It’s nice when you come across a band that lands outside of the standard cookie cutter mold that most others fit in. The majority that exist in the world are like “hi, we’re a band, here are our names, here’s some songs, the end.” And that’s fine too, because any type of creativity is good creativity, even if it’s not particularly layered in any sort of way, but it is definitely refreshing to encounter one that takes more than 30 seconds to fully process. CUTTERS have a lot going on, and that is a welcome and rewarding thing.
Referring to themselves as a queer “survival punk” band, they formed in Brooklyn in 2012 and released their debut full-length We Are the Quarry last year. On November 11th they’ll be putting out a brand new 7-inch called both//neither and you can check out a track from it called “List of People Buried at Arlington National Cemetery,” right here.
Not like it’s anyone’s business, but front person Pierce Lightning identifies as non-binary/genderqueer and that is, in the context of a music write-up, a private thing made public that brings with it a laundry list of discussion points. The one I will focus on here is how when I personally travel out of any major city people stare at me like I bubbled out of a drain just because I wear glasses and don’t shop at Kohl’s, and how I can’t imagine how someone maneuvers the complexities of being genderqueer/explaining what that is when it’s hard enough to just live as a free person who maybe wears tight pants sometimes without getting shit for it. If you are a chicken with a spot, or a square peg in a world of round holes, it’s hard to not feel like every day is a fight. We asked the band to describe the last time they recall having to really fight for something and this is what they said:
Pierce (Front Person):
Maybe it’s a little bit abstract but I always feel like I’m fighting for some sort of legitimacy or validity. Is our band good enough to hang with a bunch of more popular bands? Is my presentation queer enough that my identity will be believed by casual observers? I struggle a lot with how I’m perceived and how much of that is my own doing versus how much of it is just surviving. I want to be believed and I’m fighting for that to come on my terms.
Between 2010 and 2011, I had a string of bad luck/ made a string of bad decisions, and was getting arrested a lot. My family was there to help me out, but after the second incident (and there was a third), I really felt the strain I had put on my relationship with them, and the doubts I had instilled in regards to my future. I really had to work in order to fix that. I moved back out to Brooklyn, went back to school, started writing a ton/ hosting poetry events, and worked shitty jobs to support myself. The most important thing I did after coming back here though, was starting this band, and taking on the responsibility of attempting to be a real human being. Since then things have been alright. I have a job I love, and the relationship with my family has stabilized significantly– I fought for that. Fighting for these things never seems to end. I am currently in a position where I really want to fight for someone who is very important to me, and make things right with them, but it doesn’t seem very promising. That being said, I am fighting not to lose my head or my heart over her.
both//neither, is CUTTERS’ first release for Jam Eater Records. They have new material in the works for 2016 and you can keep track of all of that HERE.