Girlboss energy is out, and Goddess energy is very in. Just ask the musicians behind Who Is She?, the Seattle supergroup comprised of members of other local music scene favorites including Chastity Belt, Tacocat, and Lisa Prank. Their new album Goddess Energy, out August 25 via Father/Daughter Records, is absolutely brimming with it. 

The band came together in 2017 when Julia Shapiro of Chastity Belt, Bree McKenna of Tacocat, and Robin Edwards of Lisa Prank started to write buoyant and breezy songs about Myspace Top 8s, romantic comedies, and crushing on people while riding the 44 bus. After releasing their debut album Seattle Gossip that same year (fun fact: the first show I went to after moving to Seattle in 2017 was the Who Is She? record release show at Everyday Music), the group kept a pretty low profile while the trio focused on their original bands. Almost six years and a whole pandemic later, Who Is She? are finally back to keep the Seattle scene from taking itself too seriously.

Things have definitely changed since Seattle Gossip; the band has brought on Tacocat bandleader Emily Nokes to play keyboards and supply backing vocals, and they were also invited—and subsequently uninvited—from being the house band during a few Seattle Kraken games at Climate Pledge Arena after they called Jeff Bezos "a total jerk" in "My My Orca Card," their reimagining of the Le Tigre classic “My My Metrocard.”

I chatted with the band ahead of the album release and it felt like I was being welcomed into a tight-knit friend group, being made privy to all their conversations and inside jokes. It's the same experience listening to their music. Though their jokes and personal woes are a bit different this time around—swiping through ghouls on Tinder and reminiscing about the heyday of Moviepass—Goddess Energy still keeps the same heart, and humor, the band has always had.

The last Who Is She? album came out in 2017. What has changed since then? What inspired everyone to revamp this project?

Julia: So much! This thing called COVID-19 happened? But yeah, I’d say this album has a little more to give… It’s 5 minutes longer than our first album! We recorded it over three days at Alma Mater in Tacoma, and then got Emily Nokes from Tacocat to lay some harmonies down in the Spruce Haus bathroom. We’re a full-on four-piece now! Emily has been playing synth and singing harmonies with us at live shows. 

Robin: Julia had been living in LA and then was staying at the house Bree and I live at for the summer, so we were hanging out a lot so it seemed like the perfect time to make another record! 

Emily: Longtime WIS listener, first-time WIS band member. 

I’m curious about your recent stint opening for Le Tigre. Can you talk a bit about how you booked that gig, did it have anything to do with the Climate Pledge Arena event?

Bree: Covering their song for a weird sports scandal definitely made it a fun connection to open for them. And it also felt like such an honor because they curate all their shows so thoughtfully. Le Tigre records have meant so much to me, so I am so stoked we got to have that experience of getting to see them play again with all these other fans—it’s pretty wild how relevant their lyrics continue to be. 

Obviously, Le Tigre is a big inspiration on y’all from the “My My Metrocard” cover, how did it feel to be able to open for them?

Robin: It was a total dream come true!! I have loved Le Tigre since I was a teenager and still kind of can’t believe it happened. 

Emily: Those shows were so incredible—I’ve also been a fan forever, but this exceeded all expectations. I didn’t expect to start crying when I first saw their show, when we went into the audience after our first gig with them in Canada. Their graphics with the lyrics behind them for every song, their outfits, their moves, and just their generally tight show were so inspiring. All over again. I feel like they’re in their prime and the messages hold true to right now. 

I think a lot of fans (myself included) really gravitate towards Who Is She?’s sense of humor. Do you think that professional musicians tend to take themselves too seriously? 

Robin: I love serious and sad music as much as the next person, but it’s really fun to be able to have a project that’s just pure silliness. I grew up listening to bands like They Might Be Giants, so music with a sense of humor has a special place in my heart. 

Bree: It’s funny this is technically a COVID-era album, which are usually loaded with all the anxiety and fear of the times, but having any sense of humor and trying to write fun songs as a way to cope and cheer ourselves up is more our style.

Emily: Totally. I also love deep, sad, serious music, but even Robert Smith has a sense of humor. I think a sense of humor is crucial to most things, probably now more than ever, and that not taking yourself too seriously is an underrated intelligence. I appreciate a super deliberate artist, but hubris can get so out of hand in the art world. A lot of deranged egos out there.

What would you want to say to detractors who think you have to be more serious?

Robin: To them I would say: What is more serious than my grief over the golden days of MoviePass??

Bree: Hmm, yeah. We do get some detractors for having this vibe sometimes, but I am not too crazy about people who take themselves way too seriously, so I would say that the feeling is kinda mutual.

Your songs are packed with local references to the Seattle area, but “Please Don’t Kick Us Out” digs deeper into your own personal lore about living in Spruce Haus. What inspired you to get more personal when writing that song? Were all your ex-roommates cool with being mentioned in the song?

Robin: I hope they are cool with it, we did not ask anyone... oops! There are so many people who have lived here, and we brainstormed a list, but then just kind of yelled out random names from it during the recording. There was no real rhyme or reason to who made it in and who didn’t. 

Bree: I love having so many deep-cut city references in our songs, like Seattle is basically a little character in a lot of them. Yeah, I think we made a huge list of everyone who has ever lived at our house and chose from  them at random, it’s a little sampling of some characters who have lived in our house that has for years had the looming threat of being “about to be torn down.”

References you make on songs like “Anne Hathaway,” “Shania,” and “Bitch for God,” along with the band’s identity as a “friendship band,” really let audiences into your inside jokes. Is it weird to be bringing strangers that deep into your personal relationships with each other?

Bree: It’s a twisted world that I hope we can bring as many people into as possible.

Additionally, with many of the specific mentions of the Seattle area, is there any concern about audiences who aren’t from here not getting the reference or keeping them out of the loop?

Bree: I actually hope people not from Seattle actually don’t listen to our music. JK, JK.

Emily: We can’t be everything to everyone. 

You all perform in different projects, and in some cases work together on all these bands. What does Who Is She? supply that you don’t get out of your other bands?

Bree: I think this project gets a lot of the subject matter our other bands wouldn’t necessarily go for. It started out only writing songs based on “Missed Connections” and “I Saw U” ads and into… whatever it is we are doing now, a lot of weird stuff. 

Emily: Yeah, I love the very silly aspect. And playing an instrument. In Tacocat there’s never been a great opportunity for me to play keyboards all that much, since that project required so much more singing and moving around. And being a beginner I wouldn’t have wanted to learn on the fly. So it’s fun to have the freedom to experiment more and come to this project feeling much less pressure. 

Robin: It’s freeing to have a project that isn’t about my big dramatic feelings! And I love playing music with my friends. 

Is there really such a thing as too much goddess energy?

Julia: The name comes from a text our friend Aaron Greene sent to me when I invited him to hang out with us once. He was like, “Thanks for the invite, but I don’t think I can handle that much goddess energy at once”—a really polite way to say no. So to answer your question, a lot of people just can’t handle how much goddess energy we exude.


Who Is She?'s record release is Friday, September 22 at Southgate Roller Rink with Misties and Lemon Boy.