Feminist pop punk duo Diet Cig is struggling through adulthood just like the rest of us, and aren't afraid to share their stories. From awkward tales of dating someone with the same first name as you to not wanting to leave your bed, their songs are relatable and funny even as they hit home. We caught up with Alex Luciano, vocalist and guitarist, before the duo heads out on their North American tour for their first full-length album, Swear I'm Good At This.
Their name came about as an accident as they were preparing for their first gig. "We didn't have a name yet, and we were literally just sitting on our porch throwing words together," she said, mentioning that it was her bandmate Noah Bowman who came up with the winning combination.
"We thought well, this will look good on the poster, but we can always change it, no one is going to know… And then it just stuck!"
Their songs come together in a similarly irreverent and yet relatable way.
"I feel like I have the easiest time writing about stuff that I know to be true to me," she said. "And I feel like a lot of our songs are relatable because I have similar life experiences to a lot of the people who listen to our music, so those feelings of trying to figure yourself out and grow up and pretend like you're an adult, but you don't want to get out of bed or do anything, can resonate."
However, she notes that might not be a feeling that passes with age. "Even people who are fifty years old have come up to me and said that it's hard to figure out their life and that it resonates with them."
However, at least she has another way to figure out her life: by looking at the stars.
"I love astrology," she said. "I think it gets a lot of shit because people are like, it just says vague things and then you're going to believe it, but I don't think it's about that. I think it's about finding a way to examine different parts of yourself and breaking yourself down into different sectors that you can unpack, and it's a way to get more real with who you are and know yourself better."
This is made clear in her song Leo, where she sings, "What's your sign?"
"I also think it's really fun and really accurate a lot of the time," she adds. "It's reminded me that I'm much more nuanced than just this one version of myself that everyone sees, and it's helped me be more introspective and examine myself."
For those who don't believe in it, she only has one thing to say.
"People who hate on astrology are just hating on something because other people like it. Maybe you don't believe in astrology, but I just called out that you're a fucking Scorpio, so maybe you should look that shit up."
She's also used her feelings about astrology and introspection to inform one of the other songs off the album, Maid of the Mist.
"That song was about how it can be hard about being the more emotional half of the relationship, and just being a big crybaby," she said, laughing. "To go back to astrology, my moon is in Cancer, and I feel like it makes me more emotional about everything."
On a more serious level, she relates the song back to the wider #MeToo movement and the ongoing discussions about sexual assault, making it clear how important it is to make sure people don't feel alone.
"It's also about how lines of consent can get blurry in a way that makes you feel horrible, and you can feel like you're overreacting but in reality it's like, no, that's valid," she said, citing the recent Aziz Ansari case as an example. "It's the feeling of having a sexual experience that you felt bad about but that people were like, you were being too dramatic about it."
She also wants to create an environment with her music where everyone can feel part of something bigger.
"Being punk means so many things, but my favourite idea is that it's all inclusive," she said. "It's the attitude where you're doing things yourself and making your own rules in a way that makes it accessible for everyone to join in and have fun and be a part."
Watch the video for the duo's popular single "Harvard".
In "Tummy Ache," she sings "It's hard to be a punk while wearing a skirt", trying to smash the stereotypes that surround the genre.
"Punk isn't just white guys in Doc Martens. It's about showing up and forming a community and letting everyone join in."
This is also the feeling she strives to create on their tours, from their pre-show ritual to beyond.
"Each tour, we have a different kind of ritual that evolves," she said, adding that she's excited to see what it'll turn out to be over their next tour.
"It always boils down to us doing sports warmups, because our sets are so physical that if we go on stage not warmed up we are so out of sync, so we do jumping jacks and knee kicks and all sorts of things to warm up."
Following their tour, they're excited to get back into the studio and write another record in 2018. "We're so excited about it. This tour is our last one for Swear I'm Good At This, and I think we're both really stoked to get in the headspace of new songs. We're so ready to write a new one."
In her personal life, she's hoping to become more straightforward. "If I don't want to go out, I just want to be honest and say let's hang another time. I want to say no to stuff for my own self-care, because I'm like the queen of FOMO."
We're wishing her the best of luck on both fronts.