Interview: Charismatic Megafauna
"We are a feminist band – and we try to “live feminist lives” – not just play songs “about” feminism. We hope our message is clear – our lyrics are pretty overt and we shout them as loud as we can"
One of the great things about Multi-Storey, the music promotion collective I’m a part of, is that we’ve all started at different times and we all have fairly different tastes in music which means that a lot of the time Sam and Joe will find bands that I probably never would. Charismatic Megafauna are a band I’ve recently discovered through looking at our own line-up and saying “who the fuck are they?”, so I thought we’d better find out:
(((O))): So, I’d like to start by asking, who are Charismatic Megafauna and what do you think it is that separates you from other bands and what elements of your sound do you think distinguish you from that of your peers?
CM: Charismatic Megafauna is your worst nightmare and your best dream; the feeling of going over a speed bump; the noise you never knew you needed. We use percussion as melody, the skeleton as the exoskeleton. We all play drums in a way we taught ourselves, together. The thing that separates us from other bands is the thing we pour energy into trying to cross – Jarvis Cocker once said he got into playing in bands to meet girls; so did we.
(((O))): You have a fairly strong punk-twinge to your music, do you have a particular message that your music aims to explore or particular beliefs that you believe are important to the ideology of the group?
CM: Does punk twinge? How can punk twinge? How much is a twinge of punk? We’d say we are a gush and a wince of punk. We are a feminist band – and we try to “live feminist lives” – not just play songs “about” feminism. We hope our message is clear – our lyrics are pretty overt and we shout them as loud as we can: “Guys in Spandex… no-one yells at them; Sexual assault statistics? We fuck up the numbers; When we say Sorry, we don’t mean it; Theresa May does not talk for me; Give her the Tools and she’ll know what to do with them”… etc.
(((O))): I guess, an all or nothing approach to punk is a good one.
The complex and violent use of drums in your sound reminds me a bit of HEALTH, do you have any particularly strong influences on your music that you would think notable?
CM: The strongest influence on our music is a kind of intuitive and instinctive internal rhythm that draws on our experiences of being women and a love of bass, of sound that resonates in your chest, of things that make your body move. Cumulatively, we have loved: American hardcore bands, post-punk, grunge, electronic hip hop, syncopated beats, 90s dance music, a bit of disco and a handful of show tunes. We love MIA, ESG, Molejoy, FKA Twiggs, Planningtorock, Lone Taxidermist, Comanechi, Girlpool, Big Joanie, Patti Smith, Skinny Girl Diet and so many more.
(((O))): Joe (Thompson, Multi-Storey founder) was wondering if you consider yourself a band or performance artists?
CM: One of us is a performance artist but we are a band. We have played in many arts venues and have an audience in that world. To quote ourselves (!): it’s all about Context. We are acutely aware of and pay attention to performance. We have an appreciation of the work of feminist performance artists and we stand on their shoulders; but we do that as a band.
(((O))): What will your approach be for your headliner show at The Five Bells on the 16th?
CM: How many free beers do we get?
(((O))): Generally, there’s a bucket of free beers for the bands and promoters but, it’s rare that we run out. Luckily, for you guys I’m doing dry January so, you’re probably gonna have the chance to get a lot more free booze.
Catch Charismatic Megafauna as they headline Multi-Storey’s 16/01/18 gig at The Five Bells with support from Lazy Pilgrims and Dromstad. Their album Semi-Regular is out later this year