A Q&A With Ma’aM


Photo/Cara Pentoney

Ma’aM members Araelia Lopatic (back) and Tiger Cabus (front) pose for a photo.

Adrita Talukder, Newspaper Editor in Chief

When Araelia Lopatic and Tiger Cabus headed to California in 2018, they weren’t expecting to come back to State College three months later ready to start a band. After nearly three years, they’re now playing regular shows across states, have a full-length album on the way, and have been becoming inreasingly popular every day. With eight members in their arsenal, and a liberating playing style that blends country and punk, this is Ma’aM. 


To get started, could you both introduce yourselves?
Tiger Cabus (T): My name’s Tiger, I’m 25, I play guitar, and I sing in Ma’aM.
Araelia Lopatic (A): My name’s Araelia, I’m 24, and I play guitar and sing in Ma’am. *holds up cat* And this is Tornado. 


Could you tell me a bit about the members who aren’t here right now?
T: Oh, yeah. So many.
A: There’s a lot of members who aren’t here right now.
T: Who should we start with?
A: Let’s start with Dan, because Dan lives with us but he’s in New York City already.
T: Shout out to Dan!
A: Yeah, shout out to Dan. We play in New York tomorrow, so he went up there early. He plays horn, and […] we call him ‘Old Horn’ and/or ‘Two Hands Dan.’
T: Because he plays the horn and the keyboard at the same time.
A: And he lives with us, and I don’t even know how old—he’s 24? […] And we love him, and he’s been with us for a while. And then there’s Jeremy, oh we call him the ‘Ma’am-pire’ because he looks like a vampire. And he plays the bass, and he writes some songs. […] He’s the Ma’aM-pire, he’s the best. He loves wearing sunglasses at night. There’s Spencer, who’s our drummer—
T: Does he have a nickname?
A: I don’t think he—I call him Spency.
T: Is he 24?
A: We think he’s 24. He also drives a Subaru. And who else? Oh, there’s Gus—
T: There’s Nate.
A: Oh, there’s Nate! Okay, there’s too many of us. There’s Nate, but we call him ‘QuickDraw Cutshall’ or ‘Overalls Cutshall, ‘cause he’s been wearing overalls lately. He plays the harmonica and sometimes piano in our band also. And there’s Gus, who comes around, he’s our youngest member, he’s only 18 years old, and he is a wizard of every single instrument. That’s all, I think. 


I counted eight members, does that sound right?
A: I think there’s only seven of us.
*Tiger and Araelia try counting the members*
T: I think there might be eight.
A: You’re right.
T: There’s eight.


So I was going through your Instagram highlights, and I noticed in the corner of one of your stories, an Either/Or vinyl, and that caught my attention, because I also have an Either/Or vinyl, and as you can tell *points to Elliott Smith poster* I’m an Elliott Smith fan. Do you guys listen to him a lot, and would you say that any of his music maybe influences your style?
A: I—I guess I would be the person to talk about Elliott Smith because the Either/Or vinyl is mine. I love Elliott Smith. I think when I first started writing songs, Elliott Smith was a huge part of my songwriting—I mean, just kind of teaching me how to write songs, ‘cause a lot of his music is like—I think he probably writes music a lot like how I do. …I mean, now I have a lot more influences, but I feel like right off the bat when I first started writing music, Elliott Smith was a huge influence of mine. I had to take a break from him though, because he makes me really sad.


Yeah, me too. It’s a bit dangerous to listen to him in the winter, so I’m trying to stop right now, but I can’t help myself.
A: I know, it’s so hard to stop. Um, yeah, I guess personally, I think when I first started writing music he was a huge influence, and now it’s kinda changed, but—I would say I’ve been trying to write happier music now, so that’s what I—but yeah, he’s a big one for me.


When did you start writing songs?
A: I think I first started actually writing my own music when I was like, probably like 16. Yeah, let’s go with that.
T: Yeah, maybe a little bit later, maybe when I was 18 or 19. 


So it’s been several years for the both of you.
A&T: Yeah.


