Incisor flashing garage rock? Not quite. Vigilante, guitar tenderizing punk? Somewhat. Beach grunge? Possibly. Whatever the genre, the powerful, unpretentious, and resolute vocals of Megan Liscomb strafe over the proceedings with daring flair and unbridled dominance – San Diego’s Soft Lions are the real deal. Liscomb, alongside Jon Bonser and Ana Ramundo, are an uncompromising trio of local musicians that mean business. On the 17th of this month, the band plays the Soda Bar with Sharkmuffin, Big Bloom, and Lucky Keith. In this super rad Q&A, we interviewed Megan about everything from songwriting to Mexican food.
Rob Patrick: You guys have a pretty cool clear orange vinyl out. What’s your take on the reemergence of that medium, and do you think that it helps combat music piracy?
Megan Liscomb: Physical mediums, cds, tapes, and records, are all kinda competing with streaming now more than piracy. And streaming is so easy and weightless. It doesn’t cost you anything. It doesn’t take up any space in your home or in your life. I like records because they’re more beautiful than cds and easier to navigate than tapes. If you’re going to buy music and move it around with you from place to place. I’m in the middle of a move and records are damn heavy, but I still think vinyl’s the way to do it. I don’t think there’s much anyone can really do about piracy, but if you have fans who want to buy your music, than as an artist you should make it available in a format that’s really nice to hold and to look at and keep. Make it something special.
The words to “Waitress” are incredibly powerful and yet vulnerable. Content wise, what is something that is important to you, lyrically?
I felt really raw when I wrote that song, and all the songs on Spellbreaker. What I liked about all of those songs and what ties them together is that when I wrote the lyrics I kinda scared myself. Seeing it all written down, and then singing it first in a room with my bandmates, and then in a studio, and then over and over and over in bars and house parties and record stores, and every time being a little nervous. Of course writing songs doesn’t always have to be so dark and so naked-feeling, but for that bunch of songs it was really important to me.
I’ve asked a few musicians this, but what’s your opinion on Spotify, and do you think it has a permanent place in music?
Spotify is kind of a shitty thing I feel bad about doing, like using plastic bags or shopping at Forever 21, but I keep on doing it because it’s convenient.
Who are some of your favorite local bands to play with? You don’t have to mention Alfred Howard (even though he is a staff member of this site).
Tell Al Howard that he wears grandpa pants and I’m not afraid of him. Whenever it’s possible and the music fits together, I like to get as many women on a bill as possible, because women don’t always have the same opportunities in the scene that men do. Guys-in-bands tend to book shows with their guys-in-bands friends, and not really look too far outside of that circle. So you’ll see night after night of mostly white all male bills, and nobody bats an eye at it.
But there are tons of rad ladies making great music in San Diego and Tijuana and it’s so damn fun when we can share a stage! Some of my faves are Garden Echo, Mint Field, Le Ra, Birdy Bardot (damn it, Al!), Big Bloom, Gloomsday, Kids., and from LA I love Summer Twins, Globelamp, Cobalt Cranes, and The Big Gone.
It’s sort of weird to me now when just a regular person doesn’t use social media. I don’t think an unknown band could get too far without it unless they had a really big smart very expensive PR plan. My roommate doesn’t have a Facebook though, and I am sometimes very jealous of her for that.
Your vocals have an honest, fine-tuned power to them – “Spellbreaker” is a great example of that. Who are some of your favorite singers, and how have they affected you as an artist?
Thanks! I often wish my voice was higher and prettier and clearer actually, but you work with what you have when it comes to singing. One of the first albums I ever owned was No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom (on cassette) and I would play it over and over and sing along in my room. One day in high school I was watching old movies and I saw Lauren Bacall singing in To Have and Have Not and that was such a crazy paradigm shift for me, like oh, I could do that! She was so cool and so powerful. And of course women like PJ Harvey and Patti Smith have been important to me. Kim Gordon is amazing too, how tough she can be in basically a whisper, how much she can make you feel.
Tell us something about yourself that neither of your bandmates (Jon Bonser and Ana Ramundo) know about you.
I don’t know what I could possibly put on the Internet that I haven’t told Jon or Ana!
Finally, you’re from San Diego, so I have to ask – what’s your favorite Mexican food place? Heavy journalism, right here.
Drive-Thru: Colimas. Sit Down: El Zarape.
Featured photo by Jon Blaj.