Out musician JD Samson is an anomaly. As one third of the iconic electro-feminist band Le Tigre, JD brought masculine femininity to the masses when the band signed to major label Island Records for their last album, This Island in 2004. Now a successful DJ with a new band, MEN, releasing their first full-length after three years writing music, L.A. Weekly put JD on their cover and conducted an interview with her and her bandmates, Ginger Brooks Takahashi and Michael O’Neill .
MEN‘s debut LP, Talk About Body, will be released in February on the LA label IAMSOUND. Despite Le Tigre having been signed to Island for their last release, JD says she is very familiar with the indie label politics, as their first albums came out on the iconic feminist/queer label Mr. Lady.
[On Island] we got a different management team that kind of guided us through the process, meeting with a lot of different labels, and we really thought that Universal was the best label to spread our music further into the mainstream and kind of get our music out to more people that wanted it. ‘Cause I think that was one of the things we realized: There were still all these queer kids who had never heard of Le Tigre. We wanted to reach them all, somehow.
So if anyone ever accused Le Tigre of selling out, they didn’t realize that taking the message to the streets could only get bigger with larger distribution. Yes that means more money, but it also means more resources. And when L.A. Weekly asks if reaching the queer kids was Le Tigre’s main concern, JD answers, “Oh, totally. That was what most of the decisions were based on.”
In the new Le Tigre documentary Le Tigre: On Tour, a lot of attention is paid to the grassroots efforts JD and bandmates Kathleen Hanna and Johanna Fateman made to promote equality and freedom for women and the queer community, from songs about butch visibility (“Vis”) to turning down an ad campaign in Jane magazine because they wouldn’t include the word “lesbian” in fear of upsetting sponsors.