M.C. and Zach of The Dreaded Laramie talk their debut LP 'Princess Feedback'
by Interviews

In a little over a week, Nashville-based rockers The Dreaded Laramie will be releasing their excellent debut album, Princess Feedback. The album sees the band pushing their signature blend of power pop, rock, and punk to new heights as co-lead guitarists M.C. Cunningham and Zach Anderson sharpen their amazing guitarmonies (guitar harmonies for those yet to be initiated) and lead singer M.C. showcases her incredible vocal range. The band’s songwriting prowess is on full display on each of the 10 tracks as they explore the nonlinear nature of healing, embrace the messiness of fully feeling their feelings, and wrestle with self-doubt with introspective lyrics that are at turns vulnerable and humorous. They also work in several pop culture references so keep your ears peeled. Princess Feedback will be out everywhere on July 5 via Smartpunk Records. The Dreaded Laramie will be playing their album release show on June 29 and will be hitting the road this summer with Pinksqueeze, Teens In Trouble, and Bat Boy.

Punknews editor Em Moore caught up with M.C. and Zach to talk about the new album, working with Dave Schiffman, how their guitarmonies came into being, what has helped them to embrace their emotions, and so much more. Read the interview below!

This interview between Em Moore, M.C. Cunningham, and Zach Anderson took place over Zoom on June 4, 2024. This is a transcription of their conversation and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Princess Feedback will be your first release on Smartpunk Records. How did you decide who to sign with? What has working with them been like?

M.C.: Our signing with Smartpunk was a pretty organic thing. We played in Orlando in 2022 a couple months after we wrapped the record. We had hit up Virginity to play with because we were just loving their band. We had never met them but, for some reason against better judgment, they agreed to play the gig with us. We totally hit it off with them. They’re connected with the Smartpunk folks and so they were like, “Hey, you should really check out this band! They have a new record coming out!” So Smartpunk got in touch and we sent them our stuff. It was amazing because it came unexpectedly on the heels of having such a great time hanging out with Virginity. It was like, “Oh cool! We love these people! This is an extension of that family and they reached out to us”. It’s incredible! I have gotten many “no”s or no responses from labels for many recordings this band has had. [laughs] It was really exciting that they expressed such intense interest.

Zach: I feel like Virginity kind of Parent Trapped us together. They were talking to Smartpunk about us and talking with us about Smartpunk. They schemed because they knew it would be a good fit. From where I’m sitting, everything has been going so great. They’ve been really, really responsive and receptive. The nice thing about working with a smaller label is that they are willing to do the work. They’re not just throwing money at bands and churning them out. They expect us to put a lot of work in and in exchange they put a lot of work in so it’s a very symbiotic relationship that we have going with them.

M.C.: Matt, who is the label manager for Smartpunk, is incredible and amazing and hilarious and has been so supportive of our band.

Dave Schiffman produced, mixed, and engineered this album. What went into your decision to work with Dave?

Zach: I think one word is the answer - PUP.


M.C.: Yeah! He’s worked with so many other awesome artists we love but especially PUP. It was like, “Oh wow, this dude really gets guitar music!” We reached out to him cold and he was down to work with us which is still amazing to me. The thing that motivated me to send the actual email - and not just go, “Oh, I like this guy’s records!” - was listening to a lot of interviews with PUP. They talk often about how pivotal a role he has played in their band’s development as a mentor, friend, and supporter. That was something that felt really inspiring to hear. That’s what I want, someone who can make the best possible sounding record and is supportive of the bands they work with and that it’s more than just a one-time professional relationship. There was no guarantee that we were gonna hit it off with him or have that kind of relationship but thankfully, somehow we totally have. He’s been an incredible support to our band.

Zach: I know in one of the interviews that we saw somebody asked them, “When did you know when to quit your day job?” and they were like, “When Dave started working with us”. [laughs] We were like, “Oh, that’s what we wanna do! We want to quit our day jobs so we can do music full time”. The fact that he responded to M.C.’s email felt like a miracle to us and the fact that the first video call went well was a miracle to us. Then the fact that we were able to crowdfund through Kickstarter so we could have a way to record with him was a miracle to us.

