OBJECT AS SUBJECT is a Los Angeles, CA-based art punk band initially formed as a solo project by Tucson, AZ-born, Los Angeles-based, classically trained violinist, turned punk rocker Paris Hurley (vocals, drums, dance, composition) responding to the rampant sexism and misogyny she experienced while on the road with Balkan punk/metal act Kultur Shock. Hurley is among a handful of incredibly accomplished musicians I’ve written about throughout the years — at 16 she made her Carnegie Hall debut; and shortly after relocating to Seattle in 2003, she found her way into formative decade long collaborations with acclaimed composer and arranged Jherek Bischoff and experimental dance theater collective Degenerative Art Ensemble.
After an 8 year stint with Kultur Shock, Hurley relocated to Los Angeles, where she began assembling OBJECT AS SUBJECT’S current lineup, which includes Emilia “Pony Sweat” Richeson (dance, drums, vocals), Sorority‘s Gina Young (bass, vocals), Tales Between Our Legs’ Megan Fowler-Hurst (dance, drums, vocals) and Hole‘s Patty Schemel (drums). The band works collaboratively under Hurley’s direction, flushing out hyper-specific, detailed songwriting with the personality of each performer.
The Los Angeles-based art punk act’s full-length debut PERMISSION is slated for a release this Friday through Lost Future Records, and the album’s latest single “Pom Pom Moves” is a furious, blistering, feminist anthem that’s full of righteous outrage and indignation — and while being completely of the sociopolitical moment, the song which is influenced by Hurley’s experiences on the road was written several years before the #metoo and #timesup movements. As Hurley explains:
“I wrote this song in my late 20’s. It came out as a single flood of words written down one day in the tour van with Kultur Shock, before Trump even running for office was part of our collective reality, something like 7 years into an 8 year stint of spending months at a time on the road in Europe, completely inundated by sexism + misogyny. From dudes acting as if I were about to touch an open flame anytime I got near a piece of gear, “No, no, no, no! Don’t touch that! I’ll get it! I’ve got it! It’s not safe for you. Let me show you how it’s done,” to guys grabbing my body and handling me like property in attempts to take photos with me as I walked through a venue, to endless marriage proposals from complete strangers, to hyper-sexualized comments about me and my performances that ignored my role in the band as a fucking fierce musician, to the seething glares of hatred from men at the market, to the unrelenting assumption that I must be the girlfriend of the men I was traveling with, to not feeling safe walking by myself after shows, to inescapably boring and incessant talk about pussy – either getting some, having gotten some, or about how if you didn’t drink enough alcohol or lift heavy shit by yourself, you were one – I was surrounded.
One night after a show in Belgium, a guy asked to see my ‘pom pom moves.’ He felt entitled to his own private show, emboldened by the presence of a group of laughing friends surrounding me, miming the movements he wanted me to do in the air above his head, hips swinging. I think what he really wanted was to see my armpit hair up close. There was that guy at the outdoor festival in Croatia who chanted, ‘Show us your boobs,’ on repeat as I took the stage, the guy in the front row of that show in Serbia who stuck his camera up my skirt while I was on stage performing, oh and the Bosnian border patrol officer who looked through my entire suitcase thing by thing, handling my underwear and vibrator while we were locked in a room together with his gun.
Pom Pom Moves is the telling of these stories – my stories – and the transformation from fear + shame to power that came with owning + voicing them.”