“Do It Again,” the first song from Potty Mouth’s first full length album in three years, SNAFU, sets the tone for a very upbeat and energetic listen. The album as a whole captures a celebration artistic freedom that will make you want to latch onto the hooks that will get stuck in your head for days. Even to go as far as a comic book to join the release.
The band’s solid debut, 2013’s Hell Bent captured Potty Mouth at its initial incarnation. SNAFU is more polished, but hasn’t lost any of the wit and spunk that captured fans initially. In fact, the band sounds even more confident in who they are as musicians and people. We caught up with the band to talk about moving to Los Angeles, SNAFU, and how their growth between releases has fueled their creative process.
Substream: How has the transition been with the band moving to California?
Abby Weems: It’s been interesting. It’s definitely good with the beautiful weather. We get to do so much more as a band. Just anyone you meet, you can do a photo shoot or a video. Everyone is looking to collaborate, so it’s really been beneficial for us.
Moving to another place is definitely hard for the first year. Trying to find your place, meeting people, and finding a new life and system. We don’t have our own practice space. It’s kind of hard to meet up because everyone lives in different areas.
Ally Einbinder: We became a band in a really small town where it was just convenient to practice in my basement. Or just meet up at the drop of a pin because we were all really close to each other. LA is just a huge city and it’s great being close to the industry and surrounded by other people who you can collaborate with. But, it’s a big change to where we were living in western Massachusetts.
I feel like the essence of LA was touched upon on this album, specifically with the song, “Plastic Paradise.” When I listened to the song, it seemed to me that it spoke about LA in general and appearances.
Abby: It’s hard to say that about everyone in an entire city. There is a certain level of self-branding in LA. I think that is important to a lot of people. There’s still really nice people and everyone is really looking to further their careers. That’s why everyone is out there.
I really like the message and mission statement behind Get Better Records. With a good number of artists, they are taking a hold of their artistic freedom. The essence of SNAFU is a celebration of that. Do you feel with your label that you are better served being free than with a major label?
Ally: Yeah, definitely. It’s just a label that my partner [Alex Lichtenauer] started 10 years ago and I recently got involved in helping the label grow more. It’s really been so nice to work together with Alex in a new capacity. Obviously, Alex is already friends with my bandmates. We have a group text where we’re like, “Ok, what about reaching out to this person?” It’s been really nice to be involved on both sides.
Alex and I are making really big plans for the label and at the same time, we have a new record coming out. I hope that the two can help each other grow.
Abby: It definitely makes things go faster. When you’re working with a label who has lots of other artists or if they aren’t in the same city, it’s harder to reach people are communicate your goals. This is a very streamlined way of doing it.
Some of the songs that stuck out to me on the record begin with “Smash Hit.” It’s like a sarcastic take on the music industry. There’s a lot of witty wordplay as a whole on SNAFU and it feels like this song is one of the apexes of it.
Abby: “Smash Hit” came from an A&R person wanting me to do writing sessions in order to get a hit song. I did it and it was a really interesting experience. It was a good learning experience. However, at the end of the day, the songs that we love the most are songs that come from us. The song is just commenting that experience in a funny way.
The first single, “22” comments on getting older and while it appears everything will get better, but everything still isn’t what it seems. Getting older, how do you feel from the start of Potty Mouth until this point?
Abby: We had a lot less expectation back then because it was all sort of for fun and anything that came our way, we were like, “sure, yeah!. We’ll do it.” Where as now, everything is very intentional because we want to make this band really successful. So, we’re working a lot harder and taking it a lot more serious.
Ally: Moving to LA was definitely a turning point. In so many ways, it feels the same. We are the same people. We always were from back when we started the band. The experience of the band feels very different than it did six years ago. Like Abby said, there weren’t expectations. We have real goals and we’re working hard to achieve them.
Moving out to LA was a decision that we all made to put the band first. I quit a job. We all left behind places were we were living closer to our families. We’ve obviously all grown up and gotten more mature. Our values are the same.
Going off of that, SNAFU is a very fun and carefree record as a whole. Has growing older taken away from that youthful feeling?
Ally: Absolutely. We’ve been told that we were the funnest band to go on tour with. We are all about laughing. We love to laugh. We love comedy. Yes, we’re taking the band seriously, but none of us are people who – I don’t wanna say we don’t take ourselves seriously. We have self respect and respect the work we do. We never take our egos too seriously.
We’re always poking fun at everything. Even go as far as making like of the least ideal of circumstances like getting no sleep or having to do some weird 12 hour long drive. Doing things that are no so fun, we always try to make fun.
“Fence Walker”, you guys co-wrote with Gina Schock from The Go-Go’s. What was that experience like?
Abby: It was so fun. She was great because I feel with a lot of sessions that I’ve done in studios, you show up and the writer already has an idea for a song. Then they think I’ll show up and put my twist on it. She was always really cool and easy to work with. She was just excited about our band and wanted to help us.
I wrote “Fence Walker” in the studio with her and Gina has experience on taking songs to the next level. She’s give me advice or suggestions and it was always a mutual good thing for the song.
Ally: We’ve remained connected with her which is great. She was the reason that we were able to open for The Go-Go’s this past summer. She’s the one that pushed for us even though she couldn’t play drums for those shows because she had gotten into a car accident and hurt her back. She’s really interested in helping us grow because to us, The Go-Go’s are role models.
It was absolutely surreal to be on stage with them. Just in terms of being women writing our songs, playing our instruments, and making rock music that sounds like pop music, that’s who we look up to.