The Coathangers The Coathangers are a punk rock band from Atlanta formed by guitarist and singer Julia Kugel (aka Crook Kid Coathanger), bassist and singer Meredith Franco (aka Minnie Coathanger), and drummer and singer Stephanie Luke (aka Rusty Coathanger). They have toured throughout the U.S. and Europe. In 2007, punk label Die Slaughterhaus Records teamed up with New York’s Rob’s House Records to issuing the band’s self-titled debut album. Their second album, “Scramble”, was released in 2009 by Suicide Squeeze Records followed by “Larceny & Old Lace”, in 2011. The Coathangers released album number four, “Suck My Shirt”, in the spring of 2014 and on April 15, 2016 the band released their fifth studio full-length entitled “Nosebleed Weekend”. which debuted at #149 on the Nielsen Soundscan Top 200 sales charts and #6 on the Top New Artist Albums and #4 on the Alternative New Artist Albums chart. The Coathangers will be on tour in Europe beginning 23 May and they play Paris at Le Batofar on 3 June.

HVUM: Thanks very much for talking with us. We know a lot about the Coathangers, but can you tell about the band’s highlights over the past few years – personal anecdotes included!

C: Over the past few years we’ve been putting the pedal to the metal! Constantly touring including 5 UK/European tours, 2 Australian/New Zealand tours, and countless US/Canadian tours! We also have managed to put out our 5th full length LP and coming up we are releasing a 5 song EP, its a 12″ so on one side we have the 5 songs and on the other side, an etching of artwork by our good friend Helena Darling from Canada! We also have been able to do a bunch of festivals and even got to tour with legendary band, Refused last year.

HVUM: What motivates you as a band? What keeps you going?The Coathangers4

C: I think the main thing that keeps us goin is our love for each other and our love for the band itself as well as all the fans and people we’ve worked with in the industry that have supported us so very much. This isn’t a hobby for us, it’s truly our lives, who we are.

HVUM: Thinking about Hunter S. Thompson’s famous quote,
“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”

We’re followed by a lot of young women aspiring to working in the music business. Do you agree with Thompson? Any advice you want to pass along to our aspiring readers?

C: That quote! Wow, yes it’s definitely true for a lot of bands , and maybe we’ve been included in this quote before as well, however, like my momma has always said “Nothing worth doing is easy”. Whether it be music or any other passion or profession, you must work hard at it and assume nothing. Me and the girls sometimes say, “Expect the worst, but always hope for the best”.

HVUM: Reviewers have referred to the Coathangers as bridging punk, garage, new wave and classic girl group sounds ( the Ronettes, the Shirelles, the Chiffons , Little Eva, and the Cookies). How do you hear that that mix in your music?

C: That’s amazing, that’s just what we want to hear! On some of our slower songs I definitely take a little bit from the drumming sounds of 50s/60s classic do-wop and we have been inspired by the vocals of the same groups so I’m glad people can hear that.

HVUM: Case in point? Let’s take time out for a look and listen, “Perfume”.

HVUM: Let’s talk punk for just a minute. It’s interesting how – call it a subculture if you want – punk has lived on far beyond the 70’s and Richard Hell and The Voidoids, MC5, The Clash, Iggy & The Stooges, Patti Smith, The Sex Pistols and The Ramones…but as Dorian Lynskey (Guardian) has pointed out it’s not nostalgia that keeps punk alive. Your thoughts?

C: I think that the ideals that punk is based upon continues to stick around because it is in fact a way of thinking, a way of being, living. Thinking for yourself, treating everyone as equals, saying Fuck You to the status quo, fighting for women’s rights, humans rights etc, these are all punk ideals and they aren’t going anywhere. Especially with the way things are in the world now, I think it’s one of the most important times for people to make music, whether punk or not, there’s so much to say, to speak out about, and music is a very real force to be reckoned with.

HVUM: Thinking about your five studio albums, is it fair to say that the Coathangers have been consistent in delivering on a primal anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian ethos?

C: I think we’ve definitely done justice to those ethos, because we are going against sexist, establishment/authoritarian, racist, injustices that surround us all. If you have something to say, say it. However we always want our listeners to think for themselves, just bc we say it doesn’t mean you have to agree, it is just how we feel.

HVUM: Okay, let’s give a listen one more time, “Down Down”.

HVUM: Looking back over the last eleven or so years of hard work as a band, can you identify a “high” point… “low” point? Based on your experience, what works really well for the band and what doesn’t work so well?

C: Ha, the highs and lows are always day to day especially when we are out on the road so much. The highest of highs are those amazing gigs where everything just falls into its place, the lowest of lows are missing out on family and friend affairs back at home I think. What works best for us now is taking small breaks in between tours, treating ourselves to a nice meal from time to time… its the little things….

The Coathangers3HVUM: In putting together a set list, how do you go about deciding what works and what doesn’t?

C: We definitely only have like maybe 2-3 songs out of all of them that work best as the first song! We want the first thing people to hear at our shows, something that really captures their attention and gets the place going! Then after that we just try to equally place the songs going back n forth between all our lead vocals. And not too many slow songs as that tends to bring down the energy.

HVUM: HorizonVU Music advocates for particular social and political causes such as rights for women, LGBT, legalizing of marijuana use. What issues do you feel comfortable taking up as a band?

C: All those things, basic human rights in general, but especially all those mentioned above. We went to the Anti Trump march in Washington DC with my sister and friends and it was the most powerful feeling… being in the presence of so many, all marching against the same injustices, it really does matter to keep fighting against all these awful things…

HVUM: Thinking ahead, suppose that in five years, individually or as a band, you could be anywhere you want doing whatever you want to do. Where you and what are you doing?

C: Doing exactly what we are doing now, maybe playing even bigger venues? As long as we get to keep writing and playing I am happy.

HVUM: Last, outside of music, what do you do for kicks?

C: Go to the movies, hang in the park with my dog, hang with loved ones at home, quite boring eh? Ha

HVUM: Hey, it’s been a real pleasure talking with you. We wish you all the best for your spring – summer tour taking you across Europe and winding up in Knoxville, TN on 5 August. We’ll see you in Paris in a couple of weeks. Meantime, safe travels!

C: Thank you so much

Visit The Coathangers at http://thecoathangers.com/home/