There’s a Tavern at the end of the World (by end of the world, I mean Malden, Mass.) and I met Pushflowers there for a beer. The crew blossomed from the ashes of pop band Off & On and are already on a roll. Over sheppard’s pie and fries, we chatted about where the name came from, what the future holds, and the importance of diversity in the music industry.
Lil Wayne once said, “And I’d rather be pushing flowers / Than to be in the pen sharing showers.” Bassist Ryan Alfonso credits a lyric from “A Milli” for helping the band narrow down a name. But not before drummer Josh London tells the tale of how they tried to pull it out of a hat first.
“We all wrote down five nouns, five verbs, and five adjectives on pieces of paper and then pulled them out of a hat and rearranged them to make different words until we found something we liked,” says London. Pushflowers had only two songs written when indie duo Slingshot Dakota invited them to play March 4 at Great Scott, so the band had a few months to pull together a set and a name. Fortunately, they all had played together for almost three years in the aforementioned Off & On.
“We just didn’t want to stop,” says singer/keyboardist Rocio Del Mar, “we were on a roll. It all just halted…[but] towards the end I started writing stuff.” Del Mar handles synths and shares vocals with Justine DeFeo, who also plays guitar. The pair do most of the talking and seem to communicate telepathically–they barely have to finish a sentence before the other knows exactly what they mean. Del Mar and DeFeo agree that Pushflowers was better musically suited for the direction they wanted to follow once Off & On dissolved. After a seamless transition, the four were already writing and brainstorming.
“I feel like we’re all just obsessed with music,” says Del Mar earnestly. “I want to tour but I’m just happy we’re doing it the way we’re doing it. When you work as a team, it just works better.”
DeFeo can’t contain her excitement when it comes to playing with femme bands. “The artists now have a huge part in writing their own songs –FUCK!” DeFeo stops. “I haven’t mentioned Rihanna this whole interview. Beyonce is queen but Rihanna is my queen.”
DeFeo and Del Mar share an insatiable love of female bands (or any band with a strong female presence, really). “Our first show was all –I hate this word– ‘female-fronted,’” says DeFeo. “Our next show is going to be like that too. If you don’t listen to bands with any females in them…” She shakes her head, as if to shame anyone who doesn’t have a femme fatale on their Spotify playlist. Del Mar recognizes that representation matters quite a bit.
“It’s important for all different types of young kids growing up to see themselves as the artists that are being respected,” says Del Mar in an email. “I don’t want them to grow up like we did.” When the only female musicians you see in the public eye need a sculpted body, an impeccable falsetto, or that perfect girlish charm, it’s difficult growing up holding yourself to those standards.
“Obviously there were always those female musicians that were killing it,” says Del Mar, “but it felt so few and far between…But in the past few years, this has been changing and it’s been so inspiring.” Del Mar notes that more women, men, and people from the LGBT community are being seen as artists first now, a trend she hopes continues.
“Next show is our last show,” Alfonso jokes.
“There’s really no plan,” says London, while Del Mar pointedly stares at him.
“There’s a loose plan,” DeFeo chimes in. “We’ve been scoping out studios to practice in. We want to record 10 songs by summer.” Pushflowers has about seven songs right now, so a full album will come easy.
The four-piece band is a breath of fresh air in a concrete jungle. Del Mar describes the band as a greenhouse filled with earthy, floral, robust plant life superimposed with the flashing neon letters of “Pushflowers.” To see this magical greenhouse with your own eyes, I highly suggest you catch them at Great Scott on April 5 with Weakened Friends and Fucko.