Like M.C. said, he was more than a producer and felt more like a coach. While we were recording, he knew how to get a much, much more diverse range out of M.C.’s voice and out of all of us as players. Dave doesn’t really come to it with much of a music theory background. He approaches it as a true music fan who has been around music professionally for decades now and has worked with both big and small bands - everyone across the spectrum. He’s not trying to make a perfect record, he’s trying to make something that feels right. Dave’s been great to work with.

M.C.: Going into the record one of the goals he mentioned was that we were gonna find out what the Dreaded Laramie’s sonic footprint is and really find our sound. That way within the first couple seconds of any of the songs, you can tell, “That’s the Dreaded Laramie!” It was really cool having that goal and finding our identity, sonically speaking. I think he did a great job of it.

You’ve also mentioned how important it was for you both to be able to record your guitarmonies at the same time in the studio. What was that recording process like?

Zach: It was two or three dream days of getting to sit on a couch next to M.C. swimming in random pedals and random guitars, just trying a bunch of them and plugging a bunch of things in. The guitar harmonies are such a crucial part of the band. The band’s identity is the relationship between me and M.C. and our guitars singing together. He was down to get us set up in the control room so that all of the edits we made and all of our timing felt as intrinsic and cohesive as possible. For me, that was one of my favourite parts of the recording process. It felt very true to our identity as a band and helped us find our sonic footprint. Moving forward I would hope that we would always record guitar harmonies that way. [laughs] I think you can feel it when you listen to the record. You know one wasn’t just punched in on top of the other or whatever.

M.C.: It’s kind of the same rationale as live tracking - if you want the feel of being in the room with a rock band, you’ve gotta get the basic track recorded live together. It’s the same idea. There is a very distinctive feel of what our guitar playing is like in the room together because we’ve done it so much and we shape our guitar playing around each other. It was a no-brainer like, “Yeah, of course, we’re gonna try to capture the live feel of this and perform it live at the same time”.

How did the idea to incorporate the guitarmonies come about?

M.C.: I think it’s different for both of us. For me, a big part of the guitarmony love is my background in bluegrass music. That’s a style of music where harmony on the melody is very important. In a traditional fiddle tune, it’ll be an “AABA” structure and on the final “A” the mandolin and fiddle will be playing the melody and harmony and everything else drops out. The strong melodies and the lead melodic instruments playing together in harmony is something that I’ve grown up with. When Zach introduced me to Weezer and power-pop and electric guitar music it was like, “Oh yeah! I really like it when they do the harmony thing!”

Zach: That’s a good question. When we tell people that we sound like Cheap Trick or the Allman Brothers, that’s not what either of us listened to growing up. It wasn’t this thing that we very intentionally took. We really liked it when Rozwell Kid did it and have loved working with Adam Meisterhans in the past. I think that part of it was some of their influence but for me, it’s more of a personal thing of recognizing this shared vision with the band, with M.C., and this being a way that we can both share the spotlight.

I’ve always had a tough time with improvisation. [laughs] The fact that M.C. and I get to know exactly what we wanna say and we get to say it together and not have it be like, “Oh, this is Zach’s moment” but, “This is our moment” feels very true to the extrovert in me and to the person who would rather share those big moments with a friend and ally than have it be too - for lack of a better word, masturbatory. [laughs] I feel like that is actually a good word for it in guitar music because that’s how it always is. Something that separates us is that we’re making fun of that traditional machismo sort of thing.

You’ve mentioned working with Adam of Rozwell Kid before and he has a writing credit on “Birmingham Bulls Win!” How did the idea to co-write a song together come about?

M.C.: He has been a part of the Dreaded Laramie’s creative apparatus for a little while now. Everything else we’ve put out to this point he's produced and he also co-wrote the second EP. He was a co-writer when the songs were in an in-between phase and we developed a more robust co-writing relationship between the Everything A Girl Could Ask EP and this record. He actually has co-written a bunch of songs with me that were in contention for the record. He’s been around for a while. He’s awesome and very inspirational to work with and easy to work with.

That song in particular is based on a book that he recommended to me and insights from it. It’s called Healing Through the Dark Emotions by Miriam Greenspan, highly recommend. Everyone should read it. [laughs] He’s been also an incredible friend, ally, and supporter of the band and has given us a lot of great advice along the way.

In that song you talk about intellectualizing and hiding your emotions. What do you do when you realize you’re starting to do this?

