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Interview: DOWNGIRL Chat About their Debut EP, ‘Manic’

DOWNGIRL, the dynamic femme-punk quartet, has finally dropped their highly anticipated debut EP, ‘Manic’. Harnessing an unyielding punk ethos and a commanding sonic presence, DOWNGIRL possesses an exceptional ability to infuse incisive social commentary into their music. Their inaugural EP, ‘Manic,’ stands as a testament to this prowess, featuring a compelling array of eight tracks, including the previously unveiled singles ‘2006,’ ‘Boys,’ and the titular ‘Manic.’ This EP serves as the zenith of the band’s unfiltered emotional expression, a tumultuous odyssey through the realms of the mind, and a steadfast testament to their unwavering commitment to their art. We caught up with DOWNGIRL to find out more about the debut EP.

Congratulations on the upcoming release of your debut EP, ‘Manic’! Can you tell us how this project came together and what it means to the band?

Lou: Thank you! The EP is a collection of songs that we have been working on since the band’s conception. It has been a long time in the making so it feels incredible to finally share them with everyone. It also means that we can get them out of our system and work on recording new material.

The title ‘Manic’ holds a special significance for you. Could you share more about why you chose this name and how it reflects the band’s journey from its early days to now?

‘Manic’ is described as a diary of sorts, charting your progress as a band. Can you walk us through some key moments or experiences that inspired the tracks on this EP?

Lou: We started writing these songs from our respective homes during the covid lockdown. We collaborated online, sharing riffs, beats and lyrics via email so we basically started as a ‘Zoom meeting’ band. The songwriting process changed when we were able to get together in person and operate as more of a ‘traditional’ band as we could jam out ideas and feed off each other in a live setting. Both approaches seemed to work but I guess I’m old school and much prefer to write with the girls in the room.

Your music is known for embedding potent social commentary. How do you approach infusing your music with these powerful messages while maintaining the integrity of your punk ethos?

Lou: Social critique is one of the hallmarks of punk, I don’t think the movement would exist without it.

‘Manic’ is described as a ruthless punk manifesto that tackles societal issues and personal struggles. Could you elaborate on some of the themes or topics that listeners can expect to encounter in this EP?

Your music has been compared to riot grrrls of the ’90s and contemporary nu-punk. How do you blend these influences to create a sound that’s uniquely DOWNGIRL? 

Skar: We naturally had nothing to do in lockdown but jam alone and come up with what we had solo, and record it on the laptop, email it across, get the next part of the song done in the same way (that’s the whole EP). We grew up with all the 90’s goods, from queer pop bangers to grunge and punk. I guess it’s a good mix of what we can bring on an instrument equally, just got to keep challenging ourselves and having bloody fun ey.

You’ll be taking ‘Manic’ on the road with a series of tour dates. What can fans expect from your live performances, and are there any specific cities or venues you’re particularly excited about?

Kristen: Tour time is always a hell of a time. We’ve worked hard and long at performing these tracks so fans can expect an absolute killer show with the added unpredictable antics – beer spillage, accidental pyrotechnics, stripper nuns – who knows! I’m particularly looking forward to playing at Off The Rails with Amyl and the Sniffers in our home town of Marrickville, NSW.

Looking ahead, what can we expect from DOWNGIRL in the near future? Are there any hints about upcoming projects or creative directions you’re exploring?

Kristen: Now that our EP has left home and is off to college, we plan on releasing a live performance video of the entire EP. We want to give those who haven’t had the chance to see us live yet a little look into our personalities.

Then we’re on the way to releasing our first Album, with many many electric shows in between.

Is there a particular message or emotion you hope listeners take away from ‘Manic’ after experiencing it?

Lou: Making the EP was cathartic for us, we hope listeners can put aside whatever troubles they may be facing and the day to day monotony and lose themselves for 25 minutes

DOWNGIRL’s debut EP, Manic is available now, everywhere.

Written by John Zebra