Thursday, December 26, 2013

A conversation with Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves ahead of the band's show at Czar Bar this Friday

Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 11:03 AM

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I heard you just wrapped up your full-length album, is that right?

It's done! It's finally done. Oh, I'm so fucking happy, it's done.

So what is that sounding like? And is it as personal as the EP? Is it as dark and aggressive?

[Laughs] Yeah, it definitely is. I've said this - I have to say, I hate doing interviews with men. Hate it. I prefer doing interviews with not-male people, because I feel like it's much easier to explain stuff... I don't really make music for men. I don't. I feel like - I love Roland Barthes. I love Barthes. And I was reading his Lover's Discourse, and about how suffering is a feminizing act. Suffering is a feminizing act, and waiting is an inherently feminizing act. Because if you're the lover and you wait around for an answer, if you're the person who's waiting around and suffering, no matter what you are, that's feminizing. Because maleness is about going out and hunting, while women are about growing things and making things. So talking about these things that involve such a weight feel feminizing and having those conversations with male music journalists rarely get me anywhere.

I've had men embrace my suffering. The men that I'm in this band with, they get it, they understand, and I'm very close to all of them. I think I'm just using this band to work through a lot of shit. In between the time that the record [I Have Lost All Desire for Feeling] came out, and we started playing shows - and now the press, and recording the new album, I went through a very bad breakup. I had been with someone for like a year, and we were pretty serious, and I thought things were going really well, and then we went through this breakup. And the first song on the [new] record is a song about the breakup, and it was a song about how no matter how desperate the breakup made me feel, that it was inherently good because it wasn't traumatizing like the stuff that I had gone through on the demo. It was actually a really healthy relationship. But it was the first healthy relationship I had ever been in, so losing it was like, "Fuck. This is the worst thing that could happen."

It turns out that I was driving through the desert the other day, and I realized that every song [on the new record] is about something surrounding this breakup. Because it impacted me - not the breakup itself, but the things I did when I was in this relationship and the things I thought about when I was in this relationship and how having a healthy relationship impacted me. And how the loss of that affected me... .

So now I can actually admit that without any sort of intention - if the record before this, the four songs, was about abuse, this is a record about loss. And the loss of someone that I thought was gonna be my family for the foreseeable future, and the loss of all the feelings I have surrounding that. And I'm okay with that. And he was there when I recorded it - he was watching me record these songs that were about him, and it was so important for him to be there, because he was my family. It's a record about breaking up with myself, because of this.

I had to work that out in my head. That was way too long of an answer. No one would ever want to sit through that.

No, we're good. I want to end on a positive note: In clips, when you're performing, even though you're singing these horribly depressing songs, you always seem like you're having such a good time doing it. How is it for you to see this massive crowd that's responding so positively to you and your work and the fact that your work is so personal?

I don't know. It goes back to that terrible confusion as to how this could ever come to pass. So much of hardcore is posturing, and so much of hardcore is pretending to be sad and enraged, when a lot of the people in that scene have nothing to be sad about. It's that conversation about making room. I'm not going to go up in front of people and, despite what I'm singing about, pretend that I'm sad. I have a really fun, nice life. I have a lot of people in my life that I love. And I'm traveling the country playing music and wearing stupid outfits and drinking beer and eating food. I'm not gonna get up and pretend like I'm sad...

I've thought about this. It's OK to perform pain - there are ecstatic dance moves of mourning, and ritual practices that celebrate the spiritual nature of suffering, and there are times when you push yourself to exhaustion to achieve some sort of catharsis, and I'm going to be dancing until I pass out and am over this, and when that happens, I will go do something else. 

Perfect Pussy is at Czar Bar this Friday. Ticket info here.

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