Punk from Mexico! Huraña: “We talk mostly about being a girl, a punk girl, a tough girl, a sad girl sometimes but always fighting against the people who want to hurt us.”

Original photo: courtesy of Huraña. Handmade collage by B.

When Gimmie’s editor came across Huraña from Mexico this year she was super excited, falling in love with their lo-fi scrappy, punchy punk with hints of ‘80s hardcore, layered guitar and reverbed drench delay-laden vocals sung in Spanish. Gimmie interviewed bassist Daniela to learn more about where they live, their community and release Brujas, Cholas E Inventadas.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

DANIELA: I play the bass in Huraña. I love cats, big black clothes, tattoos and hair dye. I’ve been playing with Huraña since the beginning, which was like two years ago. I love music, I love playing music with friends, going to concerts and everything that has to do with music. I’ve played the bass for like seven years now and I would say that what I enjoy the most is making a lot, a lot of noise.

Huraña are from Chiapas, Mexico; what’s it like where you live?

D: We live in a small city called Tuxtla Gutiérrez, which is the capital of Chiapas. You can find all kinds of people. The weather is mostly hot, we actually have a song called “Odio el calor” which means “I hate hot weather” because we do hate it a lot. I personally like the city, but sadly there is a lot of insecurity everywhere, police brutality, murders and assaults all the time, that has turned Tuxtla into a dangerous city, but still, not as dangerous as other cities in Chiapas.

How did you first discover punk?

D: I always liked rock and metal music, so that lead me to punk. I got into it when I was invited to a punk band, I was insecure at first because I thought I wouldn’t be as good as they expected, but it came out naturally and it was a lot of fun playing, because before that I only had been in metal bands, cover bands and experimental rock.

How did Huraña get together?

D: We all come from different bands that no longer exist, and we all have played together at some point. We used to have two vocalists but one of them just wasn’t into it, so she left, also we recently got a new drummer, so we are in the process of getting all together again, but it has been very fun and exciting to create new stuff, and also we all enjoy extreme and noisy music so that definitely helps when it comes to understanding each other when we play.

Where did your band name came from?

D: Huraña comes from “huraño” which is a term used mostly when a cat is shy or grumpy or doesn’t like being with people, being petted or any contact at all, it’s also used in people or dogs, but cats are like that almost all the time. We are all cat lovers so we kept the name as a way to express our lyrics, our type of music and our love for cats.

What is the punk scene like where you are? What are some bands we should know about?

D: There aren’t many punk bands here, maybe like three including us, so there is not much to say about that. My favourite local punk band is Cabronas, their songs, lyrics and the attitude of the lead singer are great and contagious, they have just released their material on Bandcamp so you should definitely check them out. I also really like Zoque Caníbal which is more a ska punk band, but the drummer is awesome and a lot of the guitar riffs are very punk-ish.

This year you released 7-inch EP Brujas, Cholas E Inventadas on Iron Lung Records; what was inspiring you when writing songs for it?

D: Our lyrics talk about what we do, what we think, what we stand for. We talk about feminism, women empowerment, harassment in the streets, fake friends and allies, our generation and similar stuff. Sometimes we do funny themes like “Odio el calor” saying how much we hate hot weather and sweat. The lyrics are written by Chax, the guitarist, and Tania, the lead singer. In “Brujas, Cholas E Inventadas” we talk mostly about being a girl, a punk girl, a tough girl, a sad girl sometimes but always fighting against the people who want to hurt us, the fake friends and the danger that’s out there in the streets for us.

Can you tell us about recording it?

D: The recording was very fast, we did it all in a few hours, except for the collaboration with the saxophone which had to be done the next day, but we got it all together pretty quickly. A friend of ours came from CDMX to record us, so it was all chill, fun and natural. I enjoyed a lot.

We really love the reverb on your vocals and the delay on the guitar; what influenced your sound?

D: We have different influences and we take inspiration from what we listen to and what we like. I guess we have always looked for a deep, dark sound, something that is not like the other punk bands in our city. We wanted to sound like a hardcore band but also like a goth, post punk band. I personally take my inspiration from goth bands, post punk, death rock, and similars.

Why did you choose to cover a Vulpes song “Me Gusta Ser Una Zorra”?

D: Tania, the lead singer, and I studied together in college, and back in those days we used to love that song and sing it all the time because we felt so related to it. We wanted to form a punk band and play that song, so when we finally got the chance of playing together, we suggested the cover to the band and they agreed. Also is an awesome classic punk tune that we all enjoy, and the only cover we have done.

What’s something that’s important to Huraña ?

D: I think that the most important thing for us as a band is staying true to ourselves. We can’t sing about one thing and do the opposite in our daily lives. Also having each other’s back, and always enjoy what we do. We think that punk should be supportive to us and our community, that it should be honest and straightforward, so that’s what we try to stick to at all times.

Is there anything else that you’d like to tell us or share with us?

D: I could just say that I’m very happy that our music is being played in places that are so far from us, and that we received so many different comments and critiques from different sources. We are very grateful to Iron Lung Records for helping us reach a great audience that are enjoying what we do. We will keep working on new songs and doing what we like to do. Thanks a lot for this interview and for taking the time to listen to our music.

Please check out: Huraña on Instagram. Brujas, Cholas E Inventadas out on Iron Lung and if you’re in Australia get it at Lulu’s in Melbourne.