M.C.: I was just doing this on the drive to where I am right now! The book is a guide to what to do in those situations. It’s all about how to actually feel the feelings that you’re having and recognize that you’re feeling them instead of saying, “I shouldn’t be feeling this thing” or “I’m not feeling this thing” or “I’m not the kind of person who does feel this thing” or straight up ignoring this stuff. The original title of the song was “Alexithymia” which means not having the words for the thing you’re feeling - so many people have this - but that was too wordy so it left the song. [laughs] I think finding words can become intellectualizing in itself.

The helpful thing for me - based on my reading of this book and therapy and other coping mechanisms - is to take a beat, sit back, and recognize a physical sensation. To go, “Oh, I’m feeling tight in my chest” or “I feel this hot sense of dread in my face” or something like that, and then to go, “Ok, what is this?” This is still kind of intellectual but I like to go, “What are the things that this could possibly be that I would be ashamed to say or to admit to people? Ok, here’s an inventory of emotions”. I also have this awesome app called How We Feel that I highly recommend! It’s a big visual chart of emotions and it asks you three times a day to check in. So three times a day I get the notification and open the app and scroll around and go like, “Huh, how am I feeling?” Having little daily practices like that is helpful. I’m sorry for the incredibly self-indulgent nature of this remark. [laughs] Wow, what a place of privilege to be like, “Here are the many ways I spend hours thinking about how to identify my emotions”.

It’s a hard thing to do. You have to start somewhere.

M.C.: Thank you for the validation. [laughs] Is that kind of thing something that is relatable to either of you - hiding behind something or not really having the words for it?

Oh yeah, 100%.

Zach: When I start to have incredibly strong feelings about something it’s important for me to have them but not have them in the driver’s seat. That’s how I think of it. It’s like, “Ok, if I can communicate how I’m feeling using words, not tone, then I can communicate these feelings”. I’m not showing you how I feel and if I’m able to tell you, then that’s ideal. But again, I fall short of that so much. I feel like that’s what M.C. was describing, not feeling like you have the words to effectively communicate what it is that is going on there. I definitely relate to it and I think it’s why “Birmingham Bulls” is a powerful song. In the studio, there was a lot of tension around what the aesthetic of the song should be.

M.C.: More than any other song on the record.

Zach: It’s only just now clicking from you asking this question that it’s strangely apt for the song’s subject material. It’s this thing that is like, “To me, it’s kind of wistful. Well to me, it’s kind of frustrated and frantic”. I think it kind of ended up in a place that hits all of that in a way. It’s frantic and urgent but also very pensive and sweet at moments and dirty at other moments. It’s interesting that you’re even pointing out that song because I feel like that is the only one that we've never played live from the record to my knowledge. It would be funny to see if people latch on to that one, I’ll have to make sure I remember how to play it. [laughs] We are going to play it at our album release show.

M.C.: We have played it live one time! We had a reverse album release show and right before we went in to record the album we invited a bunch of our friends to come to our practice space in my basement. We played the album top to bottom in the order we thought it was going to be in before we recorded it. People always do the album release but how often do you get to do something that’s like, “We’re about to do this thing. Thank you for helping us get to the point where we can do it”? We did play it then and it sounded super, super different.

Would you say that’s the song that has changed the most while working on the album?

M.C.: No, I wouldn’t but it’s up there. I’d say it’s tied with “Communion” which was written in 2016 and played live back then in a very different way. Maybe I’m just saying that because that’s the song with the longest journey. It has been edited and changed the most and has had the most different people playing it. “Birmingham Bulls” changed very drastically and “Communion” was a long, wandering, meandering journey. They share the superlative for "most changed" to me.

Zach: “Where’s My Crystal Ball?” had a fair bit of shaping too.

M.C.: Yeah, totally.

Zach: One of the things that was so great about working with Dave in this process was that in a lot of places he let us just run like, “Yeah, I guess that’s what the song is” but if he felt strongly about sections of a song, he'd help us shape them. We had gotten these songs pretty tightly rehearsed because we wanted to make sure it was really good for Dave Schiffman. For him to come in and be like, “Hmmm, that section. Mehh” was like, “Ok, let me just shift the muscle memory here”. [laughs] He really, really added a lot and did things that as a band we wouldn’t have thought to do. I think one of the biggest strengths of having a producer is having someone with that outside perspective who can bring a lot of extra experience. We had shaped the songs the way we wanted and then at the last minute, he came in and breathed new life into them.

