Meet jawbreaker reunion, your new favourite post-grad punk band
“Are you taking pictures of yourself right now?” asks Lily Mastrodimos.
“Yes,” replies her bandmate, Bella Mazzetti, who’s already assumed the classic selfie position: arm outstretched, head tilted, coy smile. Laughing beside her is Andrea (Dre) Szegedy-Maszak, and they’re all in the band Jawbreaker Reunion.
(No, not that Jawbreaker.)
“My New Years resolution was to take more selfies, and I’ve been doing it shamelessly,” Bella admits. “You really f–king feel yourself.”
MTV News sat down with the ladies of JBR (minus bandmate Tom Delaney) just before their set at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival, where they headlined the Miscreant Records Showcase. Searching for a new record to obsess over? Try JBR’s Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club, a sharp, insanely fun collection of tracks — with names like “Cute Baby Sh-tz” and “Laughing Alone Eating A Salad” — that toe the line between peppy and punk.
Formed at New York’s Bard College, the band are working toward their next release, tentatively titled haha and then what 😉 (Yep, that’s a winky face). It’s obvious that, while they might be seriously talented musicians, Jawbreaker Reunion aren’t taking themselves too seriously — all selfies aside. “All we wanted to do was make music with our friends,” says Bella. “That’s the only reason that I ever picked up a guitar.”
Below, hear what JBR had to say about post-grad life, developing their new sound, and why we need more girls making music.
MTV: How did you arrive at the name Jawbreaker Reunion? Do you enjoy f-cking with people?
Bella Mazzetti: It’s not even a cool story. We wanted to be in a band together, and we didn’t know what to call it, and we saw this tweet that said, “If you want people to come see your sh-tty indie band, call the band Jawbreaker Reunion.” And we were like, “OK!”
Dre Szegedy-Maszak: It’s not to intentionally troll people. Once, we were playing [Brooklyn DIY venue] Silent Barn, and these dudes in vests came up to me after and were like, “We showed up because we thought you were Jawbreaker, but you guys were OK!”
Lily Mastrodimos: When we accidentally troll people about it, and they like us, that’s a very nice achievement.
MTV: Do you think [the real] Jawbreaker are cool with it?
Mazzetti: I don’t know, maybe they’re cool with it. Or maybe we’ll get a cease and desist.
MTV: There are some really great bands coming out of Bard right now. Can you describe what the community is like there?
Mastrodimos: Bard is really small, and because it is really small, there are a lot of bands that are into really helping each other out, making sure that everyone gets on a bill, or gets a chance to play… it’s a really supportive community. We’ve met so many people in and out of Bard.
Szegedy-Maszak: It feels lucky to have people making the kind of music that they do there, because you get to see it a lot. We were just in New Jersey two days ago to see a band from Bard called No Friends, who are incredible — younger than us — and are just slaying it. It’s so cool, they played one of their first shows in my living room, and to be able to support them… it’s cool to keep that going. Playing with your friends…
Mastrodimos: … That’s the best feeling!
MTV: Bella and Lily, you guys just graduated. How will you balance post-grad life with being in a band?
Mastrodimos: Yesterday, we were talking to friends who just heard our new song, and they said, “This is post-grad JBR.” And that’s definitely what it feels like.
Szegedy-Maszak: The genre of “Post-Grad.”
Mazzetti: We’ve blocked off time on our calendars for recording a new release, so my plan for the job search is to say, “I can’t be there for this week.” And we want to tour eventually, so I’d love to find a job that would allow me to take off here and there to do that.
JBR is a passion of ours — it’s not our career, it’s not what we want to do as a job — but if you get to make music with your friends, that’s an opportunity I would not turn down.
Mastrodimos: We want to play for new people, and meet new people — I don’t know, there’s something really nice about playing a show and looking out into the audience and seeing that someone is really connecting to it. It’d be cool to spread that around.
MTV: How would you describe your new “Post-Grad” sound?
Mastrodimos: When we started the band, we kept joking about what we wanted to sound like. We were like, “We want to be the femaleQuarterbacks!” Or, “We want to be super poppy and twee!” That’s kind of how Lutheran Sisterhood Gun Club came about, just experimenting with that sound.
Mazzetti: Since that came out, we’ve stopped limiting ourselves to a specific sound.
Mastrodimos: We’ve been exploring what else is out there — just writing whatever, and kind of going with it.
Mazzetti: We’re attracted to this new, sludgier sound. It’s really fun to play, and it’s very emotive. So we’re not trying to limit ourselves — whatever comes out, we’re going to try and run with it. It’s a very collaborative process.
MTV: JBR is a band doing it for the right reasons, which sets an amazing, important example, especially for girls. We need more young girls to start picking up guitars!
Szegedy-Maszak: I just finished this really cool book (“Girl Power: The Nineties Revolution In Music“) about women in contemporary music, starting with riot grrrl and continuing to present day. It was about the ethos of just that: Just pick up a guitar. Find two friends, write down whatever, even if it’s dumb — especially if it’s dumb!
Mastrodimos: Do what makes you happy! Just create something.
Szegedy-Maszak: This idea of sitting in front of a computer, trying to get a million views and trying to get a recording contract — it doesn’t have to be like that. Just find your friends and just do it.
MTV: At the moment, pop culture seems to be missing those types of role models for women.
Szegedy-Maszak: It’s important that people who aren’t dudes get attention. It’s important that girls, especially, feel like they can do this, and are being represented.
Mazzetti: We were lucky to have connections at Bard just from being there, but you can find that pretty much anywhere.
Mastrodimos: Or if you don’t have it, you make it yourself!
Mazzetti: That’s exactly how it started for us.