Katie, Josette and Naomi are loud. And not in a bad way. The kind of loud that spills over like a mug of root beer with a double-scoop of vanilla ice cream; chatter that stacks up like the layers of an impossibly tall sandwich. The kind of loud that can transform a cramped tour van into an endless slumber party with your best friends on the planet. This trio is so full of life, it's not surprising that their music feels anthemic–they’re a clique, but an inclusive one, hell-bent on recruiting anyone who’ll listen. MUNA is their band, their baby and their collective identity, but each individual brings such a distinct, commanding energy that it's impossible for them to not be loud. Welcome to the MUNA-verse.
Katie: My earliest memories with music–weirdly enough–come from church. I was raised Irish Catholic, so I would sing hymns when I was in church with my family, and I joined the church choir. I was also very lucky to get to go to big pop concerts when I was a little kid. Some of my earliest concerts were the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls. That was an epic dream for me at the time.
The way I approach music now has a lot to do with the fact that my parents gave me free reign to develop my own taste in music. I didn’t have an extremely musical family by any means. I liked what I liked, and I developed a sense of self that was kind of untainted by what my parents thought I should be listening to. I’ve always loved pop music, and it’s always been a very unabashed, unashamed love. That’s what I love writing, so I kind of came into the crew with a pop scheme.
Josette: My first memory of music is when my dad showed me Bob Dylan when I was six or seven. Ever since then I was like, this is what I’m gonna do. I would write songs, and I needed to play guitar and it just progressed from there.
When I first started playing music, the thing that was most interesting to me is just the authentic need to create. When you’re creating, you’re just showing a part of yourself. I think as a band we’re all about that. Performing is where I feel the most at home–I just get to show a side of myself that I normally don’t get to. I think one of the things that’s stuck with me the whole time is just trying to be myself, and music allows me to do that.
Naomi: My parents are musicians, pretty much everyone in my family has been or still is a professional jazz or classical player. My mom always tells a story of when I was in her stomach and she went to a James Brown concert. I hadn’t kicked until that point, and then James Brown came on and I started kicking like crazy. She’s like, This kid’s gonna like music.
Katie: I would probably describe my personal style as weird. I like to be risky. Most of the time, I have to count on my friends to let me know if I’ve failed, but I always go for it. I buy a lot of clothes on Etsy, I shop at Goodwill a lot. I like anything that’s hardcore. Generally, if it’s not comfortable, I’ll sacrifice for fashion. I’m really into just trying to make a statement. The statement is ‘fuck off.’
Josette: I’ve gone through phases of having absolutely no style. I was trying to say ‘fuck you’ to being cool, so I just dressed like I was going on a hike every day. Right now, I’m trying to be as much like my 13-year-old self as I can be. I just want to be like a little kid, because I think that’s when you’re the most authentic.
Naomi: I think I try the hardest because I’m a visual person. If you look cool, it’s gonna make me more interested in what you’re doing. At the same time, if you’re just being yourself and doing you to the fullest, that’s something so awesome to me. You probably look sick if you’re just being your authentic self. I think I’ve been in the process of figuring that out.
I grew up being a tomboy, wearing like a Thrasher shirt and big pants. When I went to college, I started wearing super-tight jeans and blazers and button-downs–like, power suit vibe. Then I sort of regressed back toward the streetwear side of things. I think I’ve wanted to look like a punk since I was a little kid. There’s something about that raw energy and don’t-give-a-fuck-ness that I really resonate with.
Katie: Naomi and I are both Capricorns, and Josette is a Pisces. Naomi and I are both hyper-organized and we spearhead everything, but we also butt heads sometimes because of that. We’re both very overwhelming, powerful energies. Having a water sign balances us out.
Josette: Even though we fight and we argue sometimes, I think it’s unconditional love that we have for one another. They push me to be myself. They let me embrace who I am and they don’t judge me for it.
Naomi: I think there have been times when we’ve all had to play peacemaker with each other. At the end of the day, we know that we have each other’s best interests at the forefront of our minds at all times even if we’re fighting or whatever. There have a been a lot of different times when we’ve resolved conflict by pressing pause, going to get food and not talking about music, or talking for two hours about our feelings and hugging it out.
MUNA is a girl gang. – Naomi
MUNA is for everyone who needs it. – Josette
MUNA is a big 'fuck you.' – Katie
We asked the girls to give us a glance into their personal lives by sharing mementos and objects that shine a light into their interior worlds.
I am a journaler. When I was a kid, I had a groovy Mary-Kate & Ashley journal that’s still somewhere in my childhood home. I got this one last September, and it’s cool because it has documentation of a huge transition in my life. I moved houses, and we signed a record deal and started doing a band full time. All of my lyrics are also embedded in journal entries, so I can see what I was going through at any given time.
This is my flogger. It lives on the wall of my apartment and I made this design with some other pink toys so that it looks like a crucifix, which my Irish Catholic family should appreciate. This is what I use to make the world submit to the forces of MUNA. Sometimes I do use this on Josette because she gets butt cramps when we’ve in the van. It’s a very useful tool.
This The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin. I keep returning to it. If I wasn’t a songwriter, I would probably try and write sci-fi. In the book, they have people that are genderless. When they experience love–it’s called ‘kemmering’–they develop a gender according to the other person they’re in love with. I think that’s a really interesting concept, because gender isn’t real, and we’re just trying to establish dynamics with each other. I like to play with that kind of stuff when we’re writing too.
I got my first leather jacket when I was eight–the same time that I made the decision that I wanted to be a rock star. Ever since then I’ve been obsessed with leather jackets.
The first time I ever went to New York, I went to some thrift shop, saw this and was like, I need to get that jacket. I wore this probably every day in high school because I thought I was a badass. Lately I’ve been bringing it out again–I think that’s me just trying to connect with those authentic urges of wanting to be a cool rocker chick or whatever, and not being ashamed that, like, that’s who I am.
I have six dogs. I have my dog’s name tattooed on my stomach because I thought that would be a good idea when I was 16. I like dogs because they’re unconditional and they don’t have a bad bone in their body. They don’t judge you, they’re not pretentious. They just want to give you love and be loved.
This is Hejira by Joni Mitchell. I wish there was a fan club. I’m like the biggest Joni Mitchell fan–I’m obsessed with her, and this is one of my favorite records of hers. It’s very, like, jazz-pop. It’s the beginning of her experimental music period of her life. Look at this album art. It makes me wanna get a beret.
This is a Malcolm X postcard I bought at Wacko in Los Feliz. His autobiography is the best book in the entire world, and everyone should read it if they want to know about America.
I like graphic novels a lot. This is Ghost World. It’s one of my favorites. My best friend Sarah got it for me for my birthday a couple years ago. I’m all about ‘90s nostalgia. Read it.