If you’re looking to breakup with someone you don’t really want to talk to ever again, or want to upset your parents, CHILDBIRTH is the band for you. The crass-as-fuck trio hits on themes traditionally abandoned by the punk community, such as menopause and sister wifehood, and they're performing in Seattle on Monday.
I saw CHILDBIRTH during their summer tour at the Third Space Art Collective in Davis, CA, in a venue small enough to see the waxy texture of their token hospital gowns. So I was psyched to catch up with Stacy, Bree, and Julia to talk Sheryl Crow, astrology, and why what happens in NorCal stays in NorCal.
BUST: Tell me about each of you and a little bit of background, as well as your role in the band.
CB: CHILDBIRTH began as a side-project for us all as we are each in other bands, Pony Time, Tacocat, and Chastity Belt. Our song writing is pretty collaborative so it is hard to say that we have set roles… I guess if we had to sum it up, Stacy is the extremely mature Aries, and Bree and Julia are Libras.
B: How would you describe CHILDBIRTH’s artistic direction?
CB: Our main thing is that we are not afraid to have a good time and we will keep doing that until it is unsustainable. We also have a deep rooted Feminist Agenda.
B: Who are your musical influences? Or cultural influences?
CB: In not being afraid of having a good time we cast a pretty wide net. We get inspired by television like Pretty Little Liars and Homeland. Musically we all have wildly different appreciations so it is too much to explore, but do keep an eye out for a Sheryl Crow covers record this fall that both Libras are way into.
B: It’s a unique experience for me to hear such exciting music with content that is anything but... universally themed. Are there other bands are doing what you’re doing?
CB: I can't imagine anything more universally themed than childbirth. I mean, its how it all started, am I right? Seattle is full of bands that are not afraid of having a good time, it is an epicenter of fun. Our other bands Pony Time/Chastity Belt/Tacocat all have songs with similar vibes and influences as well. We also like a duo called Girl Pool from LA, whose songwriting is also a female perspective on very personal/sexual matters—they are like teenage, punk rock Liz Phair.
B: Why Seattle? What was your favorite city from your tour? Besides Davis.
CB: Seattle is where we all ended up but we stay because of the opportunities it provides us and because moving sucks. Our favorite city/show on the tour besides Davis was Eureka, CA. We don't want to blow the lid on the secrets that make Eureka magical but we can state for the record, if you don't have fun playing Eureka you are doing everything wrong with your life.
B: A lot of your songs are feminist in nature. But you’re hardly PC. What are your building principles?
CB: Having a good time and not reading the comments.
B: It’s not very common still to see women celebrated in the punk scene. Do you identify as a “girl band”? How does your band experience compare to your male peers?
CB: We do not identify as a girl band, we are a band and all our members have vaginas but the term girl band is absurd. We are a band. Led Zeppelin never got called a boy band and if they did no one ever fucking heard about it.
Unfortunately since we are women that write songs that openly discuss sexuality, some people on the internet feel automatically entitled to comment on our bodies or make threats. Brooklyn Vegan is a super cool website that I like to read, but they have that unmoderated comments section and it feels like whenever they post about women in bands, it's practically mandatory for their troll commenters to say horrible things about them. When our song "I Only Fucked You As A Joke" came out we got the usual garbage slew of comments discussing whether we were attractive enough or whether they"would/wouldn't," but we also got a rape threat in the comments that freaked us out. Our friend that works with the site sometimes emailed them and had it taken down, but it's pretty lame that was an issue in the first place.
B: Do you take your work to be political? Comedy? Art? Give me some labels to throw around.
CB: You can throw around all the labels you want but they won't stick. We don't try to be anything and sometimes we write about fucking and sometimes we write about an astronaut that puts on diapers so she won't have to stop on her murder fueled road trip. You know. Fun stuff.
B: Can I have a tour story? I think I probably heard some when you guys played in Davis. It was a small crowd, but you were all really personable. It felt like a house show. Is that normal?
CB: Although we've toured a lot in our other bands, this was our first together and it it was great! We borrowed another band’s older van without air conditioning and it got a little brutal in central California in the hottest week of summer and we were just being drenched in sweat and all of us took to just eating ice cubes.
As far as tour stories go—we had a great time playing with our friends in the band Slutever in LA because we DJed a very Sheryl Crow-heavy set at the Cha Cha afterwards and they were very down to dance to "If It Makes You Happy" with us. We all really enjoy each other and we were joined by one-woman act Lisa Prank for part of it and she is just a fucking treasure (look her up.) We hope that is normal, there is never any reason to not be personable and we really enjoy playing. We didn't start this band to just sit in a studio and record, we like making music and playing shows.
B: What’s the deal with your upcoming show? You guys have any restaurant recommendations near the venue?
CB: Oh man it is gonna be great. Talk about not being afraid to have a good fucking time, we get to play with Wimps and The Aisler Set and then we get to play the S Record release show and that will be amazing too. Nobody makes heartbreak more fun than Jenn Ghetto.
CHILDBIRTH will be performing at 10 p.m. on Sept. 22 at Neumos Crystal Ball Reading Room, 925 East Pike Street, Seattle, WA, and on Nov. 22 at Highline, 210 Broadway Ave. E., Seattle, WA. at 9 p.m.