Sharkmuffin | The Family Interviews

 
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Meet Tarra Thiessen and Natalie Kirch (Sharkmuffin)

Ever see that episode of Seinfeld where Elaine wants to start a bakery that only sells muffin tops? It was an extremely divisive episode and raised a lot of questions of self-doubt in my young mind. To this day, whenever I encounter a muffin, I am flummoxed. 

That being said, I’ve rarely met a muffin I didn’t like and Sharkmuffin is no different. 

This trio of rad Jersey bred ladies makes a shoegaze-y surf pop-y sci-fi-y musical ruckus. Their latest EP “Gamma Gardening” is all about a space dominatrix, so if you’re intrigued give it a listen and learn more about these shore sirens. 

Below we chat elevator farts, the shore’s influence, and about a very important cause you should support!

 
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Special Spring Clothing Sale:

A MAD-LIB By Sharkmuffin

WE have announced that our FANCY clothing store in the heart of downtown NEW YORK CITY is having a SMELLY sale of all our SMELLY merchandise, including FAMISHED suits and slightly irregular SOCKS. Men's cable-knit PARALLEL UNIVERSES, only $15.99. What a steal! Hand-woven Italian EGGS, half-price. Double-breasted cashmere QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENTS, $50.00. Genuine imported CHARTREUSE PERFUNCTORY shoes, FLABBERGASTED handkerchiefs, and women's embroidered POGO STICKS, all at rock-bottom prices. This is a chance to get some really LOVELY bargains!

 

Would you rather…

be hugged by a very sweaty person for too long, or ride an elevator with someone who is farting a lot? Why?

Tarra Thiessen:Ride on an elevator with someone who is farting a lot because I’ll also be farting a lot and we can have an epic fart off. 

Natalie Kirch: This really depends on who the sweaty person is AND how bad their sweat stinks. I don't mind hugging sweaty friends and family. We are used to being sweaty after playing sets. But if it was a stranger with terrible B.O., I might go the farting route... unless the person is riding all the way to the penthouse with me in a skyscraper.

Some Questions With Sharkmuffin

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?

Tarra Thiessen:The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli. Yes, i enjoyed it.

Natalie Kirch: "Murmur of Bees" by Sofia Segova. Yes, I enjoyed it.

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If you could give yourself from ten years ago any advice what would it It be?

Tarra Thiessen:Your college health center sucks, you definitely don’t have scabies!

Natalie Kirch: Don't be afraid, and in 10 years, you'll tour Europe.

What does your family think about your music?

Tarra Thiessen:My grandma is a big fan and actually featured on the opening track of our second LP ‘Tsuki.’

Natalie Kirch: They like it. My parents are huge rock buffs and my sister thinks it is cool I play now, so she listens to our music a lot.

When you’re breaking down equipment after a gig, do you meticulously pack it or just dump it all together?

Tarra Thiessen:I used to dump it all but cables last longer if you wrap them right so now I do my best to pack it up neatly.

Natalie Kirch: Depends on how fast we have to get off the stage and how many drinks I've had.

Who would you love to have cover one of your original songs? 

Tarra Thiessen:Weird Al.

Natalie Kirch: Cardi B.

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What do you think Rock music will be like in 50 years?

Tarra Thiessen:I think there will be way more women and non-binary people represented in rock and in the industry as a whole.

Natalie Kirch: Hm. The same but different, I guess. Like it has always been. Recognizable but renovated.

Your album, Gamma Gardening, is centered on a fictional narrative. How important is creating such a story to your music?

Natalie Kirch: That was our first themed album and Tarra came up with the concept on a whim. Some of the songs or parts of songs were written beforehand without context. Every song and every group of recordings is different. All parts of a song are inherently important, so whether it's a story or a mood that is captured, I think it all is crucial to the song turning out the way it is supposed to or intended to.

How do you approach the surf punk genre? 

Tarra Thiessen:Some of my guitar solos / lead lines are influenced by The Ventures and Dick Dale, but they’re much more simplified (I usually call it ‘fake shredding’.) Natalie and I also use 4 Death By Audio pedals to make it super loud and fuzzy. 

Natalie Kirch: I don't really think or create in terms of genres and I don't think Tarra does either so I am not sure how to answer this question. I think a lot of the songs end up surfy because of Tarra's guitar riffs and they are punk because they are fast and loud. That is just how they come together, but I don't personally think about that during the process of framing or recording them.

Do you think the specific culture of the Jersey Shore has influenced your sound?

Tarra Thiessen:When I was growing up close to the jersey shore in the 00s it was flooded with older dudes at bars playing covers and super long blues rock solos, so my tendency to write original songs that are less than 2 minutes with short lead lines probably stems from that. 

Natalie Kirch: Well, Tarra grew up right next to Asbury Park (home of Bruce Springstein) in Holmdel from and I summered about a half hour south so I would say so. However, not in the way it is portrayed on the TV show. That area is south of both of us and has a very different vibe.

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What do you think the result would be if you played your music in a first-grade classroom? 

Natalie Kirch: It is funny you ask that because I actually teach early childhood. However, I have never played Sharkmuffin to my students. Maybe I will one day. However, we have had surprisingly positive toddler receptions at many of our outdoor shows.

Any final comments? (This is your electronic soapbox for one last answer.)

Tarra Thiessen:We have a couple Sharkmuffin music incentives to raise money to help families separated at the border and to protect reproductive rights:

* Buy our Children's Album "Songs for Strange Kids" on Bandcamp, and all proceeds will be donated to Immigrant Families Together- an organization that works towards reunited mothers with their children separated at the border.

* Donate $5 or more to ACLU, Yellowfund, Planned Parenthood or any organization working to protect human/reproductive rights and DM us the receipt we will e-mail you MP3s of our latest EP 'Gamma Gardening' & ‘Tampons Are For Sluts.’

Natalie Kirch: I hope everyone is enjoying lots of ice cream this summer!

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Sean Maldjian