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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

We Love MEN!

Our exclusive interview, with Brooklyns newest export

Written by Cari Steel


We’re completely entranced by the art/performance band that is MEN. How can you not go weak at the knees for a diverse musical stew that fuses dance and electro beats with rock music and combines this with a dose of political and social activism that takes in complex subject matters such as gender roles, erectile wartime economies and sexual politics? Oh, information pills and their live shows are pretty wild too.

For the uninitiated, a little backround info: MEN are made up of JD Samson, best known for her involvement with Le Tigre and a 2006/2007 playmate of Peaches in her backing band The Herms, Michael O’Neill (Ladybug Transistor) and Ginger Brooks Takahashi (LTTR) as well as fellow Le Tigre member Johanna Fateman who remains in the backround alongside artist Emily Roysdon and contributes as writers, consultants, and producers; as you can see, MEN have a pretty stellar pedigree.


A short while back, we managed to catch them in their fly by night visit to the UK, where they briefly rocked up in Brighton, Soho’s legendary Madam Jo-Jo’s and the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen (where Amelia’s Magazine squeezed our way to the front of the room). The crowd were made up of a mix of music label A&Rs (MEN are very much the hot ones to watch for 2010, don’t you know) and devoted fans of JD from her Le Tigre days.

JD, the charismatic little devil that she is, had the crowd wrapped around her little finger and calling out for more, as witnessed in the rapturous reception she received as she bodypopped her way through ‘Simultaneously‘. As MEN’s guitar riffs joined forces with a deep electro beat, friends of the band stood at the back of the stage holding banners high, as you can see from the photos.

fuck youred shot

A couple of days later, we had an email chat with JD and asked her to tell us a little more about what makes MEN tick……

We loved your live show, it was electric! Combining the elements of art and performance seems like an integral part of a MEN gig, can you share with us why this is important to you?

Being on stage is an opportunity to explore that space of performer, musician, and artist with an audience and bringing together elements of agit-prop theater, dance music, and the live rock band is a project we’re totally invested in.

What messages do you want your audience to leave a MEN gig with?

Questions about who we are in the world, where our money comes from, and how powerful it can be for people to gather together and share our space and time.

MEN don’t shy away from including hard hitting subjects such as sexual politics and war-time economics in the lyrics, unlike many other bands and singers. Is it safe to say that there isn’t enough activism in music right now?

I don’t want to judge other artists about what they want to talk about in their own art. We make music that talks about our lives and what we think about and where we exist as humans on this planet. Not many people talk about war time economies and gender fluidity but we do. and we are happy to be a queer activist band.
JD, Is your involvement with MEN different from your part in Le Tigre and if so, how?

Of course this experience is different for me. I am working with two new musicians whose collaborative efforts bring totally new elements to my music. I am still me, so a lot of my music and aesthetics are similar, but I have grown since writing with Le Tigre and I think its clear that we are doing something different and have new discussions with a new audience.

Celeste-Dupuy-Spencer.aspxIllustration by Celeste Dupuy-Spencer

What are the plans for MEN in the next year? And what subject matters would you like to tackle next in your songs?

In 2010 we will be working on our album, finishing our album and then sharing it with the world on tour. We’re excited to be making a new performance in Mexico City this summer with live hand drummers and our painter friend Celeste Dupuy-Spencer. We’ll also be performing at the 35th Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival!


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