INTERVIEW: Muncie Girls | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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‘Perfume, politics and fixed ideals,’ a line from Sylvia Plath’s poem, Sonnet: To Eva. It’s also where the title of Exeter indie punk trio Muncie Girls’ second album, Fixed Ideals, comes from. Plath also inspired the title of their first album, From Caplan to Belsize, a reference to the two asylums the protagonist of The Bell Jar is sent to. You wouldn’t normally associate Plath with punk, but when it comes to vocalist and bassist Lande Hekt’s knack for writing personal, honest lyrics, it makes sense.

“With the first record I was reading The Bell Jar and I felt the overall energy of the book and the weirdly positive messages in it helped to summarise that album when I was trying to think of a name,” explains Hekt. “I really hadn’t planned to use another Sylvia Path inspired name, but I was reading more of her poetry, and though ‘Perfume, politics and fixed ideals’ was too long to use as a whole, that line sums up the album. The idea to me is about identity and mixing the personal with politics. A lot of this record is about holding on to what you believe in, the first record was really overtly political with quite obvious messages, and I’d said a lot of the stuff I wanted to say. What was left when it came to writing this album was more personal but still political, though ‘fixed ideals’ reiterates the idea that nothing has changed – I still feel a lot of the same things.” 

A lot of this record is about holding on to what you believe in

Despite the serious subject matter in Hekt’s lyrics, there’s an unrelenting positivity to Muncie Girls’ music, and it’s reflected in their hard-working ethos, which has taken them on a journey from their humble beginnings in the British underground punk scene to playing Glastonbury and touring the world. For Fixed Ideals, the band, which also features Dean McMullen on guitar and Luke Ellis on drums, spent an intense three weeks in the studio, recording 19 tracks (which were whittled down to 13) with Hekt taking on bass, guitar and keys as well as vocals. Muncie Girls have given it their all, and nowhere is it more evident than in Hekt’s cathartic lyrics. “I find it therapeutic to write, I can only write a song if I’m 100% honest in it and it gets a bit over the top sometimes, but when you put it in a song you can’t really change it, because that’s how it’s just meant to be.”

Combine the sincerity of Hekt’s lyrics with Muncie Girls’ uplifting, infectious blend of power-pop and punk and the result is life-affirming and liberating. When it comes to political matters, particularly in the current quagmire of UK politics, it’s easy to feel intimidated and powerless when it comes to voicing your opinion, but Hekt approaches these topics in a way that feels inclusive and relatable, framing broader political issues around real life situations.
“I felt really conscious before about not knowing everything about say, the Brexit deal or Trump’s policies, but essentially I don’t think it matters. We’re made to feel like we don’t know anything about it, because if we all felt confident about politics, we would probably do more about it, and that wouldn’t work in the government’s favour. Even just acknowledging that you’re never going to feel intellectual about it is a good thing, that’s how I learnt to just get on with it. I’m never going to go to Uni and study Westminster politics, it’s boring as shit! But I know what I know and that’s fine, we shouldn’t feel inadequate – we practice our views by trying to articulate them. It’s been cool touring and speaking out about these things, it made me realise that I know enough to talk about it. Deciding for myself that I’m allowed to talk about it was a big step.”

Muncie Girls play Think Tank?, Newcastle on Saturday 29th September.

 

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