Scrunchies’ Laura Larson: ‘Nobody wants to go to a show where it’s an all-white-dude lineup’


Scrunchies Tessa Loeffler

It’s high time for women to get loud.

Creatively riled up by the 2017 presidential inauguration and entering her 30s, Laura Larson of Kitten Forever decided to form a new punk band with her “dream crew”: guitarist Stephanie Jo Murck (Sass, Tony Peachka), bassist Bree Meyer (Double Grave), and drummer Danielle Cusack (Bruise Violet, Tony Peachka).

Dubbed Scrunchies, and influenced by fellow face-melters Hole, Mannequin Pussy, and Priests, the foursome recorded a frantic, raging debut album, Stunner. Though the LP won’t be released until later this year, they play their first club show and premiere their music video for “Wichita” this Thursday at the Entry.

City Pages: What informs the lyrics on Scrunchies’ first album?

Laura Larson: Thematically, I was writing a lot about light and dark, a lot about my experiences being in bands for the past 15 years of my life and touring and traveling and my relationships. I wrote a lot about struggling with mental health issues that come along with being a creative person where you’re stripping yourself raw and putting yourself out there for everyone to dissect and talk about. I am in my 30s now and sort of talking about all the baggage that accompanies the false idea that you become invisible after the age of 30 as a creative woman.

CP: Say more about feeling invisible.

LL: It’s just a perpetual narrative that once women are in their 30s, it’s like, “This is the year that I’ll have to really start getting my creative shit together because this is the time I have to do it. If not now, when?” I think that working with women in their early 20s has reminded me that I have been doing this for a really long time and there’s no reason for me to be hanging it up now. I feel more creative and more prolific than I have maybe ever and I only anticipate that getting better. I want to reject the concept that “This is the time for me to be shutting down. This is the time for me to be settling down. This is the time for me to be trying to figure out what I want to do with my career and the rest of my life.”

CP: Do female musicians support one another on the Twin Cities music scene?

LL: I feel like it’s a really cooperative scene at this point. When I was first starting to play music in the Minneapolis music scene when I was in my early 20s, there were not nearly as many women in bands at all, let alone bands completely filled with women or bands that openly identified as feminist. Now, everyone is so supportive of each other. We’re all looking out for each other and standing up for each other in a way that I certainly didn’t expect to see 10 years ago.

CP: What is the age range in the band?

LL: I am almost 32, so I am a full decade older than Danielle, who’s our youngest member. She just turned 21 this past summer. I was playing music in bands around town when I was her age and I wasn’t nearly as confident or as intelligent or thoughtful or politically aware or conscious—I mean, I was politically aware but the conversations that are being had right now are not the conversations we had when I was 21. I identified strongly as a feminist when I was 21, but there wasn’t a whole scene to back me up, so it felt really isolating.

CP: What other changes have you noticed on the music scene in the time you’ve been playing?

LL: The language people use is a lot more inclusive. We’re moving away from talking about gender as a binary. It’s getting more comfortable to talk about race and class in the music scene. We’re doing this for fun as much as we’re doing this to make our places in the world known, to uplift, support, and empower marginalized communities and actively fight injustices.

CP: Are there any barriers to getting gigs as an all-female band?

LL: Not at all anymore. If anything, people are more conscious that nobody wants to go to a show where it’s an all-white-dude lineup any longer. I think people are more interested in diversifying the kind of shows that they’re booking and I certainly go out of my way to make sure the shows that I’m booking are the most inclusive ones that we can strive for.

CP: Have you had any trouble with fans being inappropriate at shows?

LL: I haven’t personally experienced that in a really long time. The most recent incident I saw was when A Giant Dog played at the Triple Rock a few months ago. Some dude yelled at the singer that he could see her tits through her leotard. It immediately sucked all the air out of the room, but, at the same time, there was a big backlash on this dude and he was confronted by multiple people in the audience, both men and women. It was a bummer but it was something that we all collectively stood together and said, “No, not in our space. You are not welcome here with that attitude.”

With: France Camp, Devata Daun, and Sauna Accident
Where: 7th St. Entry
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4
Tickets: $8/$10; more info here