premiere: potty mouth's 'creeper weed' video is a vhs teen dream
As we premiere the lo-fi ladies’ latest music video, Potty Mouth sounds off on skating witches and why you shouldn’t call them riot grrrls.
Hole posters, fifty shades of flannel, and Beanie Babies: we fell in love with guitar rock three-piece Potty Mouth's 90s teen dream music video for shredding single Cherry Picking when it dropped over the summer. Today, we're pleased to premiere the second video off their standout self-titled EP: Creeper Weed -- a single about "how it's so annoying when somebody acts like they know you better than you know yourself," as lead vocalist Abby Weems explains. Just as Cherry Picking featured washed-out visuals, Creeper Weed sees similar VHS-style haziness. But this time, the band's scuzzy sounds come to life in L.A., courtesy of found footage featuring a crew of female skaters and their bewitching ring leader (who's also the video's director, Abby Banks). As you soak up their sunny, spooky vibes, get to know the girls putting a fresh new twist on pop-punk. They might share a Northampton zipcode with Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth frontwoman Kim Gordon, and Noisey's Artist of the Year Speedy Ortiz, but Potty Mouth's sound is all their own.
Tell us about forming the band at Smith College and if western Mass' lo-fi legacy shaped your own sound.
Abby Weems: I'm the only one that grew up there, Ally and Victoria met at Smith. But my experiences growing up were cool because it seemed like shows were happening all the time in Northampton. You could go to a house and see a cool punk show any time.
Ally Einbinder: I'd just started playing bass in a few other bands and knew Victoria was a really incredible and experienced drummer. So knowing we wanted to start a band and knowing we wanted it to be women only, we got connected to Abby who was just in high school at the time. It was this very basic idea of 'let's start a band' -- there were no big expectations. Let's get together, jam and see what comes out of it.
Why was it important that it was all women?
AE: I had just started playing bass and I had been playing with men who were really experienced at their instruments. I never really felt totally comfortable or supported; I felt like I was always having to prove myself and work twice as hard just to seem competent. I think that's something women often have to do in music because of sexism and misogyny. So I really just wanted to play with other like-minded women in a low pressure way where no one was gonna be patronizing or perfectionistic.
In many of your interviews over the last three years, it seems as though you've really had to fend off riot grrrl comparisons. Have you found that comparison improve as gender and sexual discourse has dramatically shifted over the past year?
AW: With the release of this last EP, it hasn't been coming up as much, but it seems like that's more due to a change in production. Now, people are saying 'this sounds like Veruca Salt or Nirvana,' but that feels like those comparisons are coming more from a production place, which I think is really interesting. If our old songs had better production, maybe that would have made the difference, but just because we had a more stripped down, lo-fi sound on earlier records doesn't mean actual melodies or lyric content sounded anything like a riot grrrl song.
Regardless of sounds, let's talk about how that era has influenced your aesthetic. I love the Cherry Picking video because it feels very authentic 90s. Do you guys have any icons that shape your style?
AE: You should look at our CD collection whenever we go on tour. We just pool all of our CDs together and you'd think you're in 1993: Juliana Hatfield, Hole, The Lemonheads, Garbage...
AW: Definitely. My personal aesthetic is almost like Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain combined. I love how Courtney wears silk dresses, but I don't dress like that at all anymore. These days, I dress more like Kurt, but with touches of Courtney's ethereal tendencies. And Cherry Picking really feels like a combination of all those things.
So tell us about Creeper Weed. What's the track about, and what story does the video tell?
AW: The song is about how it's so annoying when somebody acts like they know you better than you know yourself. For example: when you're in a relationship with someone, you break up, then you're just friends. They have this perception of you from when you were dating, but they see you now as just a friend. It can come off pretty cold, or you just seem like a different person. But the song is so laid-back sounding, I thought it would be interesting to illustrate with some sort of skate aspect.
AE: We had this whole idea planned to involve a professional skater, but it fell through at the last second. At the time that this was happening, we were on tour on the West Coast and were trying to figure out what we were going to do. Our tour manager, Abby Banks, has a persona called Skate Witch where she dresses in a witch costume and skateboards around. She had this video footage of herself cruising with these young girl skaters, originally filmed for another band that ultimately didn't incorporate it in their video. By a nice accident, we ended up being able to use that footage for Creeper Weed.
What's up next for you guys?
AE: Our goal is to record and release our next full length hopefully by summer of 2016, and we definitely want to make another music video within the next couple months. The EP is only five songs, but we really like all of the songs and feel like all of them could have their own music video, so we're definitely going to do another one soon!
Text Emily Manning
Photography Jesse Riggins