TIDAL Rising: Mannequin Pussy

TIDAL Rising: Mannequin Pussy

Based out of Philadelphia, Mannequin Pussy has described their sound as “romantic punk-pop for the ADD generation.”

Featuring songs with pivotal shifts in sound and tone that produce an oscillating but understandable image of raw emotion, the four-piece’s second album, Romantic, was released last month.

“In the midst of all of the controlled noise,” writes NPR of the album, “…Romantic is less about the gooey stuff and more about everything that surrounds love — the triumphs, the failures and how we transform from the mess of it all. Mostly, it’s just a reminder to love someone.”

Currently touring the U.S., we got to know Mannequin Pussy just a little better.

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Who is Mannequin Pussy? Can you please introduce yourself?

We are Marisa, Thanasi, Bear, and Kaleen. Marisa sings and plays guitar, Thanasi plays guitar, Bear plays bass and Kaleen plays drums.

Tell us a little about your sophomore album. What do we get?

We worked for at least two years writing this album, and we played the songs out pretty heavily before recording them, so hopefully you get a synthesis of our thoughts, experiences and musical progression from that time. We hope that the album feels cohesive without being tied down to one specific sound or style.

How have you developed compared to your first album?

We’re a much better band now. This is our first album with Kaleen and Bear, so that is definitely the biggest development. Also, we’ve become better musicians and songwriters since the first album, or at least we hope so. We always say our only goal with music is to continually be better than the last thing we’ve done.

Who were your musical heroes growing up?

Thanasi: As a kid, I definitely admired Nirvana more than any other band.

Marisa: Karen O. She was the first powerful force of feminine nature I can remember seeing.

Bear: Michael Jackson and Anita Baker.

Kaleen: Metallica.

When and how did you first get into music?

Thanasi: I’ve been deeply passionate about music for as long as I remember, and it’s always been a driving force in my life before I even started playing.

Marisa: I used to have shows and parties at a house I lived at in Boulder, Colorado called The Goss House. That’s where I met Colleen Green, who many months later took me under her wing and let me tour the whole country with her for 5 weeks. Prior to that experience I had never really played an instrument. I had always felt that music was something you learned as a kid or not at all. But luckily for me, that turned out to be a total bullshit idea. You can learn anything at any point in your life if you’re hungry enough for it.

Bear: When I moved from New York to Pennsylvania my grandfather gave me a guitar to combat the boredom of living in a small rural town. At the same time I bought one of those “11 CDs for a penny” deals and bought a shit ton of artists I knew of or was curious about. I had 4 months of summer to just listen to music and learn guitar.

Kaleen: My older brother had a pretty vast collection of CDs I would borrow. He only had the albums Load, Reload, and S&M from Metallica though. I didn’t understand the hype. It wasn’t until my neighbor let me borrow his copy of Master of Puppets that I finally understood.

Name an album, artist or experience that changed your perspective on music?

Thanasi: Sonic Youth probably changed my perspective on music more than any other single band.  I discovered them when I first started playing guitar, so they definitely expanded my view of what a guitar was capable of sounding like.  They continue to influence me probably more than I realize.  Hopefully I haven’t subconsciously stolen too many riffs.

Marisa: The first time I heard The Pixies’ Doolittle. I’m still in awe of that record. Prior to that I really didn’t understand that music can sound however you want it to – it doesn’t have to be neatly organized, perfect pop. It can be an honest expression of feeling.

Bear: Cursive’s The Ugly Organ was an album that shaped and changed my way of listening and writing music. The bass lines and lyrics on that album haunted me for years. Still does.

Kaleen: There have been so many, but one very vivid experience I can recall is being blown away the first time I heard the album Ride The Lightning by Metallica.

What’s the best new song you recently discovered?

Thanasi: Usher feat. Young Thug “No Limit”

Marisa: “Graveyard” by MARGE

Bear: Ellie Goulding’s “Burn”

Kaleen: “Moth Into Flame” by Metallica. The vocal harmonies are killer. I’m stoked to hear the new album.

Can you share a fun fact about you or your music?

A fun fact about us is that we’re three Virgos and one Aries. A fun fact about our music is that both our debut record and Adele’s feature a song called “Someone Like You.”

What’s your favorite activity besides music?

Thanasi: Playing online chess.

Marisa: Reading. Right now I’m into autobiographies. SAGA the graphic novel. Really anything with a science-fiction bent. Right now I’m reading Kurt Vonnegut’s Slapstick or Lonesome No More.

Bear: What u know about Tron?

Kaleen: Following the NBA. Go Cavs. Also, reading graphic novels and autobiographies.

Looking one year ahead, where would you like to see yourself?

Completing our third record and getting ready to tour the whole world.

And finally, if your music was a animal, what would it be?

A bat stuck in a tent.

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