New Pure Noise Records signees Sharptooth, are beyond excited to have just released their new album Clever Girl. The Hardcore band hailing from Baltimore are leaving nothing on the table with tracks like ‘No Sanctuary’ or ‘Fuck You Donald Trump’. Getting a chance to speak with lead vocalist Lauren Kashan, we discuss what this album means to them, and means for their fans.
It’s been a couple of weeks since your new album Clever Girl released on Pure Noise, how have you guys been feeling about it?
We’ve been super excited! It’s great to finally have the record out there, and it’s been really great to connect with people over these songs and to have some of the conversations that we set out to encourage when we wrote the album in the first place.
What is some of your favorite feedback you guys have been receiving on the new music?
That people can relate to the songs, and that they’ve been helpful to people in dealing with their own trauma or triumphs. These songs talk about a lot of issues that aren’t typically or openly discussed in heavy music, and the fact that so many people have come back to us saying that the subjects are important to them or that the songs have helped them has been truly humbling.
It’s definitely a powerful, in-your-face album, more so than others in my opinion. Would you guys say that some things, in particular, fueled you guys while you were writing?
Overall, I think we just wanted to create a cohesive piece of art that served both as music and as activism. Each particular song had its own motivating circumstances that fueled its creation, Be that coping with sexual violence or harassment, or coming out, or the Baltimore Uprising. But our overarching goal was to address these subjects in a way that opened up the floor for more nuanced and diverse conversations about some pretty serious subjects. I think that fueled all of us in this process.
Did you run into any difficulties recording for this album?
Not really. We worked with Paul Leavitt, who was absolutely incredible, and who let us really take the reins with a lot of the production and some of our more unorthodox approaches to recording. He was totally willing to try new things with us, and it was overall a really fantastic experience.
Was there anything you wanted to specifically accomplish with Clever Girl?
We wanted to create a record that was about living your truth, standing up for what you think is right, and speaking up about issues that are too often swept under the rug or misunderstood. We specifically wanted to make an album that worked to elevate the voices of marginalized groups, through my own personal experiences, and I think we did what we set out to do.
Was there anything that sparked you wanting to write this album in the first place?
It just sort of came together organically. We started writing the songs back in early 2015, and eventually we started to get enough material together that we thought we could create a full length album. Once we decided that’s what we wanted to do, we started adding in and creating songs that complemented and fleshed out the record as a whole. Each song on the record was very intentional in its use, its content, and it’s placement.
If you had to pick one song off Clever Girl for someone who’s never listened to Sharptooth, which would it be? Why?
Left 4 Dead. Sonically, it touches on a lot of the primary musical elements of the band, from the fast, punk-beat driven verses, to the anthemic, melodic chorus, all the way to the big heavy breakdown at the end. And content-wise, it addresses one of the most important issues that our band talks about: sexual violence. I think it’s one of our most powerful songs live, and it’s a song that we play and discuss at every single show.
What would you want to tell your fans about Clever Girl that they might not know by just listening through?
Not much, honestly. The record really leaves everything out there. The one thing you can’t get from it is our live show experience. I talk a lot during our sets, and we try to create an almost rally-type experience during our shows. I go into detail about the songs and what’s going on in the world and with me personally, so that’s something you definitely miss out on from just spinning the record. As a band, we work really hard to be more than just our songs, we want to create a whole experience.
What’s the next step for Sharptooth?
A lot of touring and a lot more writing. We’re gearing up for our first full US run in January with Anti Flag and Stray From The Path, and we’re hoping that’s just the jump off for a year of heavy touring. We’re also already working on our next record, so that’s probably going to start coming together over the next year as well.
What do you guys think 2018 will bring for Sharptooth?
Tours, tours, and more tours. We want to take this record as far and wide as it can go. We’re also trying to make it over to Europe in 2018, so fingers crossed!
Who have you guys been listening to on the road lately?
Kesha. Seriously. We’re big Kesha fans, and her new album is fantastic. Also heavily jamming the new Stick To Your Guns record, Night Witch, and The Fever 333.
Any artist you’re all digging at the moment?
We actually just got off the road with two awesome bands, Roseview and Motives, and we’ve been jamming the hell out of all of their material, so I’d highly recommend checking both of them out. Really awesome people, hardworking, and ridiculously fun to tour with, but who are also making really fantastic music.
Where’s a city you guys are looking forward to playing in for the first time?
Literally anywhere on the west coast! Anywhere in California would be amazing, but if we could make it to Chain Reaction, that would be unreal. It’s such an iconic place for hardcore, it would really be an honor to play there.
3 tour essentials you guys couldn’t do without:
Veggie Straws. Magic The Gathering. Chai Tea Lattes.
Without getting too political; Is there anything you guys want to say to your fans/the industry as a whole?
Take a moment to really listen to perspectives that are different from yours. We can’t grow as a society unless we seek to understand each other. At the end of the day, we’re all human beings, who want to feel seen and heard and understood. When we as individuals make an effort to facilitate that, that’s where the real change begins.
Look out for Sharptooth on tour in 2018 and check out Clever Girl now available on their Bandcamp and on Spotify.
Words and Interview by Alex Pellegrino.