Seattle band Tacocat brings culturally relevant, feminist-inspired punk to Oklahoma

Nearly a decade after forming in the Pacific Northwest, Tacocat performs in Oklahoma for the first time Feb. 16 at Opolis, 113 N. Crawford Ave., in Norman as part of its Southwest tour.

“We’re excited to go. This is going to be a first,” said bassist Bree McKenna.

Tacocat bandmates also include vocalist Emily Nokes, guitarist Eric Randall and drummer Lelah Maupin. McKenna said the band first came together in order to play at parties.

“We were all just going to shows, and we ended up just wanting to be a part of that,” McKenna said.

According to McKenna, the band’s name — humorous and, as many have noted, a palindrome — reflects Tacocat’s vibe.

“We had a list of names back when we started,” she said. “We thought that sounded like a really fun name, and it embodied what we were going for.”

Over the years, the act’s sound and style evolved further. Its 2016 album Lost Time looks at personal experiences through the lens of a larger social consciousness, creating a frequently funny union of pop, punk and personal experience.

“Our musical stylings have developed a little,” McKenna said. “[We] gradually ended up having a lot more specific ideas about how we want to execute things.”
She said Tacocat’s songwriting process is collaborative and, consequently, sometimes slow because the band does not have one primary songwriter. While band members have written some songs together in the same place, McKenna said the process is generally more sequential.

McKenna said typically she or Randall will come up with a riff idea, which they will then present to Maupin, and Nokes comes in with a melody.

“It pieces together one at a time,” she said. “Someone will have an idea, and we’ll work it out.”

Some of the songs on Lost Time, such as “Dana Katherine Scully” and “Men Explain Things to Me” reflect a feminist ethos both individual and social.

“I think we’re big believers in ‘the personal is political, and a lot of our experiences that we sing about … are based out of the female experience,” McKenna said. “You can’t describe the female experience sometimes without addressing street harassment, or our bodies or mansplaining.”

The label “feminist sci-fi” often circulates around Tacocat, which McKenna attributes to her and Nokes’ love of feminist science fiction from writers like Margaret Atwood and Octavia Butler as well as shows like The X-Files.

“Dana Katherine Scully” pays homage to the latter as it provides a commentary on female empowerment in the 1990s.

“A lot of women in sciences in the ’90s apparently were going into this field because they had a strong role model,” McKenna said. “It was really inspiring for all of us since we grew up in the ’90s.”

After a year of heavy touring in 2016, McKenna said the band took some time off before getting out on the road again. Tacocat also hopes to work on new music this year, a process she said can be complicated by road life.

“We get inspired by things we talk about on the road. Our songs reflect a lot of stuff we think about and feel,” McKenna said. “We always need some pretty hefty time off when we get home to work on things and tweak them.”

Tacocat ends its first tour of 2017 in April at California’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

“We’re just excited to see what happens,” McKenna said of Tacocat’s 2017 goals. “We definitely have some pretty hefty band goals this year that we’re starting to formulate.”

Print Headline: Punk prerogative, Seattle band Tacocat brings culturally relevant, feminist-inspired punk to Oklahoma.