Maud Mostly: Hello and welcome to The Other Team's Tunes Tuesday, a weekly series that discusses music and matters with queer artists you love! I'm your host Maud Mostly, my pronouns are they/them, and joining me this week is San Francisco-based moody pop band, gloomy june. Thank you so much for joining me this week. Would you like to introduce yourself?
Alexi: Sure, my name’s Alexi, my pronouns are she/her and also, whatever you like. I'm the singer of gloomy june.
Devin: Hi, I’m Devin, my pronouns are he/they, and I’m the guitarist and back up singer for gloomy June
A: Thanks for having us
MM: Amazing, well, I'm so glad to have you both here and I'm really excited to dive into everything that you've been up to, because a lot has been changing recently, and first and foremost, I want to address the name change that you've recently gone through as people only coming across your music or social media now, may kind of believe that you're new to the scene, but that's far from the case previously performing as The Y Axes. Can you speak more about what influenced and inspired the name change for the band?
D: So one thing, great job saying the previous name correctly, you are one of, maybe one fourth of people that see that name and say it correctly, and that is also the main reason why we changed it
MM: You get ‘axis’ a lot?
D: ‘Axis,’ no ‘the,’ they add hyphens to it
A: You can hear the hyphen
D: This is not being hyperbolic, 50% of the time bookers would get it wrong.
A: It actually got worse after we changed the name, folks would be like, you used to be in the band ‘The Y axis’, and just be like *spells it out* ‘The Y Axis’ and we're just like, Oh, this is why!
D: We are kind of treating it like we're a new band though. We started from scratch on Spotify. We didn't start from scratch on socials, but we got a new drummer over the pandemic, we've been writing all new songs, and we've been really wanting to take it seriously, and some of us are quitting our jobs and we’ve become a touring band, so we just really wanted to re-brand and be a new thing, so we're not inexperienced musicians, but we are kind of starting from scratch
MM: I love that, and I feel like you did just briefly mention the impact that's having on your music and how you're carrying yourself as a band. So can you speak just a little bit more to that?
A: Absolutely, I believe that we tried really hard as The Y Axes to balance day jobs as well as our passion of making music, and I think that just having a new name and a new clean slate has helped us just really focus on what we wanna do. Personally, for me, I feel like not being able to play shows during 2020 and most of 2021 because of the pandemic, I just... I was like, Oh man, when we can get back to doing this, I'm gonna do it justice. I was like, I was talking about quitting my job in mid-2020, I was like, I can't wait, but I need a reason.
D: I did quit my job in mid-2020
A: Or was it mid-2021?
D: Mid-2021. Yeah, I don't know.
MM: Pandemic time ceases to exist. It's all been one year, that feels only like a couple of months
A: Exactly, writing the right date has been impossible.
MM: Yeah, no, but that sounds really exciting, and I definitely see that effort that's coming through in the work that you've been releasing and in that change of sound. So following the release of Save Anyone, which was one of the first singles that you released as gloomy June
D: It was the first single
MM: Yeah! And then your most recent single, which was Always Gonna Let You Down, which, fantastic, by the way, I can’t stop listening to it!
A: Thank you so much
MM: The sounds, lyrics, and music videos for each really walk that playful line between party anthems and melancholic music, even with the aligning visuals of joy alongside the Grim Reaper and violence and kind of like those original angels with all the eyes that kind of look more scary than what we see as angelic…
D: I was gonna say like, well, part of also the rebrand was like when we started the band, we kinda were just figuring out aesthetics as we went and we didn't really know what the band aesthetic was, and we ran to a part where we're talking to our social media manager, we couldn't decide on what kind of art to make for the next single, because none of us really knew what the brand was anymore, so that's always why we did a big reset, so we could figure out like what are our vibes? How do we wanna represent ourselves? What is our brand? And it's kind of the boring business aspect of being in a band, but it seemed really important to then move forward to know what to put on our single arts, what kind of imagery have in our videos and I think it really came down to just wanting to be like... We like writing pop music, but we wanna be weird and we wanna be provocative, and we wanna like have something that people are gonna talk about, and it's not just a catchy song, it's a catchy song with memorable imagery that goes along with it
A: Yeah, and just like the idea of trying to write pop and just never quite getting it, just because we just... Something about us is just unable to create that actual pure pop, but we're like, ‘This is pop,’ and everybody looks at us and they're like, ‘This is not quite pop’
D: We’re always a little bit too weird or a little bit too punk, a little bit to your emo or a little bit too…
A: Heavy, but I think at this point were just embracing our differences in that way and just kind of moving forward with being... Not as weird as possible, but as weird as feels true to ourselves.
MM: Yeah, I absolutely love that, and I feel like it perfectly moves into the question of how does it feel to be bringing those kind of contrasting ideas together, and maybe why does that feel so authentic to you to have this idea of like, pop, but not pop, pop but kind of freaky.
A: I'll start with, I think Devin, you can talk about about maybe your melodies perhaps.
