As the music world slowly loosens its grip on punk, the bands still active within the genre get a little less time in the spotlight. But the New Jersey DIY punk trio Screaming Females has managed to stay relevant. It’s almost comedic, as all three members—guitarist and vocalist Marissa Paternoster, drummer Jarrett Dougherty, and bassist King Mike—have never tried to propel themselves to fame or even ponder fame at all. Instead, the band has spent the past 13 years trying to explore where they can go musically while still having fun. In that, Screaming Females continues to succeed.
Perhaps the band’s success is strong because all three members have never lost focus on what it is they’re doing. When the three create music, like their new album All at Once, it’s a collaborative process. When Paternoster designs the album artwork, it comes from a personal place. When it’s time to ship records, the band handles mail orders firsthand. For Screaming Females, creating punk music isn’t just about the songwriting process—it’s about everything that goes into it, from behind the scenes to the frontlines. That commitment to the DIY ethos is what gives their music such an edge in this period.
“It’s peculiar to me when artists are complicit with having an outside party curate their output,” says Paternoster. “I suppose it would be easier to outsource some tasks, but even the most minute of chores chalks up to the big picture. We value engaging in long-lasting, dependable working relationships, and those relationships take a lot of work. Community and friendship are very important to us.”
To understand the band’s daily grind, we interviewed Marissa Paternoster for a round of Wheel of Tunes, a series where we ask musicians questions inspired by their song titles. With All at Once as the prompt, her answers are to the point but vivid—a sampling of what to expect from the band’s brand of punk when it headlines ONCE Somerville this Saturday.
1) “Glass House”
DIGBOSTON: Which decoration, artwork, or piece of furniture in your home would look strange to somebody who knows nothing about you?
PATERNOSTER: Probably the giant cardboard cutout that surrounds the window behind our kitchen sink that says “SQUIRREL TV.”
2) “Black Moon”
DIGBOSTON: What’s your least favorite part of the nighttime?
PATERNOSTER: Right before bed my feet get really hot, so sometimes I have to fill the tub with cold water and stand in it until they cool down sufficiently for bed.
3) “I’ll Make You Sorry”
DIGBOSTON: What’s something a friend, family member, or coworker did that you’re still waiting for an apology for?
PATERNOSTER: I don’t tend to wait for apologies!
DIGBOSTON: When is the last time you walked barefoot?
PATERNOSTER: I took some recycling out at my grandma’s house the other day. She has one of those finely cut suburban lawns, so it feels good on the old feet.
5) “Agnes Martin”
DIGBOSTON: Which Agnes Martin painting is your favorite?
PATERNOSTER: The painting “Untitled” from 2003. I haven’t got many reasons for loving it besides I find it to be very beautiful.
DIGBOSTON: Which feeling do you wish you felt more often?
7) “Soft Domination”
DIGBOSTON: If you became the mayor of New Brunswick, what’s the first rule you would enforce?
PATERNOSTER: I would fire all the cops, burn down the courthouse, fill Rutgers Stadium with marbles, then retire somewhere in the doldrums of obscurity.
8) “End Of My Bloodline”
DIGBOSTON: Out of all of your family members, who makes you particularly proud to be related?
PATERNOSTER: Nearly all of my immediate family have worked as teachers in some form or another, which I find to be a pretty noble occupation.
9) “Chamber For Sleep I”
DIGBOSTON: Have you ever gotten an MRI?
PATERNOSTER: Yes. I’ve had three. They suck.
10) “Chamber For Sleep II”
DIGBOSTON: What’s your favorite recurring dream?
PATERNOSTER: I don’t really dream.
11) “Bird In Space”
DIGBOSTON: Where is the most out-of-place location you’ve ever seen a bird?
PATERNOSTER: We all got to lay eyes on a wild toucan in Costa Rica. It was a thrill!
12) “Fantasy Lens”
DIGBOSTON: Can you name two characteristics at the core of your idealized fantasy world?
PATERNOSTER: More trees, more quiet.
13) “My Body”
DIGBOSTON: Which aspect of your body are you most grateful for?
PATERNOSTER: I’m generally pleased with my body’s functionality.
14) “Drop By Drop”
DIGBOSTON: What’s your favorite nonalcoholic drink?
PATERNOSTER: Boy, I love a cucumber water. Now that’s a refreshing beverage.
15) “Step Outside”
DIGBOSTON: When you walk outside of your home on an average day, where are you most likely going?
PATERNOSTER: Takin’ the dog for a walk! So wherever her nose leads her.
SCREAMING FEMALES, SPOWDER, SHEPARDESS. SAT 7.7. ONCE SOMERVILLE, 156 HIGHLAND AVE., SOMERVILLE. 8PM/18+/$15. ONCESOMERVILLE.COM