Riot Fest’s Hard Girls release new song, talk moshpits


Mike Huguenor

Hard Girls will perform at Riot Fest’s Rebel Stage on Sept. 18.

By Arts & Culture Reporter

Indie-punk band Hard Girls released their single “Guadalupe on the Banks of the Styx” on The A.V. Club’s website Aug. 30. Originally from San Jose, California, the band has toured with household emo, pop punk and indie-punk names such as Modern Baseball, Say Anything, and Cymbals Eat Guitars. Now, the trio is making its Riot Fest debut in Douglas Park  Sept. 18.

The Chronicle spoke with Mike Huguenor, the band’s guitarist-vocalist, about its first Riot Fest performance, a follow-up to the band’s 2014 Hard and moshing etiquette for indie-punkers.

THE CHRONICLE: What are your expectations for your first performance at Riot Fest?

MIKE HUGUENOR: We played Chicago a bunch—I actually lived in Chicago for a bit at one point. Every time we have played [there], it has been a great time. It’s one of my favorite cities to play whenever we are on a tour. We have never played Riot Fest before, and it really is an honor to be asked to play at the fest. I don’t know what to expect from Riot Fest, but I think it will be great.

Who else at Riot Fest are you excited to see?

I know The Julie Ruin and Sleater-Kinney are playing on Sunday, and I would definitely like to see both of them. I think All Dogs is playing, too, and I actually have not heard them yet, but I have heard a lot of good things. And getting a chance to see the original Misfits is a pretty unique thing, for sure. Death Grips is playing on Sunday, and that is another group I’ve never seen, and it would be really exciting to see them live.

How did you prepare to tour with Modern Baseball and Say Anything?

When it comes to current bands, I prefer to see them live first because I think it gives a more honest picture of the band. You really know more about who they are and what they do, as opposed to what a producer thought they should sound like, or how they were marketed. There are all these things that don’t have anything to do with the music. It is better to go in as people who are doing the same thing, hopefully for similar reasons, and finding kinship in that.

Does Hard Girls plan on releasing a new album soon?

The album has  already been recorded, and we are just figuring out exactly what we are going to do with it. We do not totally know yet. We are in the process of having  it mixed right now, and that song was mixed as a [demonstration for the studio] of what the album would sound like. We’re basically finishing everything up with it, and then, hopefully, in the next couple of months, the album will be out.

Some venues and other bands are prohibiting crowd-surfing and moshing during bands’ sets because of safety reasons. What are your thoughts on this issue? 

I haven’t really decided what I think about it yet. I can definitely see the value of having a place where it is okay to unleash—to have an outlet—but not everyone who goes to a show wants to be in that environment. There needs to be more of an agreement. I just want everyone to feel comfortable and have a good time.