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You may not know the name T-Rextasy yet, but you will. I’ll even bet you BUSTies out there that you’ll have their new album, Jurassic Punk, on heavy rotation by the time this interview is over.

T-Rextasy is made up of five fabulous women: Lyris Faron on vocals, Lena Abraham and Vera Kahn on guitar, Annie Fidoten on bass, and Ebun Nazon-Power on drums—they're all only juniors in college, and they all rock.

What I first noticed about this band when they took the stage at their album release show at the end of May was how happy they looked—there was a constant interaction between all the members that went far beyond the blank stare of the stereotypical indie boy. Each member's energy felt unique, but equal in power relative to one another. Faron commanded center stage with her bouncy dance movements accompanying her almost twangy vocal style, but equally as powerful, Nazon-Power was smiling wide while banging away at the drum kit, all while singing harmonies.

This was a special dynamic to me, and it all takes place while the “dashing dino dames,” as they have described themselves, work to “obliterate the patriarchy.” After the show, I probably listened to Jurassic Punk twenty times in a row. From the tale of a relatable ex in “Gap Yr Boiz” to “I Wanna Be A Punk Rocker” and its defiance of feminine normality, T-Rextasy proclaims proud female existence with humor and a gleeful attitude. 

Sitting down with the band, its genuine excitement about making music charged our conversation. This interview is more like a flood of awesome background of what its like to work with women in music, the joy of these female friendships in T-Rexstasy, and a whole heck of a lot of girl-power-charged inspiration for BUSTies and beyond. 

What was your original philosophy for T-Rextasy? What’s your mission statement now?

Lyris: I started this band because I wanted to start a “girl band” and I felt like there was a bunch of boy bands and I was a big feminist—like “women’s rights, yeah!”—so that was the original idea. Then I realized that women are not the only ones who are oppressed in the world—I’ve been thinking about that more—it’s also about race and it’s also about class. I don’t know if we can reflect that in our songwriting, but it's important to understand.

What’s the dinosaur angle of things for T-Rextasy?

Lyris: We keep a vault of dinosaur puns in mind for sure.

Vera: We have a song in the making called “Pre-Teen Velociraptor.” It’s fun because it’s an easy way to have a brand.

Annie: There’s also something cool about feminizing a dinosaur!

Vera: I think we could easily be a kid’s band if we just took out the curse words and references to sex in our music. The dinosaurs have a kind of childlike, fun vibe to them that we try to embody in our music.

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How important has humor been to this band?

Annie: Humor is really important. I never thought until listening to Lyris’ songs that “serious music” could be funny; that “not the Wiggles” music could be funny. That seemed really revolutionary. We want to deal with what we talk about in a humorous way. Even though we’re a band of all females, we don’t have to be like “feminism, feminism, feminism”—I think a lot of people think that’s the only way you can take a group of girls seriously. That kind of music is really important and influential, but that’s not what we’re doing.

Yeah, one of the most obnoxious things I see at shows is when people call any and all female bands “riot grrrl.” You can be self-described riot grrrl and that’s awesome, but if the group playing is clearly not doing that, then don't attach that label!

Vera: And if you’re not riot grrrl, you're twee. We do hint at that with our childish aesthetic and humor, which people think lends itself to twee, but it just doesn’t. It’s not like we defy genre, people just have a hard time putting a group of girls outside those two.

Lena: We really like bands like the Clash and the Ramones as well, and surf rock like the Beach Boys, too. We incorporate all these things and I personally feel like, Annie, you bring a B-52s influence into it as well.

Annie: People ask, “Who are your influences from riot grrrl?”—they don’t just say, “Who are your influences?” to us. We love riot grrrl, but there are a lot of issues with it too; I sort of resent that's foisted onto us. It’s reductive of the band.

Lyris: We’ve also noticed a lot of bands take themselves very seriously and kind of have no sense of humor, and I think part of the reason why we have humor is a reaction to that. I’m really talking about these all-dude bands that think they’re just the best.

