Montreal punk rockers Boring Girls are one of the most furious and fun bands going right now. On their recently released third EP, Fuck You So Much, the band come out swinging with five songs that epitomize hardcore punk perfection. They are on the top of their game and play with an electric energy that never lets up. Punknews editor Em Moore caught up with lead singer Carolina Plano over Zoom to talk about the band’s new EP, tape collecting, movie samples, DIY recording, and so much more. Read the first ever Boring Girls interview below.
Boring Girls formed during the pandemic in 2020. What brought you all together?
Harald, the guitarist, asked me if I wanted to start a band in November of 2019 and I said yes and we started recording. We did a couple demos so we could have something to show to people who might be interested and we put them online before, you know, February 2020. [laughs] So yeah, that was a great time to start. We ended up finding a drummer in May and started practicing writing songs, practicing together, then we did another EP, found a basis, and then just kept going from there. Harald always has been in bands and it was a great way for him to meet people so I always really enjoy doing that. It seemed like a good project to start and it seemed like fun.
What has it been like starting a new band during this time?
It’s been very interesting because everyone else in the band has had band experience before this but for me it’s my first band ever. So it’s been a lot of practicing and not a lot of live shows because of the restrictions that we have had in place. But it’s been a learning experience. I think that gave us a lot of time to practice together, get back into it, and make some songs because we’re a new band. We needed to write some material so we had things to play live.
You said this is your first time in a band. What have you learned from this experience so far?
Everything. [laughs] This is my first time singing in a band, my first time writing songs, and playing with people. It’s all been new to me so it’s been a lot of getting used to basically everything [laughs]. We had our first live show in November and that was stressful and nerve-wracking but also a lot of fun. For me everything has been new.
Do you have a favourite thing so far?
Live shows definitely. That was a really interesting experience. Just the energy in a room with a lot of people who are into it, it’s - I don’t know - it’s just really cool.
For sure! Do you have more live shows lined up?
We have about three shows in May, we have one in June and we’re trying to talk to people to book more during the summer. Definitely the ideal is to play live shows. We don’t wanna keep rehearsing in a tiny room. [laughs]
The band is named after a Pissed Jeans song. How did the name come about? Why did you name yourselves after this song specifically?
Before we started the band it was one of the first songs that Harald had shown me. We were listening to the song at his place and I remember thinking, “what’s this? I’ve never heard this before, it’s really cool”. I just really like the name “Boring Girls” and I think before we even decided to start a band the name was chosen. We were like, “ok we’re going to start a band, what’s the name?” and we both thought “Boring Girls” from the beginning, so it kinda stuck.
You also got a new bassist in 2021. How has the lineup change affected the dynamic of the band?
Before 2021, we hadn’t done any live shows so it was like we found someone, he wanted to play with us, and we just started doing it but I guess it wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. Thankfully we had our second EP, Bad Mammal, out and it was through the way we presented it to people that we found this bassist, I think it’s a good fit. Everyone gets along and we have fun together. As long as everyone likes what we’re doing, that's the important part when you’re in a band.
What’s your songwriting process like?
It’s a little bit of everything. [laughs] Since it’s my first time doing it, it’s whatever comes to mind. I think most of my songs have been inspired by the time that we’ve been living in since 2020. So a lot of the time it’s just something that keeps going through my head like a sentence or a mood that keeps happening and it feels like when I put it down on paper and I process it, I can let go from thinking about it in repeat. We do the music first, then we compose the music, then I listen to the song and think, “what’s the mood of this? What’s it bringing to me?” Then I put together the lyrics that I’ve written and Harald helps me put it in place and make it sound good together.
On your new EP Fuck You So Much, four out of the five songs make use of movie samples. “How Did We Get Here?” ends with a clip from They Live and “Variation in Action” starts with a clip from Clue. How did you choose which samples to use?
So one time we were watching They Live and we were like, “wow, this feels current, it feels relevant to what we’re living through”. So after the songs are written we go through things that we have listened to before, like with They Live, and find the samples that we feel fit with the mood of the song. Like, “we can include this one here”. Sometimes it’s just fun stuff like the Clue one, we thought it was just a funny one. [laughs]
It fits so well! The samples all just flow with the songs.
Yeah, that’s kinda the cool thing about making a cassette is that you can plan ahead. We really think about the order of the songs and the transitions between them. With a cassette you can’t really put it on shuffle, normally it’s very involved listening where you have to put it in and then turn it around when it’s over. So that allows us to really time the samples and put them in the order we think they make more sense.
Do you have a movie in particular that influenced the whole of the EP?
Not a movie in particular. I guess it depends on the song because each song has a different feel to it, we think. When we were watching They Live it was like, “wow, it feels like this is an old movie but it’s talking about what we’re going through or the mood that we’re currently in”. So it just felt like a good fit for “How Did We Get Here?”.
What were you watching when you were writing and recording this EP along with They Live?
