The members of Feral Future want their music to make listeners feel uncomfortable. The feminist/queer punk band based in Austin released its album, Haematic, in February on local label Western Medical Records. The album contains nine songs of blistering punk that hone in on issues of abuse, rape, alcoholism and the struggle for queer rights, often going into vivid detail. The lead singer of Feral Future, who goes by the name Relle, said its songs are grounded in real-life issues.
“I think that these things we sing about have a lot do with frustrations and anger we all have but feel like we can’t say really,” Relle said.
Feral Future writes songs that are aggressive and uses them as a platform to share stories of survival. “Hostile” tells the story of Relle traveling to confront her rapist, which she wanted to share so other survivors could find music to relate to. “No Means Nothing” takes an unusual angle by telling a story of attempted sexual assault from both the aggressor and target’s point of view.
“I thought that it would be an interesting idea to see it from both sides and broach the idea that victims of abuse often become abusers and vice versa and that it is a huge problem with rape culture,” Relle said.
The band has been playing in Austin for a little less than two years. While each of the band members has different influences and bands she admires, they all point to The Slits and ESG as post-punk bands they enjoy.
While the band has some riot grrrl influences, it doesn’t identify with the movement because of its issues with queers and people of color. Instead, it is trying to move forward with other like-minded bands that identify as feminist.
“Unless we can time travel back to 1993, we’re not a riot grrrl band,” guitarist Kate Moyer said. “Inevitably, if you’re ever in a semi-aggressive girl-fronted punk band, you’re going to get that comparison forever and ever.”
The band members hope they can spread their message through their music to other people who are struggling with the same issues they went through. Moyer said growing up in a small town, she had a hard time finding like-minded people who cared about punk music. She said she didn’t meet anyone who had heard of Bikini Kill until she was 22. Her hope is that people outside of Austin who don’t have as many resources can hear her music and relate to Feral Future’s message.
Relle said the band’s message is about standing up for yourself, other people and doing the right thing, even if it’s hard. Drummer Hunter Ross summed it up succinctly.
“Don’t take any shit,” Ross said.
The band is playing a local show at Beerland on Sunday, and will open for Perfect Pussy at Hotel Vegas in May. It is also planning a short Oklahoma tour in April followed by an East Coast tour this summer. Feral Future will play local shows on a monthly basis, yet, rather than playing every day to the same 40 people in Austin, it is said to be selective about the shows it books and who it plays with.
“We want to play with bands we admire and respect,” bassist Steph Mueller said. “There’s a way to get sucked into playing all the time in Austin and just playing to play.”
The members have all found a home in the Austin music scene but believe the biggest issue is that most of the local punk shows, at venues such as Hotel Vegas and Beerland, are 21-and-up shows.
“I think really what the Austin music scene is lacking is an all ages venue so we can be able to include more of the younger kids and bring that all together,” Mueller said.
The band members advocate for social and political change through their art and actions, sometimes in humorous ways. The album credits contain a short thank you note that ends, “No thanks to Rick Perry, he sucks.” Relle said she added that in because the album was recorded while the members were all protesting at the Capitol last summer, and being in Austin is part of what makes the band so assertive.
“People are starting to get fed up and say something,” Relle said. “That’s part of why we do it the way we do it. We’re right on the front lines of our rights being taken away.”