How would you say, over the years, like what have you taken away and how have you grown and changed over time?
A: Um, it’s funny because I was—so I was just listening to some old music of mine that I had on my phone that I forgot I did, because I just got a new car and it starts playing music randomly when I get in, um, but I just sat in the driveway because I was waiting for [Tiger] to get home, and I was sitting in the driveway just listening to my old music. I think […] the content has changed a lot for me. Maybe trying to say, like more with fewer words, I guess is something that I have learned, in a way. I used to just try to cram as many words as I possibly could into one verse to get my point across, I think now I’m trying to like—yeah, say more with fewer words, make things catchier, I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t know. Lyrically, I think, I’ve changed a lot. Also, just content-wise. Like I used to be like, [my music] all used to be super emotionally driven, like “my heart is broken about something” now I feel like I’m more heartbroken about the world itself rather than just me and some dumb boy. So I think content-wise that’s how I’ve grown. Which is kind of more sad. What about you?
T: I think I’ve gotten more comfortable with myself—I actually really, I never really sang before starting Ma’aM, I was in a really punk-rock or loud guitar music band, and I was always part of the songwriting of the band but I never really sang most of the lyrics, and now I’m doing that.
A: We were the first band you ever sang in, right?
T: Yep.


So a bit of a shift in questions, but what are your day-to-day lives like, and what do you get up to outside of the band?
A: Um, well okay so, we live together, we’ve been dating for like about three years or something—we’re practically married. [Tiger’s] a framer, he frames pictures for a living. I work at the Honeybaked Ham, so I make sandwiches all day. I think we have pretty normal day-to-day lives. I kinda hate my day-to-day life, honestly.
T: …Yeah, I feel like we’ve been so busy lately; we’ve been playing a lot of shows recently. It’s kind of been like—we’ve been recording our first record for the past couple months so we’ve been devoting a lot of time to playing and practicing. It’s really weird, I think, that—not to have something to do after work. Like work ends, and we’re going to a show, we’re going to the studio, we’re gonna go practice for a show, or something like that. It feels great. But it’s also—somedays we come home and we’re like ‘wait, what are we supposed to do now? We don’t have anything to do.’ It’s also great to have a break. 


As things get more busy with the band, how do you guys keep balance in your lives or make sure not to overwork yourselves?
A: Definitely taking weekends off. Like if we have a weekend off—
T: Yeah, I feel like we don’t really have a balance. We’ve just been doing a lot.
A: I think that’s something that we’re learning, honestly. As we get busier and kind of more popular of a band, we are learning that we need to take weekends off and not—just because we still are at the stage where we have to work normal day jobs and—it’s obviously like, it’s the normal day job, but it’s like way more tiring than being in the band. Like, if I could just be in the band and think about being in the band, I think we would honestly probably rocket a lot harder, a lot quicker.
T: It’s also a post-COVID thing, like we weren’t doing anything for so long that now that we can, we want to do everything.
A: Yeah, and it’s kind of like—it was scary, like as soon as we came back it was kind of like ‘let’s do something every single weekend, we have to keep going, going, going, we can’t stop.’ It [does] kind of feel like I’m almost afraid to stop because we had to stop for so long.


What has it been like for you guys, watching the band grow so much?
A: Exciting.
T: Yeah, it’s like the best feeling in the whole world. Like, I mean, when we first started the band, we were kind of non-stop trying to play shows, we weren’t really working jobs, […] and we’ve only been a band for a couple of years, but we’ve [gotten a] steady lineup, and have been playing more and working on our songs more and growing as a band. Doing things we’ve never done [before]—we’ve been recording and that has been important to experience for us—it’s very exciting.
A: Yeah, I would say it’s super exciting.
T: That’s why we don’t wanna stop.
A: It’s slightly scary, too. It’s slightly scary ‘cause, you know, I feel like a lot of artists, musicians especially, love to get in their own way of growing. I’m trying not to do that, even though it is scary to get more popular. 


