Look up "Girl Groups" in Google. You'll find various articles like, "10 Best Girl Groups Of All Time" listed with bands that haven't made it passed the early 2000's. It's been all of these years, yet you can't seem to find a modern day girl band that spoke to you like TLC, Destiny's Child, and Spice Girls once did. Maybe it's because you aren't really looking. Or maybe it's because you still haven't heard of MUNA.
MUNA is a fierce synth-pop trio consisting of Katie Gavin, Naomi McPherson, and Josette Maskin. The girls met their sophomore year at USC in LA, where they recognized their strong musical chemistry, and naturally started jamming together. All three girls come from diverging musical backgrounds, therefore, the band's musical genre was unclear. It wasn't until singer/songwriter mastermind, Katie Gavin, spent all night producing one of the songs from a late-night jam session, where things started to come together. Much to McPherson and Maskin's surprise, the song that Gavin produced turned out to be poppy-as-hell.
The band released their debut album, About U, in February of 2017, and it's fucking incredible. I had asked them what was their favorite moment that came out of writing About U, to which they responded, "The first time being onstage and having a whole crowd know the words to the whole album."
Each song from About U sounds like it's come straight from Gavin's diary. It dissects every detail of the uplifting highs and heart-wrenching lows that come with a breakup. Gavin's emotional lyrics mixed with McPherson and Maskin's experimental guitar licks and catchy riffs make for the perfect pop songs. Oh, and did I mention that they write and produce everything themselves? Their badassery is unfathomable.
All three of the girls consider themselves queer, but have not allowed this label to take-over their identity. When I asked them what they what it meant to be pigeon-holed as a queer girl band, they simply responded with, "It means we have really cute people at our shows." MUNA does not use pronouns in their song lyrics either, which comes naturally to Gavin, "as someone who has been in love with people of different genders." Clearly their sexual identity isn't a topic that the trio tends to overthink.
MUNA makes pop music that tackles topics like race, gender, equality, and sexuality. Their song "I Know A Place," off of About U, sends a protective message for anyone who feels rejected by close-minded society. When I asked what message listeners should get from their music, they said, "Think critically. Be truthful. Try hard not to hurt people. But, essentially, do whatever." Seems easy enough.
Not only do the girls love their fans, but they truly love each other. When I asked them what's next for MUNA, they said, "We're touring and we're already working on new music because we are addicted to each other and to the process." Well, we are addicted to you too, MUNA, and we truly can't wait to hear what's to come next.
MUNA is an American band consisting of Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson. The band's name is properly spelled in all capital letters.
Based in Los Angeles, the trio met in college at the University of Southern California and began working together in 2013 after discovering their musical chemistry at a party, when Maskin and McPherson began playing together on guitars and Gavin added vocals. Gavin and Maskin were music majors, while McPherson double-majored in Narrative Studies and American Studies & Ethnicity. The two guitarists, Maskin and McPherson, had been used to playing ska and progressive rock, but when their initial collaboration with singer Gavin resulted in a pop song, their bond was sealed.
Beginning their collaboration in an experimental mode, they evolved towards hooky electronic pop. In the summer of 2014, they self-released their debut EP, More Perfect, on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Its success led to their signing by RCA Records in the US and Columbia Records in the UK. RCA released their self-produced debut major label EP, Loudspeaker, in May 2016. Their debut full length album, About U, was released on February 3, 2017.
All three members identify as queer. Initially wary of being pigeonholed as a "queer girl band", they later came to embrace the opportunity to use their musical notoriety to help inspire younger people to be comfortable with their identities. Their songs frequently address issues of sexuality and gender. They describe one early song, "So Special", as "an anthem for the slut-shamed girls of the world who have to assert their own value." According to McPherson, "It would have meant a lot to me when I was, say, 12, to know of someone in a band and think they were cool and know they were out." McPherson added, "I am out and I feel safe being out because the three of us are a little army for one another. I don't feel afraid to be myself. That makes me proud to be queer. That's the whole point of why we do this. We want a safe haven."
The band members have chosen to keep all gender-based pronouns out of their lyrics, which has helped earn them a devoted queer following.
Dutch DJ/producer Tisto remixed "Winterbreak" in May 2016. MUNA played Lollapalooza 2016 in Chicago in July 2016, toured the US with Grouplove in the fall of 2016, and made their late-night network television debut on November 7, 2016 on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.