cumgirl8 on sex positivity and their upcoming EP 'phantasea pharm'

Interview cumgirl8: “our shows are like an analogue Tinder”

More than just an internet-baiting band name, the New York quartet are here to challenge musical and societal preconceptions at every turn.

cumgirl8 aren’t afraid of the haters. “When 4AD first announced that we signed to them, there was a kid on their [Instagram] that was really very upset,” the band’s drummer Chase Lombardo notes, looking back on the announcement of their new deal in April of this year. “But we invited them to a show, he loved it, and went back on Instagram and said in all capital letters: ‘I TAKE IT BACK, THEY’RE AWESOME’.” Evidence of a job well done.

Having won over the trolls, the group – Chase, Lida Fox (bass), Veronika Vilim (guitar) and Avishag Rodrigues (guitar) – are currently gearing up to drop their ‘phantasea pharm’ EP; their first release with the label. The project’s concept was initially born out of both an appreciation for Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Old McDonald’, and a memorable show in Charlottesville, Virginia, where the quartet wore farm-themed outfits. Avishag was a lawnmower, complete with power button nipple pasties, while Lida was a “sexy rooster”. “A friend did once call our shows a baddie meet-up,” laughs Lida of their live reputation. “It’s like an analogue Tinder,” Chase continues. “There’s only sweet, cool, smart, hot people at our shows.”

That particular get-together kickstarted the ‘phantasea pharm’ which, as Chase explains, is “like an underwater farm-aceutical exploration purpose with the art of sound”. Dedicated to their late friend and dancer Bobbie Hondo, the genre-splicing offering fuses powerhouse post-punk, squelchy electronics and indie-pop hooks with the group’s typically audacious lyricism, resulting in earworm anarchy.

“Our shows are like an analogue Tinder.”

— Chase Lombardo

The band – who, when we speak, have just performed at Creepy Teepee festival in the Czech Republic and are still decked out in their stage outfits – first formed in 2019 and, when asked what drew them together, Veronika answers with tongue firmly in cheek. “The energy of the universes colliding in and out of space… and the Internet. And somehow we made it to the Czech Republic today, and I think we’re all constantly confused how we made it here.”

For those watching from the outside, it’s less confusing. Having released two excellent EPs (2020’s self-titled debut, and the following year’s ‘RIPcumgirl8’), the band have also been flexing other creative muscles too; fashion line cg8 was praised in Vogue for its Y2K-influenced runway show while, during the pandemic, they presented an online talk show interviewing the likes of Junglepussy. The scope of their ambition doesn’t stop there either, with dreams of creating a film, a line of sustainable sex toys, and a “Spiceworld-type mockumentary a la Best In Show”. “I want to hear Jimmy Fallon say cumgirl8,” Chase adds to the list.

cumgirl8’s music is punk in spirit, passionately sex-positive and even finds the quartet reflecting on subversive political figures: single ‘cicciolina’ is named for Hungarian-Italian porn star Ilona Staller who was elected to Italian parliament. Lida calls her “just a huge inspiration”, while the group affectionately refer to her as “cumgirl number one”. And while these choices might rattle more conservative audiences, that doesn’t faze the group. “We try to engage them,” says Lida when asked about how certain portions of the population react to them. “I think we try to invite people in a lot.”

“I think it kind of poses a question too. If it makes you uncomfortable, that says a lot about where you’re at with sexual politics,” Chase concludes. “Hopefully you’re endeared enough to ask yourself those questions and not be scared.” Scared? Not in cumgirl8’s vocabulary.

'phantasea pharm' is out on 18th August via 4AD.

Tags: cumgirl8, Features, Interviews

As featured in the August 2023 issue of DIY, out now.

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