Throughout history, the youth were taught to sit quietly and patiently wait their turn. Cali punks The Linda Linda’s must have skipped that class, roaring their way into the scene with their debut album Growing Up out Friday, 8th April via Epitaph.
Though they formed three years prior to signing with the punk rock institution, there’s every chance if you blinked at some point during the past 18 months, you could have missed The Linda Linda’s rapid rise to the top. What’s more, the band haven’t been talking about what they’ve been doing, so much as they’ve been busy getting it done.
Fortunately, amidst the chaos of their debut album release, Bela Salazar, Lucia and Mila de la Garza, and Eloise Wong – spoke with BLUNT.
Despite this head spinning lunge from their home studio LA to global headlines, fans will be relieved to know the band aren’t finding time to just process it, enjoying it is their main objective: “We definitely make sure that’s our priority,” Lucia says, “Making sure that we’re having fun doing this is always our thing. That’s like the sun, we all circle around that concept.”
Caught in the global lockdown, for The Linda Lindas, the rise in popularity felt abstract. “I think of how we gained popularity; it was on social media.” Eloise recalls, “So, we just saw a number going up and we were all sheltered in place. We didn’t really experience it in real time. It was just numbers. It was hard to comprehend that there were people behind those numbers.”
With the world now opening up, it’s been a hard pivot from zero real-time interaction with their surging fan base, to 100 – “Sometimes we’ll get “rockegnized”.” Lucia admits, “It’s a term coined by Bethany Costantino from Best Coast-“
“-I forgot to tell you just the other day!” Eloise jumps in, “I was walking to school and there was a person in a car and they rolled down the windows and said ‘I love you’!”
Sticking to her modesty guns, Lucia insists “that’s a rare occasion, dude…We’re just awkward”
“Yeah, really awkward,” Mila adds, “We never know what to say,”
“We’re just still in shock that that’s happening.” Bela says.
“My English teacher recently learned of the band and now she talks about it sometimes with me and I get kind of awkward about it.” Lucia says, as much in response to the question and to her bandmates, “She goes, “It’s good! I’m talking to you about it because I think you should learn to be proud of it not embarrassed about it. You need to be talking about it.”
However, ‘Growing Up’ is as confident as it gets. Viral single ‘Racist, Sexist Boy’ tells a story that is as labeled, ‘Talking To Myself’ is a discussion on spirally self-doubt, and other tracks unfailingly cover the small and nice to the big and scary; from cats to catastrophes – with both style and ease. As it turns out, the same lockdown that now makes interacting with people kind of weird made introspection kind of easier.
“During the pandemic, I think we got to know ourselves a little bit more.” Lucia explains, “We were just spending so much time with ourselves and our thoughts, that prepared us for the constant expectancy to talk about big things that are about ourselves. It was a little weird just being thrown into that, but also, I think we were really just grateful for the three years prior that we had as a band, even though no one knew about that.”
Already fans of Bikini Kill and Jawbreaker, punk rock was always going to set the pace in which The Linda Linda’s told their stories. “Punk is where you can talk about what matters to you.” Lucia says, “It lets you amplify your own voice when no one else will. It’s where it felt really natural as young people of color to want that freedom to say what we want and be able to make mistakes on stage, but still go through that and have fun and create an energy with the people in the audience and with each other.
“Cause that’s what punk is, right?” Eloise doubles down. “It’s doing what matters to you and doing what you feel is important and just supporting yourself and your friends and the people around you. For me personally, it’s always been punk. I grew up going to punk shows and I always said, I want to be in a punk band. So I think for me, it’s always been punk.”
“It was just so natural.” Mila adds, “When we wrote songs, we didn’t really choose punk-
“Punk chose us!” Lucia cuts in, the band erupts in laughter. “That’s a joke. That was a joke,” Eloise response, but it was far too late – it was on the record. And clearly true.
Punk is it’s angular and it’s heavy, the perfect weapon to inflict blunt force trauma. When asked what they’ve decided they want to smash using punk rock, Lucia replies, “Dude, a lot…”
“Like oppression,” Eloise offers, “How it’s so normalized. The words that we use and the things that we do that nobody blinks an eye to, you know? People constantly make sexist comments and it feels like nobody cares, you know? When you’re young and especially when you’re a person of color and you’re seen as a girl, you’re kind of taught to just be quiet and be good and not make trouble.”
“I mean, it’s hard.” Lucia says, “We’ve just seen so much of it and had to deal with it and try to contain ourselves. I think a lot of the times you feel like you can’t do anything when you’re younger. But, when you’re younger and put in a position, there’s a lot of change that’s possible. A lot of the songs that we write are reflections of things that we see going on in our world, whether it be about our cats or whether it be about the pandemic.
“I think back to punk” Eloise says, “for me, it’s being able to just scream it all out in a song…”
“A lot of what makes us feel like we’re doing something is when we do get respected as musicians” Lucia says, “or, as people and not downgraded to that cute little band that made a song in the library.”
Releasing an authentic offering to the Annals of Punk Rock is only part of the mission for The Linda Lindas who don’t merely want to replicate, they want to leave their own mark. Growing Up features ‘Cuantas Veces’, sung in Spanish and Linda Linda, sung in Japanese – welcoming even more to enjoy their work. Even their name radiates diversity – part inspired by a Japanese indie film Linda Linda featuring a band called The Blue Hearts who perform a song called Linda Linda, and also the spanish word for beautiful
Already, The Linda Lindas are bringing an energy into punk rock that was concerningly absent beforehand.
As they gear up for their first interstate shows, hitting New York, and their first international show on the Horizon, jet setting to Japan, The Linda Lindas are back being busy once Growing Up hits shelves. The schedule is already packed with “Traveling,” says Bela, “Snacking a lot” for Eloise “Boba,” specifically for Mila but ultimately, for The Linda Lindas, “Just keep having fun and keep doing what matters to us.”