top of page

Grazia Pay Homage to Sleaze and Kitsch on Debut EP 'In Poor Taste'

Heather Dunlop and Lindsay Corstorphine, who make up the London duo Grazia, inject an eccentric rush of impeccably tight KBD-damaged post-punk and campy garage punk across their debut EP In Poor Taste. Due out February 2nd on Feel It Records (Sweeping Promises, The Cowboys, The Drin), the EP throws everything at you with its deadpan humor, devious pop hooks, and floor-shaking art while carefully weaving an intriguing web of personal details, similar in the vein of The Fall, Au Pairs, and X. Ahead of the release, I chatted with Dunlop and Corstorphine all about how they finally crossed paths to make music together and the blatantly camp surrealism that surrounds the debut EP.

Photo by Robin Christian

First tell me what you've been up to lately? What have you been listening to, reading, or spending a lot of time doing? 


Heather Dunlop: We have been practicing a lot now we have our full band together, I am very happy to have wrangled things in a way that I can say GRAZIA is 60% Irish now. We also have been writing new music. I listen to an incriminating number of podcasts mostly comedy, every day. The overlap for myself and Lindsay is American Arts and Culture Review/Casino Boys with Whitmer Thomas, Clay Tatum and Rodney Berry and Celebrity Book Club with Steven Phillips-Horst and Lily Marotta. In terms of music, I have really been enjoying Wednesday and MJ Lenderman, and I love Olivia Rodrigo's album Guts too. At the moment I am reading Slaves of New York by Tama Janowitz and Gone Tomorrow by Gary Indiana. 


Lindsay Corstorphine: The last records I listened to by choice were Enzyme's Golden Dystopian Age, I have also been listening to Stereolab a lot. I love the LP Abism put out a few months ago too. I've been reading a lot of books from a free book library at the end of our street the selection is quite random there are always books about snails and mollusks, mainstream Polish novels as well as self-help pop psychology type stuff. The only thing I watch with any regularity aside from YouTube drumming tutorials is Tim Heidecker's Office Hours which I love!


Tell our readers a little about your backgrounds. Where did you grow up, what was your childhood like, and how did you get involved with playing in punk bands? Lindsay, I see you also play in the band Violin! 


LC: I grew up in Heatherside, in Surrey in the South of England. It was absolutely fine. There wasn't that much going on apart from to go skateboarding, start fires, do underage drinking and/or go to the UK's longest-running rock club The Agincourt. Punk was the music that resonated with me the most, something about the directness and rawness. Violin is one of my other bands — we just released an EP on Iron Lung Records which is a dream come true. Shout out Paco La Vida ES Un Mus too for putting out the album before that. 


HD: I am from Ireland, and I was born and raised in Dublin. When I was about 5, my mom was called to the bar and she is an incredible family lawyer and thoughtful person. She is also a genius, fluent in Irish and had the nickname "ball breaker" from men in her friend group when she was younger. My dad and I probably have the most similar interests in music, and he ran a pirate-radio station in Dublin and claims to be punk before 1977. He would play Foetus in the car when I was a teenager. I don't want to be obnoxious but I would say I am absolutely a product of them both. They let me have leopard print hair and piercings like Dennis Rodman when I was a teenager. When we moved to England, I was 10. If I have to make a point to outdo Lindsay in the dullness Olympics the village we lived in had one bus an hour into town and it ended at 6:00p.m., we also had no shop, pub or paths. It is very beautiful, but I was very shortsighted and wanted to be in London as often as I could be. When I was 17, I met my best friend Naomi Baguley and we got really into going to shows together wherever we could meet in the country. She is an exceptionally beautiful writer and plays guitar in Grazia now when we were teenagers she started a very fun, grungy band called Bruising and I designed the merch and 7" sleeves. Most of the friends I have now are probably a result of ingratiating myself by force in the punk scene in England, despite not really playing in any bands. 


Take me through the origins of Grazia. How did you two meet and decide to form a band together? Also how did you land on the band name? 


LC: We've known each other for quite a long time, but only really met properly a couple of years ago when we became romantically involved. I would go to Heather's flat and there were always tons of fashion magazines that I found myself pouring over, like looking at an alien world almost. Grazia was one of these, seems like a kind of an underdog to Vogue. I think on New Year's Eve in Brooklyn after being at The Anchored Inn and listening to the music playing there, we decided to make a band that sounded like that. 


HD: Yes we have known each other casually for about 8 years in fact one of the few shows I've ever played with a band, was opening for another band Lindsay is in Cold Pumas, and Omni in about 2016 I think. I was living in New York doing graduate studies for about 3 years and returned to London in 2021. Whenever I saw Lindsay out at shows, our friends were playing I would try to find a way to talk to him. Lindsay wanted to make a song that sounded like the bands I love, particularly The B-52's and The Go-Go's and was stuck on the name Grazia. He said we should try doing just 2 songs he made the music and I wrote the words and see how it goes. "Cheap" is the first song we did and it was so fun. So we just kept going.

