk.

Carrie In a song like Racist, Sexist Boy, what is your relationship to anger and those kinds of emotions? Was punk a way of accessing some of those darker emotions that are less approved of in school, for example?

Carrie Brownstein (left) and Corin Tucker at Sleater-Kinney.
Carrie Brownstein (left) and Corin Tucker at Sleater-Kinney. Photograph: Steve Jennings / WireImage

Charming I feel like it’s a healthy outlet to release those emotions. Sometimes I have a bit of a bad temper. [She looks at bandmates] I don’t know if I will ever do it with you. But I get very angry. So that helps me at least a lot not to get too angry. It helps me calm down.

Carrie And you, Mila? When you wrote that song, did you feel angry? Or was it written with a sense of humor? What was the focus when you wrote it and when do you sing it now? Does it feel different to sing it now?

Thousands It feels different to sing it now than when we write it. Now, it’s fun to sing, because you can yell and yell.

Charming We can also see that we are not alone in our emotions. There are many other people who feel the same or have been treated in the same way.

Eloise Before it was kind of angry, where we were angry, so we were writing the song. And now it’s more about being proud, because a lot of people have listened to it and identify with it. It has become something more positive.

Carrie Obviously, you now have a lot of followers on social media. I definitely know older people are fans, but are your schoolmates your fans too?

Charming I didn’t know the demographics of who our fans were. But then when we played on our show, it was great to see that there were a lot of little kids on the show.

Lucy There are a lot of, like, little kids and older people. Sorry, no younger. [Laughs]

Carrie I’m fine with the word “major”.

Lucy Adults. That is the word. Adults and children… What do you like most about tours and what do you like least about tours?

Carrie What I like the most is the shows, being in front of people and being able to see the fans and interact with them. There is nothing like it. The least I like is not having my dogs there, missing people, and not sleeping in my own bed.

Lucy Hotel beds are not the same. They always look so fluffy but they are not the same.

Carrie You never sleep too. But honestly, I don’t regret being on tour. I started touring when I was a little older than you, but I was still 19 years old. And I loved it. It is a way of realizing that there are so many wonderful people who are fighting for the same things and that they are here only for resistance and here to love music. I think you guys will be so amazed at how many fans you have in the world and how many like-minded people who are compassionate, kind, and amazing. I couldn’t be more excited for you.

And there is also this relief that I have. You always want to feel like: Oh, thank God, the next generation … You are not even the next generation; You’re like three generations below me But I’m so glad you exist.

Linda Lindas’s single Oh! is out now


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