D: My situation is kind of weird 'cause I don't listen to pop music, but for some reason I'm really good at writing it. I listen a lot of weird instrumental prog-rock kind of stuff, which often has pop sensibilities, you want a cool guitar line to be memorable and catchy, and that's kind of the same instinct that you put on writing a pop song, but I don't know, I just had a skill for it, even though I don't listen to it, I don't know, it's really hard to explain.
A: It is hard to explain. I think for me like, I love pop music, and I love something that some people don't seem to notice about pop music is that they're actually usually saying some messed up stuff when they're talking about stuff, it's a lot about heartbreak, and that's kind of like the hardest thing to even talk about in real life, you know? But somehow it's like, I'm just gonna sing about this like break up and I haven't showered in three weeks and things like that, so I feel like pop itself is inherently a little bit weird and we're just bringing that to more of the forefront.
D: Maybe were like pop but not romantic.
A: Right. I don't know, I've been writing much more like emotional romantic songs
D: I mean romantic in terms of romance, being a glorified idea of something rather than being realistic and messy
A: Yeah, Oh my gosh, that's what it is. We're not romanticized. We don’t romanticize romance.
MM: I love that! I feel like that idea of not romanticizing things I feel like comes up so much in the Always Gonna Let You Down music video, 'cause it's kind of like that idea of, Look at this fun party, except death is there and it doesn't actually look like everyone's having a great time. And that's also what the lyrics are getting at, where it’s just like, oh, I'm ruining this party, not that romantic ideal of being at this great house party but then turning up and being like, Oh, I don't wanna be here.
A: Yeah, then flipping it on its side even more like at the end, death is like hanging out with us and having a good time.
D: I came up with the concept of that video. It is entirely based off of Alexi’s first lyric of the song, where she says ‘I killed the party,’ like oh well, now deaths showing up to reap the soul of the party.
A: Yeah, and then Devin came up also with the Save Anyone concept and made all of the props by hand over like a month, just feathers and glue and poster board
D: Yeah, it took me like six hours to make Alexi’s angel wings.
A: It only took me like an hour to get my hair done for that
MM: I love that! Was there, inherently, this connection between like…we have over the two music videos, we have death in one, we have angels in the other, is there a conscious connection between the two or is it just like imagery that you saw for both for different reasons?
D: I think that's mainly just me in my brain. I'm really into like occult bullshit, and I read a lot of fantasy novels, I play a lot of tabletop role-playing games, just... I love that freaky shit as you put it earlier.
MM: Very fair, very fair. Alright, and with these two singles that are released so far, they are leading towards your upcoming EP, Pop Sick, which is set to be released in the near future, so with this shifting sound, shifting aims as a band, really settling on what you'd like to look like and do moving forward, what are you most looking forward to with its release and following?
A: For me, it's like just having more examples of what we do and committing more fully to our new existence, that's what I'm most looking forward to.
D: Also we just... happy songs that we wrote over the pandemic, that we’re really proud of, and really excited about and just want people to hear them.
MM: Absolutely, yeah, and I mean, you are mentioning this EP was written and created throughout the pandemic, and you just mentioned it kind of does have these happier songs, which I find really interesting, 'cause I feel like I've connected with a lot of musicians who have been writing, recording, releasing music throughout the pandemic, and a lot of it has been some of their sadder stuff, some of their more raw stuff, as some of them put it, because they were in this more vulnerable position, they were feeling disconnected, they wanted to get those feelings out. So in contrast, you're talking about how these are exciting, like happy songs, do you feel like you're kind of finding a place for that in the pandemic?
A: I think for me, they're like nostalgic for a bad time. It's like, Save Anyone is like basically two people breaking up, but the person just being like, I know that you can have a better life, I know that you're better than you think you are, and that you just need to believe in yourself. But Always Gonna Let You Down is very much kind of like a toxic anthem. It's very much just like the narrator for me is, it's like if we just ran away, all of our problems would be fine, everything would be fine if we had no problems, and then the second verse is just like, don't like don't worry when I got my friends. I don't want you to know what's going on with that. It's all very kind of messed up. And then Party. Oh man, our next song that we have coming out is fun, 'cause it's like a very... It's kind of like my own version of Don't Speak, the No Doubt song, 'cause it's about a relationship, but it's also about us as a band, 'cause it's very like…the chorus is ‘take a snapshot of this life before we fade away/we drove all through the night/I’d it over and over and over again today.’ It's very just like, however long this is gonna last, let's do it as hard as we can. It's really like an anthem for the impermanence of that.
MM: Yeah, I love that, and I cannot wait for that to come out. I'm so excited to listen. Especially the second you're like, Yeah, it's kind of like Don’t Speak, like you mean it's kind of like one of the best No Doubt songs?
A: Definitely. Have to agree.
MM: I love that. And sounds like there's so much to look forward to, and there's already so many incredible things that you have been putting out, so if you would like to check out any of the music, the videos, the releases that we have discussed today, please check out the links below the video. Thank you so much to gloomy june for joining us this week. It's been such a pleasure to have you here discussing music and gloomy june will be playing us out!
*Always Gonna Let You Down by gloomy June begins playing*