Frontwoman Veronique Allaer discusses Leggy’s upcoming LP, Let Me Know Your Moon.
“Not What You Need,” the first single from the Cincinnati-based self-described “lush punk” outfit Leggy’s upcoming album, Let Me Know Your Moon, is a fierce, transfixing garage pop tune. Frontwoman Veronique Allaer builds a crushing emotional arc that culminates in the titular line, “I know I’m not what you need / I’m not what you need.”
The group’s newest single, “Taffy,” is similarly sad and mad and searching and cathartic. Over reverb-drenched guitar, Allaer tells the story of a dysfunctional romance with a breathy wail: “Can you tell me what you’re frowning about? / Give me a warning / we both know that that ‘I love you’ didn’t count yesterday morning.” This is familiar terrain for Leggy: gnarled punk tracks that sound just as frayed and volatile as the relationships they describe.
“‘Taffy’ was first performed back in 2016 but we have re-wrote and re-worked it so many times,” Allaer said in a press statement. “The only lyric that survived from the song’s genesis til recording was the [line] ‘Can’t you tell that it scares me when you say you will do anything for me / and I can eat you like a saltwater taffy?’ That was inspired by a actual text I received from someone I had been casually seeing and it scared the heck out of me.”
AdHoc spoke to Allaer about Cincinnati’s music scene, astrology, the importance of consent, and her New Year’s resolutions for 2019. Let Me Know Your Moon is out March 8 via Sheer Luck Records. Read the interview below.
AdHoc: You’re all from the greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. What’s Cincinnati’s music scene like?
Veronique Allaer: It’s actually really active. There’s even a bunch of smaller divisions within the Cincinnati scene by neighborhood, so there’s a ton of acts and there’s a lot of female-fronted or non-male-fronted acts, which is really awesome. And Cinci’s so centrally located—you can drive to Chicago, Detroit, Nashville. Atlanta’s a half-day drive. And New York—you can do it in a day. So it’s pretty good for touring.
Are there any [Cincinnati] artists or groups that you follow?
Yeah! This band called Electric Citizen is this female-fronted, kind of Sabbath-worship, heavy metal glam rock band. They’re amazing. They’re our nextdoor neighbors. And Lung—they’re a duo. They tour constantly. They’re awesome.
You recently toured with Daddy Issues, including a show here in Brooklyn at Baby’s All Right. What other artists have you played with recently?
We did a tour with Human People. They’re so fucking fun. We got to hop on five days of their album release tour. I feel like every time I go on tour with a band, I become obsessed with [them]. We did a tour with Shonen Knife, which was pretty amazing. And Alice Bag—she’s like a punk feminist icon, so that was pretty awesome too.
Am I right that you’re the first artist to sign to Sheer Luck Records?
Yes! Yes, yes, yes.
When was that? How did you get connected to them?
We recorded the album last year, and then we didn’t know what we wanted to do with it, so we had a friend send it out to some places. He sent it to 6131 Records, where Jaclyn [O’Connell]—she’s one the people who runs Sheer Luck now—saw that we were putting something out. I guess she [had] followed Leggy for a really long time. It’s really cute—she told me [that] she was like, ‘Oh my god, I have to sign them!’ They put a lot of effort [into] making us feel really comfortable and great.
You have a new record coming out in March—your first official full-length LP. How does it differ from past releases?
We’ve done three EPs in the past, and our previous label compiled all of the EPs into one CD, so that was our [self-titled] debut album. That came out in 2016. It’s kind of a full-length because [it has] 15 songs, but they were all written [at] different times.
This [album] is more cohesive. It’s definitely a little bit more experimental. Not experimental music, but a little bit less straightforward punk [in the] songwriting structure[s]. We’re more comfortable with each other, more comfortable with our instruments. All the lyrics are mine, and then we each write our own parts. We just jam it out together—it’s great.
One of the songs on your upcoming album is about consent. What inspired that song?
I don’t think I would have felt necessarily comfortable writing a song about [consent] if it wasn’t a topic of conversation in our culture right now. But everyone I talk to, even if they haven’t had an experience where they’re like, “Yes, that was definitely rape or date rape”—there [are] so many instances where it’s a grey area, or you’re hooking up with someone and you say, “No, I don’t want to have sex,” but y’all just keep hooking up, and then next thing you know it’s happening—like, “Okay? What?” That’s what that song is about. It’s like, No. Even if I nicely say “No” and I still want to fool around, “No” means no. It doesn’t mean get me more turned on and then try again. I feel like—especially with young women—that’s something that happens way too often.
Tell us the story behind the record’s name, “Let Me Know Your Moon.”
That is a lyric from the first single that came out last month called “Eden.” It’s a lyric that Kirsten, our bassist, wrote. I thought it’s a really interesting phrase and it flowed well with Leggy. And I’ve been getting really into analyzing moon signs. Even if it’s not real, a lot of times I feel like it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Growing up reading about—I’m a Sagittarius—reading anything about Sagittarians, I would go out of my way to act like the good traits of a Sagittarius. Like, “Oh, I’m super optimistic and outgoing. That’s what I am.”
Do you know Kirsten and Chris’ signs as well?
Chris is a Sagittarius as well, and Kirsten is an Aquarius. We’re all supposed to get along really well, and we do.
What about the cover art? Is it a photo of you standing on an escalator in a creepily empty mall?
Yes! There’s this mall in Cincinnati—it’s the second largest building in Ohio, like two-million square feet, and every single store is closed except for a Cole’s, which is one of those anchor department stores. So they keep the mall open and maintained, but there’s literally nothing open. We went in there with our friend and took pictures for a whole day. That shot is super beautiful. We kind of knew we were interested in having a picture of ourselves on the cover, but not a portrait. We wanted something where we’re a small detail.
Almost like stage pieces.
Exactly. [I’ve had] people ask me if it’s a painting. No, but I like that.
Last question: Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2019?
I’m just trying to be the most extra, outgoing, positive self that I can be. My birthday is at the end of the year, so I turned 29 right before New Year’s Eve. For me, it’s always like, “End of the year, new age, new me, new year.” And I knew this was the year the album was coming out, so I’m just like, “Go for it! This is the last year of your twenties! Be as extra as you want to be!”
Even though we’ve been a band for five years, a lot of that time I felt really self-conscious about trying to be feminine or sexy or pop or anything. Now I’m like, “I don’t a give a fuck! I’m just going to do this.” I feel like this happens as you get older. Maybe [it’s] a late-twenties thing.