Pride Month Barbie’s Candy-Coated Synth Punk Takes You To Hell And Back

Other than LiLo, you cite director Gregg Araki as an influence as well. In what ways do his films inspire you?

T.H.: I respond to the colors and surrealism. My favorite Gregg Araki movie is Nowhere. I’ve shown that to a lot of people and I always forget that it’s so graphically violent because I’m obsessed with the parts that aren’t. I feel like Pride Month Barbie reflects that totality of the queer experience, which for me, sadly, has been very traumatic, brutal, violent, devastating. But I’m a fun girl and I want to be cute and experience fun stuff and be sweet.

J.S.: Everyone in Doom Generation is kind of one-dimensional. I feel like that type of thing inspires some of my songwriting for PMB: really looking so extremely into this one feeling to hyperbolize and magnify it.

You cover “Dreams” by the Cranberries. Why’d you choose that song?

J.S.: Dolores O’Riordan is my mom. I have loved her my whole life. After she passed away, I was looking at a bunch of pictures of her and I realized that we have the same tattoos on the same arm. We both have a Sacred Heart on one arm and she has a little Irish band on the other. I have an Indian band. I’m half-Irish and half-Indian. She told us to cover this song.

T.H.: What I hear in the original song is there’s this duet of self where it’s this love song and one of the voices — the higher register voice — believes it and the other one is sarcastic.

J.S.: I feel like that’s a dichotomy that we explore a lot in our music. The fake versus real.

Finally, let’s talk about “Effulgent,” which is out today. It’s perhaps one of the most wild on the record.

T.H.: It’s the fastest one, it’s 160 beats per minute. I was thinking about Berlin. I wanted it to really have these abusive moments.

J.S.: In the song, a girl sells her soul to the Devil to be with her lover, and then she goes into the underworld and the Devil’s like, “Your lover’s not here. Now you’re stuck,” and she’s like, “Maybe I can get through this.” But there’s no winning down there. I wanted it to feel like a devastating myth where some sweet girl just is like, “Well, now I live in hell.”

All the Girls in the Room Say ‘Sorry’ is available June 14 via Get Better Records.

Get the best of what’s queer. Sign up for Them’s weekly newsletter here.