In today’s music industry, many artists care more about fame than they do authenticity. Luckily, Naomi Punk defies celebrity culture by making music on their own terms, without worrying about following the rules or people’s expectations.
Hailing from Washington State, Naomi Punk consists of singer and guitarist Travis Coster, guitarist Neil Gregerson and drummer Nic Luempert. Coster originally had his own band, The U, while Gregerson and Luempert were part of Masters and Johnson. After playing west coast shows in the underground music scene, the friends embarked on a U.S. tour playing sets under their respective monikers, while occasionally playing shows together as Naomi Punk.
“Our other bands were playing the shows,” Coster said. “Then we were like ‘Let’s do a Naomi Punk set.’ It kind of accidentally became a thing.”
After combining forces to create the band as it exists today, the trio would spend hours on end jamming and reveling to the sound of loud amps, Coster said. All three members first got involved with music as teenagers where they would play gigs in friends’ basements, and the high energy of that underground music scene still influences the group today.
In fact, it was this energy and rush that the band was seeking to create. They weren’t looking to write beautifully crafted songs as much as they were working to create an intense live performance, Coster said.
“I grew up on really loud music where a huge part of what it is to be in a band is harnessing a certain warped energy that is so overwhelming and powerful through volume,” Coster said. “Finding energy in the magnitude in the sound is such an important jumping off point in understanding our band.”
Unlike other artists, who carefully plan and execute their aesthetic and brand, Naomi Punk makes everything about the power of music. Many artists have become so obsessed with celebrity culture that they lose focus on the music and reduce their artistic ability just to meet standards, Coster said.
By being aware that they don’t fit into this category, the band was able to have deep conversations to discuss personal, complex concepts that would be turned into music. Some of these conversations happened in the forests of Washington, where the group would jam out in a house and then take long, peaceful walks to reflect on their creative process.
“It was a very meditative process,” Coster said. “We were able to reimagine the purpose of our music and how we should tell different stories and move ourselves to new places and change the landscape.”
Eventually the band’s work paid off, as they released their double LP, Yellow in late August. Music professionals would advise against a small band releasing such a big record, but this defiance is what Naomi Punk is all about. By making the record what they wanted it to be, the band broke down preconceptions that the music industry holds, Coster said.
The band is ready to hit the road once more, where they will share their high energy sounds with venues across the U.S. — including The Frequency Sept. 19. Madison is lucky to host such a distinct band, and their underground punk performance is not something that should be missed.