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Slutever: The Brat Pack!

October 5, 2012

Text by Megan Matuzak. Images by Marie Alyse Rodriguez. Styling by Linda Smyth. Hair by Juaquin Cameron at Richard Nicholas Salon.

Rachel Gagliardi and her Slutever bandmate Nicole Snyder squint their eyes to adjust to the late morning sun. Gagliardi adjusts her mussed red hair and straightens her oversized black T-shirt while Snyder fumbles with a VHS tape and pops it into the machine. The movie, It Takes Two, a Mary-Kate and Ashley classic, starts mid-film.

Gagliardi squeals when the tape starts at her favorite scene – the one where one Olsen twin enters the “haunted” mansion and finds her portrait hanging on the wall. Then, a ghostly figure, actress Jane Sibbett, glides down the hallway wearing a white robe and white face cream. Gagliardi and Snyder laugh hysterically as the Olsen twin runs down the stairs and out of the mansion, screaming the whole way.

The Slutever duo loves all things brat life – like the Olsen twins – looking up to them with childlike admiration. The bandmates pull off the Olsen twin vibe by frequently interrupting and finishing each other’s sentences.

“If we could shoot a video anywhere, it would probably be in the Mall of America,” Gagliardi says. “It would be us hanging out at the mall but us, like, riding the rollercoaster, going mini-golfing and doing, like, all the weird mall things.”

Snyder speaks up in her mellow and crass way, pointing out that Mary-Kate and Ashley already made that music video.

“Yeah but we would combine that with ‘Pussycat!’” Gagliardi exclaims, referring to one of Slutever’s hit songs.

Everything about Slutever reeks of the 90s teenager aesthetic; their love of bootleg Simpson’s memorabilia, the duo’s striking similarities to Beavis and Butthead, even the name of the band. Alicia Silverstone’s Clueless, a staple for all ’90s girls everywhere, represents the band’s world: annoyed by their parents and pretty much everything else, yet spoiled with an overflowing closet of clothes, shoes and accessories.

They are the perfect brats, and the sound of Slutever’s music is, well, bratty to match – loud and fast, yet irresistibly grungy.

Gagliardi and Snyder, who originally met in high school in Bucks County, both play the drums and guitar. The girls swap instruments mid-set during shows and recording depending on who wrote the majority of the lyrics and guitar parts for that song. They front their raw, aggressive sound with angst-ridden lyrics and ear-shattering bratty belting.

Formed in 2010 while the two were roommates and students at Drexel University, the band has become a staple on the local house-show scene. They have even elbowed their way into major venues around the country, into major festivals like Bitch Fest and they’ve performed exclusive recording sessions with major outlets.

They have a cult following. They roll their eyes at creeps and crave pizza on the daily. Now, both members of Slutever – still in their early 20s – operate their very own DIY record labels on top of everything else.

Snyder’s label, Mallrat Records, started as a senior thesis for her music industry major at Drexel. Mallrat’s first release was a Philly-born, melodic punk band, Cousin Brian. In June, Cousin Brian’s debut album, First, was released digitally, as well as on Coke-bottle clear 12-inch vinyl. For Snyder, working with such a band speaks volumes about the mantra of Mallrat Records.

“Nirvana? They’re dead,” she says. “But that’s like the kind of music I want to put out on my label – punk, grunge. Those are the two things I’m really into. Any bands that fall under that aesthetic.”

Slutever’s brand of shit-fi, brat punk is well suited to the slacker mentality of Mallrat. Snyder plans to put out some Slutever stuff in collaboration with Gagliardi’s label, Bratty Records, this fall.

Bratty Records seeks to perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on what seemed to be a lost medium for music: cassette tapes. Gagliardi’s first choice for a release was Slutever’s very own “Pussycat.” The cassette itself is bright pink with “Pussycat” printed on the label in puffy pink bubble letters. The experience it generates is a physical one, symbolic of the strong DIY culture the girls decidedly believe in.

“When we were on tour,” Gagliardi says, “I saw so many bands with tapes and so many of them were on small labels. They are so cheap and, like, I have a cassette player in my car. If tapes are two or three dollars or something, I’ll always buy them because I like the art. I like that they’re not the best quality but they’re still the most basic – you record straight to tape.”

Gagliardi, who graduated from Drexel a few months before Snyder, notes that many of these bands they met on tour wanted to trade tapes. Also, labels like Burger Records in California have a huge army of kids who order and support the cassette revival movement. Although generally small, there are pockets of thriving DIY culture that are taking it back to the basics, and Bratty Records plans to be in the same vein.

“If you are intentionally going for a lo-fi sound, it makes sense,” Gagliardi says. “It is really affordable and I can charge $3 per tape. I would rather people spend $3 and have some physical art then just give us $3 and be like, ‘Oh, you guys can just like have it.’ I know people like to support. I do that. I like to give touring bands money. I would rather just be like, ‘Take a tape.’ I’m really into physical stuff. Tapes are so classic. If we weren’t supported by our label, Bantic Media, we wouldn’t have put out a vinyl.”

By some sheer stroke of hazy luck, Slutever caught the fancy of producer Kyle “Slick” Johnson and the duo landed studio time with him. Slick is a punk kid all grown up who has worked with numerous indie and punk high rollers – from Modest Mouse to Wavves, and many more.

“Much of what they had done previously sort of fit the ‘Brat Punk’ bill perfectly,” Slick says. “It was not recorded in a beautiful, high fidelity way. The songs were full of great moments of haphazardness and it was all quite unpolished. I think it was perfect for who they were at the time. I think they’re ready to try and see where they can go from there.”

The DIY process previously left the duo to their own devices. Recording in a monitored manner with Slick at Fancy Time, however, has changed the Slutever duo’s idea of what they can do and what they want to become. Slick’s talents pushed the band forward, especially in terms of the duo’s songwriting ability.

Gagliardi and Snyder recently wrote the song “1994” in the studio with Slick. They had never co-written a song with someone else before. The track is a likely candidate to be a single, used to tease their upcoming EP, which is due out by the end of the year. It will be the duo’s third EP.

“Change is what keep things interesting, and I mean that in a much broader sense than just in music,” Slick expounds. “Slutever has the ability to change and I saw that while we were recording ‘1994.’ They have the ability to adapt to new situations. That is something that I hope doesn’t change about them as people.”

They are fresh out of college and ready to get down with full-time Slutever wheeling and dealing. It’s time to get serious, while continuing to not give a shit about anything. It could be a challenge to many. For Snyder and Gagliardi, it’s the preferred lifestyle.

“The thing is, we are really into cartoons,” Snyder explains. “We are really into The Simpsons and Beavis and Butthead. Our songs are really personal and they’re not, like, trying to be poetry. We just tell it like it is.”

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