Image by Kelly O via hardly art
For those in the know, Tacocat is more than a merry meme — it’s a versatile moniker that also connotes a rockin’ band from the muddy banks of Seattle, or Longview, WA, if you want turntable stylus precision. Give one listen to their latest jam NVM, and you’ll be greeted with a catchy blend of pop/punk with messages that range from overcoming bad fortune (“Bridge to Hawaii”) to facing PMS with unflinching alacrity (“Crimson Wave”). But it gets better. Tacocat are a riot. They’ve covered every imaginable curiosity from seasonal snacks (“Peeps”) to outstanding style (“Muffin Top”).
We caught up with Emily Nokes (vocals) and Bree McKenna (bass) fresh from their Sasquatch! festival set to rap about their latest album, sassy style, and their take on women in music.
ModCloth: So, for those new to Tacocat, how would you describe your sound?
Emily: I guess you could say it’s fun and pop and punk and gum balls and glitter and… did we say fun?
Your latest album addresses everything from sexism to public transportation woes. Is there a song that really gets the crowd going?
“Hey Girl” is always super fun to play because it addresses street harassment and there’s lots of yelling and empowerment in that song. It’s amazing to see young girls AND guys get into it.
Speaking of “Hey Girl” — the video has a crafty aesthetic. What was the inspiration behind it?
“Hey Girl” came together while we were on tour – our pal Eric Olsen put it together with painstaking animation and just sort of presented it to us. He’s so talented and we were blown away.
I’d love to talk about your live shows. Given the range of venues you’ve played as a band, do you prefer the smaller neighborhood collectives or major festival shows?
It can go both ways – we’d prefer a smaller venue with friends and crazy dancing to a venue with grumpy non-dancers, BUT, major festivals like Bumbershoot and Sasquatch have been great because the crowds were super awesome and responsive. Outdoor shows are rad because you can have a bubble machine. But the small shows are what we came up on, and nothing beats a sweaty party show.
Do you have a “most memorable” moment from a show that reminds you what it’s all about?
Bree: Every time a younger girl comes up to us and says how we inspired them to form a band, or makes a zine, or has a conversation about feminism — that’s mind-blowing. That gives us goosebumps.
What bands are you listening to right now?
Eric and I really like this rapper Antwon – Fantasy Beds Mixtape is so good. And I can’t stop listening to the new Naomi Punk album, Television Man. They’re from Olympia. We just DJ’d a prom and have a playlist that’s near perfect with Drake, Gucci Mane, OutKast — who we saw at Sasquatch and it was so good we almost cried .. maybe we did cry.
Let’s transition to your personal style, because it’s pretty rad and even tongue-in-cheek at times. How do you each define your personal style?
Bree: We all play off each other. Eric’s got his own solid space-dolphin-shirt babe style, but us three gals share clothes a lot. I’m digging some future witch style right now. Graphic candy crop-top and skirt — that I got from ModCloth — with a Stevie Nicks fringed shawl and space-themed platforms. I don’t love the music, but the rave-y ’90s style is so cool. The Spice Girls are an influence.
Image via thepulpzine
Many of your songs have a girl-power message, so, we’re curious, what’s your take on women musicians being singled out for their gender over talent?
We are super stoked to support other women who play music, but it gets pretty embarrassing how they are split off and categorized as a niche in the industry. We have always had this issue, but it’s rad that people are talking about it a lot more now – the issue is getting a lot more attention and people seem to finally get it. It’s an uphill battle though, to be sure.
It’s a tough line to draw between celebrating and bringing attention to talented women and making it some kind of token. It’s like, just feature men and women and all kinds of people all year round, duh. And stop talking about Led Zeppelin or whatever for the zillionth time.
And on that note, what advice would you give anyone interested in making a band work? Man, woman, or cat?
Emily: The best way to make a band work is to make the friendship work. If these people weren’t my absolute best friends in the world, there’s no way we could have made it. Touring can be hard, but when you have support and give support to each other, that’s the magic. I feel so lucky to have these three as my besties. Start a band with your best friends, the rest will come to you.
+What are your thoughts on Tacocat? Let us hear ‘em in the comments below!