Meet cumgirl8, the punk band of sex positive superheroes
Chase Noelle, Lida Fox and Veronika Vilim's new self-titled EP is a fully charged commentary and critique in the name of climax.
Photo by Diego Villareal.
Their stage performances are a proverbial exclamation point, one that pogos from one act to the next. An incendiary noise romp that growls at and then humours its audience. Costume, punk and porn underline the scratchy good-time sound that is cumgirl8. If you knew little about the band itself, their name alone signals snotty shenanigans ahead. Cumgirl8 could be a chatroom user or a cyber provocateur. Truthfully, that’s not totally wrong, but the New York-based girl band made up of Chase Noelle, Lida Fox and Veronika Vilim, is so much more than that.
Both Fox (guitar) and Vilim (vocals) are models turned musicians and the two friends spun their common experiences, including a shared background in experimental art and dance, into musical exploit. Then, in came Noelle, who has drummed for both BOYTOY and Thelma and the Sleaze, to complete the trio and as a producer, concentrate their sound into a post-punk influenced cocktail. Cumgirl8’s self-titled debut EP moves them beyond the exploratory, all-too-fun jamming feel of their live shows that first got them noticed. It’s almost equally as visceral, but new seduction comes in the form of playful, melodic control that allows for substance to stand toe-to-toe with unapologetic shock (as in the new music video for the song “Waffles”). The sex positive superhero personas that are behind cumgirl8 have emerged fully charged with commentary and critique in the name of climax.
Yet, without the ability to perform live during quarantine the trio had to find an interim platform to express themselves. Naturally, they went cyber, creating The 1-900: a low-fi, unfiltered talk show on YouTube that delves into sociopolitical issues with diverse guests appearing over webcam. The first episode, “Sex in Quarantine”, features the podcast hosts of Girls on Porn as well as rapper Junglepussy. The second episode, “Labels”, features Staz Lindes of The Paranoyds, Dani Miller of Surfbort, Arrow de Wilde of Starcrawler and artist Juliana Horner. Days after the release of their debut EP, i-D caught up with the members of cumgirl8 to chat about their ethos, energy and music.
Veronika, Lida, Chase, is there a cumgirl8 origin story? How does your trio operate, collaborate and create?
Lida Fox: We bumped into each other's orbits and the galaxy created itself.
Chase Noelle: We get into the same room and we say “yes”.
Veronika Vilim: We trust each other's intuitions.
What’s the magic ingredient in the sound of cumgirl8? How about the identity of the band and its members?
Veronika: Sugar, spice, everything nice.
Lida: And Chemical X!
Chase: It’s chaos contained in a flimsy biodegradable bottle. We identify as cyber superheroes that fuck for enlightenment.
I’ve read The Slits, ESG and Sailor Moon noted as some of your kindred spirits. I’m curious what you obsess over, watch, read and are inspired by...
Chase: Locked Club.
Lida: Erotica by Anaïs Nin (Delta of Venus).
Veronika: RuPaul's Drag Race.
Self-isolation seems like it has highlighted, if not amplified, the need for (and normality of) sex and sexual expression via digital exchange. Web was often thought of as more taboo than IRL impulse. Being the self-described sex positive superheroes that are cumgirl8, it’s a perfect landscape for the new album. How are you harnessing that energy?
Chase: Amplified! Yes! I've definitely noticed more horny posts in people's stories... from people that usually weren't so visible about it. People are more liberated to be freaks. And that's exactly what we're trying to do with our name and our identity in general. We have a show now -- the 1-900 -- and we just interviewed this podcast duo, Girls on Porn, who talk to porn stars they love and review sex toys and ethical porn. And we interviewed the rapper Junglepussy who talked about how even her fans censor her from their own friends and family.
Lida: The shame of the pussy!
Veronika: It’s all helping us normalize female sexuality.
Your live performances are such a vibrant and significant part of the band. Is your 1-900 talk show a way to offset that missing piece? Tell me more about it.
Lida: Thanks! Totally, I’m so grateful to have something keeping us active now that we can’t tour or play shows normally. I see it as a missing piece, but also something that goes beyond that -- filling a void of conversation that we’ve been working to portray, but haven’t had much chance to talk about in a concrete sense. We’re still just trying to figure out what the show even is, but so far it’s been amazing to talk with friends or people we admire on these topics. I’m obsessed [with the fact] that Junglepussy is also obsessed with spiders -- and I didn’t even put together the symbolism of their eight legs and eight eyes before.
Chase: Junglepussy also taught us about the numerology behind the number and its divine feminine energy! So wild.
Veronika: There's lots of coincidence and luck around cumgirl8.
Chase: We were just talking about maybe incorporating certain skits from the show into a concept album.
What are the issues and beliefs that frame your music? Any favorite lyrics that stand out in this sense?
Lida: Breaking down traditional barriers of how women are perceived and not letting ourselves get boxed in are big ones. We really don’t want to be defined as one particular thing; we’re down to try anything and want to keep evolving. Some of my personal favorite lyrics are in the songs “Hourglass” and “Cherry Nipples”. They have to do with owning up to your issues, facing them (because you can’t outrun them forever) and taking control of your own life.
Chase: There’s the lyric in “Blue Planet” where Lida says, "The gravity dwindles, can't you understand/ you can't be an ass and eat it too," but I always heard it without the comma, so I thought Lida created this grumpy character named "Dwindles" that loved eating ass.
Veronika: I thought Dwindles was a person too! Haha.
Beyond a good listen, what do you think the role of musicians is in this new sociopolitical landscape?
Lida: We’re having to figure out new ways to operate since IRL shows aren’t happening any time soon. In our case, we’re trying to stay connected virtually, create an ongoing dialogue with 1-900, and of course, make more music. For so many people music is necessary for mental and emotional health, especially in times like these. It feels difficult to be inspired when the world is upside down, thousands of people are sick and dying, and we’re literally not allowed to interact with the humans around us -- but music will always be there to make it a little better.
Veronika: And to keep us all connected, this time we can have our voice heard through social media more loudly, since everyone is on it all the time.
What’s next for cumgirl8?
Chase: I’m about to leave Los Angeles and join the girls in NYC in June. So, instead of doing the show remotely, we can host it all together in Veronika's bathtub. And we're putting out more music!
Lida: And putting out another volume of our comic book!
Veronika: And we're going to start our online shop of repurposed clothes!!!!!!