Maybe it’s just me, but there’s really nothing better than binge-watching everything on TV during “Shark Week” while also devouring at pint of your favorite ice cream. The ladies of Sharkmuffin—Tarra Thiessen and Natalie Kirch—are not only grunge rockers, but also aspiring ice cream makers. So celebrate “Shark Week” than with Sharkmuffin’s “Sharkmuffin” ice cream. As huge foodies themselves, Thiessen and Kirch’s first flavor celebrates their upcoming debut LP Chartreuse which blends the band’s two components together—sharks and muffins.
Chartreuse features the duo’s catchy garage rock jams with a pop edge. On their debut, Thiessen and Kirch were joined by ex-Hole drummer Patty Schemel, though Sharif Mekawy has been drumming on tour. Fans of Sharkmuffin may notice a bigger sound this time around: the band has moved more into the psych realm as opposed to power-pop or punk, which they focused on in their previous three releases.
While we made ice cream at the Sour Patch Kids House in Brooklyn, Sharkmuffin’s Tarra and Natalie dished on tarot cards, Tinder dates and their shitty ex-boyfriends. Hopefully, Ben & Jerry’s will see this article and consider Sharkmuffin as the next ice cream flavor to go viral. You can grab the Sharkmuffin ice cream recipe after the interview to hold you over until the band’s LP release on August 7.
Noisey: How did the recipe for Sharkmuffin ice cream come about?
Natalie Kirch: We both love ice cream, and we both love dark chocolate. We figured vanilla ice cream was a neutral base to start. The muffins represent us. We have cinnamon and coffee muffins – we love coffee. One of our goals as a band was to have an ice cream.
Tarra Thiessen: I think it came about when we were in a group text with our old drummer Janet. We would always talk about what our Ben & Jerry’s flavor would be.
Who are your biggest influences?
NK: We both like ‘90s grunge like Nirvana, ‘50s girls groups like The Ronettes and The Shangri-Las. We like surf rock.
TT: I really like The Ventures and Dick Dale.
So were you guys intoxicated in any way when you came up with the ice cream idea?
NK: We just really like food, so it seemed like a natural fit. Everybody likes ice cream.
TT: We also already have a food in our band name. Everyone is always like what the hell is a “Sharkmuffin?”
NK: We also really love pizza, but pizza would be a gross flavor to mix with ice cream.
TT: Maybe the ice cream will stop everyone from associating our name [Sharkmuffin] with vaginas [laughs].
What does Sharkmuffin mean anyway?
TT: It could have many meanings: it could be a surfer who surfs in the morning and then a shark is hungry in the morning, so the surfer is the shark’s muffin, so shark muffin. It could be a cute girl who plays pool really well.
NK: it could be someone who’s both sassy and sweet like a Sour Patch Kid. She’s Sharkie, and I’m Muffin.
This record is a lot about ex-boyfriends.
TT: Well, I write songs about ex-boyfriends because it’s cathartic, and it’s good to scream, but it’s bad to scream at them all the time.
NK: [Tarra is] the lyricist, so sometimes the instrumental parts aren’t initially connected to the lyrical content. Sometimes she’ll add the lyrics in later, or the song will be written around lyrics or it will be completely written without lyrics and Tarra will add them in.
TT: “Broken Teeth” is about kicking your ex-boyfriend’s head into a curb—like curb-stomping them. “I Called You From The Moon” is about an ex-boyfriend who came back and I went down with him to West Virginia for Christmas randomly. One song is about a co-dependent relationship.
NK: “First Date” is a gimmick on Tinder dating experience.
What was your worst Tinder dating experience?
NT: I’ve never used Tinder but…
TT: I had one Tinder date and he peed in my bed. That wasn’t even a first date though—that was a Tinder date that lasted 5 months.
NK: I kept calling him “Tinder date.”
TT: Yeah, he didn’t really ever have a name. I hope he isn’t reading this.
NT: He didn’t even wash the mattress for her.
TT: And I just bought the bed!
NK: Chivalry is dead. “Chartreuse” is a nonsense song where we jumbled up a bunch of lyrics that we each came up with and put them out of order. It’s kind of a storyline like one of the ’50s psych-thriller movies about a guy stealing your money and running away with another woman, but it’s also partially about one of Tarra’s exes who was an addict and one who started dating a girl who looked like her.
TT: But I’m happy for them. They seem happy.
How did you get into tarot card reading, Tarra?
TT: Well, we always messed around with tarot cards at sleepover parties in middle school, but then I got a tarot card app in college. I always used it when I was making a decision.
Do you believe in it?
TT: Yeah. It’s not totally accurate in predicting the future, but it’s always good as a reflection of what’s going on at the moment. It’s like cheap therapy for yourself.
How did you end up working with Patty Schemel of Hole?
NK: So Tarra and I were playing with Janet (LaBelle) who was our drummer who got injured. She kept getting misdiagnosed, so we waited for a year for her to recover. Eventually she said she couldn’t play drums anymore. She’s just starting to play on a more basic level again. A couple of days before we were going to LA to tour and record our album, she called us crying saying she couldn’t play and feel her arm. I called the engineers frantically asking them to put out their feelers. It turned out a friend of his was a mutual friend of Patty Schemel and Tarra told me, you’d never guess who emailed me.
TT: It’s so funny because we made a joke maybe Patty still lives in LA. We should call her.
NK: It turned out she did live in LA.
Why did you name your record the color Chartreuse?
NK: It happened to be both Tarra and my favorite color. It’s also the center of the color spectrum.
TT: It’s the brightest one. One of my favorite painters is Francis Bacon, and he has lots of paintings with that color. I always wanted to write music that sounded like his paintings.
Sharkmuffin Ice Cream Recipe
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cinnamon muffin
1 coffee cake muffin
½ dark chocolate chips
Whisk until sugar dissolves, pour into ice cream maker.
While ice cream starts to set:
Add cinnamon muffin and coffee cake muffin, broken into pieces
Add dark chocolate chips (you can melt and mold them into shapes in the fridge beforehand if you like.)
Chartreuse comes out August 7th from State Capital/Little Dickman Records.
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