Mannequin Pussy: More Vital Than Ever (Sorry)

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On the eve of Mannequin Pussy's debut full-length--for band whose fuse burns this brightly, 19 minutes is a tour-de-force - it's a pleasure to report that the NYC group is more vital and arresting than it was two years ago, when we first made their acquaintance. Some of the cuts on Gypsy Pervert carry over from earlier releases, but the newer blasts are as brusque as they are cannily tuneful, with guitarist/singer Marisita Dabeast declaiming in no-bullshit fashion. With new drummer Drew Adler on board, former drummer Athanasios Paul has transitioned over to guitar. The shift lends a new fulsomeness to crunchy, abrupt blasts of punk-pop.

We caught with Dabeast over email to discuss the new lineup, the new album, and the band's future.

It's been two years since we've last checked in on Mannequin Pussy. What's changed for the band since then?
The only thing that's the same as it was two years ago is that Thanasi and I are still in the band, and we still play all the songs from the Meatslave EP. About eight months ago, we became a three-piece, with Thanasi moving over to play guitar and Drew Adler joining us on drums.

If that transformation hadn't have happened when it did, I don't think I'd be talking to you right now. I long had a vision of what I wanted Mannequin Pussy to sound like and without Drew coming into our lives, I don't think those visions could have been realized.

How did Drew come to join the band, and what do you feel he adds to your sound? Did you guys know him before?
Drew approached us after a show we played sometime late last year. He told us that he heard around town that we were looking for a new drummer, and that he really wanted the chance to play with us. It was true that we were "looking," but it was by no means an active search. We invited Drew to come to our practice space that week and play through the songs with us. It was a similar experience to the first time Thanasi and I played together: that chemistry and electricity was there immediately. Drew hits harder and more aggressively than most drummers I've seen; he was perfect for us.

Tell me about the making of your debut LP, Gypsy Pervert. It's got a nice mix of old Mannequin Pussy - the noisy, thrashing kind - plus some of what you said you were aiming for back in our first interview, i.e. "a 50's "rock'n'roll baby" vibe." Where, when, and with whom was it recorded?
I was about to leave town for two months to play on the Colleen Green tour, and Drew and Thanasi kept saying that we should really record before I left. Around the same time, our friend David Stern introduced us to Andre Kelman of Oscilloscope, who offered to record the album with us over two days in February. It was my first time ever being in a recording studio and the whole process was both extremely cathartic and educational. I'm looking forward to recording a new EP in the near future.

Is it a self-release?
Alex Edgeworth of Rarebit Records (a tape label out of Brattleboro) is releasing the tape. We've been very lucky in this process to find people who have wanted to work with us every step of the way. Alex is a phenomenal person and musician and I'm very excited that she's behind this first release.

What were the biggest lessons you learned from the Gypsy Pervert sessions?
Recording is... not my favorite thing. It's too permanent. There are certain sounds I can still hear that I may never be able to make or capture. I don't know. Everyone who we worked with on the record - David Stern who co-produced it with us, and Jonny Schenke, who mixed it - they were the perfect people to have this first experience with. I'm hopeful that we'll will record a new EP right after this tour is done. We have the songs to do it, and I'm interested enough to try out this recording thing again.

How did you hook up with Rarebit?
When I was living in Boulder, Colorado, I started dating this real handsome degenerate who introduced me to Alex. Their bands played together frequently and I was immediately very shyly smitten with Alex when I met her. She has this dominating Leo personality: so vivacious and confident. The first time I saw her band (Lust Cats of The Gutters) play it had a major impact on me.

Alex has been very supportive of Mannequin Pussy, and when she offered to put out the tape for us, I was initially hesitant because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with the recordings. It only took a night for me to realize that it would be a mistake not to release it with her. She's very committed to building a strong label and putting out lots of fantastic new music.

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Death by Audio

49 S. 2nd St., Brooklyn, NY

Category: Music


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