Scowl’s Kat Moss: “There are a lot of shows that I look back and I’m like, ‘That was magical!’” (2/9 at UT)

“I’m excited and expecting a lot of kids to come out to these shows and pull the craziest stunts, moshing and stagediving.  That’s honestly the greatest thing about being...

“I’m excited and expecting a lot of kids to come out to these shows and pull the craziest stunts, moshing and stagediving.  That’s honestly the greatest thing about being in a hardcore punk band,” says Kat Moss, vocalist for Scowl, the Santa Cruz group who’s become known for pairing floral imagery with classic hardcore.  We’re chatting via phone (as Moss does her hair) about the World War Tour that kicks off this Thursday, February 9th, at Union Transfer.  The tour features headliners Show Me The Body, along with local hardcore heroes Jesus Piece, Scowl, Zulu, and TRiPPJONES, a lineup that Moss tells me she’s thrilled to get to share the road with for a month-and-a-half: “I’m just so excited because I love all of these bands and we’re all friends!  It’s gonna pop-off!”

On the origins of Scowl, Moss tells me that it all began with her and guitarist Malachi Greene: “I met Malachi a couple years ago just going to local hardcore shows.  Malachi booked hardcore shows in the Bay Area, and we had some mutual friends, and we actually went to high school together, but we didn’t meet until afterwards, but then we started dating.”  Drummer Cole Gilbert – a longtime friend and bandmate of Malachi’s – came shortly after, before bassist Bailey Lupo cemented the lineup in 2019.  Scowl released two EPs in 2019 – a self-titled debut and Reality After Reality… — before releasing their first LP, How Flowers Grow, in November of 2021.  However, Moss tells me they have a new EP set to drop in April.

Still relatively new, this will only be Scowl’s second trip to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.  Last October they headlined Underground Arts, which Moss tells me was certainly a memorable gig, despite being new to the city.  But when I ask which shows she’s most looking forward to on this run of dates, she tells me that, in addition to her local-ish shows, she does get excited to play in our neck of the woods: “I always love a California show.  I live in Santa Cruz, so I always love doing shows in Santa Cruz, San Diego, and LA, but also – on the East Coast – Brooklyn and Philly are really cool places to play.”  She even tells me that they’ve recently had a local addition to their lineup: “We now have some roots in Philly, with Mikey Bifolco, who recently joined as a second guitarist.  He lives in Philly, and Malachi would book his bands when they came out West and vice-versa, although sadly he won’t be able to do this tour because he injured himself a few weeks ago.”

Despite the band’s age, Scowl’s live show has already had them on a number of noteworthy stages, from festivals (LA’s Sound and Fury, France’s Superbowl of Hardcore, and England’s Outbreak Fest); to a famous gig at Hainesport, New Jersey’s Sonic Drive-In; to a run of US arenas where they found themselves supporting nu-metal legends Limp Bizkit last year.  “There are a lot of shows that I look back and I’m like, ‘That was magical!’,” says Moss, before fondly reminiscing about playing perhaps the world’s most famous arena with Fred Durst and company: “That was an insane experience!  How did we swing that?  To play MSG was just really cool, as a punk band.”  However, she tells me that there are other more personal things that have highlighted this experience to just as significant of a degree: “I’m just proud of myself that I gained the confidence to get up onstage every night and sing.  I never thought I would be able to do that!”

Discussing her own musical interests, Moss jokes, “For playing in a hardcore band, I have such a pop influence,” before going on to cite work by Lana Del Rey, Billie Eilish, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Blondie, The White Stripes, Bloc Party, and Glenn Danzig as being some of her favorites.  This Spring Scowl will find themselves playing amongst a plethora of diverse artists at some major festivals, including Vegas’ Sick New World in May and Coachella for two weekends in April.  When I ask her if there are any artists she’s especially excited to get to see, she gives me relatively lengthy lists for each, including Melvins, 100 gecs, Turnstile, Death Grips, and Deftones at Sick New World and Gorillaz, Blondie, boygenius, Yung Lean, Charli XCX, Bjork, Frank Ocean, and The Breeders at Coachella.

Kat Moss tells me that, in addition to the release of Scowl’s upcoming EP and the currently-on-the-calendar live shows, there will likely also be a lot of yet-to-be-announced touring.  However, as much as she enjoys bringing the band’s music to both new and returning audiences, she gets equally excited for the downtime, in which she gets to flesh out new things: “We’re pretty busy.  A lot of our time is going to be spent touring, but I’m honestly also excited for more time that’s at home relaxing.  I really hope to have time to be creative and not feel a rush to be creative.”  And, fortunately, when the band are at home, that can be pretty easy to do: “For the most part, Malachi and I are writing a lot…  We live together, so it’s all the time, like he’s always on the couch writing.”

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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.