Le Pie chats band breakups, Barbie aesthetics & indie rock feminism
June 16th 2017
After causing a flurry of excitement with her single White Walls and Promises, Le Pie’s second EP Sad Girl Theory is finally here. A mix of indie-rock sweetness and deep, brooding sounds, it’s best described as a Twin Peaks soundtrack sung by “Malibu Barbie after a deck of menthol cigarettes”.
Music has always been part of Le Pie’s world. Following in the footsteps of her guitarist father and brother, Le Pie picked up her own acoustic at age 14 and found herself in a string of bands, often with her brother, on and off right up until her current incarnation.”[My brother] really influenced my style and my sound…he’s really into big heavy distorted guitars and trashy drum kits and stuff,” she says.
Though Le Pie’s previous bands may have involved “trashy drumkits”, those days are now strictly classified information. She doesn’t want her punk past distracting anyone from her new music. “I don’t really want people to go and listen to it. I keep that separate”, she explains with a sly laugh.”Previous to this stuff I was in punk bands, so it was always really raucous, screaming….it didn’t matter if the guitars were out of tune and I lost my voice or whatever,” she says, still with a hint of mischief in her voice.
Although she might look like a demure, softly spoken girl next door, behind the blonde bangs and cute 1950s outfits is a feisty feminist and activist.
Le Pie made a decision early on that she didn’t want to be an “all talk, no action” feminist. Breaking the news to her male crew and band members that she couldn’t work with them any more, Le Pie’s mind was made up. She was set on having a completely female line-up.
“It was super hard, it was horrible. It was one of the most awful things I’ve had to do,” she remembers. “They were upset about it because you sort of become like a family when you’re in a band. We had just started to pull together really tightly… so for me to then do that, after a year of working with these people and starting to really get the sound where we needed it…it was quite a big gamble on my part to be even doing that.”
It’s been a long process for Le Pie. Setting her back almost a year, she spent months trying to find the right people to collaborate with. After years in such a male-dominated industry, she didn’t want to rest on her laurels any longer. “Over the time of interacting with different people, venues, managers and various other people in my team…it was just all guys and that started to bother me. So it wasn’t that any of the men that I was working with in my band or in my team were bad, I’m not saying that.
“It was just this sense that it was me and all these dudes, and I just didn’t like the feeling of it. I wanted to have more women.”
When asked if she feels the pressure of the male gaze when it comes to her dress and styling, Le Pie certainly does. “I do feel the pressure. But I feel like in some ways I presented myself in a particular way from the start, which almost added to there being pressure on me,” she says.
Even so, it turns out there’s a method to her madness.”Wearing pink is a deliberate fashion, because I feel like women in the indie rock world generally try to fit into the man’s mould, so black jeans, white t-shirt, that kind of deal.”
“I just wanted to do something that would really disrupt that, which is why I chose to wear pink. Pink is often seen as quite girly, naive and pretty …almost like you don’t have an opinion… so I wanted to choose outfits that were quite counter to what my politics actually were, as far as the way people view it.”
But Le Pie admits this grand play on femininity may take a long time to make its mark. “Unfortunately it’s one of those things that’s going to be a super long hard road. Depending on how you dress obviously [influences] how the rest of the world is going to see and then interact with you.”
The good news is that none of this will stop the pretty-in-pink rocker from forging on with her music. Now that the EP’s out, will we see an album?
“I’m always writing so an album is the ultimate goal,” she says.
In the meantime, she’s planning a tour with her band – that all female band, no less – so keep your eyes and ears peeled for announcements.