How would you describe your songwriting process overall?

M.C.: Seamless with no tension or controversy. [laughs] For this record either me or me and Adam would work on a skeleton of a song with melodies, lyrics, and a basic harmonic structure. Then we’d get a voice memo of that and send those to the band in bunches. We decided together which ones were the most exciting and then developed those. In the development, the structure might get totally torn apart and reformed. In many songs, Zach writes a solo, adds different parts, and brings a totally new harmonic structure to the songs. There’s three phases. There’s the front-end stuff where it’s just me getting a stick figure of a song and then we all work on it together in longer intensive sessions. There’s certainly more editing and changing and rearranging in pre-production and in the actual studio. Those are the steps.

Zach: M.C. - to gush about her real quick - is a genuine creative force. There are some songs on this record that are remarkably very close to the way M.C. originally wrote them with just some minor structural changes. When she has a section of a song where she’s like, “Yeah, I was thinking something kind of like this”, I’ll go home and try to write something on MuseScore that fits what she’s saying. Then I come back to M.C. and I hope and pray it’s something she likes and something that gets her excited. So far there’s been a lot of solos that I’ve written that have done that which is awesome. I’ve found a role in getting to add some fun guitar spice there. The lyrics and melody are all M.C. who has spent a lifetime honing her craft, has those bluegrass roots, and progressively has been writing more and more songs. I’ve known her since 2014 and it’s been fun to watch her mature and grow up as a songwriter and continue to get better and better at it.

M.C.: Unfortunately not as a person though.


M.C.: One day maybe.

I’m sure there’s been some growth.

M.C.: One would hope. If the songs can, that’s enough for me. [laughs]

Throughout the album you highlight the nonlinear nature of healing. Did you have a song that was the most cathartic to write?

M.C.: I think that’s a tie as well between the first two songs on the record - “Mess” and “Breakup Songs”. Both in different ways. “Mess” was super cathartic to write and it started a few years prior. December 2019 is when that song started and it started as a lullaby. Flash forward three years later to 2022 and it became a chaotic rage-filled odyssey into feeling and being shameless about what the feeling is. It was so frustrating and I couldn’t figure it out for years but then it became a total expression which was awesome. That one is, for me anyway, the most cathartic one to play live. I get to totally lay into it and let loose. I always feel the most myself and it gets the most out of my range.

”Breakup Songs” was another very cathartic one to write. It came together in a matter of a couple hours during an afternoon and was specifically an attempt to try and write a song that I thought my ex would hate or that I would be embarrassed to show him. It was like, “Oh yeah, this is what liberation feels like! I can do that kind of hokey melodic thing and it’s cool! It’s not something to be ashamed of!” The whole record is cathartic in its own right but those two in particular have a special place for me for sure.

I don’t think “Breakup Songs” sounds cheesy.

M.C.: Thank you! It felt kind of show tune-y or something trying to do the big stops in the verse and fit a lot of words in. It’s fun and I’m glad it doesn’t sound corny.

Zach: Dang, I was going for cheesy! We’ve got to scrap it and start over.


The next record is a complete show tune extravaganza.

M.C.: When we were recording some new stuff with Dave in March in Toronto, I was doing vocals for one song and there was one point where I finished a take and he came on the mic from the control room, and was like, “You’ve gotta do it less Broadway!” [laughs] We’ve tried, we’ve failed. But maybe the next album will be show tunes.

Zach: The New York Broadway, not the Nashville one.

M.C.: So true! [laughs]

There’s a Nashville Broadway?

M.C.: It’s the name of the street with all the honky tonks and drinking and debauchery.

Zach: Where all the tourists go.

M.C.: Cowboy hats, bachelorette parties.

Zach: Pedal taverns. Everything you go to Nashville for.

On “Fishnets” you talk about writing your Morning Pages and there’s a reference to On Cinema at the Cinema. What impact has The Artist’s Way had on you?

M.C.: Gosh, it has been massive for me just in how I approach failure. I was gonna say creativity but it feels like failure is the more overarching theme that creativity is under the umbrella of. It’s very inspiring for having perseverance and for valuing practice over product. The Morning Pages are a great example. It’s not about what it says on the pages, it doesn’t matter what it says. God forbid you show it to anyone, you’re not even supposed to look at it yourself before it’s been at least six months. It’s not about what you get out of it, it’s about being comfortable in bringing yourself to act.

