On the breezy evening of August 3rd, 2017, I sat down with The Groans lead singer and bassist Annie and guitarist Dewie to finally get answers to all of my fangirl questions. The interview took place at a local coffee shop in Ranch Cucamonga – a kind-of unknown city in the IE – where the band originates from.
When did the band formed?
Annie: “We formed in February, 2015. We actually played our first show right there!” She said pointing further towards the patio. “We booked it ourselves too! They were really cool about it. It was cute ’cause we had family come since we’re from Rancho and they were all sitting down and some people came that saw us post it on Instagram or spam.” She said laughing.
When did you all meet?
Annie: “2010? 2011 I think? Yeah 2011… We actually kind of had like a little – a really small cover band with his sister. She’s my age and I would play bass and she would play guitar or she would hop on drums.”
Dewie: “Yeah and we’d do covers of like Elvis, it was really weird.” he added while laughing.
Annie: “…and then we stopped and started going to shows and we kind of picked it up again.”
What was the first song you wrote together? And/or is there a specific member who writes the songs? Or do you work on them together?
Annie: “”Man eater”. I was 17 when I wrote that song. We didn’t do anything with it until the band started and the second one was “Perks of Being a Girl”.”
“”Bebo Song”, the dog song, we all wrote together.”
Dewie: “So for “Skin”, I would write, I don’t know… I had this melody written out and then Annie came up with the lyrics.”
Annie: “It’s all really collective. I write some of the songs. Dewey comes up with most of the guitar riffs and the music.”
Dewie: “We work together, we’ll be honest too like ‘hey, try this out.’” he shared on giving his bandmates constructive criticism.
“Our goal’s always been the same.”
Annie: “We all kind of know what we want the outcome of it to be.”
What exactly are your goals and expected outcome for the band?
Annie: “So what we really want to progress with “The Groans” is to be politically out there and try to educate. We want to go to a backyard scene and say “Yo, stay woke, this is what’s going on, and we all need to come together and spread love with each other and stick together and stuff.” I still see and hear discrimination in safe spaces and even at backyard shows and those are supposed to be the most welcoming platforms, so that’s what we really want to do with the band. Everyone’s welcome! More female and LGBTQ+ empowerment! That’s what we want to put out there! That’s what we try really hard for and we try to reflect it in our lyrics.”
Dewie: “That’s why with our album release party we wanted to donate all of the money to organizations and stuff ’cause I don’t know, we feel like we always want to try to give back in some way.”
Annie: “Yeah and being a punk band, you have to give back to your community. Just by being in a punk band you’re doing something for your community, but we want to go the extra mile and try to give back as much as we can. To have it benefit other people is something that makes me feel really happy.”
Are all of your songs based on real events, or are some of them dramatized?
Annie: “For the most part they are all based on real events, yeah! We don’t really have any random songs with lyrics that are kind of like a story. Everything’s reflected off of something or some experience. I would say that “Bebo Song” is the only random song we have, but it’s still something we’ve experienced. Dogs are amazing!”
Dewie: “Yeah, we got this dog and she changed my life completely. It’s amazing.”
Were you in the backyard scene? Did you go to shows before you became a band?
Annie: “Backyard shows and stuff? Yeah. I think that’s actually what had inspired us to form our own band, and more importantly, there wasn’t any female fronts or queer bands in the scene so that was a huge part of it.”
Dewie: “We would go (to shows) and everyone was really friendly. It was awesome.”
Annie: “I love meeting dedicated people and we always see familiar faces too at our shows and that always baffles me like, wow you’re [going out of your] way to come out to every backyard show.”
What’s your favorite location to play?
Dewie: “We used to love The Don Pomona. It was magical.”
Annie: “Yeah, it was in this basement, it was magical, and the people who would go in there were magical as well. I don’t know, it was just amazing vibes and it was a safe space. Backyard shows are pretty cool too. They’re always different.”
Do you have any words for your supporters and fans?
Annie: “Thank you. Yeah just thank you. It’s just so great that people are kind of like traveling with us, we’re all in this pack. [It means a lot to us] because we put a lot of heart into it and to see people responding to it positively is just amazing.”
The Groans’ music is available for streaming on Spotify, Band Camp, and Soundcloud. Make sure to check them out on tour starting August 9, 2017!