Meet Chastity Belt
May 21, 2015
Seattle’s hotly-tipped Chastity Belt received plenty of attention after releasing some very ’90s catalogue-esque promo photos earlier this year — and since then, it’s been pretty clear that the four piece, comprised of Julia Shapiro, Lydia Lund, Annie Truscott and Gretchen Grimm, don’t take themselves too seriously.
However, band jokes aside, the music itself is 100%, seriously awesome. One part lo-fi riot riot grrrls and one part humor, the ladies of Chastity Belt create irresistible feminist surf rock that isn’t easy to ignore on their sophomore LP Time To Go Home (out not) —a follow-up to their debut LP No Regerts.
We caught up with Chastity Belt Members Julia, Annie and Gretchen about booing bands offstage, banana clips and if they’ve ever worn chastity belts IRL. You can catch the band currently on a U.S. tour supporting Australian rocker Courtney Barnett through June.
How did you guys come up with the name Chastity Belt as the name of your band?
Julia: Lydia and I came up with it in college before we ever had a band or had been in a band. It was kind of a joke. We thought it was a funny name so we’d tell people we were in a band called “Chastity Belt,” and we’d act like punks and yell “Chastity Belt!” At shows, we’d actually start fist pumping “Chastity Belt! Chastity Belt!” at shows to get bands off the stage. Then we actually started playing music, so we were like, “Oh, guess we have to keep that name.”
In your press shot, there’s one with you guys all in black turtlenecks with scrunchies. What’s that about?
Julia: We just filmed a music video that was kind of 90s–themed, and we realized we all had a lot of ’90s clothing.
Gretchen: It was more for the photo shoot though. We were in the car once and came up with this idea that we should come up with a family photo portrait-aesthetic. That’s what we were going for.
What are some of your favorite ’90s pieces of clothing you own?
Julia: I watched that movie Mystic Pizza. There are so many banana clips and so many different ways to wear banana clips. They’re perfect for curly hair.
Gretchen: I pretty much have this red velvet scrunchie on me at all times. I think I found it in this old room at my mom’s house. I’ve had it since I was 10.
Annie: Flannel is a huge part of my style.
How does your new record differ from your 2013 debut LP No Regerts?
Julia: I think we’ve developed more of a sound. Our last record was half-party songs we wrote in college and half kind of a new chiller, more serious sound. We have a lot of songs that are longer and jammier, which is cool. Some of the songs [on our latest record] have a sense of humor, but I wouldn’t call it party music.
What’s the band’s creative process like when making music?
Julia: Usually I’ll come up with some chords and a melody and I’ll present it to the band. They’ll kind of find their parts. Then we’ll work on how all of our parts fit together. We’ll give each other feedback.
What topics or themes drove the concept behind the Time To Go Home LP?
Julia: Pretty much the theme is “What am I doing with my life?” What am I doing today? I’m bored and I got drunk. That’s usually what the songs end up being about; not all of them. I kind of just write from my experience and that’s what’s happening right now.
Gretchen: We also have a couple of cool feminist songs in there like “Drone” and “Cool Slut” talking about our experiences in the world.
Who are some of your style icons?
Julia: I think we tend to match — it’s weird. We’ll all show up to a show and be like, “we look good together.”
Annie: We’re all like a different Spice Girl.
Julia: A lot of ’90s TV inspires me. They wore the worst stuff on Friends, but I’ve been watching a lot of Friends and I’m inspired by how awful Phoebe’s outfits are on the show. She has the most elaborate hairpieces — her hair is crazy.
- Chastity Belt, Shot By Angel Ceballos