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On May 30, 2014, the Washington City Paper published the now infamous article titled, “The Punk Sacraments,” and the world was introduced to Katie Alice Greer, Taylor M, G.L. Jaguar, and Daniele Daniele, better known as PRIESTS. Since then, they have exploded all over every music publication and blog with half a brain to recognize not only the level of talent this band has, but also the aggression and energy they deliver and the positive attention they bring to Washington, D.C., which already has a rich history in the punk scene. However, the members of PRIESTS are established to bring their own message to the masses. We were fortunate enough to correspond with Greer, M, and Jaguar to discuss their political views and cultural values, their reasoning for staying off Facebook, and the good things happening in the D.C. music scene.

On your Tumblr page, it says that you are a “real life non internet band.” Can you explain what you meant by that?

Katie: When I wrote that, I barely used the Internet. I’m personally less of a luddite now than I once was, but all four of us, I think, prefer to not get too wrapped up in things that don’t feel “real.” The Internet is of course a great tool, but if you don’t use it the right way, it can just be distracting.

Your band has achieved a great deal of success without a Facebook page. Do you think bands rely too much on social media to promote their music?

Daniele: No, I think social media is one of the few ways artists can control their image in the public sphere; we just chose not to use Facebook ’cause it seemed kind of cheesy. So much of a band’s exposure to the public is mediated by companies like Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Brooklyn Vegan, etc. The artist has little to no control (unless it’s an interview) of how they are portrayed. I think it’s good that artists have spaces like Twitter, Tumblr, Bandcamp, etc. in which to create an image that more closely resembles what they want to project to an audience. All that said, social media is perhaps more insidious in some ways than traditional/broadcast media platforms, because it creates the impression that artists/users have control over their image when in reality the structure of these platforms heavily dictate how one can project themselves outwards, and in doing so, train us to think in certain ways that may limit potential, creativity, subversion, etc. In addition, there’s also the huge issue that all these companies, and at the end of the day that’s what they are — companies profiting off our participation, have no problem sharing all our info with the [National Security Administration] and other government agencies which is not only really creepy and big brother-ish, but also is terrifying if you think about the implications it has for silencing political dissent.

priests 2Katie: I don’t know much about what works or doesn’t work for other bands; everyone has their own unique ideas they’re trying to communicate. Facebook seems like a hassle to me. But, people have told me that sometimes they have a hard time finding out stuff about our band online. I really don’t know what’s best.

If you saw someone on their smartphone at a show, how would you react to that?

Daniele: If they were taking a picture of me, I’d try to look real cute.

What are some of the most important political issues relevant to your band?

Katie: What is important to us? I guess just dismantling and understanding power dynamics, like everything is interconnected. I’m personally interested right now in better noticing my privileges, or someone else’s, how they color the way we interact with each other on a daily basis. Interpersonal stuff, I guess.

I heard through the grapevine you all really like to read. Does that impact the content of your songs?

Katie: Yeah, we all read a lot I guess. I personally love being inspired by a writer’s voice, their word choices and imagery. I’m not exactly sure how it influences my songwriting, but I know it does.

What is one of the most powerful moments you have experienced during a show?

Katie: At our last show in Baltimore, we played a bunch of new songs. There’s a new song called “No Big Bang” where Daniele wrote the lead vocal part and Taylor plays this super catchy repetitive bass line. So when the song started, I was just kind of rocking out for a minute feeling like. “Oh man, I love this song,” and thinking, so this is maybe what it feels like when you get “lost in the music” on stage, as they say. I don’t usually feel that way yet, priests 5so it was nice.

Since releasing Bodies and Control and Money and Power on June 3, 2014 through Don Giovanni Records, have you been working on any new music?

Katie: Yes, in fact, we’re working on demos this weekend of new material. We really like how it’s all sounding.

Your music has been described as both “pop” and “aggressive.” Is that the direction you will continue to take with your next record?

Katie: That’s awesome. Definitely.

What are your thoughts on the D.C. music scene?

Katie: I love it here. My friends make some of my favorite music, and there are lots of people I don’t know who they are, lots of diverse sounds. The history of music in D.C. is super interesting: jazz, punk, go-go. Lots of stuff to dig through.

G.L.: This recent year has been very nostalgia heavy. With such a vibrant and prolific history, often lots of music gets overlooked, both past and present. While talking to people I meet on tour, often they want to talk about fabled bands of D.C.’s past, but there is so many exciting bands right now, here in D.C. It is exciting to tell people about them in our travels. Great things are happening here.

For more updates on PRIESTS, be sure to follow them on Tumblr, and listen to Bodies and Control and Money and Power on Bandcamp.

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