Ah, yeah, the thousands of all-male shoegaze groups out there, of course.

Lyris: Ugh—these guys and their pedals.

What's it like being in the New York scene?

Vera: Being in NYC has made it possible to be a band. We have a practice space that’s right next to the train and if we weren't in the city and couldn't drive, we’d be really screwed. Being in the city has also made it really easy to play.

Lena: A lot of different genres are able to exist in the scene here. There are still an overwhelming amount of guys in the Brooklyn scene who play this indie rock stuff, and it’s all about who you know, so they all get a lot of attention. Not that we’re not receiving a lot of attention. It feels good too that groups like ours are being appreciated in a sense now; that a band of all-females is considered a cool thing.

Annie: When we started getting press, I started noticing how everyone talks about how young we are. It's made me think about how accessible the city is. There are still so many problems in the scene, but we've been going to shows, getting ‘x’s on our hands when we’re 17, and playing venues! At our release show, there was a band of high schoolers, and then there was a group that had a rando 66-year-old in it. It’s interesting to be a part of a scene with such a range of ages.

Lena: I do really appreciate the all-ages venues—that’s really important. A lot of places don’t have that.

Vera: Yeah, a lot of cities don’t have that! I was talking to my friends in the Midwest—I go to school in Iowa—and those from around there couldn’t go to many shows during their high school years because the venues were 18 or 21 and up. I’ve never had to really consider that.

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Who are some people who have influenced you or inspired you as individuals that you think BUST readers should check out?

Lyris: When I was in Los Angeles, I went to this venue called The Smell. I liked it because there were younger people there than those at the shows in New York and also people were just crazy and weird! In New York, I feel like people just wear all black and don’t dance at shows and everyone there was just goofy! I saw this band called Sloppy Jane, and the lead singer was completely naked, eating raw eggs, spitting them out towards the audience, and covered in blue dye. I was so intrigued! I think about the performance every day.

Annie: I read Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein and found it really inspirational. I just love Sleater-Kinney and music making as saving yourself. Also, in high school, a very well-intentioned friend bought Lyris and I tickets to a Haim concert, which neither of us listened to at the time, but we went to the concert and they rocked. It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen! I was minimizing them because I saw them as “pop women,” but it ended up being so dope.

Lyris: That was the first time that I saw a woman take a guitar solo and just shred it and like put her leg up on the monitor; she just took this solo. It was so powerful.

Vera: A year or two ago, I discovered Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She's the black woman who invented rock 'n' roll and she is fantastic. Also, Lena Abraham, this wonderful guitarist in our band! When I started here, I could barely follow along with power chords. She has been just such an amazing teacher and so patient and okay with me not being a guitarist, and that made it so easy to be in a band. 

Ebun: For me, it's gotta be this newish group called OSHUN. They're both young, like our age, 20 and 21 and they're black females. They sing and rap, and work in their own genre, neo-soul, and they're just these beautiful, conscious kind of people trying to uplift a generation of people to understand their highest power.

Lena: I have to say, the reason I started playing was because of Avril Lavigne when I was nine. I guess you could say my biggest inspiration is PJ Harvey. I've also been getting into older punks like The Raincoats, The Slits, and The Bags—I really love The Bags—X-Ray Specs too. 

Do you love T-Rexstasy as much as I do now? If you're somehow not convinced of their awesomeness at this point, and especially if you are, check out their music video for "I Wanna Be A Punk Rocker" below and check out Jurassic Punk here and on Spotify.

Images via Alexis M. Carek, T-Rextasy.

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Let's talk about queerness, comics, and shutting down systems of oppression. Carbs enthusiast with a lot to say about living femme in this world and staying positive. Contributor to the zine Clitorally and founder of Static zine. Catch me looking for dogs to pet around town.

Twitter/Insta: msundquist7

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