February 8, 2013

Q&A With U.S. Girls, Playing Farm 255 Tonight


U.S. Girls

Meghan Remy probably isn’t a name that you’ll recognize off the top of your head, but if you’re privy to what's going on in the indie rock world, you might very well know U.S. Girls. Despite the use of the plural in the act’s name, Remy is a one-woman band that uses an assortment of tape recorders and other analog devices to perform her songs in a live setting.

Flagpole: I’m curious about your touring set up. Your records are made with the help of very few people, and U.S. Girls is billed as very much a product of your own mind. How do you replicate these songs in a live context?

Meghan Remy: I basically use matching tracks on cassette tape and reel-to-reel tape, and then I also use a drum machine and build what are abstract versions of the songs recorded. Then I sing over it so that it’s an alternate-universe version of the songs.

FP: What sparked your interest in using analog devices to create your music?

MR: It’s just because they’re easy—they’re user-friendly. And cheap! Those are just machines I had at my disposal. I had one friend who gave me a four-track, and another friend gave me a reel-to-reel. You can buy tape at the thrift store and tape over them. It’s a pretty cheap way of doing it, since you don’t have to have a computer. It’s a convenience and money thing.

FP: What is the significance of the pluralization of the word “girls” if it’s just you? Is there anything to that?

MR: No. It’s just funny, I think. People just assume so much from things like a name. It’s plural, so you assume [there's] more than one person [in the band]. But assumptions are bad.

FP: More women that are solo indie artists like yourself are garnering national attention. What are your feelings about this? And are we living in a cultural moment?

MR: I don’t think it’s new. I think it’s just now—someone’s caught on that it’s marketable. But, I don’t mean that the artists have caught on. I mean labels or magazines or whatever have decided to pay attention to women who make strange music—not just a-woman-with-a-guitar kind of music. I definitely don’t think it’s new. All of these things come in waves.

FP: Is there a politics to what you’re doing? Is there an element with regard to gender that you’re working with that is conscious?

MR: Yes, I guess you could say conscious, but I guess that is only maybe because I am a woman, so I’m singing about women’s experiences, because that’s what I know. I guess that seems like it’s politically driven. I think it’s set up so that women can’t speak about certain things. If they do, it’s considered political instead of talking freely and openly. But I don’t think it’s political; I just think it’s about being honest about things. But I do feel a certain drive to connect with women and girls and hopefully encourage them to speak openly and honestly as well, whether that is through music and art or through everyday life.

U.S. Girls plays Friday, Feb. 8 at Farm 255. 11 p.m. FREE!