Create & Cultivate 100: Music: Muna

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Muna is about to blow up.

Muna is an American electronic pop band consisting of Katie Gavin (lead vocals/production), Josette Maskin (lead guitar), and Naomi McPherson (rhythm guitar/synths/production). They released their synth-pop debut, About U, in Feb of last year to wild acclaim. To point: NPR named their song, 'i know a place,' the top 20 song of 2017 and Harry Styles asked the band to open for him on his first solo world tour. They were, not surprisingly, nervous.

They haven't always played to such massive crowds all over the world. 

They met at USC, where they dorm room jammed and played college parties. But they also made the point to identify as a queer band. Their songs, which are mostly about love and relationships, refrain from using gender pronouns-- like the 'U' in their debut album title. As their crazy touring sched came to an end, Muna took to Twitter to announce that they currently have no shows scheduled for 2018. Writing, "It's time for the three of us to get back to our bedroom turned studio and develop the next phase of this project."   

But music is part of their DNA, one of the ways they make sense of their lives. 

More from Muna below. 

You've had to adjust to playing massive shows, touring with Harry Styles. What has that been like, both personally and as a unit?

It's been a process, and an extension of our bigger journey as a band. We've had moments throughout our career where we've felt we needed to be more than we were - to pose in some way. It always cracks and falls away. In the end we keep on being ourselves. 

What was it like to be profiled in Rolling Stone?


Why is it important for you to be a queer-identifying band?

It's important for us to be ourselves because it allows space for other people to do the same. 

How does pop music fit into the LGBTQ scene?

Like a hand in a sleek leather glove. 

Conversely, how does queer history find a place in your music?

If anything it serves as inspiration and motivation to work as much as we do. We wouldn't have had the same opportunities being who we are ten years ago or fifty years ago, so we feel a sense of duty and privilege because of that. 

What was the music you each turned to for support when you were growing up? (Also, Katie shoutout from us to Shania as well.)

We all liked really different music. Katie mainly chose to write songs when she needed to find peace or comfort. Naomi loved Joni Mitchell but also pop punk and emo bands. Jo liked Incubus and Jeff Buckley. 

Who have been your biggest supporters?

Our families and friends. 

What would you tell your 15-year-old selves?

Can't wait to see you grow. 

For the younger members of our audience who feel like they have to adjust to fit a job... what would you tell them?

You have so much time. Life is something you figure out every day. It's okay to not feel like your job is your passion. It's also okay to quit your job. 

"It's okay to not feel like your job is your passion. It's also okay to quit your job."

Tweet this.  

You're already working on a followup album, what can we expect?

Not telling yet! 

There is a lot of talk about harassment and industry culture. Do you feel stronger as three?

Yes, we talk about this a lot among ourselves. We are so lucky that we are a group and that we are also self-produced and self-sufficient. Nobody can fuck with us. 

Have you ever experienced workplace harassment? Individually or as a band?


Katie, what's your favorite thing about Josette?

Josette is my hero. She is always fearlessly engaged with her environment and the people in it. Her heart is open. 

Josette what's your favorite thing about Naomi?

Naomi is one of the most talented and hardworking people I know. I look at her and remember that if you set your mind to something anything is possible. I also like that she is funny and likes to eat with me.

Naomi what's your favorite thing about Katie?

My favorite thing about Katie is that she has an incredible amount of intellectual and emotional depth (as is demonstrable not only in her songwriting but her interpersonal relationships). She is constantly dedicating herself to a pursuit of knowledge, of self-awareness, and of personal betterment more generally. She’s also super adorable and funny when she first wakes up in the morning and doesn’t have her glasses on or contact lenses in.