Band Crush: Potty Mouth Makes Crunchy, Upbeat Punk Rock
In an age of overproduced pop, Potty Mouth's confident vocals, spiky guitars, and hammering drums come as a punch to the face, and it feels pretty damn good. From the punk hotbed of Northampton, Massachusets, the trio of Abby Weems (guitar, lead vocals), Ally Einbinder (bass), and Victoria Mandanas (drums), make driving, unapologetic punk rock that just about every single music writer will be tempted to compare to the early '90s grunge of a certain band that rhymes with "bowl." But Potty Mouth make music that is very much their own, and got to where they are with a DIY attitude, spending their early days doing all the marketing and booking themselves. Their latest, self-titled EP is full of crunchy and upbeat burners like "Creeper Weed," whose DIY video you can watch below, and which Weems says is about "how it's so annoying when somebody acts like they know you better than you know yourself." So true. We caught up with the ladies to ask them about getting started, their ideal roommates, and what they were like in high school.
How would you describe your aesthetic? Powerpuff Girls meets Kat from 10 Things I Hate About You, and eat Lucky Charms while listening to Veruca Salt.
How did your career get started?The career part is something we’re still figuring out. As for the band, we started from a DIY mindset and a shared desire to make music together. It was very simple and low stakes. We’ve since spent the last few years being more intentional about honing our sound, writing and releasing material that we’re proud of, and figuring out how to raise the bar a little bit higher with each new project we take on.
Where do you hope to be professionally in five years?Our bucket list includes: playing Conan, touring internationally, playing the Weezer cruise, being the band that plays at the end of a teen movie, and eating banana-split Sundaes with Dave Grohl.
What’s your next project? Recording our second full-length album, touring whenever possible, and creating fun content in connection to our last release. It’s been awesome to collaborate with our friends who are talented artists to create music videos and art that fits right in line with the music that we’re making.
What are you most proud of, in terms of your career? When it comes down to it, we’re definitely most proud of our songs.
What famous person—dead or living—do you most wish you could have as a roommate?Abby: Charli XCX.
Victoria: Lily Tomlin.
Ally: Joey Ramone, because I have a feeling he would have been just as neurotic as I am about the state of our living space.
What’s your favorite driving music? Right now, our tour van CD library includes: Juliana Hatfield, Garbage, Jimmy Eat World, Hole, Neil Young, L7, That Dog, The Lemonheads, Liz Phair, The Smashing Pumpkins, Veruca Salt, Sheryl Crow, Carly Rae Jepsen… “We’re literally a parody of ourselves.”
Whose career would you most like to emulate?Right now, we’re on tour with Screaming Females, and it’s been really inspiring to see a band that’s been together for 10-plus years [that] continues to release incredibly strong material, shreds as hard as possible night after night, and clearly still has so much fun doing what they do together. That’s the kind of group ethic and growth we’d most like to emulate.
If you had to live in a past time, what do you think would be the most fun era and why?Abby: I wish I was a teenager in the '90s so that I collect all the T-shirts and CDs my heart desires.
Victoria: The beginning of time so that I could be an amoeba.
Ally: I’d like to have been a teenage punk in the late '70s in either L.A. or London, because I’d love to have been friends and/or be in a band with women like Alice Bag, Viv Albertine, Ari Up, Poly Styrene, Exene Cervenka, Charlotte Caffey, the list goes on...
What activities do you most enjoy doing alone? Abby: Being in the woods with my dog.
Victoria: Reading and writing.
Ally: Playing guitar and generally experimenting with instruments that aren’t bass.
How do you wind down before bed? Abby: Watching sci-fi shows.
Victoria: Scrolling on my phone.
Ally: Forcing my cat, Red, to spoon with me. Just kidding, it doesn’t take too much convincing.
When are you most relaxed?Abby: Driving alone in my car, listening to music, especially in Western Mass where the back roads are so beautiful.
Victoria: When I’m alone at the movies.
Ally: Browsing around in a record shop or bookstore.
What kind of person were you in high school?Abby: I was the little train that “could not.”
Victoria: Teachers and classmates thought I was goody-two-shoes, but I was secretly bad.
Ally: A friend of mine used to call me “social-justice babe” because I did a lot of activism.
Can you tell me a quality about yourself that you are genuinely proud of? Abby: I’m proud that I’m able to write songs, because that’s never something I planned on doing with my life.
Victoria: I’m a quiet person, but I’m not afraid to speak up when it’s important.
Ally: I’m proud that I was able to put my self-doubt aside enough to teach myself bass at age 21, and that I hustled so hard in Potty Mouth’s early years to make the band a “real” thing—booking tours, dubbing tapes, contacting labels, etc.—while continuing to remain resilient in the face of setbacks. All of this work changed the course of my life path in a way I never could have anticipated.
Do you have any phobias? Abby: I have a phobia of feeling scared.
Ally: Moldy food.
What’s a serious side of you that people are unlikely to know about? Either in terms of interests, hobbies, or personality? People may not know this because our music isn’t specifically political, but we’re serious about actively engaging in and practicing anti-oppression values in our personal lives and in our band.
What are some new hobbies you would like to take on?Abby: Video-making, audio recording, songwriting for other artists, race-car driving.
Victoria: Building drums, doing voice acting, doing more prank phone calls.
Ally: I’d love to explore creative forms of documenting the lived experiences of other musicians. I’d like to do more music writing, especially interviewing, but I’d also like to learn how to use other mediums, like podcast recording or documentary film-making, as a way of allowing musicians’ tell their own story. I’d also like to start my own label someday.
If there was a phrase that you think best sums up your approach to life what it might it be? “You have to give a shit to get shit done.”