The Jungle Giants' Cesira Aitken talks misogynistic trolls & St. Vincent (INTERVIEW)
Never heard of The Jungle Giants? It's OK, let lead guitarist Cesira Aitken describe them for you: "If you love denim, denim and pantsuits, then you'll love The Jungle Giants."
I'll just let that sink in for a second.
In all seriousness, The Jungle Giants hail from Brisbane, Australia, and they're bound to make quite the impression here in the U.S. They're eccentric, fun, upbeat. They remind me of a concoction of The Subways meets Broken Social Scene (specifically the vibe of "7/4 Shoreline") and the vocals of Cake. And their new album Speakerzoid is pretty much all you'll need for your next road trip.
We were able to ask Aitken a few more questions about the band, their music and her influences. Check it out:
SheKnows: Describe your music in three words.
Cesira Aitken: Denim, denim, pantsuit.
SK: Were any of the songs on the LP Speakerzoid influenced by any specific moments from your life? If so, what’s the story behind one of them?
CA: I wish I had Sam with me to maybe give a clearer insight into the content of some of the songs. Sam's flourishing romance (hahaha) with his girlfriend, Grace, was definitely a constant theme, but in the least lame way possible. It's very cute.
SK: I read in another interview that you guys "took down a whole fraternity at ping-pong." What's another memorable moment you had with fans and on tour?
CA: We are talented ping-pong players, yes. This isn't as cool as the ping-pong story, but I remember in Adelaide one time we met some nice people that took us to their Spanish restaurant and fed us some awesome and free food. Very kind. But right at the end, we played this game where you had to pour as much sangria into your mouth out of a jug as far away from your mouth as possible, so like holding your arm out. You'd end up getting sangria all over your face and body. Keelan was really good at it. Sorry about that very poor explanation. Scusi.
SK: Recently, Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches spoke out about misogynist trolls and sexism toward her and women in the music industry. How do you feel about what she said?
CA: I’m aware of the comments Lauren has made. All I could say with what I know of the situation is why engage anybody with such a backward opinion? It's an exercise in futility. I'm loath to wade into conversations like this as I feel it just gives a bigger voice to misogynists. They just want a platform to rant from. Let's deny them of that.
SK: Have you been on the receiving end of misogynistic comments whether it be IRL or online? How did you handle it?
CA: I don't recall ever being on the receiving end of any misogynistic comments. I guess after all this time, working as a musician, I'd have to give credit to the great people I work with/have been involved with along the way. If I was ever marginalized in that way I suppose, being an artist, it would motivate me.
SK: What words of advice regarding online bullies do you have for young girls/teens/women who look up to you?
CA: Always have your parents as your friend on Facebook.
SK: Who are some other women in the music industry you look up to and why?
CA: I really admire St. Vincent, she's such a talented songwriter and performer plus rips the guitar, a real gun. PJ Harvey is also a favorite of mine. A powerful songwriter and a powerful voice. Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea is one of my favorite albums of all time.
SK: Name three current songs you're currently obsessed with?
CA: Deerhunter's "Breaker," Kendrick Lamar's "You Ain't Gotta Lie," Roy Ayers' "Everybody Loves the Sunshine."
You can listen to The Jungle Giants' Speakerzoid on iTunes or Spotify.