Rush to the hospital and ready the maternity ward, Childbirth is happening whether you're ready or not. The maternity gown-adorned Seattle trio (comprised of Chastity Belt singer/guitarist Julia Shapiro, Tacocat bassist Bree McKenna, and Pony Time drummer Stacy Peck) has once again gone through labor and delivered more delightfully comedic and catchy punk tunes that capture what it's like to be a frustrated feminist in the current Seattle climate. On the group's second LP Women's Rights (out this Friday, October 2 on Suicide Squeeze), the band sets its sights on tech bros, Tinder, fertility, the vapidity of Best Coast, reveling in nastiness, and more with a tongue-in-cheek tongue-lashings of the patriarchy. Childbirth promotes Women's Rights on Friday with a record release show at Chop Suey that features Wimps, Universe People, and Mommy Long Legs.
For our latest Fiendish Conversation, we chatted with Peck about delivering messages through humor, lazy drumming, and directing music videos on her iPhone.
What do you feel like is the biggest change that occurred between the first Childbirth LP, It’s a Girl!, and Women’s Rights?
The biggest change was that we all kind of contributed to the lyrics a little bit more this time. I definitely did. I don't usually write lyrics for bands, but this one was easy for me since it's all things that I experience on a day-to-day basis. But overall, it's not that huge of a departure from our last record. It’s kind of a continuation.
With that collaborative lyric writing process and the band’s focus on feminist issues via tongue-in-cheek humor, how do you make sure that your hitting the right tone?
Basically we all just think of song titles; stuff we think would be funny or that we would want to hear a song about. And then when we get to practice, we kind of just shout everything out at Julia. We scream song lyrics at her. And then she will put stuff together, add her own stuff, and make sure it makes sense. Then, after we've been playing the song for a little bit, we'll be like, “Hey, what are you actually saying?” Because we can never hear it, because the PA is terrible.
Barely ever have we been like, "oh, I don't know." I know I had a bit of animosity about this song “Baby Bump.” I thought of the title, and thought it was funny. But then I just wanted to make sure it wasn't actually about a pregnant person doing coke, it was about a party creep coming to the party and being like, "What's up, everybody? I thought this was a party?" I just wanted to make sure that was super clear, because the other way would be terrible.
Do you have a favorite song on Women’s Rights?
I really like the song “Since When Are You Gay”. Bree and I really wanted write that one. All the lyrics are things that people have actually said to us or said to our friends, like 100 percent. So it felt really good to get that one out. We had a joke that we wanted everybody who said all this stuff to be in a video for it, but I don't think that'll happen.
What do you think the importance providing a comedic voice that promotes feminist thought?
I think that’s just all of our personalities. We are kind of funny people, and we deal with things in our daily lives by making jokes. We can be serious and we definitely care about things, but it just feels the most natural for us to express things in this way. And, unfortunately, I think [the messages] go down a little easier for people this way. I don't think that there's a wrong or right way to be a band or express feminism, and it kind of bothers me when some people are like, “finally, fun feminism!" Because everything is valid and relevant and still important, but this is just how it makes sense for us to do it.
How do you approach drumming for Pony Time and Childbirth differently?
I think the main difference is that for Childbirth, there're three people in the band, and not just two. So I don't feel like I need to fill up as much of the space or take as big of a role as in Pony Time. No one is really paying that much attention to me. I have sort of a style, and I can't really break away from that even if I wanted to, so everything's going to sound a little bit like me.
You're not going to be busting out the calypso drumming.
No. I'm always going to my lazy allusions, and I'm always going to play the minimal amount of drums so I don't have to carry everything, and I'm probably always going to be asking if I can borrow your drum set. That's just my thing.
What led to the superb album title and artwork for Pony Time’s new record, Rumours 2: The Rumours Are True?
Pony Time had been trying to record our new album for a while. We started recording it, and then we didn't like how it sounded. And then we slowly recorded it with somebody, got it back and were really unhappy with it, and were just kind of unbelievably bummed out and took a little break from playing for a while.
I am a really big Fleetwood Mac fan. I listen to them probably everyday. I just came up with the title and thought it was so funny and I was like I don't think Luke [Beetham, the other half of Pony Time] is really going to like this. But I was like, "What if we called it this?" I don't think he thought I was serious, but I was like this title is so good, it won't even matter how bad the album sounds. [Laughs] We did record it again—at Earwig Studio with our friend Don Farwell—and I am really happy with how it sounds.
And so I told our friend Matt [Nyce] from Wimps about the title and I asked him if he was interested in doing the artwork, and he thought of the idea for it. And so Luke and I in our separate apartments—I was living in San Francisco this summer—took self-timed photos of ourselves in the position Matt told us to be in and sent them to him and then he made the magic happen
It's amazing, and hopefully we don't get sued.
How did you get involved directing music videos for local bands?
I'd always wanted to do this stuff, and originally I tried to go to college for it. But the college I went to had a program where everything was so outdated that it became clear to me that it was going to be pointless. So it really wasn't until I got an iPhone a few years ago that I felt like it was something I could actually do. It wasn't so expensive or out of the realm of possibility for me to film things anymore because, as much as Apple products fucking suck, it is amazing all the stuff that you can do on an iPhone. And all of those first videos I made were just done on my phone. So that really opened things up for me. My friend Emily Denton from Stickers made a lot of videos, and she showed me how to do some editing stuff and gave me some good tips, and I kind of took it from there.
And it's been really fun. I just always try to work with people whose bands I like so I don't mind listening to their song over and over again all day. A thing I really like to do in all my videos is have different landmarks and things from Seattle in them, because it's changing so fast. Like in the Chastity Belt video I did for “Seattle Party,” I made sure to have them in the old Bauhaus. And the TacocaT video [for "Bride to Hawaii"] is kind of the same thing, we just filmed in front of a whole bunch of places that were about to get torn down.
I just try and do stuff super fast so that no one can get mad at me. If it's not going to look good, at least it didn't take a long time! That's my motto.
Childbirth: Women's Rights Release Show
Oct 2 at 10, Chop Suey, $7–$10