We tend to watch a lot of horror movies. We have been going through some classics, old movies that we hadn’t watched. Like recently we watched Beetlejuice, not related to the EP but just a movie that I had not experienced. [laughs] I guess a lot of horror movies, a lot of post-apocalyptic and futuristic sci-fi. We like watching a lot of those.
Was writing and recording Fuck You So Much different from writing and recording your previous two EPs (Bad Mammal in 2021 and Hello, Hell No in 2020)?
I think we used a similar process. We did all the recording, mixing, and mastering ourselves in our rehearsal space. That’s kinda the formula we used for the second EP. In April 2021, we were practicing in a studio by the hour and then we finally got our set up, we got our space, we bought equipment, and we finally had all our things in one place. We were able to set up all the mics to just do it ourselves and have a good idea of our sound. Sometimes you write nine songs and are like, “we need to put them down because we’re going to forget them”. [laughs] We’ve been practicing for months, we need to start something new so it seems like a good place to set them in stone so we can move on to something new. We used the same process, luckily that allows a freedom where we decide when we can record, we take however many takes it needs to happen, and we do the mixing and mastering so we’re not depending on anyone else for the moment. That freedom was what made us do it ourselves for these two EPs.
Yeah, for sure. If you have an idea you can build it and it’s not like “oh, do we have permission?”
Yeah and recording time in the studio is very expensive. So for now our goal is to do our next one at a recording studio and have it mixed and mastered by people who know better than us. [laughs] But for now, this seems like a good alternative.
What is the mixing and mastering process like?
Once we have all the tracks recorded, we get together and Jeremy, the drummer, takes the reins. He knows how to use the programs the best. So he’s the one that does most of the mixing and mastering. We’re there to give our opinion but he’s the one that knows how to do it. We get together and we all give our two cents on how it’s sounding, what needs to be adjusted, and the idea of where it’s going.
It sounds like a very collaborative environment.
Yeah, I think that’s the cool thing. We’ve all been able to give our input in everything. But it’s great to have people who know how to use the programs better than I do. [laughs]
What fuels your drive to be DIY?
I think for now it’s being able to do it without having the cost be so great because we hadn’t had any shows and that’s the main way we want to finance the next project. We got the equipment, we’re using stuff that we already had. Also for the first EP, we had people helping record it and helping with mixing and mastering and that was really great. But because of the pandemic we weren’t able to be there through the whole process. The recording was done one at a time because of the restrictions on the amount of people that we could have in a room and we couldn’t really be there with the mixing and mastering. We wanted a little bit more control over how we sounded and more access to the whole process instead of just listening to the final product. But we were glad that someone helped us do the first one for sure.
Get some learning experience in.
Yeah. And at that point we didn’t have our own space, we didn’t have our equipment yet, so of course it was great having that option of having a friend help us do the first one. But then we just wanted to invest so we could even record our own demos for the future.
Fuck You So Much is available on cassette via Tarantula Tapes. How did you decide who to work with?
I think we found Tarantula or Tarantula found us through social media. I remember going through their page and being like, “oh my god, they have such beautiful tapes”. Harald already collected tapes and I remembered them from my childhood. So they have that nostalgic feel. I think we were lucky that Tarantula liked what we were doing and we liked what they were doing so it was just exciting to be able to work with people that are into the same thing and have the same passion for tapes as we do.
What’s it been like working with them?
It’s really great. They’re really nice, they gave us all the freedom to do whatever we wanted. It was a very smooth process. We don’t know them either, we just had a Zoom meeting - they’re in Barrie, we’re in Montreal. They gave us all the requirements but we got to choose everything about the tape like the length and the number of songs, the artwork, even the quantities that were printed. They’re really great to work with and we’re so excited to have this EP out with them. They have so many great bands that we love. Half of my collection is Tarantula Tapes so it’s great. We’re going to play some live shows with some of the bands that are with Tarantula and that’s really exciting as well to get to know people and be part of a great label that we love.
It’s a real community feel.
Yeah, even though they’re very far away. [laughs] It feels like a community.
The artwork for your EP is someone shaking a fish like shaking a hand. What’s the inspiration behind the artwork?
I think we like having fun with our artwork and there’s a song on the EP called “Dead Fish Grip” which is when someone gives you a really limp handshake. [laughs] So from there, ‘dead fish grip’ sounded funny and we were like, “ok we need to take a picture”. Sometimes the inspirations are taken while we’re joking around and we’re just like, “yes, let’s take this, this sounds funny”. If someone gives you a limp handshake it’s like they don’t respect you and it’s like they’re saying, “fuck you so much”. [laughs]
What appeals to you about cassettes and collecting cassettes?
I think part of it is definitely the nostalgia of having had cassettes when I was a kid and spending so many hours doing my own mixes at home or trying to record things from the radio like timing things just right. Part of it is the nostalgia but tapes are really nice. There’s so many options you can choose from: the colours, the labels, the printing, it just feels like the options are limitless and it just feels really great. We collect tapes and sometimes people do really small runs so it’s cool to be like, “ok, I have one of the fifty tapes that they produced”. Like I mentioned before, it’s involved listening where you have to sit down, play it, turn it around when it’s over, and you get the experience that the band wanted you to have. Because we plan our song order, our samples, and the timing so it’s like you’re really getting it instead of just putting your iPhone on shuffle and then forgetting seconds later and stopping. You have to be there to listen to a tape.
