Dane, Jeff and Cassie make up the Pittsburgh alt-rock trio that is SOFT GIRL. The three combine their talents to create music that tells stories through splashes of art punk, indie and alternative rock. City Paper chatted with the trio via email to uncover its inner workings.
What music/books/exterior things influence your writing process?
Jeff: Growing up around a lot of rust and machines and old factories really colors the things that you write about and the way you make art. Our music isn’t expressly political, but we are, so I think a big part of our vibe is being unapologetically who we are. Even if it’s not explicit in the lyrics, we try to come off that way and have a message behind our stuff. Our music isn’t expressly anti-fascist or pro-queer in the lyrics, but we are, so those themes and attitudes come across in the music.
Art’s not created in a vacuum, so you can’t really separate our politics from the music we’re making, and we hope people going through the things we’re going through can connect with us through the music.
What inspired the “Home/You” music video? Where did you shoot that?
Dane [who directed the video]: I’m notoriously terrible at making art directly about how I’m feeling. But I can take those feelings and sneak them in Trojan-horse style through a story; the song’s themes of isolation, listlessness and missing home immediately made me think of someone dying out in space, coming to terms with the fact that they can’t get back home, but still finding beauty in that. It was shot on a 24-hour road trip, primarily in Cooper’s Rock State Forest in West Virginia, Summerfield, Pa. — which is a town that’s now underwater — and Bairdford Park in West Deer Township.
The lyrics have a really wonderful confessional, storytelling feel. How do you approach the lyric writing process?
Jeff: When it comes to lyrics I try and capture the best synthesis of storytelling and vibe. Like, the words have gotta mean something, they’ve gotta tell a story; but the way the words sound is important too. Like, the words can be perfect, but if the vibe isn’t right, then it’s still not working. People need to get what the song is about on the first listen and let the story keep unfolding as they dig deeper and really listen.
Who are some of your favorite local bands in Pittsburgh?
Jeff: Fig! Childlike Empress! There’s lots of really great representation in the scene right now; a lot of femme and queer artists who are doing phenomenal stuff … who are just as important to support as the bigger names who have come out of Pittsburgh in the past few years. I really like Meeting of Important People too.