Photo Credit: Dave Kain / BITBY.tv
Our next GRP Interview features Philly band, Bedroom Problems! “If you have a soft spot for buzzy, indie rock with straight-from-the-garage tunefulness and a DIY ethic, you’ll find much to enjoy in […] Philadelphia’s Bedroom Problems.” - Brendan Hasenstab, The Atlantic. Not only that! They’re playing a show THIS SATURDAY, JUNE 30TH with a bunch of other Girls Rock Philly volunteers!
Maria: Guitar, vocals
Mary Beth: Guitar
When/How did you start playing music?
Maria: I grew up playing cello in grade school but was kicked out when they discovered I couldn’t figure out how to read music. I got my first guitar when I was 15 and joined the high school jazz band. I wish I could tell you that I became an amazing guitar player thanks to jazz training, but it probably sounded something like the Portsmouth Sinfonia. In my college years, I spent many nights bashing away at a guitar that would slowly lose strings. I played in exactly one band that never made it out of the basement. At the time, I was far more interested in arguing on the Internet about music. I put away the guitar and became famous for running one of the earliest music blogs (Her Jazz, which I still run), hosting a radio program on WPRB 103.3 FM (which I still do), and booking concerts as Plain Parade with GRP volunteer Sara Sherr (but I don’t do this anymore). A couple years ago I took out my guitars again and just decided to make some music, no matter how terrible the finished product might be. This became the first Bedroom Problems album.
Mary Beth: I took music lessons throughout my childhood. Piano for many years, and then for my 14th birthday my parents gave me an acoustic guitar.
Roxy: The first instrument I ever played was alto saxophone in 3rd grade. Until my senior year in high school, I played piano, upright bass and vibraphones. I originally wanted to play percussion but my band instructor said I couldn’t BECAUSE I WAS A GIRL! In October 2010, Moonmen on the Moon, Man harassed me via email to play drums with them. I was nervous to do it but I realized that I had 20 years of tap dance experience (rhythm always came naturally to me).
Matt: I was a late bloomer. I got into punk/indie/DIY culture when I was 17 through my younger brother and his friends, because I was the one with the car and I could drive them to shows and band practices. At 18, I bought my first bass and taught myself how to play.
Why do you continue to play music?
Maria: As with all creative endeavors I undertake, I play music because it’s simultaneously rewarding, frustrating, and challenging.
Mary Beth: Because it’s a part of who I am. I can’t imagine not doing it.
Roxy: It keeps me sane and I can’t imagine not having the creative outlet to create/make music with people I respect.
Matt: Because music isn’t going to write itself.
Who are a few female musicians you admire?
Maria: All of them. Mary Timony (Helium, Wild Flag) is my favorite, however.
Mary Beth: Mary Timony, Poly Styrene, PJ Harvey, and Jo Johnson (Huggy Bear).
Roxy: Lillian Maring of Grass Widow, Andrya Ambro and Sarah Register of Talk Normal, and the Shangri-La’s.
Matt: Lesley Woods and Jane Munro of the Au Pairs, Ari Up of The Slits, Ana da Silva and Gina Birch of The Raincoats, Judy Evans of Girls At Our Best!, Barbara Ess of Y Pants, Anja Huwe and Manuela Rickers of Xmal Deutschland, Kathi Wilcox of Bikini Kill, Christina Billotte of Slant 6, Rachel Carns of The Need, Ellie Erickson of Erase Errata, Kim Coletta of Jawbox.
What are you listening to now?
Maria: Grass Widow, Royal Headache, Big Dipper, Scrawl, Meat Puppets, Drop Nineteens, Yo La Tengo, and Eleventh Dream Day have been ruling my life hardcore as of late.
Mary Beth: Lately, I’ve been relistening to [the Mary Timony Band’s] “The Shapes We Make” over and over and over again. Also, I have been enjoying the Atlas Sound’s “Parallax”. My neighbors outside are blasting REACH-FM, so currently I’m listening to that.
Roxy: Robyn, Bleached, the reissue of Paul McCartney’s “RAM”, Still Corners.
Matt: Late-’70s/early-’80s post-punk and No Wave.
What advice do you have for young girls interested in playing music?
1. Do it.
2. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a creep.
3. Practice, practice, practice.
4. Don’t be afraid of failure. Embrace it. It only makes you better.
5. None of your questions are stupid, nor will they ever be.
6. Bend with your knees.
Mary Beth: Keep playing. I didn’t find other folks to rock with until college. Don’t give up!
What’s your favorite place in Philly?
Maria: Generally speaking, one of my favorite things about Philly is driving on I-676 West from I-95. As you approach the city, it just unfolds like this long, luxurious camera shot. I’ve lived here for my entire adult life and that view always makes me excited about what’s still possible. As far as music goes, my favorite spot to see a show is Pilam, a punk rock fraternity in West Philly that sometimes hosts shows. I think it’s really important that young people have the opportunity to put on shows because they’re the most excited about music, and Pilam is certainly one of those places where that happen. I’ve seen many fantastic and personally significant shows in that space – and hopefully will continue to do so in the years to come.
Mary Beth: Morning Glory because of the biscuits? Really, I just like my neighborhood. Maybe somewhere with great coffee? To get away from food, I like Johnny Brenda’s. But, I actually really like their food too. Maybe “all the places with good food” is my answer.
Roxy: Loco Pez for tacos, Johnny Brenda’s for shows (and brunch), and my boyfriend’s couch in South Philly for Phillies games!
Matt: Our practice space.
Why do you rock?
Matt: I don’t. I roll.
Roxy: See Matt’s answer.
Maria: I agree with Matt.
Mary Beth: Ditto.
#Bedroom Problems #Philly #Interviews #Girls Rock Philly