The reason I say failure is the thing that The Artist’s Way impacts for me is because a lot of the time - at least the way Julia Cameron puts it - the hesitance to sit down and actually start writing even something like a journal, much less a song or a screenplay or any kind of art, is out of fear of shame or fear of rejection. Like, “I’m going to make this thing and someone is going to tell me, ‘How dare you create this thing? How dare you express this part of yourself?’” even if it’s in the most well-meaning way. An example that Julia Cameron gives is parents who are trying to help their child’s preservation and want to say, “We care about you. We love you. We want to protect you so don’t do that kind of thing out in the world”. That can be really creatively scarring and that is its own kind of failure. This doesn't apply to my parents, I want to make that clear. They’ve been very supportive.

Airing stuff out and uncovering it and being willing to do the thing regardless of how the product turns out is the message of The Artist’s Way to me. She describes this analogy for what doing The Artist’s Way is, which is finally taking the step to bring your festering wound that you’ve been ignoring to a doctor. It feels like that. Having the courage to get the things that you don’t want to acknowledge out in the open and do the thing anyway, has really informed the way I approach a lot of stuff in life. This is a book that I’ve taught to students in philosophy classes because I think it is a real work of practical philosophy. It’s impacted my life from my art to my job to the way I operate as a person emotionally in the world. It feels a little culty at times but only in good ways or in useful ways so far anyway. If it’s cultish, it’s a very inclusive and uplifting one.

It’s one of the good ones!

M.C.: Yeah, it’s one of the many good cults.

Maybe the only good one.

M.C.: [laughs] Very possibly.

What inspired the “Call me Ayaka” reference?

M.C.: On Cinema at the Cinema is a great web series that Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington do together where they review fake films. I was in a phase of being really into it as I was going through this breakup. There’s this whole recurring bit where Tim Heidecker‘s wife in the show, Ayaka, leaves him and goes back home to Japan and never comes back. Each of the episodes features him begging Ayaka to call him back. I was watching that as I was in the thick of a slow burn of a breakup. You know when you’re going through something, sometimes the most random things will hit hard at times you don’t expect? For whatever reason, that was the thing at one point. Damn, come on Ayaka, call him! [laughs] It felt very relatable.

It’s just such a great show and deserved a place on the record for the impact it had on my life at the time. I feel like in a lot of ways lyrically, one of the themes of the album is a collection of the media I was consuming at the time whether it’s TV shows or books or what have you. We’ve got a nice Futurama reference on “Where’s My Crystal Ball?” as well. Those kinds of things are scattered across the record.

Zach: This album is our festering wound that we are finally taking to the doctor. [laughs]

M.C.: Yeah. [laughs]

In the video for “Fishnets” the board you use to play hangman with the audience also makes an appearance. How did playing hangman live start?

Zach: I think I’m mixing up the timeline here but I thought it was part of the conversation where we were like, “Alright guys, we need to find a good bit”. I really wanted us to do animal sounds and force the audience to be like, “Let me hear you say oink!” “Oink!” “What sound does the cow make?” “Moo!” Just something really, really stupid and juvenile like that. [laughs] Somebody thought of a better one which was the hangman bit.

One thing that I’ve realized about being in a band is you can be really, really good at coming up with bits but none of that matters unless there is somebody there who is like, “Alright, we’re doing that one!” [laughs] None of the ideas for these stupid things matter until M.C. is dropping $50 at Staples for a big-ass board that we’re trying to figure out how to get in the van and being like, “How do we store something like this?” Then scoping out every single venue to be like, “Where do we hide this so that people don’t know it’s coming? So people are shocked and awed when M.C. runs offstage to grab it?” There are still people who come up to us and are like, “I can’t wait to see what the hangman is tonight!” [laughs] We don’t even really do it anymore because we don’t want to just be the hangman band. We don’t want to have the gimmick define us, we want to define the gimmick.

