The Coathangers, Atlanta’s answer to brash, contagious garage punk, released their new EP today, streaming right here for your thirsty ears. Parasite, the five-track tease, is a huge step forward for these badass babes, and reflects some new developments to their nuanced song craft while staying true to their unbridled, grimy, and raw as fuck tendencies. “I’d like to think the EP takes you on a journey through the band’s existence,” says guitarist Julia Kugel. Together with bassist Meredith Franco and drummer Stephanie Luke, The Coathangers keep you wild and somehow tenderly euphoric all at once. So press play, immerse yourself in their journey, and read our interview with the band below. —Maya Eslami
WHAT YOUTH: You guys tour more than any band I know. Now that Julia lives in Long Beach, and you two both live in Atlanta still, how does it all work?
STEPHANIE LUKE: It’s awesome. It’s home. It’s still her home, too, technically, she’s just bicoastal.
JULIA KUGEL: We always have to be here [Los Angeles], and we get to be at my house, instead of having to figure out where to stay at. And it’s so much easier to record.
Do you guys record at your house?
Julia: We will. We’re working on a studio, so we’ll have a practice area. Scott [Montoya] really wants to record us. He really wants to make it something Scotty style. I love the way he landscapes music- he makes it deep and wide, and I think it’d be really cool to have him do some stuff for us. But we haven’t really done much stuff here yet.
You guys recorded at Valentine for Nosebleed, right? What was that like?
MEREDITH FRANCO: Like going back in time.
Stephanie: It’s a time machine.
I read that you guys were the first band to ever record there.
Stephanie: In 30 years, yeah. Which is great. It was this little gym that had been used as a storage unit for crap. Which is crazy. And now it’s incredible. It’s like walking back in time.
PHOTO: Tony Accosta
Would you guys go back there to record?
Stephanie: Oh for sure. And because we love Nic [Jodoin] and he basically runs it.
How is it working with Nic?
Julia: He’s one of the only people we solely trust the opinion of. If he says you should try it, then we will try it. We definitely have a sense of respect and trust for each other. We have this thing, it’s kind of our motto: don’t tell me what to do, don’t talk to me, don’t look at me-
Meredith: Don’t touch me.
Julia: But then when we get to a point of trust, it’s such a comfortable thing. Like he’ll be like, “Oh you should rethink this.” And we’re like, “Okay maybe we should rethink that.” And before we’d be like, “Fuck you!”
Meredith: Yeah we trust him.
Julia: And that’s really important. There’s a respect level. He has a vision for us that we didn’t even see for ourselves. That’s the thing.
Meredith: And he pushes us.
Stephanie: And he doesn’t try and change our sound. He just adds a different dimension to it.
That’s super rare.
Julia: It’s a really great working relationship.
Do you guys go home in between tour?
Meredith: Yeah, and then we’re flying back here. We’re leaving the van with Julia.
Julia: That’s another advantage of having me out here.
Stephanie: Yeah we don’t have to drive the van all the way back home every time.
Julia: Nothing that was a problem before is a problem now. Different set of problems now.
PHOTO: Tony Accosta
Feel like elaborating on those problems?
Julia: You know, when I said that, I don’t even know what I was talking about. I guess it’s just good to have some distance from each other, so that when we see each other it’s like, ahhh I love you!
Stephanie: And also so we don’t have as long to tour, so we don’t have to do the five-week tour just to get the van back. Now we can do the two weeks across the country, stay with you, and it’s all good.
Julia: I don’t know what the problems are, I mean, knock on wood. It’s been pretty fucking good, since we figured it out, and figured out what we wanna do. It feels like now we’re a little bit more in control of our schedule, which has been the most tedious part of the whole thing, you know? We’re on all the time, but never really in control. And after ten years, it feels like maybe we should be at that point. It feels really good to be here.
Ten years! Wow. How did you guys all meet?
Julia: We [Stephanie] went to high school together. But we only really started hanging out in college. We’ve known each other almost 20 years. And she [Meredith] moved to Atlanta right after she graduated high school. I met her when she was 19. But I mean, we didn’t meet to be in a band. It just kind of happened. But we’re really lucky that we were friends for a long time. We’re just like weird sisters. It’s a very strange whole relationship. I don’t think people realize how hard this is, sometimes, until they do it. If you stay together for ten years, you’ve been through some hard shit. And by that point, you’ve already been through it. Now it’s just about trying to maintain your mentals and do the things that make you happy, and be with the people who are the most important to you.
Stephanie: We work smart, not hard. I mean we also work hard, but it’s different. We figure shit out. Every day is different. The three of us, I mean-
Julia: We have been through just the worst.
Stephanie: But we’ve all grown together. Mid ‘20s to mid ‘30s, that’s a kid becoming an adult right there. But I’m so glad I’m around these two balanced people, because otherwise I’d probably be dead by now.
Stephanie: So it panned out really well.
PHOTO: Tony Accosta