Interivew: Annie Truscott of Chastity Belt

Last year, Chastity Belt released Time to Go Home, a record that changed my life, basically and hasn't left my rotation of driving, reading, writing, living tunes. Anyways, the band hasn't slowed down since then and will hit the UK this May before returning Stateside for a run of dates, including a June 2 Seattle show with Mommy Long Legs, Hoop and Posse (please fly me out for that).

In the meantime, bassist Annie Truscott was kind enough to answer a few of our questions!

Photo: Connor Lyons

Photo: Connor Lyons

TGE: You're about to head back onto the road....is touring something you enjoy and do you find you can still create new material while you're out there? 

Annie: Touring IS an enjoyable experience! It can get fairly exhausting and routine but we are pretty good at finding ridiculous ways to entertain ourselves during long drives. It is pretty difficult to find time to work on new material on the road because it feels like we are always in motion but emotions, people, and experiences we encounter on the road definitely contribute to our creative processes.

TGE: How do you bring the album to life in a new way for live audiences?

Annie: At the end of a long tour, when I am worn out and tired of playing the same songs night after night I remind myself that I am one of the luckiest gals in the world—I get to travel with my best friends and share with strangers something that I genuinely love. Remembering that fact alone before playing a show boosts my excitement and energy in a really powerful way and makes it fun to “bring our albums to life”.

TGE: One of the songs from Time to Go Home that really stuck with me was Drone, and not just because it was the first song on the album. I'm a big fan of the message and just the lyrics. What sort of inspired that song and maybe explain a bit about it.

Annie: We all read Sheila Heiti’s book “How Should a Person Be” and felt a pretty strong connection to her writing and overall message. There is a line in it about mansplaining—men explaining something to women in a condescending or “know-it-all-dad” kind of way. It happens all the time everywhere and is especially prevalent in the music world. The song Drone is a nod to that.

TGE: It's recently been one year since the album came out, so what are you working on and what's next?

Annie: We have a bunch of new songs that we are super pumped about and are planning to record in August/September. The process of recording/mixing/mastering/releasing takes forever, though, so the next record won’t be out until 2017.

TGE: Is there a particular track in your catalog that you really connect with or that you think epitomizes what Chastity Belt is about?

Annie: Wow. That’s tough. I actually feel a pretty strong connection to a lot of our songs—probably from a combo of playing them so much and sharing pretty similar experiences as Julia, the main Chastity Belt lyricist. A song that gets me every time we play it, though, is  "On the Floor." The chorus goes “We’re on the floor/all my friends and me. But I still want more/Colors blurring”. I interpret this song as sharing intense joy with friends but never being totally satisfied but then coming to the conclusion that it’s all fine and going to be okay. That’s how I feel most days—overwhelmed with amore for the amazing people in my life, searching for something deeper but then breathing deeply and realizing it’s all chill. I think that sentiment also epitomizes Chastity Belt’s overall vibe.

TGE: When you started Chastity Belt did you imagine it would play out like this and how have your hopes changed for the band from then and now?

Annie: We started Chastity Belt mainly as a joke that sprang from intense boredom and at the start, I personally didn’t think very hard about making it “a real thing”. That process unfolded totally organically and I couldn’t be happier about it. I mean, it would be cool to quit our day jobs and be able to support ourselves through playing music, touring, selling merch, etc. but it’s rough out there and for now that’s sort of a dream that maybe will maybe won’t come true.

Photo: Connor Lyons

Photo: Connor Lyons

TGE: On No Regerts, you taught yourself the instrumentals, according to reviews (sometimes those can be wrong). Was that hard to basically teach yourself a sound and then what if any changes did you make or did you learn that you brought to the second album?

Annie: We actually all grew up playing music. Lydia and Julia played have both been playing guitar since middle school. Gretchen and I picked up our instruments for the band but we both have a background in music. Our sound came mainly came out naturally from only ever playing with each other. Chastity Belt is all of our first band and since No Regerts, we have all improved individually as well as grown musically together as a unit and I think that shows on Time to Go Home.

TGE: "Why Try" really resonates with me because it's a feeling I struggle with during anxiety/life in general and then you have songs like "On the Floor" and "IDC" that are similar in just losing yourself in something else. Was that something you wanted with Time to Go Home or did you have a theme to it/what made you focus on something like that? 

Annie: I think the songs and lyrics are a strong reflection of our experiences as 20-something year olds trying to figure out who we are and what we want to do with our lives. That sounds obnoxiously cliché but I think it’s a pretty accurate portrayal of life in your 20’s.