Talking Music with Marisa Dabice of Mannequin Pussy

Talking Music with Marisa Dabice of Mannequin Pussy

Philadelphia punk quartet Mannequin Pussy will be playing Bristol’s Crofters Rights on June 13 as part of their UK tour in support of their latest release Romantic. The band originally formed as a duo between childhood friends, Marisa Dabice (guitar/vocals) and Thanasi Paul (guitar) and have since been joined by Colins “Bear” Regisford on Bass and Karleen Reading on Drums to create a fuller energetic and powerful sound.

Andy Howells recently put questions to Marisa from the band.

How did you first start out in music?
I got my first guitar at 16 but didn't realize that I could play or write songs until I was 24. Almost a decade of insufficient self-confidence will do that to you. Especially growing up at the time I did, I can't remember seeing myself in my favourite bands. That realization that aggressive music wasn't just for men was an awakening - and I'm ashamed it took me so long to realize it.

I owe the most though to my friend Colleen, who performs as Colleen Green, I had booked a house show for her in my kitchen when I lived in Colorado and 8 months after that she asked me to play bass for her on a tour because she was "pretty sure" I was "musical." I didn't know it at the time but she did! That first tour with her was like a crash course in learning everything I had wanted to learn but didn’t know how to get the information. 

Who or what has inspired you most on your musical journey?
Like I said in the last answer, Colleen Green has been a major influence on me. I'm so lucky to have met my closest friends through this world. At home in Philly, I'm surrounded by talented people who whether they realize it or not really push me to keep creating and to not doubt my intuitions. Those are the Who's but the What's are just as inspirational. We're living in the age of ever present tragedy - I'm pretty shit at talking about my feelings but I've gotten much better at putting them to music. To me, it makes more sense to process emotions this way.

If I could hold a normal job and just go to therapy, I would. If I could turn a blind eye to the state of my country and the world, and bury myself in material distractions, maybe I would. But I can't, I'm just not wired that way. 

Can you give us some background about your latest release?
Romantic was an album we worked on for almost two years before it came out and it truly feels like our debut record. GP, our first release, was an record I felt a bit more coerced to make - I didn't have the same enthusiasm for that album as I did for this one. I saw that as more a collection of our first songs and not an "album." But, I learned a lot from that initial experience - and put those lessons into Romantic.

Romantic was a much more focused statement - an exploration through the stages of grief and the distractions of romance. The creative chemistry between Kaleen, Bear, Thanasi and myself is strong - everyone is so talented and to me, I feel very lucky to just be in a band with these people, every idea someone brings to practice is enhanced through everyone's input - it's exciting. We're still touring on Romantic but when we're home we're working a lot on the next album. 

You’re touring the UK shortly are you looking forward to that?
Of course! We've never toured Europe let alone been to the U.K.! We've toured the US so many times at this point that it's become a bit normalized, you know? This upcoming tour to Europe feels like a new adventure. We have no expectations for it. 

What can people expect from your forthcoming Bristol gig?
No spoilers ;)

What are you enjoying listening to now?
Well right now we're in the van headed to play a weekend of shows in Canada and Bear is playing the Andy Shauf album The Party - I love that album, it feels like taking a xanax and I mean very sincerely as a high compliment. Other than that, I've been listening to Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. It's a flawless piece of art. 

What else have you got planned for the rest of the year?
A few weeks after we get home from Europe we'll be playing about 10 shows on the East Coast, a bunch of which will be with Cherry Glazerr - I love that band so I'm really excited about that. Then after that we're playing Made in America in Philadelphia. Then! We're doing a 5 week full US support tour in September/October. And then finally a 2-week run of shows in November to finish off the year. After that; it's time to finalize the next record and start recording in the winter! 

Where can people can keep up to date with you?
Twitter: @mannequinpussy instagram : @mannequinpussy Facebook: @mannequinpword band camp: mannequinPussy.bandcamp.com

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