Punk trio Potty Mouth finds identity through latest album

By Kendall Polidori, Staff Reporter

Courtesy Amanda Adams
Potty Mouth’s sophomore album, accompanied by a comic book featured on Get Better Records, takes the band into a new realm of punk with melodic and pop vibes.

Pop-punk trio Potty Mouth said it has been a disadvantage to identify as an all-female band, a label which forces them to work harder to make a name for themselves.

“Women are inherently disadvantaged in the music industry, and a lot of what we have to do is push up against … double standards and work twice as hard to try to prove ourselves,” said bassist Ally Einbinder.

Einbinder said the only time it has been an advantage for the band is when it does interviews and can talk about its experiences with gender issues, but added it is a lot to make women the “mouthpiece” for important causes.

The band––including guitarist and lead vocalist Abby Weems and drummer Victoria Mandanas––tries to stay focused on making better records and are collectively proud of its latest second album “SNAFU.”

The band spent the whole summer of 2011 debating on a name; they originally went by Vacation but found out there was already a punk band in Ohio under that name. Former bassist Phoebe Harris then came up with the band’s name randomly when she was sitting on the toilet, and the band has stuck with it.

Mandanas said the music they play makes for a great live performance because of its upbeat energy. The band continues its 2019 North American Summer Tour with a June 26 show at Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont Ave. In the past, Potty Mouth has made appearances in Chicago for 2016 Lollapalooza, 2017 Riot Fest and at the Riviera Theatre with CHVRCHES.

“The people [in Chicago] are awesome,” Einbinder said. “It’s just a good city for music.”

The band’s sophomore album, accompanied by a comic book featured on Get Better Records, takes the band into a new realm of punk with melodic and pop vibes.

Weems said the album is a collection of 10 of what they call the band’s best and most diverse songs. The songs are all based off the members’ life experiences and their musical inspirations.

“We love ’90s grunge and ’90s rock,” Weems said. “[Our music] is influenced by Nirvana … Weezer, Garbage … I can go on and on.”

After being together for eight years, the band is beginning to hone a unique sound compared to the heavy punk rock they did when they first started at Smith College in Massachusetts.

“The music scene was super small; any time a new band formed everyone knew about it,” Weems said. “Once our band started, we could start playing shows right away in our friends’ basements and at local venues, so it felt very accessible.”

Being close to a number of major cities in the Northeast helped them get off the ground and do shows in other places, Weems added.

Since starting in 2011, Einbinder said the hardest thing for them has been navigating the music industry. She said the industry is constantly changing, the biggest change they have experienced being how people access and consume music.

“When we started, Spotify was just getting off the ground,” Einbinder said. “We have had to constantly teach ourselves the best strategy and approach for releasing new music … it was not like this six years ago when our first album came out.”

Mandanas said another obstacle for the band is that none of them went to school for music and in a way they felt thrown into it. She said it is a self-taught journey and the band has learned a lot from its missteps.

“It is also hard to know who to trust because in the music industry everyone ultimately has their own interest in mind … you have to teach yourself how to run a business when you are not necessarily prepared to do that,” Mandanas said.