You guys are playing in New York City tomorrow (Dec. 11), how’s that feel? Is that the first time you’re going to be playing there?
A: No, we’ve played there a couple of times.
T: It’s definitely been the best one so far, it’s so fun.
A: Yeah, we’re really excited about this one. It’s—I think it’s great, I loved it. I mean, the first time we went to New York, it was definitely—just ‘cause like, I’m from here. Growing up in a tiny town in Pennsylvania, New York City, other than Philly, it’s like the biggest—I mean, it’s like the biggest city. Being accepted in the biggest city in the country, it’s super exciting, Like you can’t believe that people like, I don’t know, are excited and impressed by you when you get there. So it is kinda like, surreal, but it’s also like you’re trying to act cool and like it’s not surreal. I mean, that’s how I felt about Philly too, and I was like 18 when I started going there, […] and I couldn’t believe that anyone was listening to my music in Philly, because I’m from State College, Pennsylvania, in the middle of nowhere. It was crazy to me that anybody in the city thought I was cool. But honestly, that’s the new thing now. Especially after COVID, everyone’s like gonna leave the city so being in the middle of nowhere farm town is pretty cool.
T: Yeah, the grass is always greener, you know? Bands in the city think it’s so cool to not be in the city, and vice versa.
A: I also think—I think it’s exciting too, for people in the city to see our band because we have country influences and we are a country-punk band, […] and we’re from nowhere Central Pennsylvania, it’s exciting [for them]. 


What has it been like to meet those new other bands? Have you made friends or learned things from them?
A: Yeah, tomorrow we’re playing with two of our favorite bands that are also our friends. They’re called Old Lady and also a band called C.T Hustle And The Muscle. […] It’s been amazing to meet bands that we are friends with. It is one of the most exciting things for a band, that you not only respect their music so much but also, then become really good friends with them. 


You said you were from State College—are all of you from State College?
A: Tiger’s from Georgia, actually.
T: I actually grew up in Georgia, and I went to college, well—I lived in Georgia until I was 21, 22, until Araelia and our friend Cara went to California, and that’s when we kind of started the band, and I left Georgia and then we moved to State College and we officially started up Ma’aM. So ever since then—2, 3, years ago.
A: The origin story is I bought a van, which I just took to the shop yesterday, it’s covered in mold and it’s dying. Um, I bought like an old Vandura and me and my friend Cara, who takes all the photos of us—she lives with us too—we were like ‘we’re going to California,’ and Tiger was like ‘I’m coming too,’ and we got out there and the fires were happening up where we were so we got stuck in this house in […] California for like three months, and Tiger and I started writing songs together. And I was like “I know some people in Pennsylvania who wanna be in a band,’ ‘cause I left a band before that. Came back, Ma’aM.
T: And we’ve been doing it ever since.
A: We’ve been doing it ever since. 


When was that? How long have you guys been together?
A: We went up to California in 2018, and then we came back right before 2019. So, the band probably—
T: It was like February 2019.
A: I ended up getting friends from Philly to be in our band, and then officially, and that was the first rendition of Ma’aM. We just immediately started going, and we were so bad.
T: Yeah, we were. We had different people all the time, we had a year-ish of—
A: Of just like not even—like we had the songs, but we didn’t have the band at all—
T: We never practiced, we went everywhere we could, and then we started to get the lineup we have now, and COVID happened, so we lost a year.
A: Now, like actually, I think it is crazy how much better we are after not being—like getting a set band together and not being able to [play]. Yeah, we sucked so bad though, for a while. But it was kind of like—at that point, we were like, we just had to keep playing gigs so that people [knew] our name. And it worked.
T: And it’s so much fun. It’s so much fun.
A: And now people see us, and they’re like, ‘you guys are so good!’ And I’m like ‘yeah, bet you didn’t see that one coming.’ 


And speaking of your name, could I ask about the origin story of your band’s name? Why Ma’aM?
A: It’s funny, we were sitting out in California—‘cause Tiger and I started this band because [of] our love of country music. Like, I grew up listening to country music, like kind of before Elliott Smith, I listened to country music. And I kind of got into more things when I was a teenager, but I just went back to it. And [Tiger] also just loved country music. Anyway, we were playing around with names and Cara, our photographer, was like—we just always [go] ‘ma’am,’—so then we were playing around with names and she was like, as a joke, ‘what if you just named it Ma’aM?’ And we were like, ‘that’s actually the best idea in the entire world.’ We almost named it ‘Dog Band,’ because we thought that was hilarious. Because like, every single band has ‘dog.’ It was just a joke, and then we were like ‘actually, that’s a great band name.’