M.C.: The last time we did hangman live was at Fest last year and then we were like, “Alright, that’s a good chance to hang it up” - pun intended. We ran into the guy who runs the festival at our gig the day before in Gainesville and he was like, “So what’s the hangman gonna be?” and we were like, “Dude, we don’t do that anymore”. He was like, “Will you if I get the stuff for it?” So hangman made a one-time reappearance due to popular demand because someone brought the materials for us. I’ll say it - if people wanna bring the materials for hangman, I’m happy to make it a part of our set as long as we don’t have to worry about making sure to pack it up every night. [laughs]

That’s the band rider, you just need a big pad of paper and a marker.

M.C.: It’s such an inconvenient piece of technology. I guess technology is maybe a weird word for it. It’s like, “This thing shouldn’t exist”. It’s useful for playing hangman at a gig and maybe some other stuff. They get messy and crinkled up and messed up so fast. [laughs]

Zach: Surprisingly too we’ve left it at places. When people were expecting it, we’ve been like, “Where is the board?? Oh man, do we have to drop $50 at Staples again for this?” and at the time it was like, “Yeah, we have to”. It is good that the bit is dead, financially for us. [laughs]

M.C.: I think there’s been four generations of hangman pads.

That’s wild! Is the one in the video the last one or was it special for the video?

M.C.: I think it’s unintentionally in the video. [laughs] We were filming in our practice space and we happened to have a couple of the hangman sheets posted around in my basement. I think it was one of those. That video is so packed to the brim with inside jokes, some of which, evidently, I didn’t even realize were in the video. [laughs] That music video is my favourite one that we have precisely because there are so many little details that you would only get or would only make sense if you either followed the band a lot more closely than would make sense for anyone to do or if you were in the band.

Do you have a favourite inside joke that made it in?

M.C.: I’m excited to hear what Zach’s answer for this is! I think for me, it’s that our rearview mirror mascot, Megamilk, makes a cameo appearance. [laughs] We found her at a truck stop in Arkansas in 2021 or 2022. It’s kind of embarrassing and horrific that she has stuck around and made such a place in the band for herself. She comes in all our tour vehicles and has her own dedicated special voice that we talk for her as. Maybe this is too much information. [laughs] It makes me really happy that she got a close-up in the video.

Zach: Don’t make me do the voice. [laughs] Megamilk is the hero of that story for sure. I was also happy that the guitar from the cover of Princess Feedback made it on there. It’s crazy. Remarkably it still works! M.C. can still play it and I will potentially play it at the album release gig. [laughs]

M.C.: Maybe even on tour!

Zach: I thought you said maybe even on fire! [laughs]

M.C.: Maybe that too. Why not?

Zach: That would be sick! I’m glad that one got to be in there for the bathroom scene.

The “save the guitar” moment at the end is perfect!

M.C.: Oh yeah! I was singing the wrong lyrics to a Frankie Cosmos song that I love. I should’ve said, “Spare the guitar” which is the name of the song but I sang it wrong. [laughs] I’m very glad that remained in there too.

Your video for “Life Is Funny” has members of Virginity throwing eggs at the band from off-screen. How did the idea for the video come about?

M.C.: At one point we were doing promo photos and everyone had their own special prop that was part of their individual shots. For my shot, the band threw eggs at me and that was photographed. The inside label of side A on the vinyl version of the record is a photo of me getting hit in the face with an egg. That was already in the works and then we were like, “Oh yeah, this feels really indicative of the ideas and feelings of ‘Life Is Funny’”. That kind of yellow eggy aesthetic felt related to the song in a sensory way.

We were in a pinch to get some kind of visual thing together and it was like, “Well, what if we just did that except it’s the whole band that gets pegged with eggs?” [laughs] Virginity was down so it was a blast. It happened after a gig in Charleston. We finished the gig at midnight, drove from Charleston to Savannah, and then they pelted us with eggs for 10 minutes at 2 in the morning on a dock. It was a very surreal, exhausting evening but very fun.

Zach: One of the people who was also throwing the eggs was M.C.’s brother, who had by far the best aim and the best athleticism out of any of the Virginity guys. [laughs]

M.C.: William and Jim were pretty neck and neck. Nothing against Casey or Jordan but there was a little bit of a discrepancy in aim.

Zach: Chris was asleep.

M.C.: Let the record show that Chris Pfister did not support the Dreaded Laramie.


M.C.: But he really did at trivia a couple of nights later. So all it balanced out.

Both of the videos are kind of linked by Chris Hansen of To Catch a Predator. Did you ever get your $82.90 back?

M.C.: I don’t know if we’re allowed to comment on this.


