AU's Student-Run Internet-Only Radio

GIRLCHAMP! photographed by Gia Bambocci / @gia.bambocci

Interview with GIRLCHAMP!: Fem Creativity, Rage, and Friendship

March 31, 2023

GIRLCHAMP! is one of my favorite bands (and I’m not just saying that because I know them). Their first EP, Summer Camp, is full of witty lyricism, catchy guitars, and all the angst that comes with navigating the world as a young girl. The band—based out of Pittsburgh—is composed of Mary Knecht (lead vocals, guitar, and songwriter), Lia Burchianti (bass), Allie Edwards (guitar), and Riley Bankovic (drums). The four are now located across the country at different colleges, with Lia attending American University, but are still closer than ever. This past summer they recorded a new self-titled album, out on all streaming platforms as of March 31st. I feel lucky to call the GIRLCHAMP! members friends and to have witnessed the love and effort put into this new album. I sat down with Mary Knecht (featuring the occasional interjection from Lia Burchianti) to talk about this new album as well as songwriting and hamsters as a capitalist metaphor, among other things. Continue reading for the full conversation. 


Mary Knecht, photographed by Anamarie King / @7avk7

Alexa Julian: How did GIRLCHAMP! start? 


Mary Knecht: GIRCHAMP! started our senior year of high school. I wanted to start a band so I went on Facebook Marketplace to find a drum set, and I found one. And it turned out that the guy who was selling it was Lia’s uncle so we got it for free. The only person I knew who played an instrument, kinda, was Lia and she played bass. So then after that I rallied Allie and Riley because they were our close friends. We just set up the drum set in my room and would practice after school and it kind of just evolved from there. 


Alexa Julian: Tell me about the new album. What should people know? 


Mary Knecht: I think the new album is a good mix of sad, but also angst and also lovey. A few songs are pretty angry and it’s like I’m mad, and there’s a good love song in there, a little cutesy moment. I think it’s pretty versatile lyrics-wise. I think every song has the GIRLCHAMP! sound but the lyrics differ in emotions throughout the album. 


Alexa Julian: Do you have a favorite song off the new album?


Mary Knecht: I think I have two favorites…my favorite lyrically is “Them & Me” and my favorite sound-wise is “Corporate America’s Hamster Wheel.”  


Alexa Julian: And then, going off of that, can you describe the lore behind the title “Corporate America’s Hamster Wheel”? Very great title. 


Mary Knecht: So I wrote that song when I was really burnt out from school and work and writing songs. I was kind of just like over everything and just feeling burnt out. And my cousin–shoutout to Riley–she would always slam her laptop when studying and be like “I don’t wanna be in corporate America’s hamster wheel! I don’t wanna do this!” So I was like, oh, that’d be a good title for the song. It’s funny and it kind of relates to the lyrics of being burnt out and not wanting to sell your soul to a 9 to 5…Or 11 to midnight at my workplace. 


Alexa Julian: Do you have a favorite lyric you’ve written?


Mary Knecht: This is from an unreleased song. It has never been put out, but it is: “Out on the warm back porch with that Bud Light can/Not a minute goes by before you touch my hand/You start singing the predictable “you are my sunshine”/While I know that I am yours as well as you are mine.” It just reminds me of the summer and being in love and cutesy, you know. 


Alexa Julian: Next question, can you talk more about the album art, your vision for it, or the process of creating it? 


Mary Knecht: So, all I knew I wanted for the album art was Kat Breedlove’s work because I think she’s such a cool and talented artist. So we reached out to her and got a bunch of versions of album art and we collectively agreed on one…She listened to the album and drew it up from what she heard and we all loved it, so we love her. Shoutout Kat! 


Album art, designed by Katharine Breedlove / @saltwaterarte


Alexa Julian: Where do you gain inspiration from and are there any artists that inspire you? 


Mary Knecht: So, I definitely gain inspiration from strong emotions like being super happy or super sad. I can’t just sit down and write if I’m feeling neutral; I feel like something has to happen. And then some artists: Adrianne Lenker, obvi. Her lyrics are just incredible—I mean, her guitarwork is incredible, too, but I definitely gain lyrical inspiration from her and Elliot Smith. And then I’d say sound-wise, I really like the sound of Hop Along and Snail Mail and the instrumental parts of their music…I like the vibe of their sound. 


Alexa Julian: What was the recording process like? 


Mary Knecht: It was fast and it was stressful. So, we pumped out this album in I think 4 days…It was probably 5 days…It was really fast. We only had one day in the actual studio to get the drums down. And then the days after that we did guitar, bass, vocals, and backing vocals. So it was really fast. I feel like that’s the fastest an album’s ever been recorded.


Lia Burchianti, jokingly: We were the first to do it. 


Mary Knecht: We were the first people to cram an album! But yeah, it was fun, but tiring, but fun. 


Alexa Julian: And then can you describe the album in three words, if possible. 


Mary Knecht: Let me think… The first thing coming to mind is girl…like girl-coded? Fem rage? I’d say like, feminine experience, femininity, fun. There’s some fun songs in there. What else…maybe like…chill. Chill fem rage. 


Lia Burchianti, jokingly (again): Chill fem vibes to study slash chill to. 


Alexa Julian: Do you have a favorite moment with the band?


Mary Knecht: I can’t think of one moment in particular, but I’d say my favorite moments collectively are when we’re all just together like hanging out where we practice rather than playing. We’re just so silly and have a good time when we’re just hanging out as friends in the environment of the band. 


Alexa Julian: Last question, do you have any last thoughts to tell readers? Anything you want to say!


Mary Knecht: Stream the album! And I don’t want to be cheesy, but like, literally do whatever you want. 


Lia: Being bad at something doesn’t mean you can’t do it. 


Mary Knecht: Yeah, no one really played instruments except for me and we have two albums now. You can literally do whatever you set your mind to, and I know that’s cliche, but real. Do what you want. 


Make sure to stream GIRLCHAMP!’s new album on all streaming platforms and to keep up with them on Instagram (@girrrlchamp). GIRLCHAMP! also wants to thank Jacob Zang (@jacob_zang) for recording and mastering the album. Lastly, check out Katharine Breedlove’s Instagram (@saltwaterarte) to see other versions of the album artwork, among other unique pieces. 


GIRLCHAMP! photographed by Fidelia Frimpong-Anani / @ffrim18

WVAU • Copyright 2024 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

Comments (0)

All WVAU Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *