In some ways, the ladies of Amanda X are the biggest punks we know. When they first came together, they were still new at their instruments (guitarist/vocalist Cat Park had previously played bass and sang in Band Name; and bassist Kat Bean and drummer Tiff Yoon had only played guitar). Yet they formed an easy bond despite this, and within 2 months of coming together, recorded their first EP—much like the Ramones or the Sex Pistols before them.
“If I don’t play music, I explode,” says Park.
Yet taken from another perspective, they’re also one of the most responsible bands we know. “We’re always writing songs to our full potential at the moment,” continues Park. “We are very specific about how we practice. We practice our songs until they sound good. We don’t jam.”
While not touring, they all hold down real, responsible jobs—Park and Yoon work for local nonprofit The Rock School for Dance Education (Yoon is Director of Design & Marketing); Bean works for a popular Philly restaurant. They base their tour schedules off the Rock School’s annual furlough—a period each summer where they’re granted a leave. On the last tour, Yoon worked from the road—“we’d play a show, and then I’d wake up early and find a coffee shop with internet and log some hours,” she explains.
When I ask them if they’d leave their jobs behind to tour full-time; they’re hesitant—all are aware of the difficulties of making money on tour, and are reluctant to leave steady income and family. Mostly, though they’re not ones to indulge pipe dreams—“we’re all in our late 20’s, so we’re more realistic,” says Park. “We try to think just one step ahead.”
Still, that’s not to say the ladies don’t have the wherewithal to make it big—indeed they do. Since forming 2 years ago, Amanda X has garnered attention from national and regional blogs like Noisey, Gothamist, and Brooklyn Vegan; they’ve landed on bills with Dum Dum Girls, Parquet Courts, Marnie Stern, and more. And for every dumb guy that likes them because they’re “hot chicks”—there are a dozen more who appreciate their fuzzed-out, ‘90s aesthetic and catchy punk nugs, that combine their constantly-evolving skills with a real sense of melody and sentimentality.
“When we first came together, I think to some extent we were treated differently because we were girls,” says Park. “But these days it’s not as much the case. I think there are a lot more girls playing music now—maybe because of programs like the Girls Rock Camp.”
Still, they occasionally meet people who think they’re doing this “to be trendy”—but try to ignore these people. “The best part about playing in Amanda X for me is sharing something that I love with Tiff and Kat,” remarked Park a year back, when I interviewed her for a piece on women in music. This remains true today.
Over the course of their career, Amanda X has garnered some true supporters, who have helped them find an audience—like Parquet Courts, who they played several shows with, and who invited them to their SXSW showcase last fall. Continue reading →