Potty Mouth‘s guitarist-vocalist Abby Weems, bassist Ally Einbinder and drummer Victoria Mandanas boast a mature sound and a refreshing perspective on an industry that has not always been kind to them.
Hell Bent‘s lo-fi punk garnered interest from labels that envisioned Potty Mouth fitting into the underrepresented female pop-punk demographic. The band eventually signed a deal but creative differences led to stalled production and no new record. The delay led to an extended break for the band, but not one the trio wanted to take.
“Hell no. It was against our will,” Weems said.
Her frustration stems from the stifling time between Potty Mouth’s 2013 debut, Hell Bent, and followup SNAFU, which dropped this March.
“We worked with so many people who said they really believed in us, and loved our music, and wanted the best for us,” Weems said. “It’s not that they didn’t mean those things, but at the same time they had different intentions than we did for our band. We really started to doubt ourselves and whether we knew what was best for us.”
These industry realities forced Potty Mouth to grow quickly, which becomes the theme of SNAFU. Lead single “Smash Hit,” a song the band released two years ago to vent their frustrations, provides a snapshot into the band’s trajectory.
“You want a smash hit/ Do you know what’s in fashion/ Thank you for asking/ Are you ready/ Make it happen,” Weems sings, as if echoing the many voices trying to influence her music.
“I was literally trying to write a hit song for someone,” Weems said. “Just the idea of that pissed me off so much. ‘You came to me, so don’t you like what I’m already doing?’”
Although none of the members of Potty Mouth are over 30, their early start and persistence on writing and performing over the last six years gives SNAFU a battle-tested sound. The album represents Potty Mouth staying true to itself.
“We just want to sound big,” Mandanas said. “We don’t want to sound like a dinky garage band.”
The band wrote “Fencewalker” with the Go-Go’s drummer Gina Schock, who was one of the few to encourage the trio rather than change it.
“She is awesome. She is super badass and doesn’t give a fuck,” Weems said. “But most importantly, she is the type of person who really genuinely loves us.”
This kind of positive collaboration is a welcome antidote to pressures and struggles the band has experienced.
“The concept that I believe [that] is most important for any working musician to keep close to them is that of artists supporting other artists,” Einbinder said. “This is a really hard industry to be in, and we all need to be looking out for each other. That is the only way to get through and make it, particularly as an all-girl group.”
However, Potty Mouth has worked to not let the attention at the members; gender to not overshadow the music.
“As women and feminists, we’re often held to a higher degree of scrutiny because we’re supposed to represent something bigger politically,” Einbinder said. “But I also think it’s kind of bullshit because bands [there are bands] that are just not political—which are most likely groups of cis[gender] men … just making music for the fun of it and are never viewed with that kind of scrutiny.”
While the members of Potty Mouth are often outspoken about their political views, the pressure to “stand for something” can become another outside voice telling them what Potty Mouth should be about.
This ultimately becomes the most impressive aspect of SNAFU as the start of a new era for trio. Potty Mouth sifted through six years’ worth of uncertainty to produce an album that demonstrates the band’s self-assurance and artistic integrity.
“We are so proud of how the album turned out,” Weems said. “We really want to be known for just being a good rock band, and we think this album is a great reflection of that.”
Follow writer Matthew Eaton at Twitter.com/MattnSoCal.