M.C.: He’s pretty litigious. I forget that’s a part of those videos, no one has asked us about it yet. [laughs] I have to unfortunately refrain from further comment for self-preservation’s sake.

Your album release show is June 29 and you have a big summer of touring including US dates with Pinksqueeze, Teens In Trouble, and Bat Boy. What are you looking forward to the most about these shows?

Zach: It’s gonna sound kinda skeevy but my answer is: I’m really excited for our new merch. Up until this point we’ve done all of our merch on our own which is awesome. I say “our” meaning mostly M.C. with me helping out whenever I can be available. [laughs] I love the merch that we have but it is a very home-grown, grassroots kind of thing. With this album release, we now have Smartpunk helping us with the merch side of things and so we’re going to have a way more professional setup for these tours.

One of the spots we’re playing is Denver, which is my hometown. I’m really excited for friends and family in Denver to come out. That show happens the day after our album release. I’m really, really excited to have a totally fresh batch of merch to sell and to share with friends and family along the way. I’m also excited to truly - and this is an expression I’m taking from M.C. - live in the world of the album for the next few months. Even though we’ve been thinking about it for coming up on a year and a half now, it’s different to be able to finally share it with people. That’s going to be the payoff for all of the work we’ve put into it.

M.C.: This is a pretty specific answer but I am really, really excited for our show with Pinksqueeze in Olympia on July 13. It’s just the two of us band-wise and we’re playing at the Capitol Theater in Olympia which is gonna be sweet. We’re opening for the movie 9 to 5. [laughs] That’s gonna be amazing! Anna, the bassist for Pinksqueeze, works for the Olympia Film Society, and the Capitol Theater is kind of involved in that. We’ve never played in Washington State and we’ve never gotten up to the Pacific Northwest before. Pinksqueeze are great friends who we love. It’s gonna be really, really cool to travel with them. It’s going to be really cool to be with them, especially seeing Anna in her element in Washington State. I’m excited to play in a place we haven’t played before with friends we’ve been dying to tour with forever and watch a Dolly Parton movie.

Zach: I will publicly state, on the record, that we love Dolly. So if anybody ever tells you that we don’t, they’re lying to you. We love Dolly.

M.C.: If anybody tells you different they’re telling you dead wrong!

Zach: That’s right! I believe in Dolly.

Don’t believe the Dolly haters.

Zach: Do those even exist? Surely not.

M.C.: I feel like that’s the same category of people who are like, “I don’t like the Beatles”.

How would you describe the punk scene in Nashville?

M.C.: We were actually right in the middle of it when we were playing at Jorts Fest. This is its second year but it has come out in full force. It’s one of the few events that actually intentionally celebrates the Nashville punk, DIY, rock scene. It was a blast! It’s cool to be reminded that there are like-minded people who support one another in this city which is otherwise so completely inhospitable and hostile to musicians. Everyone in Nashville is a musician and so no one cares about your band. No one wants to hear about your demos. You are not special, you are one of the roaches as a musician in Nashville. [laughs] I’m not saying that to sound dramatic but it’s how it feels. It doesn’t feel like that at Jorts Fest or among like-minded people in the DIY community in Nashville. That’s always true of every show at Drkmttr, I would add, which is kind of a DIY institution in Nashville. It’s an awesome, all-ages venue that is super inclusive and super welcoming and celebrating of all kinds of art. Music in Nashville is difficult but there is definitely a very supportive pocket of it.

Zach: We had our pre-release listening party, where we showed the album to people who had donated to our Kickstarter campaign, at Drkmttr a few months ago. Not only was Drkmttr great for letting us have it there but there were a bunch of friends from the music scene who came out to that. It’s a tough, tough place to be a musician but I feel like a lot of us have figured out, “Ok, we care about music and we care about the business of it so let’s try and help each other play everywhere else”. We’ll do weekenders through the Southeast and friends we have in other bands are happy to lend us connections to places that they’ve played before. It is a cool place to get to come home to. You go on tour and come back and you’re talking to your friends and you’re like, “Yeah, I was just down in Atlanta”. They don’t say, “Oh that’s cool! I hear Atlanta is lovely”, they’re like, “Where’d you play? What’s the venue? What bands did you play with?” [laughs] It’s fun that it’s a little hub. We all have our little mental encyclopedias of different bands and can relate on the fact that it’s tough to play here. It’s tough to do it here but we’re all in that shit together.

