Potty Mouth: "It Is Not Our Job To Teach The Rest of the World How To Not Be Assholes"

Categories: Interview

There's a scene in the "Damage" video where the four of you are walking on a mountain of car tires. Where was that shot?
It's a huge tire pile on this farm in Hadley, which is in between Northampton and Amherst. It's on a very rural street with a bunch of farmland. We just pulled the car over and asked the people working on the farm if we could shoot some video. A friend of ours from Hampshire College shot it with a 16mm camera, so the whole thing was shot on film, which is why it looks the way it does. The rest of the video was shot in Easthampton, in this abandoned building you can't see from the road. We were trespassing, but we weren't caught. The video was actually really annoying to do, because our work schedules conflicted so that none of us were available to shoot it during the day at the same time. So we shot most of it at like six in the morning.

There's an abandoned warehouse, and you're breaking through a fence, and you're playing music, but there are no fans cheering, and there's no glory, and the scenes are very desolate. How do these scenes define Potty Mouth?
We were originally going to use this video for "Hazardville," a song on our EP. But since the video took so long to put together, we decided to use it for this new song from our full-length. "Damage" is kind of about something totally unrelated. It's about a friend who was having a hard time, and was really depressed, and he left town all of a sudden and none of us knew where he was. But the video still works for the song, I think. People often think we're all much younger than we really are. It's true that Abby is very young, and we give off this youthful energy, and our song "Kids" is about not wanting to grow up. So having a video where we're kinda rebelling and going to this place where we're not supposed to be and we're fucking stuff up will maybe show a different side of the band.

I've lived in both Western Mass. and Columbia, South Carolina (where Victoria is originally from) so I know both can be a bit of a bummer at times. This video, and "Hazardville," both address the unique boredom and alienation that people sometimes experience in a small town. Potty Mouth was born in a small town. How do you think this inspires the music?
Abby writes all the lyrics, and she had that idea for "Hazardville" while we were driving to do a show in Connecticut. When we were on the highway, we saw a sign for a town called Hazardville, and she thought it was ridiculous that there would ever be a town called that. She has lived in Amherst for her whole life. So, for her, the idea of growing up in a small town has a lot of meaning. None of us are really bored here, though, because we all love it. But I think it makes us all a lot more creative with our time. There's a song on the new record that's all about a similar feeling. There's a line in one song that goes "You think you want to be big in this world, but you're just a small town girl." I think it's about trying to move to a bigger city but not being successful at it because of your small town roots. For Abby, I think it's very personal. Eventually she'll be going to college in Boston or New York, so I think she's thinking about this a lot.

Do you think living in a small town has made it more difficult for the band to get attention?
Northampton's a really great place, I think. Right now there's a growing music community. There are a lot of people here interested in booking local musicians, and there are a lot of venues, and a lot of touring bands passing through. When I was growing up, in Albany, I always thought Western Mass. was a dead zone where nothing happened. I was really surprised to find that that's not true. Especially lately there seems to be a lot more crossovers and alliances. There's a lot of experimental music here. You can be in an experimental noise band and people will still come hear you.

And we play Boston a lot, and have gotten a lot of Boston press, so sometimes people think we're from Boston. People think the whole state is just Boston. But Western Mass. has its own little indie rock history with Dinosaur Jr and others. Almost every review compares us with them, or Sonic Youth, because Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore live here. Abby actually went to school with their daughter, Coco. Since they're the two biggest bands here, we're always compared to them. I don't think we sound like either of them, though.

See also: Live: Sonic Youth Get Caught Between Bad Moon Rising and New York City

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285 Kent Ave

285 Kent Ave., New York, NY

Category: Music

New Museum of Contemporary Art

235 Bowery, New York, NY

Category: General

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