Among the many excellent bands that played sets recently at Austin City Limits that will surely go on to be remembered, one stood out among the many others for their unique sound, backstory and stories behind their music and lyrics. They’re MUNA, a three-piece electronic band hailing from, of all places, The University of Southern California. Their background and the story of their lyricism, as well as the boundaries they’ve broken from the typical “queer girl band” has certainly caught the attention of the music community as a whole.  


The band’s origins begin in 2013, when frontwoman Katie Gavin met Josette Maskin and Naomi McPherson at a party and began producing music soon after.  While Maskin and McPherson were initially playing ska and progressive rock, their preferences changed when collaborating on their music with Gavin. After experimenting with many sounds, they eventually settled on their unique and very specific type of electronic pop that they’ve become synonymous with.


In 2014, they self-released their first EP entitled simply “More Perfect.” Through the major successes of “More Perfect”, they received a record deal with both RCA Records and Columbia Records. With RCA, they released another EP entitled “Loudspeaker” and eventually a full length album, “About U.”


Apart from their very original sound and take on the slowly more classic electronic pop, what really stands out about MUNA is the fact that they’re incredibly socially conscious in their lyrics and often discuss issues facing the LGBTQ community and many other sometimes marginalized communities very frequently.


All three members, Gavin, McPherson and Maskin, all identify as queer, meaning their sexuality exists outside of those considered heterosexual or cisgender. While originally not wanting to be known as just “another queer girl band” they’ve used that moniker to give those in the LGBTQ community hope and support in their lives.


(Sidewalk Hustle)

Arguably, their most popular song, which Gavin stated during their early  Saturday afternoon ACL 2017 that they debuted at Pride a few years prior, is called “I Know a Place.” The song discusses the many issues and hate-filled actions that those who identify as LGBTQ often face and how LGBT bars, clubs and dance halls can sometimes serve as a haven or “safe space” for those facing homophobia and other forms of hatred.


While the song itself is certainly catchy and the lyricism is meaningful especially to those in the LGBT community, MUNA has changed the lyrical bridge of “I Know A Place” during live performances to fit more with current events and the political unrest in the country.


The original bridge lyrics to “I Know A Place” were a message of unity followed by the repeating of the chorus.

“I, I know a place we can go/ Where everyone gonna lay down their weapon/ Lay down their weapon/ Just give me trust and anything can happen.”


Although, since the presidential election of the former host of The Apprentice, Gavin has changed the lyrics for live performances to instead discuss their openness and acceptance to people of all genders, races and religions while stating their resistance to Trump.

“Even if our skin or our gods look different/ I believe all human life is significant/ I throw my arms open wide in resistance/ He’s not my leader even if he’s my president.”


MUNA’s socially conscious yet welcoming and upbeat lyrics are definitely worth taking note of and are definitely worth seeing live whenever possible. Currently, they’re touring with former One Direction member Harry Styles so they’ll likely be in your city soon.


Are you a MUNA fan? If so, Tweet me at @CaptainKasoff because I certainly enjoyed seeing them at ACL.