Nellie Pearson From Melbourne Brat-beat Punk Band Ubik: “We’re all sitting at home getting weird because of the global pandemic. Instead of being at all productive… I wear soft pants and play video games”

Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

We love Melbourne’s Ubik with their brat-beat anarcho-punk stylings. They’re inspired by sci-fi & horror films as well as politics; who can tell the difference between the two right now though, with politics in Australia feeling like a sci-fi dystopian horror movie. We interviewed bassist-vocalist Nellie Pearson.

How did you discover music?

NELLIE PEARSON: I grew up with my parents being obsessed with classical music, and being forced/being privileged to learn classical instruments. As soon as I had any independence I started obsessing about modern music, reading old Q magazines at the library as a tween, buying Oasis cassingles etc.

How did you first get into making your own music?

NP: My first band was over a decade ago in Wellington; me and some other young women decided to all give it a go for the first time since we were a bit sick of seeing a heavily cis-dude hardcore scene. Thought it couldn’t be that fucking hard. It wasn’t! mostly.

What’s a record that had a really big impact on you; what was it about it?

NP: Honestly I’m a bit of a song magpie; I listen to my personal greatest hits of every band so often don’t go deep into a full album anymore (since it became an Online Streaming World). I refuse to apologise for this. The two DiE 7”s I was obsessed with for ages. I’m also a huge fan of ’90s British sort of stuff, so the Stone Roses self-titled has certainly had a huge impact on me. Definitely honed my ears for how a rhythm section can work together.

When you first started Ubik everyone had other bands – Masses, Red Red Krovvy and Faceless Burial + more; what inspired you to start Ubik?

NP: Tessa and Ash had plans to do like… an oi band I think? Then I inserted myself and suggested my friend Chris as a drummer. It was his first time in a band and Tessa’s first time playing guitar/writing. We sort of just went from there, had fun and ran with it.

You’ve had a couple of line-up changes; what’s something you can tell me about each person in your current line-up?

NP: Only one line-up change; Max has been the drummer for over 3 years, and we’ve been a band for less than 4. Ash and Tessa own two fluffy weird cats each. Max has a giant young dog and I have a tiny old dog. 

What’s your favourite song you’ve written? What’s it about?

NP: My favourite is ‘Sleep’. It has equal doses of dumb head bang and fiddly fun bits for me to play, personally. And good dynamics within the structure. I think it’s just about anxiety induced insomnia, which is something most people can identify with. 

Vid by PBS 106.7fm.

On the Ubik/Cold Meat split release each of you have a homage to amazing women in punk, Siouxsie Sioux and Exene Cervenka of X; why did you chose to cover X’s “Nausea”?

NP: We supported Cold Meat when they visited Melbourne (the first time but not the last time that happened, I think?), and we were all fans of each other. The singers of both bands are redheaded childcare workers called Ash so we were drunk and like hurhurhur Ash and Bizarro Ash (I still don’t know which is which). The split idea happened, and they had done their Banshees cover that night so we thought we’d get matchy-matchy.

Last year Ubik released Next Phase MLP; what sparked the idea to write the songs ‘John Wayne (Is A Cowboy (And Is On Twitter)’?

NP: This is one of my favourites, Ash-lyrics-wise. I believe it’s directed at internet right-wingers, trolls, MRAs, and other general digital filth. Skewering the misunderstanding of “free speech”, and pointing out how “free thinking” doesn’t often overlap with critical thinking.

What about “Peter Dutton Is A Terrorist”?

NP: Peter Dutton IS a terrorist. Music-wise, Tessa wanted to do another very anarcho song, so I always picture myself in a ‘80s squat playing this one. The lyrics that Ash wrote do a great job of expressing the shame and sadness regarding Australia’s offshore concentration camps, and the horrifying treatment that Peter Dutton and other potato-headed fascist stool samples think is justified in regards to refugees and asylum seekers. Just an utter lack of the basics of humanity.

Mikey Young recorded and mixed Next Phase MLP and your self-titled EP and mixed and mastered the Cold Meat split; how did you come to working with him?

NP: The self-titled EP was actually recorded by Adam Ritchie in the same session as the Cold Meat split. Max and Mikey go way back both personally and musically, so it was a great choice. It was very quiet and laid-back, and we were doing it all in one day (minus box) so we all just put our heads down and worked. He was, as usual, impeccable.

Who in the band has a love for sci-fi and horror films? You had song “The Fly” and one of your shirts featured Debbie Harry when she was in Videodrome; can you recommend anything else cool we should check out?

NP: I’m pretty sure all of us are sci-fi and horror fans. Genre stuff definitely goes with the punk territory in general. Me and Ash in particular are big on Cronenberg. Most of it has naturally stemmed from the name (evidently the Phillip K Dick book), and Ash’s specific interests, since she writes all the lyrics. I’ve been watching a lot of ‘90s movies with their visions of futuristic virtual reality; very pretty, very silly, very fun. Apart from the obvious Johnny Mnemonic, recently I really liked Virtuosity, where Russell Crowe plays a virtual reality murderer who crosses over into the real world. 

Have you been working on new music?

NP: Both me and Tessa have scraps of stuff, and we had one or two songs almost ready by the end of the Next Phase recording session. However we’ve all been madly busy, then we toured Japan, and now we’re all sitting at home getting weird because of the global pandemic. Instead of being at all productive while staying at home, I wear soft pants and play video games.

Other than making music do you do anything else creative?

NP: Most of my time is taken up with bands. I used to write but I realised I hate it.  Give me two more weeks of social distancing/isolation and I’ll probably start a podcast, just to make 2020 even worse.

Please check out: UBIK. Ubik demo on Lost In Fog Records/Distro. Ubik’s self-titled EP via Aarght Records. Next Phase MLP via Iron Lung Records. Ubik/Cold Meat split via Helta Skelta Records.