Photo credit: Sofi Hellberg Olsson
girlcrush write songs about lives that don’t meet the heteronormative ideal. They portray their own feelings and experiences as non-monogamist, queer and transgender with a mutual vision to lend their voices to those who can’t be heard and create a feeling of recognition and community for queer and marginalized people.
This Spring, girlcrush are ready with the brand new single, ‘Dysphoria! At the Psych Ward’ – a song that criticizes the gender normativity inherent in the medical system. The feelings of alienation and loneliness of being a trans person in a rigid society are delivered with both anger and irony by guitarist Nat.
“Being in a mentally vulnerable place while being met by a lack of understanding of gender diversity by medical personnel is an incredibly difficult position to navigate in. A simple thing like asking for help can be hard to do. While trauma and mental illness can affect anyone, trans people are at a higher risk of developing depression, anxiety, eating disorders, PTSD and of committing suicide. We wanted to write a song addressing this theme,” Nat says.
1. How did you come up with this band? Who is girlcrush and what is your mission?
Our band started with nat, guitarist, posting in a feminist facebook group if anyone that weren’t men wanted to start a punk band. We were supposed to be loud and angry and sing about periods and smashing the patriarchy. When we then met up and tried playing our songs, it ended up being much more cute and vulnerable. Our mission, I guess, is to be queer and fragile in the music industry, be the representation that we needed growing up.
2. Your sound is punk and noisy but unashamedly catchy. What is your writing process like?
We usually write the songs separately and then bring the finished melody and lyrics to band practice where we together decide what each instrument plays and if anything needs to be changed. We do mostly write pop songs but then we play them in a more punk rock way. Marie, the bassist, writes a bit differently and usually brings an idea for a song and some scatty lyrics and floaty melody ideas which we then help to make into a full song. That’s why Marie’s songs usually end up being a bit different. We all sing lead on the songs that we’ve written ourselves.
3. Tell us about ‘Dysphoria! At the Psych Ward’. It seems to have a certain anger to it but it also feels like a very emotional song…
‘Dysphoria! At the Psych Ward’ is Nat’s experience of being transgender in the Danish psychiatry as well as in society in general. The disinterestedness and lack of understanding regarding transgender issues by medical professionals is very difficult to deal with when you’re already in such a vulnerable place. The song is angry because Nat is setting boundaries and taking up space fighting against outside pressures, while at the same time sharing a chunk of their experience as a transgender person to establish connection and community.
4. You are obviously a tight-knit group. Do you ever argue and what is the worst argument you’ve ever had?
We truly have become best friends through making this band. Band practice is often a safe space where we can talk about our ups and downs and support each other through life changes. Being this close obviously also brings difficulties, especially in stressed periods of time. When we have to balance work, studies, love lives, social lives and then the band as well it can sometimes cause us to have less emotional capacity to understand each other as well as we would like to. We do feel like we’re good at calling each other out and talking about any bad vibes so that the band can continue to be a safe space and a fun thing for us to do together.
5. What was a band that shaped your sound and creativity?
The cure, Pixies, Ramones, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Stuff like that.