Live In The Moment: A Short Q&A with The Coathangers

Interviews, Concerts at the Mural
Dusty Henry
photo by Morgen Schuler

Atlanta garage punk heroes The Coathangers have delivered brilliant, feverish sets of noise since their inception in 2006. With each new release they, muster a new kind of frenzied energy: grimy guitar hooks, decadently muddy bass lines, and relentless drums barrelling through your ear drums. It’s a sound that they’ve mastered on albums like 2016’s Nosebleed Weekend and 2014’s Suck My Shirt, but fans will always attest to the vitality of the band’s live performances.

Earlier this year, the group released LIVE, which – you guessed it – is a live album. But more than that, it’s a startlingly great document of the sound of three powerhouse musicians locking in with one another. It’s the purest of Coathangers experiences – the reverberations of their voices and instruments bouncing off the walls of Alex’s Bar in Long Beach, Calif. amplifies the searing, not-to-be-fucked-with aesthetic at the core of the band’s music.

Before the trio takes the stage this Friday, Aug. 3 at Concerts at the Mural with Tacocat and Snuff Redux, we briefly caught up with the band about their latest live record, dark magic, and continuing to find inspiration from life.


KEXP: Earlier this summer you released your first ever live record. What made you want to finally want to capture your live show on wax?

Julia Kugel: We have always been told that our live shows are very different than our records. While the studio is a very controlled environment, the stage is where we let go of control and really live in the moment. With the urging of Scott Montoya, who mixed the record, we set out to capture the exuberance of our live shows!

The recordings were done at Alex’s Bar in Long Beach where you played two nights for free, dubbing it “The Coathangers : 2 Nights of Magic.” I read that you had tarot, palm readers, burlesque and more all on site. What drew you to themes of magic and the occult? How were all these elements working together during your performance?

We wanted to induce a carnival-like feeling of excitement and wonder in those attending! We aimed to make the each night of entertainment different and create a memorable show experience for our fans. And maybe conjure up some magic vibes for the performance! It worked because we had wonderful time and were privileged to work with some amazing entertainers! Plus we were surrounded by so many of the people that helped get us to where we are in our careers. Couldn't have picked a better name if you ask me!

You’ve mentioned that working on the live album got you excited for the next project. What specifically about these recordings invigorated you? What ideas or sounds are you working with on the next project?

Since the songs on the LIVE record span our entire musical career, listening to the mixes got me feeling retrospective and introspective. I was getting to know the band all over again from an outside vantage point and found that to be very exciting and inspirational. Hearing where the Coathangers sound has been got me thinking about where it could go! I want every song we make to be a song we LOVE to play live, that we are passionate about! When writing new material I would ask myself... would I want to play this song every night? Would it be fun to play every night? The answer has to be YES!

Beyond just your five full-length records, you’ve been insanely prolific over the years with a constant release of singles and EPs. How have you been able to keep up this constant output? How do you stay inspired and keep the momentum as a band?

Life inspires us! Our personal and interpersonal experiences drive us to create. It has always been that way. This band is a way for all of us release pain, frustration, and joy!


Catch The Coathangers this Friday at KEXP and Seattle Center’s Concerts at the Mural with Tacocat and Snuff Redux at 5:30 p.m. Free admission. Find more details here.

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