Interview: Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers talk Pretty Good For A Girl Band, national tour and sexist dentists

Pretty Good For A Girl Band

Canberra punk quartet Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers have caught the attention of everyone with ears and eyes since their emergence just five years ago. I mean, is that not the coolest band name ever?

With their debut EP Pretty Good For A Girl Band – out on the 13th May via Domestic La La – and a 10-date Australia tour this August and September, now is the time to jump onboard the TJ train before they shoot through the stratosphere.

In anticipation of the EP’s release, we caught up with bassist Jaida Stephenson for a chat about the EP, the tour and the band’s growth.

“We got asked to support the Foo Fighters earlier this year,” Jaida says in disbelief of the band’s success. “I think we all started crying and we were like, ‘Oh my God!’.”

The band’s exponential rise with just a handful of singles in such a short time is impressive to say the least. Since their inception, Teen Jesus have played the likes of BIGSOUND, Groovin’ The Moo, Laneway, Falls and Spilt Milk festivals, as well as supported local favourites Hockey Dad, Sly Withers and Slowly Slowly to name only a few.

“The most recent tour we did was for “Miss Your Birthday”, and the tour we did before that was the “Desk Chair” tour two years ago. To put it into perspective, we played to a 60-capacity room in Melbourne, didn’t play any shows for two years, then our first show back was a headline show at a 600-capacity venue.”

Pretty Good For A Girl Band is a five-track project bursting with energy and irony; and the band’s most mature and compelling work yet. Featuring the singles “Girl Sports”, “AHHHH!” and “Miss Your Birthday” (the latter co-written by Alex Lahey with production by James Tidswell of Violent Soho), the EP is full of catchy hooks and banging grooves. Front woman Anna Ryan’s candid lyrics are more reflective than angsty and the whole group channels their inner punks with an assertive eloquence.

“We’ve been sitting on it for a quite a long time – one of the songs on the EP that we haven’t released, I think, we recorded two and a half years ago now. So, it’s gonna be really good to get it out and we’re just excited to have a big body of music that people can listen to. We’ve been playing all these shows but we’ve only got like five or six songs out, so a lot of the set is songs that people don’t know.”

The latest single from the EP, “Girl Sports”, addresses social inequality and gender stigmas, and was inspired by a comment from Jaida’s male dentist. Unfortunately, this is something that all the members still encounter on a daily basis and are trying to change with their music.

“I think Anna was walking home one day and got catcalled like five times in a 20-minute walk from the shops. I used to do pretty intense roller-skating at skate parks. I was at the Gold Bowl in Newcastle, which is the biggest drop-in in Australia, and I did it once then fell straight on my face and was in hospital for a couple days. I went to the dentist and had my mouth wide open, then he’s like, ‘All these girls trying to do men’s sports, they should just stick to girl sports’.”

While the band haven’t lost their fiery spark from day one, the EP also has its softer moments, with elegant harmonies throughout. The candid lyrics are quite moving at times and the pop-punk choruses offset the dark guitars and grungy vibes. The girls get their revenge in the track, shouting various retaliations in the song’s background.

“It was so much fun! During the verses we would be just saying really angry stuff. It’s the most fun song to play live as well because we’re just shouting the whole time. We started the band when we were so young and I think for the past couple of years, we’ve just been trying to discover ourselves. Every song on the EP is so punchy and loud, and we had a few other songs which were a bit softer that might feature on other bodies of work, but we wanted this EP to be a bang.”

After a big break in shows due to the pandemic and keeping momentum with big singles, Teen Jesus will embark on a 10-date tour of the EP across the country this August and September. These shows include a couple stops in WA and a trip to the so often-forgotten Tassie fans to round it off.

“I’m really keen to play WA – we’ve only played there once and that was for a 10am slot at Falls festival on a 40-degree day to like seven people. When we go back down to Melbourne, we’re playing The Corner which we played earlier in the year, but it was at a lower capacity. The Corner is one of those dream venues and I’ve always wanted to play there one day.”

Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers’s debut EP Pretty Good For A Girl Band is out 13th May via Domestic La La. Pre-order and save it HERE. You can keep up to date with the band via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers Pretty Good For A Girl Band 2022 Tour

Friday August 12 – Indian Ocean Hotel, Scarborough, WA
Saturday August 13 – Mojos, Fremantle, WA
Friday August 19 – Brightside, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday August 20 – Burleigh Bazaar, Gold Coast, QLD
Sunday August 21 – Riversounds, Bellingen, NSW
Thursday August 25 – Unibar, Wollongong, NSW
Friday August 26 – Crowbar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday August 27 – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Friday September 2 – Corner Hotel, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday September 3 – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Saturday September 10 – Unibar, Hobart, TAS

Tickets are on sale now HERE

Header Image: Ruby Boland