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A few questions for… Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy

INTERVIEW. Perfect Pussy has been hailed as the next generation of noise-punk, coming out the winner of this year’s SXSW. The personal becomes political on Tuesday, August 5 at Berghain Kantine.

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Photo by Drew Reynolds

Described as “a hardcore band fronted by Joan of Arc” by Pitchfork, Syracuse, NY’s Perfect Pussy has been hailed as the next generation of noise-punk, coming out the winner of this year’s SXSW. That Joan of Arc would be Meredith Graves and the personal becomes political on Tuesday, August 5 at Berghain Kantine.

You were touring the West Coast when the Elliot Rodger shooting occurred in Santa Barbara, CA.

He had a history of violence against women that was ignored by the police. how his mental illness manifested itself was misogyny and absolute hatred of women. We do a disservice to women separating misogyny from mental illness. It’s a fact: men’s entitlement to women’s bodies is a source of the majority of violent crime. Women’s stories get erased and the dead are forgotten and that’s not OK.

The internet is not a pretty place for women who express themselves.

Everyone lives under the threat of crime – women live under the constant threat of rape. I had this conversation with the band Potty Mouth when we were on tour. When articles come out on the Internet about your band, people will write in the comments: “I hope the bitch gets raped.” Men don’t get those comments. I am afraid of walking around in bad neighborhoods. I am more afraid of drunk dudes at shows.

Female-fronted bands are still odd for some people.

There have been women in music as long as there has been music. Because of male domination and the patriarchal culture, we haven’t gotten as much attention. Women have been sexualised first and musicians second.

There was a June show in Dallas at which a sexually explicit flyer riled you.

I got upset. Not at the show itself – the venue and the crowd were wonderful. But someone made a sexually violent flyer without our permission. People who don’t know our band, and make flyers for our gigs, tend to make sexually graphic flyers. But if you know anything about our band, you would know that our band talks about sexual violence and sexual abuse. We are a feminist band and we were on tour with another band who are all women. Anyone who thought that it was a good idea to make that flyer wasn’t thinking.

I still don’t know who created it. Nobody stopped it. It’s hard enough to be women in a scene that is profoundly unfriendly to women. That is not cool. Hardcore is supposed to be different. It is supposed to be a place where people can feel safe, and it never has been. People who are not actively making that change don’t have a right to participate.

Your shows are brief.

In punk, if you can’t do everything you need to do in 20 minutes, you need to reconsider what you are doing as a band.

Would that include the life of Perfect Pussy?

We will probably only do this album. I have been in a few bands; this is the one that got the most attention. Music is really just a hobby for me – I am a seamstress. I alter wedding dresses for a living. I have published my writing on some interesting websites. I help people put out records. I love photography. There are a lot of things that I want to do with my life. I have high hopes. I have been lucky. This band is cool and interesting, but if there is one thing I’ve learned in 26 years, it’s there will always be another cool thing.

Kometenmelodien: Perfect Pussy | Tue, August 5, 20:00, Berghain Kantine, Rüdersdorfer Str. 70, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf Ostbahnhof