From the Mouths of Babes: TANGERINE

Comprised of sisters Marika Justad (lead vocalist and songwriting) and Miro Justad (drums), along with Toby Kuhn (guitar), and Ryan Baker (bass), TANGERINE is a Seattle-based band playing the dreamiest of indie pop.  Their new single, “Nothing Better”, is a must-have for beach playlists, and from their first EP, Radical Blossom, “Feel This Way” causes involuntary swaying and head-bobbing.  Marika’s crisp vocals work perfectly with instrumentals that at times remind of 60’s-style surf, other times of Brit-pop, to create a daydream wrapped in rock ‘n roll.  It’s clear that this band is talented, hardworking, and here to stay!

Sisters Marika and Miro were gracious enough to share with us some of their experiences as feminists and women-of-color in the music industry.

Marika:  “Being a woman in the music industry puts you in an interesting position.  I have definitely felt the sting of condescension, especially in music reviews, which often want to label any and all bands that are female-fronted as “girl groups”.  No one calls the Artic Monkeys a “boy band”, so I can’t help but feel frustrated that people become so preoccupied with my sister’s and my gender rather than simply focusing on the music.

At the moment, society has a very schizophrenic attitude towards feminism and equality:  half the time, being a feminist makes you a drag and a man hater, and you’re accused of being out of touch.  Why else would celebrities like Katy Perry and Taylor Swift vehemently deny being feminists while still touting gender equality?  The other half of the time, you see people supporting feminism, but still as a means to tear other women down, i.e. Rashida Jones’ comments of late, or the slut-shaming directed at Miley Cyrus (I won’t even get into Miley’s troubling attitude towards race and power, though, because then I’ll be on a whole other rant…).

All that being said, I feel incredibly grateful that I’m both a woman and a person of color, working in the entertainment industry.  I feel like it presents an opportunity to change peoples’ misconceptions, and to help “normalize” diversity in a genre (guitar-driven pop rock) that is primarily dominated by white males.  At the end of the day though, you have to clear your head and focus on the most important thing:  the music.  I won’t lie and say the rest is noise, because misogyny is so real you can almost taste it, but I think the only way to stay sane is to keep honing your craft as a musician and a songwriter, and hope that the quality of the music can speak for itself.

Sometimes I just binge-watch “10 Things I Hate About You” to remind myself that the mainstream occasionally embraces the quirky, complicated, feminist characters.  Also, Heath Ledger was a mega babe in that movie.”  (We agree, Marika!)

Miro:  “Being a female drummer feels great because it sends a message to other females that it is okay to smash on the drums instead of being a front vocalist or other traditional female roles.  I have learned quickly how to hold my own ground as a woman and to realize that it is OK to say no to all of the males who believe that you need help carrying your kick drum (it’s so light!!).  Also, please do not tell us female drummers that our performance was “cute”…there is nothing cute about shredding.

At the beginning I had to learn about being direct with my stage set up and dealing with the logistics of playing a show because I was constantly surrounded by older males who assumed I knew less than they did and tried to take over.  It is empowering now to feel confident in my place as a rock ‘n roll drummer and to politely yet firmly deny all offers to “help”.  I encourage women and young girls to not shy away from the drums but to take it on full force and to make it their own.”

Thank you to TANGERINE! Their new single, “Nothing is Better”, along with photos, videos and tour dates are available if you visit their main website and their Bandcamp.  You can also stream “Nothing is Better” along with their EP, Radical Blossom, on Spotify!

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27, chicago resident, social worker/feminist, lover of tonkatsu ramen and coffee.

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