Church Girls’ Mariel Beaumont on Philly, Live Music, and “Girls” Bands (5/6 at MilkBoy)

I can’t remember the last time I had a lineup make me prouder to reside in the 215 than this Saturday’s (5/6) show at MilkBoy, featuring the “shoegazey/dreamy fuzz...

I can’t remember the last time I had a lineup make me prouder to reside in the 215 than this Saturday’s (5/6) show at MilkBoy, featuring the “shoegazey/dreamy fuzz pop” of Puppy Angst (whose Alyssa Milman we chatted with this February), the “Rain Boot Core Twee” of Grocer, and the post-punk and pop-punk inspired power pop of Church Girls, who will be headlining the evening.  I recently got a chance to chat with Church Girls vocalist, guitarist, and founder, Mariel Beaumont, about Philly, playing live, and what you can expect from Church Girls throughout the rest of 2023.

Izzy Cihak: Considering this is a Philadelphia publication, and you’re based here, what are some of your favorite things about the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, whether relating to being a musician here or just life in general?

Mariel Beaumont: I grew up around Philly, so I have a lot of affection for it.  I have so many great memories going to shows at the Church, a DIY spot called the Halfway House, and Johnny Brenda’s.  On a more banal note, I love how flat and bikeable the city is.  At the beginning of the pandemic, I’d go for night rides on the empty streets with my headphones in.

Izzy: Any local institutions that you wanna show some love?

Mariel: We stopped in Russo Music recently to grab a cable we needed for recording and it’s a beautiful shop with a lovely staff.

Izzy: Your latest single, “I Hate This House,” dropped last fall and has a super fun remix by Scott Solter.  How did this particular track come about, and would it seem to serve as a preview to future sounds?

Mariel: I used to write songs and bring them to the band, but recently, we’ve started with instrumental demos by our guitarist, Mitchell.  He has a great ear for arrangement and catchy instrumental hooks.  Then I’ll take it home and work on vocal melodies and lyrics, and we’ll all rework it together.  We recently finished recording an EP, and the songs live in the same world as “I Hate This House.”  Scott Solter is a good friend we’ve worked with in the past.  He does killer remixes, and we thought this song would be a good candidate for one.  I love it!

Izzy: You also have a really cool music video for the song.  How did the idea for the video come about?

Mariel: We wanted to do something with strong visuals that we could film and edit ourselves.  We were also releasing it around Halloween for our FEST tour, so we wanted it to be creepy.  The song is about feeling trapped in a bad relationship, so we thought a cult metaphor would be apt.

Izzy: This is a super big question, but the band’s been around for almost 9 years now.  What have been some of the highlights of Church Girls, whether reactions your music’s gotten or just experiences it’s afforded you?

Mariel: Getting to open for Streetlight Manifesto last year was a huge highlight.  I loved that band growing up.  They were so nice, and their fans were incredibly warm and receptive.  Otherwise, it’s a lot of small moments… hanging with my bandmates, tour problems that became funny later, etc.

Izzy: How is it that you all came together in the first place?  What are your most significant shared interests or influences?  I realize that’s kind of two (or more) questions…

Mariel: Everyone in this lineup met through Craigslist.  We all share the same vision about the musical direction of the band, but have varied influences, which I think is good.  We’ve shown each other a lot of music in the van.  They make fun of me for always putting on Cocteau Twins, but I think everyone’s grown to love them now too.

Izzy: There are so many amazing “girls” bands (Dum Dum Girls, The Casket Girls, Girls Against Boys, Death Valley Girls, U.S. Girls, Starlight Girls…)  Do you have any favorite “girls” bands, in addition to yourselves?

Mariel: Spice Girls, definitely.

Izzy: This Saturday, you’re going to be playing MilkBoy with Grocer and Puppy Angst, which is such an amazing lineup!  What can be expected of the evening?

Mariel: Agreed!  Love both bands.  We’ve played with Grocer a ton and they’re our buddies.  As far as things to expect, all bands will crush it and we’ll be playing an unreleased song from our upcoming EP.

Izzy: What is it that influences your own live performances?  Is there anything specific that you’re looking or hoping to get out of yourselves or the audience?

Mariel: I grew up going to a lot of punk shows and have always loved that kind of communal, sweaty energy.  We try to bring that, and we love when people mosh.  When we opened for Streetlight at Starland Ballroom, the crowd started a row pit, which was a first.  More row pits!

Izzy: It feels like you’ve played like all of the rooms in the city.  Do you have a particular favorite kind of venue to play, or certain things about a venue that you think make for an especially good show?

Mariel: There are so many great venues in Philly.  It’s always a plus when the staff is friendly and the sound is good, of course!

Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you?  What are Church Girls hoping and planning for the rest of 2023?

Mariel: We’ll be releasing a new EP in the fall, touring the UK and Europe, and touring down to FEST in FL.  We’ll also be playing Philly Music Fest in October.

*Get your tickets here.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.