With a busy festival summer ahead of them, featuring the likes of Green Man, Latitude, End of the Road and Pitchfork, and with fans such as Phoebe Bridgers backing them, M(h)aol are gearing up to grab the UK’s attention further with their headline tour later this month.
Ahead of this, we’ve been treated to new single ‘Bored of Men’, the latest since their brilliant 2021 ‘Gender Studies’ EP. Mixing up their stream-of-thought lyrics with a point to make, and sticking to their noisey post-punk sound, ‘Bored of Men’ is a suitable follow up to the sound fans have gotten to know.
‘Bored of Men’ gives a real sense of exhaustion, but without fully admitting defeat – were you inspired by specific events for this track, or a general overview of how you were feeling at the time?
Róisín: Writing it was a bit of a tight rope act. While being able to be ‘bored’ of something is definitely a privileged position to be in, the song is also tongue in cheek. I’d been followed on my way to meet my girlfriend a few weeks before I wrote BOM and that served as a major inspiration. There was a part of me that was shocked – I was like ‘feminists have been banging that drum for decades!’ How do you not know by now that it’s not ok to follow someone? But of course not everyone is listening to feminists. It was also inspired by what was going on in the news with *that* courthouse and the unsettling reaction a lot of people had to it. At the same time I wanted to write something that was fun to sing. With our upcoming album I’ve got a lot more creative with my delivery which feels very exciting. When I perform BOM live its definitely quite playful.
I’m alai bisexual and queer, and have found existing in queer spaces a revelation. Growing up the conversation was always about boys and then men and what they liked etc etc. Having the opportunity to find a queer community that isn’t so rigidly defined by gender binaries has been life changing.
‘Bored of Men’ has a title that will turn heads – is this intentional, or was it simply what you thought best fit?
Róisín: I think if you’re going to say something you should say it with your chest. There’s no point in being coy. We played around with calling it ‘Board of Men’ but in the end settled with ‘Bored of Men’.
A lot of your lyrics are very politically-charged, and you fully wear your opinions on your sleeve – was this something you set out to do when you formed M(h)aol, or did world frustrations naturally seep into your music as you went on?
Constance: When we formed M(h)aol it was being done with the intention of being very open and un-front about our stance on things. I started the band because I was annoyed with how I was being treated as a woman in music, so talking about those frustrations was always an integral part of it. The aim was to try and get conversations going that I thought should be happening.
The music video for ‘No One Ever Talks To Us’ is said to be inspired by various brilliant films (The Monstrous Feminine, Powers of Horror), including Jennifer’s Body. What was it about this movie that you think has made it such a cult classic, and made you want to pay homage?
Zoë: I was definitely interested in exploring the concept of abjection in Kristevas essay, and Creed’s Monstrous Feminine was a huge inspiration in how she dissects the patriarchal fear of feminine power. Her analysis of the sadistic male gaze present in so many horror films, which so often depicts women as the victims and sexually objectifies their form was something I wanted to subvert in the visuals. I direct, shoot and edit all of our videos so there’s a strong female gaze present in each that, hopefully, allows them to exist in a realm of their own, free of any conventional and cultural identities.
As for Jennifer’s Body, I think Karyn Kusama and Diablo Cody combine these concepts brilliantly into a narrative film, we watched it after we were finished shooting in the forest that night, eating a bit of curry and covered in dried blood! They really conjured up something special in that film that the world wasn’t ready for at the time, an acute subversion of the horror genre that Buffy also does so well! But really, at the end of the day, it’s just three friends having a lot of bloody fun in the forest!
You’ve got a busy summer ahead! What are you most looking forward to about tour?
Jamie: The opportunity to all be together for an extended period of time again. We had such a beautiful time in November last year and that was only four days on the road. All living so far apart and not having a regular rehearsal schedule means we really lack those bonding moments so getting in a van for days helps remind us why and how much we all love each other and being together.
Róisín: I love meeting people, whether it be other bands or the people who we meet after the shows. We’re playing two festivals in the Netherlands this month and I’m very excited to learn a bit of Dutch!
Anything else you would like to plug?
Listen to Bored of Men and buy our merch!
Catch them live at The Grace, London on 19th July! Tickets available here