Which part of Princess Feedback are you proudest of?

M.C.: This is gonna be a super specific answer but it’s indicative of a larger change for me - I think the thing I’m proudest of on Princess Feedback is the vocal in the second verse of “Life Is Funny”. It is expressive, exuberant, and risky in a way that is totally new for me behind a mic. The vocals on the first two EPs are super timid. That’s just where I was at and I was focused on other things besides vocal performance. That was a big shift in this record for me. There was a lot of time getting coached one-on-one by Dave, trying out different things vocally, and becoming a more confident vocalist. That’s been a big part of my journey as a musician over the past few years. Getting to hear how transformed it sounds compared to something from the first EP is something I’m super proud of and it’s a journey I’m super excited to continue traveling down.

Zach: I’m looking at the chart right now for “Life Is Funny” and to me that one came out as lush texture-wise as I was hoping that anything could on this album. I’m so proud of how that song came out. In my opinion, it’s one of the catchiest songs on the album and that was true from M.C.’s first demo that she ever sent of it. I was like, “Oh, this is so hooky!” It’s got that verse that M.C. was talking about where she really chews on the vocals and it’s got this flip-flop key-change thing between E and G and it’s got this cool vibey intro. That was a bit of a sound thing that Dave Schiffman pieced together with a bunch of different feedback tracks and guitar slide moments. It’s sweet and mean and the culmination of everything we try to do. “Life Is Funny” is definitely a highlight of the album for me. When we were asking people, “Which one do you think should be the single?” I would not take not “Life Is Funny” for an answer. [laughs]

M.C.: I remember even Dave was suggesting making that the title track of the record.

Do you have anything that I didn’t ask that you’d like to add?

M.C.: We’re just really excited about a few of the upcoming ways people are going to be able to listen to the music. We have four vinyl variants for this record but the fourth one is for our Kickstarter backers only so it’s too late to get in on that one! [laughs] We have three other really sweet variants including a crazy cool blue one and a pink and white one. The band variant is really cool too. I’m just super excited for people to check out the very beautiful, creative vinyl. We spent a lot of time on the packaging too. It’s a little bit of a world in itself. You can get the Smartpunk variants on their website and the band variant you can get from us on Bandcamp.

We’re really stoked that we’re joining the Fest lineup for this year! We’re thrilled to get to hang with people down at that wonderful event again this year. We also recently released the last single from the record, “Where’s My Crystal Ball?” We’re super stoked! It’s the closer. I know it’s a little bit of a controversial decision to make the closer a single but we’re doing it and we’re stoked about it!

Zach: We’re just a controversial band, I guess. We’re not afraid to go where most bands won’t go. We also end sets with a cover sometimes. We haven’t in a while but that was something I used to fight with my band friends about was whether or not you should open or close with a cover. If you have any hard thoughts about that, let me know. But please keep the discussion civil.


Jun 29The BasementNashville, TNAlbum release show w/Mel Bryant and The Mercy Makers
Jul 05Kirby’sWitchita, KSw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 06MatchboxDenver, COw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 07Ice HausSalt Lake City, UTw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 08RealmsBoise, IDw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 11The ShakedownBellingham, WAw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 12Black LodgeSeattle, WAw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 13Capitol TheaterOlympia, WAw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 14The Fixin ToPortland, ORw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 17Great UntamedLaramie, WYw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 18The SunspotFt. Collins, COw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 19Eighth StreetLawrence, KSw/Pinksqueeze
Jul 20Mosh MellowSt. Louis, MOw/Pinksqueeze
Aug 23Snug HarborCharlotte, NCw/Teens In Trouble, Bat Boy
Aug 24Quarry House TavernWashington, DCw/Teens In Trouble, Bat Boy
Aug 25Mr. Roboto ProjectPittsburgh, PAw/Teens In Trouble, Bat Boy
Aug 29My Place OhioChicago, ILw/Teens In Trouble, Bat Boy
Aug 30Cactus ClubMilwaukee, WIw/Teens In Trouble, Bat Boy
Aug 31Midwest Friends FestNewport, KYw/Teens In Trouble, Bat Boy
Sep 01TBARaleigh, NCw/Bat Boy
Oct 25-27Fest 22Gainesville, FL