Shining a light on the joys and heartaches that lie at the intersection of the LGBTQIA community and the world of alternative music…
Royal Brat are deeply concerned for your well-being.
The Minneapolis-based queer femme punk quartet—featuring vocalist Alex Uhrich, guitarist Clara Salyer, bassist Shannon Boyer, and drummer Conor Burke—are dead set on lifting people up while simultaneously rattling their faces off with viciously fun hooks, crunchy tones, unruly beats, and stomping rhythms. The band harness a tough garage punk aesthetic, but when it’s hitched to their weighty, incisive lyrics, the whole affair becomes preternaturally warm. Royal Brat feel like a studded-leather-jacket-clad older sibling, wielding their songs to figuratively beat the shit out of everyone who has ever bullied you.
Following up their five-song debut EP, Negative Bone—released on cherry red cassette tape in late 2015—Royal Brat unleashed their first full-length, Eyesore, on Feb. 23 via Chicago’s Moniker Records. Recorded and mixed by The Funs, mastered by Mikey Young, and featuring eye-catching, minimalist cover art by Andrea Lukic, the new record boasts 13 tracks that chronicle struggles with gender dysphoria, sociopolitical inequality, and bad breakups, while boosting the signal of queer and femme liberation and empowering assault survivors to heal, prevail, and thrive.
Royal Brat deftly pack a lifetime of pain and triumph into Eyesore’s concise 26-minute runtime. Recalling riot grrrl progenitors such as The Breeders, Bratmobile, and Babes In Toyland—with whom Royal Brat share a member—the band meld a familiar ethos with their own modern vision to create an even more inclusive message. Through their roles as musicians, label operators, and activists, it’s clear that Royal Brat are genuinely invested in their community. They’ve got our back, they’re on the attack, and woe unto anyone who would harm us.
I get so much joy from playing music, because it was the first aspect of my life that I completely cultivated for myself. No one ever encouraged me to play music until I decided I wanted to do it—and I was my number one supporter. I have such emotional ties to music, and many of my favorite and most inspiring memories are related to music in some way or another.
I’m specifically interested in the ways that art and music intersect in projects, and I can see a lot of that happening with bands and artists from everywhere right now. It’s such a special fusion of two really delicate and yet largely impactful things that make it feel worth it to sift through the bullshit of living.
Kitten Forever. Liz Phair. Sleater Kinney. Kim Deal.
On Community Care
I am always looking for ways to empower people to lean into doing it themselves. I think it’s important to recognize your own individual strengths and ability to positively impact and influence people around you. Some of us teach younger folks how to play instruments, some of us teach people how to screen print or assemble their own tape, some of us book shows. I think it’s important for everybody to try to create happenings in which crosspollination and collaboration are possible. That kind of environment and community attracts all sorts of people, and truly magical stuff happens.
On Easing the Struggle
Integrate alone time into your day as much as you can and learn to think of yourself as one of your best friends. I try to prioritize my relationship with myself in the same ways that I prioritize my friendships with other people. It took me a really long time to learn how to be alone—even in completing the most mundane tasks, like going to Walgreens. I take myself on dates all the time now: to the movies, out to eat, to the art museum. It’s the most special reflective time, and it helps to process everything.
Also, therapy is tight. There’s such an unfair stigma about therapy that keeps people from seeking that type of guidance—like admitting you need help is a sign of weakness. It really isn’t. It’s actually proof that you’re a badass who’s taking the initiative to nurture yourself so that you can foster meaningful relationships with the people you care about.
On What Keeps Them Up At Night
Balancing self-care and making a meaningful impact. Doing stuff that’s important to me but can still make a positive difference in other people’s lives.
On Secret Passions
Pop punk jams in the van. Especially Shannon and Alex.