By: Ashley Magenheimer
Sailor Poon started off as a joke, evolving from a Wi-Fi-password to the eccentric girl-band they are today. Their sound has roots in garage punk, but their sound is non-conforming — they prefer the genre poon-wave or sincerity-core.
Currently the band has five members: Billie Buck on saxophone, drums, and vocals; Mariah Stevens Ross on bass, Cheraya Esters on drums, Shea Selby on vocals and tambourine, and Sarah Cuk on keyboard.
They have released two albums, first Pooney Tunes in September 2015, and more recently Yeast Pigeon in July 2016. Well received by the Austin music scene, Sailor Poon’s music often screams themes that some bands wouldn’t dare to touch – sexuality, genitalia, farts, menstruation, among others. Sailor Poon will have you screaming “young, dumb, full of cum” in no time.
SMEAR: What’s the song writing process like you guys?
Mariah Stevens Ross: Half the time one of us will have a song mostly written, and then other times we’re jamming with an idea and then it eventually becomes a song.
Billie Buck: One of us gets mad and comes to practice, bitches about it, and then we turn it into a song.
SR: Then Billie comes up with a tagline to describe that problem, then that’s a song.
B: We basically look at what topics need to be addressed. Like, what do we need to yell at people about?
S: How has your sound changed over time?
B: Well we all started at a point where we could somewhat play our instruments, except for Sarah who’s always been great. We started out really raw, and now we’re becoming more refined.
SR: Our songs are definitely getting more song-like.
Shea Selby: Our lyrics have changed a lot too. They’ve gotten more serious over time. They started out as some funny things we were going through.
S: Like What?
S: Well “Misogynist” was kind of like a no brainer that just needed to be written.
Sarah Cuk: About multiple individuals that we all hated.
SR: Ironically, that song is about someone who is actually one of our best friends now.
S: Are there any issues that you face as a girl band?
C: Sound guys.
SR: Sound guys, yeah.
C: We know our instruments, and we have sounds that we want for everybody’s instrument. When we were on tour there were a few times I’d ask the sound guy to make me loud, because most of the time the keyboard is not loud at all. I’d get shit for asking because they’d think I was threatening their control over the situation.
SR: Another problem is flexibility on tour with places to stay. Once Sarah and I were asleep and we woke up to this guy almost completely naked sleeping between us.
C: Well the thing is, we had come to this house, there is six girls, and all of a sudden six men show up. It’s like, really?
S: You guys recently toured a few months ago. Any words of wisdom you’d like to share?
B: Don’t leave anyone across the border when you go to play shows, because it’s going to be really hard to get them to the show the next day. Respect everyone’s boundaries, and try to be good to each other.
SR: And fucking eat full meals.
B: Eat lots of food.
S: No Subway though. Every gas station we stopped at had a subway.
All: We ate a lot of subway.
S: What are your plans for Sailor Poon in the future?
SR: I’d like to have a new record out within a year, or at least have something recorded within a year. Right now we’re kind of flushing out the ideas and getting something to the point of playing it live.
B: Writing new songs and rebranding the band. We want to make sure that we continue to address the topics that are important and speak to us as women.
S: More melodies and more people singing on every track, it’s not happening yet, but that would be cool.
C: Work on our newer songs that we’ve written in the past four months and finding a guitar player.
SR: You caught us at a very interesting transition period, we’re not really sure what’s going to happen. But I think that’s a good thing.