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Tacocat is a Seattle-based band that’s a must-have for your summer playlist this year! Their surfy, yet kickass vibes will have you ready to take on anything that a heat wave (or crimson wave) brings your way!
Emily Nokes (vocals), Bree McKenna (bass), Eric Randall (guitar), and Lelah Maupin (drums) make a perfect combination of punk rock, surf pop, feminism, and sarcasm—and the name Tacocat portrays just that. (Plus, it’s a palindrome, which is when you can spell a word forward and backwards and still have it say the same thing).
McKenna explains that she was just messing around with a friend and listing palindromes out of boredom. She wrote “tacocat” and her friend said that would be the stupidest band name ever, and a lightbulb appeared above her head.
When her and her band mates were brainstorming for band names, she added Tacocat to the list. Someone commented on it, saying it sounded like a band name a five-year-old girl would create, and that sealed the deal for the band. They all thought, “perfect!” and thus, Tacocat was born!
The members of Tacocat seem to have perfected the art of going with the flow. McKenna confesses that they all learned how to play their instruments while playing in the band, in fact, they’re still learning.
“And we grew into adulthood playing in Tacocat,” she adds.
Speaking of flow, let’s talk about their song “Crimson Wave,” from their album “NVM”—McKenna claims it’s one of their best songs to perform live.
“I love Crimson Wave! It’s just really fun to play,” she explains, adding that for their Seattle shows they often recruit a friend to dance up on stage with them dressed in a crab costume.
She recounts an incident during their album release show where they were up onstage and one of the legs from the crab’s costume got stuck in her bass’ tuning pegs. She ended up spending the whole song trying to get free and dying of laughter.
“Crimson Wave” is one of their songs that seems to be more heavily influenced by surf rock–the music video for it is literally a beach party. However, the song isn’t lacking in any punk rock beats or feminist ideals. If you haven’t realized by now, it’s a song about menstruation. Though it’s fun and catchy, and sung like a party song, it does an amazing job at taking away the taboo of a women’s period; which can help a lot of girls feeling embarrassed or afraid of having to shed that pesky ole’ uterus lining every month.
McKenna states that they’re not trying to be a political band, but that they are all feminist and their beliefs seem to naturally infiltrate their work.
“A lot of our songs are just about what we’re thinking about, and feminism is one of the things that’s on our mind a lot,” she tells BTRtoday. “I wouldn’t call us 100 percent political, it’s just usually our take on our values, which are pretty heavily feminist.”
Artwork courtesy of the band.
Their song “Men Explain Things To Me,” on their most recent album “Lost Time,” is yet another perfect example of Tacocat’s sarcasm and feminism. The song perfectly defines “mansplaining,” which is a term used to describe when a man explains something to a woman in a patronizing way. The lyric, “though I know all about the words you’re spitting out, the floor is yours without a doubt,” literally sums it up perfectly.
“Lost Time,” which was released this past spring, makes the listeners want to believe—X-Files fans know what we mean! During the writing process of this album, Tacocat was influenced by not only their feminist ideals and easygoing personalities, but also by Scully and Mulder from the popular sci-fi show, The X-Files. The name “Lost Time” is actually an alien abduction reference from an episode when Mulder looks down at his watch and has lost five minutes of time because… ALIENS. McKenna explains that, at least aesthetically, they went for a spacey theme. However, overall, this album seems to be unique to their other albums, because it weighs in more on the punk side of their usual pop-punk vibe.
“For whatever reason, it just came out a little bit darker,” McKenna claims. “There’s a heavy influence of adulthood on our album.” She thinks that the vibe has changed a bit because they’ve learned how to play their instruments better, and that opened more options in sound for them.
They recently got off a two-month tour and started working on a couple new songs. “It’s kind of too early to tell, but it’s a continuation of what we were working on with Lost Time,” she conveys. “I’m excited to see how it will turn out!”
Other than the new tunes, McKenna says a very important goal that Tacocat is currently working hard towards is to obtain the tour bus The Spice Girls used in their film Spice World.
“That’s pretty important to us—we’re just holding out. I hope it’s for sale somewhere,” she articulates. What would her spice girl name be? “Pumpkin Spice! Like pumpkin spice latte—I’d be super popular in Starbucks,” she giggles. “That’s my final answer.”
Last week, Tacocat headed back out onto the road and will be touring all over the U.S. Make sure to follow them on all their social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) to see where they’re headed next! Also, make sure to pick up some one-of-a-kind merch, created by art school grads/band members Nokes and Maupin themselves.
To hear more of the interview, tune into BTR’s very own Discovery Corner podcast!