Interview w/ Sharkmuffin


Sharkmuffin’s electric, commanding, and instrument bruising sound is both focused and ferocious. Tarra Thiessen, Natalie Kirch, and Kim Deuss are self-described “Brooklyn garage noise pop”, but the circulatory system of the band has an underlying intellect to the distortion and thunder. Playing at the Soda Bar on the 17th of this month with Soft Lions, Big Bloom, and Lucky Keith, Sharkmuffin spoke to us about the elusive nature of great music journalism, the fate of online streaming, and much more.


Rob Patrick: The theme and structure of “First Date” is observant, fast, and, for loss of a better academic term, rad. Who directed the video, and what were some of the things you spoke about during the filming process?

Natalie Kirch: Tarra and I came up with the the concept and invited out friend Mike Lande of Happy Lives to star in it, since he’s affectionately known as the “Tinder King” in Brooklyn due to his grand success with the app. I actually have never been on a dating app myself, the song was a reflection of some of Tarra’s comically negative experiences with it.

Tarra Thiessen: Our friend Caroline also helped shoot and direct the video and I edited it all together. The only guy I ever met on tinder ended up peeing in my bed so the story line of mike being on 2 dates at once was just a funny idea we had.


You guys have released music on both cassette and vinyl. What’s your take on the reemergence of those mediums, and do you think CDs will ever become relevant again?

TT: I really miss mix CDs, actually, so I hope those come back.

NK: Vinyl definitely plays the clearest representation of what a song is actually supposed to sound like, and tape has a warm, fuzzy quality to it that gives off nostalgic feelings. I actually happen to have a massive CD collection, but don’t see a resurgence in the near future. However, history tends to repeat itself, so give it 100 years or so and we will see (or our great-grandkids will see).

Kim Deuss: I think vinyl will always be relevant because anyone who is passionate about music will want to listen to music on vinyl because of the quality of sound you get. Cassettes I feel are more of a gimmick, like a collectors item for those who used to listen to cassettes back in the day, however I don’t see CDs ever making a come-back.


In your opinion, has Pitchfork been positive or negative for readers and musicians?

TT: Music journalism in general is weird to me because it seems more like a word painting game of lifestyle reporting than actually reviewing the music itself in a creative and productive way. So I feel like pitchfork is at least a bit more eloquent in their reviews since so much music journalism can be lazy rewrites of press releases or just a shallow focus on our gender or the fact that we play loud.

NK: A little bit of both I’d say. I think it is always great for newer bands to be seen and heard, but like any website, they definitely have their biases. I feel that music journalism and critiques in general is something our generation hasn’t quite nailed in the way some of our predecessors have.


The band has been featured on Billboard, NPR, Consequence of Sound, and even Jezebel – what are you doing fielding questions on this website? But legitimately, how does this sort of coverage change the dynamic of touring and interacting with media?

TT: Bigger blogs like that have the power to morph your story into whatever they like so it’s nice to do interviews with everyone so you can get a chance to have a more control over the truth of your bands story.

NK: Fielding? I’m not sure what that means, but of course, we get noticed more when we are featured on a popular site. It helps promote interest in our band to potential fans and bookers.


Tell us something that your bandmates don’t know about you.

TT: I really like Spanish channel telenovelas.

NK: That’s a hard one, we are pretty close! I stole an atom ball from a Walmart when I was a kid. I felt really badly afterwards.

KD: I really want to learn to play the accordion, the theremin, and harmonica.


As an artist, what’s your experience with Spotify, and do you think it has a permanent place in music?

TT: I think they don’t pay artists enough but hopefully it will grow and become a more sustainable model for the industry. The industry has changed so much in the past 20 years, so it doesn’t feel like anything can be permanent; everyone is always evolving and adapting to the landscape.

NK: Any medium that is used to share music has its place.

KD: I personally don’t use Spotify much, but I know it’s a very popular App, and ultimately great for any artist to be able to be featured on and expand their fan base.


If you were invited to play music at the Oscars this month, what song would you play from Chartreuse, and which actor or actress would you angrily point at?

NK: I think “Mondays” is one of the catchiest songs on the record. “Tampons Are For Sluts” is one of my personal favorites to play, but I don’t know how viewer-friendly that is. I am honestly not familiar enough with any celebs’ shenanigans to point angrily at them, was never very fond of the tabloids. Kinda wish I was though cause that’s a great question.

KD: I’d like to play Chartreuse because I think that is the catchiest and also it’s so easy to get excited about the song.. It has such great energy. Not sure I’d point angrily at anyone. I don’t pay attention to the gossip of celebs’ lives.


Sharkmuffin is really good at Twitter. What’s the formula to making a good Tweet?

TT: Being really drunk helps.

NK: Tarra runs the Twitter and I believe she simply writes out whatever she’s thinking or whatever funny thing Kim and I say that she finds noteworthy.


And, finally, I’ll probably review your show at the Soda Bar. Is there any line or phrase you want me to include in that future article?

NK: Check out our flexi-disc coming out next week on Little Dickman Records! Is that cliche? Sure it is, but you have to shamelessly self-promote when you’re a DIY band.


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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