The bandmates are all obviously really close to one another—how does that strong sense of closeness influence your songwriting, the creative process as a whole, and performances?
A: So we always say […] ‘We’re a band, and we’re friends. Isn’t that crazy?’ Uh, ‘cause we don’t—I gotta knock on wood or something—but we don’t have band issues, we never fight.
T: We don’t. And we always hang out even if we’re not practicing. There’s bands I’ve been in, where everyone always sees each other on Thursday—whenever we have practice or something—and that’s about it. With Ma’aM, I think it’s how much we’ve traveled and we committed to doing the band that people are totally on it.
A: Songwriting-wise, Tiger and I definitely—so we write, we write songs separately, and then sometimes we’ll come together. We’ve written a few songs with Jeremy. I think it’s because we’re such good friends, we’re really open with each other. And just accepting of ideas and whatnot. I don’t know. I could say we’re good at writing songs together because we like each other, and it really helps to like each other.
T: And we’re totally lucky I think where a lot of the members of our band are songwriters—Jeremy writes his own songs, Nate writes his own songs.
A: Because we’re all such good friends we help each other with other bands. Jeremy has a band called Ghost Music, that Tiger played drums for and I played bass for the other day. Nate and I sing songs together—it’s like, every single one of the band members has also played in somebody else’s [band].
T: We’re all friends, we all wanna play with each other, so whatever it is—that’s like the whole point of music, is that we’re all—
A: I gotta go yell at a cat.
*Araelia goes to yell at a cat*
T: But yeah, I really think we’re very lucky where a lot of the members of Ma’aM care about songs and care about the friendship that we create from music.
*Araelia comes back with a cat*
A: This one’s Texas. 


Do the experiences you share with each other influence themes or ideas in your lyrics?
A: Yeah, it does. I would say so. I mean, I just figured out how to write a love song a few months ago. I had no idea how to, but I wrote one.
T: I mean, yeah. I feel like my whole relationship with Araelia is around songwriting and singing. I never sang a song—I mean I had, but never really like constantly, [was] like ‘I wanna take this to somebody.’ I wrote a song, like, you wanna do something about it? I played in another band, but it wasn’t really like that. [Being in Ma’aM] is so weird because [I thought] that’s just how it should be.
A: It is funny, like I still get nervous to show Tiger a song, even though—we have like 30 songs—but for some reason, it’s still a little bit nerve-wracking when you write a song all by yourself to [actually] show somebody for the first time. I don’t know why, but it always feels weird. Yeah, I guess we […] write about our experiences. Sometimes, writing a song is like puking and then just letting it go and then being like, ‘look at my puke.’


That’s a really good analogy.
A: I don’t know what it means. […] Yeah, we definitely write about our experiences together, but maybe we don’t admit it.


How long have you each been involved in music? Did you grow up in musical families, or was music something you discovered on your own?
A: I grew up—so my dad is a fiddle player, he is Croatian, and he plays Croatian folk music, that’s like my entire one side of the family. […] That obviously is a huge influence on how I grew up. I was given a guitar very very young, so I ended up playing at some point. […] My grandma also played the piano, so yes, I grew up in a musical family. It helped.
T: My parents are actually very—I […] played music, but I didn’t really have a connection in that way—my parents both really love music, they always pushed me to play music, I played the guitar and the mandolin.
A: Tiger’s dad also owns a record store.


Is it in Georgia?
T: Yeah, it’s in Georgia, and that’s where I worked all through high school.
A: I feel like they tried pretty hard to make him cool, and it worked. 


In that sense, did your families also influence your taste in music? Especially with the record store, you had a lot of exposure to a lot of different genres.
T: 100%.
A: Yeah, totally. […] I would say we’re both very, very lucky to have grown up with families that have good taste in music. ‘Cause, yeah, there’s no—I was always allowed to listen to whatever music I wanted when I was a kid which I think was a huge deal. And you know, it was just the Backstreet Boys for a while, but I was still allowed to listen to it.


