It’s moments like these are when people are confused and confounded if there truly is anything new or worthwhile in this thing called music. This is why we should all still hold value within the confines of the internet, which is filled with secrets yet to be discovered. I’ve come across a varied amount of artistic endeavors; some are complete shit while others, well, they thrive on limited budgets, overpriced rent, but still manage to create something exquisitely obnoxious enough to let listeners know, “Hey fuckers, we’re here! Listen to what we have to say!”
Enter: Sharkmuffin, who may or may not have said that, and the writer himself (yeah, me) puts words in their mouths. I found them on the internet and made haste in following them. The band calls the Greater NYC/NJ shoreline their home, and make a raucous sound that perks up ears even at 1:30 AM slots I’m sure of. Doing my own research on the band I found a couple of album and loads of singles & EPs. The recently released Tsuki Re-Issue Bonus Tracks, which is a single containing two songs: 1. “Liz Taylor” & 2. “Your Stupid Life,” further piqued my curiosity. After a few months I finally(!) cornered the members of Sharkmuffin for a lightning round of questioning.
Who are you really?
Tarra Thiessen: Paranoidly polite women who over apologize while releasing our aggression by playing fun, fast, loud music.
Natalie Kirch: A new alien race from Planet Pina.
Jordyn Blakely: in another life I’m an old man with a motorcycle and a leather vest, hanging in bars drinking whiskey and getting the highest score on all the pinball machines.
What are your aspirations?
TT: To play a show on Mars for the billionaires who escaped from the dying earth only to steal their technology so we can colonize Saturn’s moon Titan and return to our true form as space sirens. It would also be cool to be the band playing at a dance in a bad horror movie before everyone gets killed.
NK: All of that and to also have our own Sharkmuffin-themed restaurant.
JB: I want our music videos to be watched and ridiculed by Beavis and Butthead! That would be a true accomplishment for me.
I didn’t even realize Beavis and Butthead was still on. Where do you currently live and how’s that affected your energy, creative output, etc.?
TT: We currently live in Brooklyn and there are so many bands and so much happening all the time that it can be equally inspiring and overwhelming. It’s also expensive to live here and everyone always seems to have 3 jobs and at least 2 projects so scheduling can be a nightmare. But we’ve managed to release 4 EPs and 2 LPs in the past 6 years so I feel really proud of our creative output so far!
NK: Brooklyn has a really strong character with a lot of incredible bands and artists. It’s definitely, as Tarra said, overstimulating at points because there is so much going on and everyone is working so hard it’s difficult to choose what to go see or work on any given day.
JB: NYC is one of the most resourceful and creative places to be musically in terms of collaboration, but I agree with Tarra that it’s really chaotic and overwhelming to make time for all that you want to do. Personally, it’s a challenge for me to find solitude and get away from distraction for long enough to listen to my inner conscious and concentrate. But it’s almost like a superpower you develop over time, to be able to turn everything off (including the phone) and focus on writing and practicing as much as you can.
When did you first begin recording and playing live?
TT: Natalie and I started playing live in July 2012 and we started to record our first EP only a month after that. It was actually Natalie’s first show ever playing bass! We started playing with Jordyn in 2014 and had a couple different drummers for tours in between then and fall 2017 and we’ve only been playing with her since then, so almost for a year now!
NK: July 14th, 2012 was our first show and we have continued working on the project non-stop ever since.
Why isn’t anyone in the States more familiar with your music?
TT: We, unfortunately, haven’t had a chance to play in Phoenix, AR yet, but we’ve toured the US about 10 times, so I would hope a few people are familiar with Sharkmuffin! Or maybe the government has caught wind of my Mars aspirations and they’ve shadow banned us on social media so that’s why…
NK: I think there are definitely groups of people familiar with us in different states as we have toured most of the US, but we also have a very specific sound so I find people are either really, really into what we are doing or it’s straight up not their cup of tea at all.
JB: Cos we haven’t been on Beavis and Butthead yet!
How would you describe your sound and/or the genre it exists in/out of?
NK: it’s some sort of mash-up of all of our brains’ wirings and all the musicians and artists who have influenced us mixed with some hot sauce and pineapple chunks.
And there you have it. Three aliens living in Brooklyn. Let’s all hope a new album arrives really soon!
(Photo by Thomas Ignatius)
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