Meet Teenage Joans, who dominate with Something About Being Sixteen
The Adelaide duo were just named one of our acts to keep an eye out for in 2021, and by the sounds of things, are our predictions are already coming true.
Teenage Joans were always going to have a big year.
They were one of 2020's defining breakthrough acts, launched into the Australian music spotlight by taking out the triple j Unearthed High competition - beating out high school bands and teenage wunderkind across the country - with the aid of their song Three Leaf Clover, a fuzzy alt-rock anthem that no doubt soundtracked pivotal moments throughout the year. It couldn't happen to better people either, with the Adelaide duo being synonymous with the city's often-overlooked live music space and the flourishing community that thrives amongst it - something that Teenage Joans have helped support (and be supported by) over the last year.
It makes sense that we'd name them one of our acts worth keeping an eye on in 2021; the pairing of Cahli Blakers and Tahlia Borg proving unstoppable through the energy and vigour their music provides, emphasised by the close collaborative friendship that's distilled right down to how they bounce off one another musically, and the excitement that's captured within their sound.
Now, not even a week later, Teenage Joans are staying true to their world and unveiling Something About Being Sixteen, a new single that's sure to cement their 2021 as victorious. It's the perfect successor to Three Leaf Clover and a track that makes it two-for-two for Teenage Joans, further capturing the excitement and energy within Cahli and Tahlia as they trade catchy riffs and thriving choruses with the combo of light-heartedness and intimateness that seems to define Teenage Joans' work, and how they're able to look in at themselves (and out at the world around them) through a lens that keeps it fun and digestable.
"Something About Being Sixteen is undoubtedly Teenage Joans' great take on the classic coming of age rock tune, generally closing our live sets with audiences singing along every time without fail," the duo say on the single. It's a timely description too, coming as the duo announce a pair of co-headline shows with TOWNS at the end of this month, alongside the small number of already-announced shows for later in the year.
Take a dive into the track below, where you'll also find those aforementioned tour dates, and a bit of an introduction to Teenage Joans as they rip their way to a big 2021 ahead.
Tell us about yourself?
Oh hey we’re Teenage Joans, we’re a two-piece from Radelaide! We LOVE things like cool socks, stickers that we can put on literally any of our belongings, and juice boxes (our fav flavour is Apple & Rasberry, btw)! Both of us are heaps influenced by 90’s fashion and culture, and in particular the riot grrrl movement, which is where we reckon we get our ‘loud and proud’ attitudes from. Oh, and we wouldn’t be here if we couldn’t say that music is our LIFELINE!
What’s your music like? What does it sound like? What kind of themes does it usually cover?
We like to describe our music as “juice-box punk-pop”, a fresh take on typical pop-punk, with quirky and relatable lyrics that bring back the nostalgia of being young and learning about the world. Our songs usually focus on figuring out the human experience, the complexity of emotions, and other things such as “stop calling us a girl band”.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
Usually, I (Cahli) will write a riff and a solid catchy chorus by myself, and then bring it to band prac to write the rest with Tahlia (she adds what I like to call the Tahlia Spice). We usually try and figure out what the song is about first, and then just spitball from there. After we finish the guitar and the lyrics, we take it to the drumkit to write some drums that fit the song.
When we take our songs to the studio we usually only have rhythm guitar, drums and vocals as we don’t have a bassist or a lead guitarist. We write the bass and lead lines in the studio as we go, and then add finishing touches like harmonies and other fun things we can think of!
Can you tell us a bit about this new single, Something About Being Sixteen?
Something About Being Sixteen (we like to call it SABS) is the raw and honest Teenage Joans experience. If you had to show someone only one song that defines us, it would be this one.
We wrote this song about the emotional turmoil of holding onto someone that shouldn’t be held on to. The chorus “This is overdue/I’m getting over you” is one of our favourite and most powerful lyrics we’ve ever written, and hearing the crowd scream it back to us at gigs is one of the most amazing feelings.
2020 was obviously a HUGE year for Teenage Joans. How has it been being thrown into the deep end a bit, and how does that make you two feel going into 2021?
2020 was a wild ride! It’s weird to think that we released Three Leaf Clover at the start of the year, not even knowing that by the end of the year it would be a completely different year and song to what we thought they would be.
Getting thrown into the deep end was quite possibly one of the best things to happen to us! We’ve never hustled so hard behind the scenes as we have in the past 4 months, which is a nice change as we hustled SO incredibly hard with gigs in 2019. We’re so keen to finally have something to show in 2021 for our hard work over the past two years!
Speaking of, what do you have planned for 2021?
We’re getting so keen to release new music and (hopefully) play some more gigs again! We’re going on a co-headline tour with our best bros TOWNS and then playing Summer Sounds Festival in SA in Jan, and then hitting QLD for Mountain Goat Valley Crawl and Teenage Kicks in Feb!
What do you want people to take away from your work?
We want people to know that it’s okay to be you, it’s okay to be weird, do things out of the norm and put a finger up to the system and the patriarchy! If even just one person tells us that us and our music has helped them through a struggle or given them some sort of confidence that they didn’t realise they had, in our minds THAT’S the goal with Teenage Joans!
Where can we find more of your music?
Our music is on all streaming platforms, and we have a few music videos up on YouTube too :)