In your music, there’s a diversity of sounds and styles—could you tell me a bit about the creative process? How do you blend these different genres—like country and punk—together?
A: So pretty much, I think that came super naturally. [..] We all come from punk-metal backgrounds, so when we just like—’cause I started—I wanted to actually start singing, if that makes sense. Before I was kind of just yell-talking, it wasn’t like music my voice could […]. And [Tiger] was just playing like the loudest and [hardest he] possibly could.
T: Yeah, I was playing—I still play loud guitar.
A: Right, and you know, I still scream sometimes, like it’s—I feel like the punk-country thing came so naturally because we all come from super-punk backgrounds, that when you accept the country, you can’t just get rid of the punk entirely, it’s never gonna go away. We always say we’re so good at being scary, we need to learn how to be quiet country. […] We could improvise being scary for hours. Blending the genres though, I honestly think it’s just us. I don’t think we try that hard.
T: Yeah, it’s just like the songs we like, the people we’re surrounded with, we all like the same stuff. [Everyone] each kinda has their own little style and it comes together.
A: Yeah, like our horn player, he went to school for the euphonium, so he’s got a pretty heavy jazz background. Jeremy’s got—I mean Jeremy’s just been in bands forever.
T: Jeremy’s been in a million bands.
A: Spencer’s got an experimental band outside of playing the drums for [us]. This is actually the first band that Spencer’s ever played an actual drumkit in. Yeah, he did pit orchestra, crazy hand percussion, but this is the first actual drumkit he played.
T: Yeah, I just sat him behind the kit, and—
A: It worked. Honestly, I think we don’t even really have to think about it, it’s just all of us coming together.


In “Cruisin All the Time,” you sing “I don’t care about the time I just want to see the night/So I’ll get into my car and drive away.” There’s a sense of free spirited-ness in this, but it could also be interpreted as wanting to get away from things, especially with the latter line of “And I’ll be quiet.” Could you tell me what you were thinking about when you wrote this?
A: So I wrote the line “And I’ll be quiet.”
T: Yeah, you did, actually. Yeah, man, what was I thinking?
A: I would love to know what you were thinking. I wrote “And I’ll be quiet” because I think I talk too much. But I don’t know what the rest of the song’s about.
T: Yeah, I feel like—I don’t know, I feel like “I’ll get into my car and drive away,” I was—there’s the freedom of—I don’t know, I feel like ever since we went out West, we’ve always had this sort of, freedom we go, wherever we went, we played shows, always traveling with a sense of empowerment. […] And to be completely honest, I don’t really remember what I was thinking specifically.
A: You don’t know?
T: …I do, but now I’m on the spot, in the interview, on camera, on live TV, you know.
A: Alright, well I can give you “And I’ll be quiet.” I need to shut up more. 


In “Too Long,” Araelia, you sing “When I am dead and rotten, hopefully I’ve got at least one person fighting to keep a fresh cut flower where I lay.” This line was really emotionally charged, and something that resonated with me, so I was wondering what were you thinking about when you wrote that line?
A: Thank you. I actually know exactly what I thinking. […] The day before I wrote that song, or that line, we went—Cara, our friend, who takes photos of us—we went to go see some of her ancestors’ graves or something at this cemetery in California and we looked for so long and finally found them. It took us so long, and they were totally grown over and you know, no one was visiting them. And it just like, I feel like it was kinda like a really emotionally charged thing to do, is go look for someone’s dead family members that everyone [has] kinda forgotten except for one person back in Pennsylvania. And I—yeah, that kinda just came from that, like hoping that someday, someone will think about me. 


