The women of Potty Mouth met in Northampton, MA while the members attended Smith College. The band’s debut EP, Sun Damage, garnered praise from the underground punk community. The band is preparing to release their debut full length, Hell Bent, on September 17th. Surviving the Golden Age was lucky enough to speak to lead singer Abby Weems about starting a girl group, the songwriting process, and Northampton’s influence on the band.
When the band first came together none of you could really play instruments. What was that like?
Actually Victoria has been playing drums since elementary school and Ally started playing bass about a year before Potty Mouth. Phoebe and I were the ones who picked up guitar just to form the band. It was kind of awkward at first, but not so much because we were new to our instruments and more because all of us were new to the songwriting process. It was nice because even at our different experience levels it was a totally fun and supportive environment to try these new things.
It was a conscious choice to be an all-girl band. What drew you to that idea?
I think we just felt more comfortable trying something new in that kind of environment.
When did you realize you were good enough to play shows/record?
That depends on your perception of “good enough.” I think most people start a band with the idea that they’ll want to perform and share their project with others. To me there’s no spectrum that decides when you’re “good” enough to extend your art to the rest of the world, you just have faith in yourself and do it.
You gained a good amount of support based on your EP. Does that put extra pressure on you as you prepare to release your debut album, Hell Bent?
As proud as we are about our EP, Sun Damage, it really is only the preliminary example of what we have to offer. I’m just excited for people to get a better idea of what we’re all about as musicians.
What is the general songwriting process like for Potty Mouth?
Usually it starts with a series of chord progressions that I come up with and share with the rest of the band. We work as a group to determine the structure of the song while everyone writes their own parts. I usually have lyrics already in mind but we never practice with vocals until the song is pretty much complete.
What were the recording sessions like for Hell Bent?
We did a pretty condensed recording process. Almost everything was recorded live in two days, and then vocals were done separately.
You come from Western Mass which has sprung great bands like Dinosaur Jr, Scud Mountain Boys, and others. How do you think the area influences your music?
The only influence we’ve absorbed from living in Western Mass is that there’s a great art and music community. Proximity to bands like that has nothing to do with why or what we play, and we’ve always found it weird that people think location seems to be a defining aspect of a band’s sound.
Finally, after Hell Bent‘s release in September, what is next for the band?
We will be touring a bit around the release of Hell Bent, but we also have a lot of new songs that we’ll be working on when we get back from our current tour.