Do you have a tape in your collection that’s like your prize tape?
I mean they’re all pretty special to me. [laughs] They’re all very different, I don’t know if I have a specific one that I love but it’s too hard to choose one.
Yeah, they’re all my special tapes. There’s been so many too that I wanted to buy but they were sold out when I found them. So that’s the sad part. There are so many that I wish I had but I don’t because they’re sold out and it’s like “damn! I missed my chance!” [laughs] Sometimes people sell them on Instagram so I keep my eyes open for those I’ve missed out on.
Do you have one that you’re really waiting for?
I know that Sissyfit had a tape released but I missed out on it so that’s one that I would really like to have. There’s also one from Coax, they’re a Russian band. We bought one but unfortunately it never arrived. The situation seems very difficult right now in Russia and Ukraine so we’ll see if it arrives one day but otherwise that’s what happened, can’t blame the mail.
How would you describe the punk and the hardcore punk scene in Montreal?
My experience has been kinda limited because we’ve only had one live show but there’s a lot of really awesome bands who are also doing it DIY. There’s great venues. Our first show was at the Traxside which is an underground venue in Montreal and it’s so much fun to be there. We have seen and discovered so many bands just by going there on a Saturday, not knowing what to expect. We always leave like, “that was such a great band!” The place is just really great, the people are there because they really love the music and everyone’s very friendly, it’s a safe space. It's just very fun.
What drew you to hardcore punk?
I think we’re still finding our way of what we wanna do. Our first EP was much slower, much more low-energy compared to the sound we’re doing now. But we’re working together and finding out, “ok, this is what I like”. We started doing songs that were a little bit faster and we were like, “ok, you know what, that fits better”. We’re more excited to play it. For me it’s also been about learning experiences. I didn’t sing before and kind of found my way to more loud singing, I guess. The process has been natural and we just keep saying, “oh this song is too slow, we need to pick up the tempo”. We naturally have been drawn to faster, louder, more energetic music and I think it’s going to keep changing anyway. So we’ll see where we arrive.
That’s half the fun.
Yeah. We’re not so focused on trying to sound like a specific genre or a specific band that we like, we’re just doing what feels good to us and trying not to worry about the label that we fit in. Just like “this is what we’re doing and if you like it, listen to it and if you don’t, there’s many more choices out there”. [laughs]
Genre doesn’t really matter.
Yeah, I think I just listen to whatever I’m drawn to. I don’t really care if it’s punk, hardcore punk, pop-punk, or anything else. We all listen to different styles of music. I don’t listen to just punk, I also like indie and psychedelic. Other members listen to grind and powerviolence so we’re all into a little bit of a different thing and I think that’s what’s interesting about what we’re doing. We’re all bringing a little bit of our influences together in our music.
What are you listening to now?
I listen to psychedelic and funk music so I’m a very big fan of Khruangbin which is not related to punk at all. There’s a Montreal band called UZU, they just released an EP in April and it’s just amazing, I really love that one. The Heavy Petter and The Holdouts also had a split that I recently purchased on Bandcamp. We just go to shows and whenever the local bands come out with an album or an EP we want to buy it. I think because we’re in the Montreal scene I’ve been drawn to more local stuff and smaller bands that I found through Bandcamp instead of Spotify or Apple Music.
Do you have any Montreal bands that you’re really liking right now?
UZU for sure. There’s so many. [laughs] We just listened to Total Nada, who are also a band that plays in Montreal. We’re playing a show with Blemish, we saw them live recently and they’re great. I’ve been listening to Coax, Sissyfit also. In Montreal there’s Feed, Ilusión, and there’s just so many - it’s hard to choose. Once you go into Bandcamp, it’s easy to find so many things that you love.
What’s next for Boring Girls?
We’re practicing for the shows we have in May. We’re really hoping that we can book way more shows in the summer because what we really want to do is play live. The band members just always say, “if you’re a band and you’re not playing live shows, you’re not really a band”. [laughs] We’ve been practicing for two years and a half, so we just wanna play a lot of live shows! And since Fuck You So Much is out, we’re starting already to work on new stuff. As soon as something is done we go back to writing new songs. As much as we practice for the shows, we start trying new songs out for the EP or album we do next. We definitely want to keep doing that as well.
Is there anything that I didn’t ask you that you would like to add?
Yeah, support your local bands. Go to shows. After two years of not being able to do it, that's definitely the thing you should be doing. Buy tapes, that helps the bands out and they’re cool. Just find stuff on Bandcamp and buy stuff on Bandcamp Fridays. It’s worth it.
I mean, that’s what we’re doing so that’s the only advice I can give people, to do as we do.