And your newest single, “Upside Down Room.” There was this overarching idea of being trapped in this deteriorating upside-down room, and for me, personally, I interpreted that as depicting struggles with mental health. Could you tell me a bit about the story behind Upside Down Room and what it means to you?
A: …Yeah, I wrote that song years ago. When we were out in California and I didn’t do anything with it, just because it was kind of scary, almost. I was trying to get away from writing such depressing songs—like I wrote “Good Folks” and “Too Long” out in California. …And I didn’t want to write songs like [Upside Down Room] anymore, so I kind of got it out of me […] and kind of set it aside. And then just this year, Dave, the guy who’s producing us—a producer, if you will—like I just happened to play it around a campfire and he was like ‘that was like the most intense song I’ve ever heard in my entire life.’ And I was like ‘yeah, we should probably record it.’ And we did. And it ended up being an insanely streamlined, so weirdly easy process, just because I think it is so heavy of a song, that I think everybody could feel it, and we recorded it all in one day, and then released [the track], and it all went so fast. But yeah, the song itself, I wrote in like, a day, […] a lot of it is—scenery, but also like, green scenery. I don’t know. I think you get what that song’s about, it’s a lot about mental health.


How did it feel to get the song out in the world?
A: It felt great. I think it was really exciting to put that song out, I think it’s like so—when we worked with Dave, who is producing our record, he was like so [into] to the song, which felt really really great for me, just because I feel like that song is so—I don’t know, I was kind of afraid of that song. So for someone to take it and really really feel it and feel like, you know, ‘I’m gonna put this out in the world,’ it felt […] like a relief. But yeah, […] it felt good to put it out.


The music video was really cool and I was wondering if anything inspired the look of the video? And also, do you plan on making more music videos?
A: This is a great question, because I can also totally answer that. Okay, yes we plan on making more music videos. That music video, I was like—okay, so we made that music video in maybe 8 hours. And we decided the night before we were going to make a music video for this song because [when] we were studio recording, I was like, ‘let’s put a music video up for Halloween,’ and we were like ‘we have a month before Halloween, like how the hell are we gonna put a music video up?’ Music videos are way too—they’re a lot of work. So we got out friend, who’s Matt Wilkinson, happen to know him, he was back in town, and he was like—he’s a film student, he went to Penn State, he’s living up in Boston, [and] we were like ‘hey, will you record this music video for us?’ And he showed us, about a month before–we were just [searching] up public domain vides with him, and he showed us this Western movie, that is all monkey. It’s like this 11-minute Western movie with you know, the title cards, and like these hilarious one-room shots of just monkeys filming a Western movie. […] And so when the time came to make a music video, I immediately was like, ‘Monkey Western. That’s how we’re gonna do it, we’re not lip-syncing, we’re gonna do one shot and the things in the room can change, but one shot, and then we don’t have to worry about winding the camera view up or anything.’ And it worked. So the Monkey Western is what [inspired] that music video. […] Monkey Western’s like I think the best movie I’ve ever seen, I’ve watched it like eight times. There’s a pitbull as the sheriff. They also ride goats!


Do you guys have a favorite lyric or song of yours? What does it mean to you, and what makes it special?
A: My favorite is—so no one knows this song, because it’s not recorded—my favorite song [is one] that Tiger wrote, and it’s my favorite song ever. It’s called Words., and I think it’s the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard in my whole life. […] It’s just beautiful.
T: I like “Good Folks,” […] it’s my favorite song that we play, it’s like [the] perfect song for our band, it’s a great wholesome message. I just love it and feel like every time we play it, everyone just wants to laugh and dance. And that’s all I want out of music. 


What are some things you’ve learned about yourselves through the process of writing and putting together your music, whether it was through your first EP or your latest single?
A: I feel like I’ve learned so many things about myself. It’s weird to learn things about yourself ‘cause it [doesn’t hit] you [until] later. I think I’ve learned to be more patient. That’s something I’m learning all the time, especially with recording music. And just being in a band in general, I think patience—patience is a virtue, as they say. I think being in a band, especially with six people, that being patient with one another is a huge deal, and I’ve learned that I’m not the most patient person and I’m trying to work on that.
T: I feel like I learned how to be more confident in myself. Definitely trust myself maybe, especially with music, writing, recording, anything between those really, you know that’s like the reason why you’re there, to connect with yourself and not really give up that chance for yourself. […] Kind of knowing when and how to harness that is something that I think [I’ve learned].


Are there any other forms of media that you’re inspired by? Movies, comics, anything. Are any of your stylistic choices influenced by things you’ve seen?
A: So Upside Down Room is totally influenced by 70s Giallo horror, like this Italian horror film [genre]. We love horror movies. […] We love movies. We’re big movie lovers. 