Your debut EP In Poor Taste comes out February 2nd on the ever-reliable Feel It Records. How did it all come together and when and where was it recorded? 


LC: I write music at home all the time, I have done it since I was about 13 so it came together pretty quickly. We set some "rules" clean guitars, simple arrangements, no long or boring songs. The Killed By Death series was definitely in my mind but I didn't really reference anything in particular. I really love bands that have this propulsive wonky energy like some of those you listed, but also Dr Feelgood, Eddie and The Hot Rods, Little Bob Story, etc. Like the song starts and it just goes ahead with this inherent momentum. I record all the music at home with programmed drums and then replace them with me playing real drums later after Heather does the vocals. I've had more or less the same process for making music since I was a teenager putting stuff together on the family PC with a cheap gooseneck microphone and a pirated copy of CoolEditPro :).


HD: My contribution is really the lyrics which for any Grazia song are almost all referential. The song "Speed Freak" on the EP was written as sort of a response to The Fall's "Totally Wired." I believe the way my vocals were doubled, was to emulate the closeness of Cyndi Wilson and Kate Pierson and when we sing together, there is definitely an X-like quality. It was recorded in the summer and yes all recorded at home. 


Did you draw from any specific inspirations when making the record?


HD: In my writing I want to construct images that are kitsch and not mundane. I want to be funny too and I love the writing of Cookie Mueller, Eve Babitz a way of writing about your life that is both honest, not always prideful, but still fantastical and glamorous. I would say there are plenty of bands that inspire me but for the most part, visual cues, campiness are what I want to embody. 


Which song from the record means the most to you (and why)?


LC: I like em' all! How doth one pick from thine children?


HD: I would say "Thistle" is the most personal I think by talking about vanity or insecurities it sort of takes away the chokehold it has over us all and you can just laugh at the futility of it all. 

My favorite out of the four tracks here is the rattling opening cut "Cheap." What can you tell me about the writing/arrangement for this one? 


LC: That was the first one we wrote together so really set the tone and template for the others. It took a couple of hours to put together and a few parts swapped in-and-out. Once Heather's vocals are recorded it cements the direction the song will go in so parts that don't work get dropped or the vocals point to where other stuff should be. Kind of a jigsaw sometimes!


That song was also paired with a memorable music video that comes with a lo-fi trashy pop look. It looked like a lot of fun making it! I read that this was the first song you worked on together too. What can you say about how it came together?


LC: I LOVE the video and song for The Penetrators "Shopping Bag" really unique and funny and totally DIY, maybe we borrowed a little bit of that spirit.

 

I also really dig the second track "Speed Freak." What did you envision for this one? 


HD: As mentioned the chorus is absolutely a response to "Totally Wired," but I also imagined it as a sort of abject '60s girl group heartbreak track. Whether it's true or not it's about the narrator being self-aware enough to cop to not being an angel either. 


What were the inspirations behind the cover art? I really like that it comes with three colored variants, similar to Devo's Mechanical Man EP or other classic punk singles.


HD: I wanted it to have the graphic qualities of a punk 7" but also a nod to some new-wave and pop album art I love particularly Strawberry Switchblade and Mary Jane Girls, where there's a lot going on, maximalist.

How excited are you for the release of this EP? 


HD: I am so excited because I can't wait to play these songs with our band they were made to be danced to!


How exactly did you get connected with Sam Richardson from Feel It Records? Also what is it like being part of its roster? 


HD: Lindsay reached out when we finished the EP it's great to be with so many other fun bands, and the best part is definitely connecting with people outside of London that otherwise would never have heard about us! 


Who are some of your favorite bands to see in London? I see on February 7th, you're playing a show with The Tubs who just put out a great record on Trouble in Mind! Es and Qlowski are great as well. 


HD: The Tubs are great friends of ours, and Max Warren who runs Gob Nation championed Grazia from the second I mentioned it to him. Sniffany & The Nits of course, are my favorite band to watch in London. Josie and I have been friends for a very long time, and the first time I saw SATN and immediately thought she is completely perfect for this there is truly nobody like her! Some new-ish hardcore bands here I love, Hellscape and Shade fronted by Ciara Savage and Alexandra Graves respectively. Also, I would like to say Rubber because I live with half the members of that band. And of course Es... Maria [Cecilia Tedemalm] is probably the reason that Lindsay and I even know each other if you go back far enough. 


Aside from the EP release, what else is on the horizon for Grazia? Is this EP leading towards a future full-length?


LC: We're a good way through recording our LP, that's the next thing.


In Poor Taste is out February 2nd on Feel It Records.


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page