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Amanda X: All Girls, No Riot.

October 11, 2013

amandaXsmallText and top image by Jessica Flynn. Bottom images by G.W. Miller III.

Amanda X is the Kensington-based, bedroom-pop band made up of the three women sitting at the Aramingo Diner, joking about menu items, discussing the issues they face and commenting on the oldies coming through the stereo.

“We aren’t riot grrrl,” says vocalist and bassist, Kat Bean. “We aren’t even political! We just happen to all be women who want to play together.”
Despite what one might assume, Amanda X was not founded on the basis of starting a girl band. In fact, their origins are far more innocent – the bandmates just wanted to learn new instruments and jam together.

The trio began when singer and guitarist Cat Park was living with Tiffany Yoon, who was learning to play the drums. Park wanted her to continue, so she asked Bean to play bass with them – despite the fact that Bean was not a bassist at the time.

Park laughs about trying to write the best break-up album of her life. Bean discusses her songwriting process – her songs are mostly about feeling passionate about something and then suddenly feeling emotionless, apathetic and the journey that goes along with that.

“I write the drum parts,” Yoon offers with a laugh.

The three are all members of the music scene outside of the band. Park also plays in Band Name and Manners. She and Yoon have a studio  in their house. Yoon previously played in Primitive Fool and spent time as a music photographer and writer. Bean participated in the collaborative band The Weeks, in addition to making solo music. Each brings their own musical background, but Amanda X is their first all-female effort.

The band faces the normal issues of tour – what bands they will play with, where they will sleep, how to carry so much heavy equipment. But being an all-female band, those issues are, at times, magnified. Though shows are usually booked based on genre, Amanda X has been been booked with other girl bands based solely on that fact that they’re all girls. Awkward moments arise as people attending their shows struggle to make sense of their music.

“I’ve never played in a band where gender roles are questioned,” Park states. “We don’t want to be pigeon-holed into that.”

But it has worked to Amanda X’s advantage in some cases. Not only have they been exposed to people who may not have otherwise seen them, but the band has also been asked to play shows based on a theme rather than a genre, such as “Dress Fest” and “Ladies Night.”

Because they are mostly playing basements and house shows, they carry their own equipment up and down stairs. When guys see them, they often try to help them out.

“It’s nice to be offered help,” Bean says. “But sometimes it feels more like they think we’re incapable or infantile.”

Park recounts a show she was playing when a guy came up and took cables out of another girl’s hands to show her how to correctly roll her cables.

“Guys don’t do that to other guys!” she argues.

“When people fuck shit up it’s because they’re negligent,” Bean adds. “It has nothing to do with being male or female. It’s not a female-bound issue. If we aren’t doing something right, it’s because we’re inexperienced or don’t care. It’s not because we’re women.”

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