What are some of your favorite movies?
A: I could tell you my favorite movie of all time is Pee-wee Herman’s Big Adventure.[…] I think every single scene in “Pee-wee Herman’s Big Adventure” is a masterpiece and it’s all hilarious. Also, it’s great to look at. That’s a great stylistic choice.
T: I would also say we love Goodfellas.
A: Oh we love “Goodfellas”—is that inspiring to us though? Or is it something we like to watch?
T: I don’t know. What’s the difference? We love “The Big Lebowski.”
A: That’s just [a] movie everyone loves.
T: Yeah, but we love it too.
A: We do love it. […] I’ve decided that “Pee-wee Herman’s Big Adventure” is the only thing anyone needs to know about. 


I really love the cover art for your singles and EPs—the styles are diverse and encapsulate the feeling of the tracks themselves really well. Could you tell me the story behind some of the cover art and who did them?
A: Yeah, so Cara, she did our ‘Upside Down Room’ cover art. She took the picture, and she also made the entire—made the whole thing. And she also works with this group called Transistor Sister, with a couple of our friends, and they do music videos and cover art design—they also did Old Lady’s cover art. […] And our friend Burton Booz, he did the cover art for “Cruisin’ All The Time” and “A Horse Is A Corpse (Of Corpse, Of Corpse).” And those honestly, we were just totally complete freedom, here’s the songs, design a cover for them. He’s actually getting pretty big when it comes to graphic design and stuff. He just had something in the New York Times, he’s kind of our secret weapon. I just know him from high school, and Dan, he’s his good friend, so we ask Burton to do stuff for us. He also designed our stickers. He did the “Sweet” lyric video. He’s insanely talented and we’re so grateful to be able to work with him. Especially because he has a very schedule now—he just opened up with Doja Cat’s title card. It’s crazy that we know him. The first album though, that first EP, I actually had my friend ____ y stitch it. It’s a picture of an actual cross-stitch thing that she made. […] So really, we just are surrounded by very talented people and we’re extremely lucky to have other people who [are really good] at visual art, because God knows I can’t do it. 


Do you guys have a favorite song you’re currently performing and what makes it your favorite?
T: I have so many. […] None of them I really recorded, so I don’t really know if it means anything to everybody here, but oh man, there’s so many. […] Jeremy wrote this song, that he and Araelia sing, […] I love playing on the song, it’s so much f*cking fun to play. I love [Araelia’s] song, “Filthy Hound,” and here’s this one song that I wrote that we’ve been doing. […] Well, we’ve been playing “Southern Discomfort” really differently, so it’s super f*cking cool. That song’s really evolved.
A: We’ve been playing a Wanda Jackson song called “Let’s Have a Party,” and I’ve been having so much fun doing that. We don’t cover a lot of songs, but I would say that’s one of my favorite songs to cover. […] It’s a party. It makes everyone have a party. I like the new—we’ve been doing Southern Discomfort different, that’s been a blast. Honestly, I think we’ve tried pretty hard to make every single one of our songs a fun time. Because, I mean—f*ck playing songs you don’t like playing.
T: Yeah, we constantly change them.
A: Yeah, we change up our set every single time we play it, too. Yeah. F*ck playing songs you don’t want to play. I don’t play songs I don’t want to play anymore. 


What are you guys working on right now? From what I can tell, you guys have pretty packed schedules, so what’s next for you guys?
A: Right now, we’re working on an album. That’s kind of a big thing that’s coming up Have no idea when it’s gonna come out. […] It’s gonna be a full-length album, our first full length, so it’s pretty exciting. Very excited about it, loving how it sounds. This is the first recording experience—I mean, all of our recording experiences have been fine—but this has been one that I, I just love every single of it. I come out of the studio, every single time I go in there, [I’m] so happy with what we’ve been doing. So I’m really excited to show the world that. 


Finally, do you have a message you’d like to share with your fans or any who are checking out this interview?
A: We love you. Thank you.
T: Come see us play.
A: Come see us play, and we love you, and it’s not the same without you. So thank you.