Brooklyn-based punk band Grim Streaker hits hard at its softest while transporting every live show into a sweaty, angsty, drug-induced love fest. The band, which is made up of singer Amelia Bushell, guitarists Dan Peskin and Micah Weisberg, bassist Bill Dvorak. and drummer Piyal Basu, play “the kind of loud, fast, abrasive punk that emerged in L.A. and D.C. in the early-80s, mixed with a dose of the snotty, mid-tempo punk of late-70s New York and London.”
Having just released their latest fuzzed-out rock track “A.D.D.” last week, they are currently getting ready to tour Canada, open for 90’s rap-rock throwback band Crazy Town at Sunnyvale, play SXSW, as well as release their debut LP No Vision this May.
Despite her busy schedule, this week I had the opportunity to interview Grim Streaker’s badass front-women Amelia Bushell with questions ranging from what it was like growing up all over the world, to her style-icons, to the Grim Streaker writing and recording process.
How did you all meet and form Grim Streaker?
I met Micah, Bill, and Piyal through Dan. I was looking to jam for fun with a new group of people outside of my other band (Belle Mar). Grim Streaker was never supposed to be a serious project, but we ended up clicking musically as soon as we got in a room together and decided that perhaps we were on to something.
I believe some of the best bands form by accident. Where do you rehearse?
We rehearse at Meserole Studios in Bushwick. It used to be so dingy and filthy and stank of piss. Then one day they randomly decided to renovate it, so now it’s not as bad as it was, but it’s definitely not fancy!
Nice! Can you tell us a bit about your childhood, where you grew up, and how you came to live in New York City?
I was born in England, but when I was one year old, we moved to America. After three years, we moved back to England, and I went to a very horrible strict school with uniforms. Then we moved to Switzerland where I went to an international school and could wear my own clothes. It was an amazing place to spend the latter half of my elementary years. After that, we moved to Vancouver, Canada, and I did some middle/high school there before finishing my high school in California. The longest place I’ve lived is New York City, and that has been for seven-and-a-half years now.
Did you play in bands growing up?
I played in a band through the music school I went to when I was 16, but we didn’t write our own songs. My first actual band was with my friend when were 18, and we were called Beachtits. I say actual, but we never even performed live or had any real recordings.
I love the name Beachtits! Bring it back! Speaking of band names, Grim Streaker was named by do512 as one of the best band names at SXSW Festival this year. How did you all come up with the name Grim Streaker?
Dan came up with it! We both keep a running list of band names on our phones and that was one of his.
What’s the songwriting & recording process like for you?
Dan usually comes up with a riff and then I’ll try to come up with a melody to sing on top and the lyrics.
You just released “A.D.D.” last week. Where did you all record it and did you work with a producer?
We recorded it with Mike Kutchman (Parquet Courts, WALL, Sharon Van Etton) at Look To Listen Studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
What inspired you to write “A.D.D.?”
Well, I’ve got a really hard time concentrating on anything. Over time, my frustration kept building up. It got to the point where I couldn’t sit down and complete one fucking song. So I basically decided to just write a song about my inability to write a song.
I totally understand that feeling. You have such a unique style on stage; do you have any specific fashion/style inspirations?
My style has changed a lot over the years, as does the inspiration. At the moment I’m swooning after Debbie Harry’s style. She frequently wore skirts, however, and I can’t really see myself in a skirt on stage because I still want an element of comfort to move around as I please. Maybe I’ll try it. I like to glam up classic menswear looks with a unique pair of shoes. I’m obsessed with pantsuits and I want one in every color.
Gotta love a good pantsuit. If you could tour anywhere in the world where would it be and why?
Australia! I’ve never been and it’s at the top of my bucket list.
That’s what Darkwingsaid when I interviewed them last week. Maybe we could see a Darkwing/Grim Streaker Australia tour in the future? Speaking of which, any funny “on the road” stories?
Honestly just being in a van for hours and hours with four guys yapping away about life and culture was enough laughs I needed for a long time.
If you could open for any band (dead or alive) who would it be?
I think it would be pretty amazing to open for Bikini Kill. I’ve also always wanted to open for The National because I’m a huge fan of their music, but that would have to be with another project because Grim Streaker wouldn’t quite fit the bill.
What’s your favorite venue to play in NYC?
I’ve always loved playing Baby’s All Right because they’re super hospitable and always feed and water us.
Do you have any new releases, shows, or tours coming up we can look forward to?
We’ve got our first LP, No Vision, coming out this May. We’re headed to Montreal on February 1st to play Taverne Tour, and then SXSW in March. Locally, we’re opening for the one and only Crazy Town on February 23rd at Sunnyvale in Brooklyn.
OK, FINAL QUESTION: If Grim Streaker had an official mascot what would it be and why?
The Ferrari shot…a mix of Fernet and Campari. It’s been a ritual before shows.
I gotta try that! Thanks for the interview Amelia! Can’t wait till the Crazy Town show. See ya there!
Check out Grim Streakers latest track “A.D.D.” below, and look out for their debut LP No Vision this spring: