“Pins & Panzers,” the debut album by Brooklyn-based post-punk, indie pop trio Plushgun, has struck a chord with queer fans. And the LGBT community’s continued fight for equality has certainly struck a chord with the synth-driven band’s founder and lead-singer, Daniel Ingala.
In fact, count him as one of the growing number to answer the impassioned call to action by music icon and fervent gay rights activist Cyndi Lauper, who declared in a recent statement, “Never forget the late, great San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk who was known for saying, ‘I’m here to recruit you!’ And I’m shouting out now for all my fellow straight allies to stand beside our LGBT friends and family and start being counted.”
Because Plushgun has been so very publicly queer-friendly, we were excited to have a short rap session with Ingala. The conversation confirmed that he’s just as cool as we all thought he was.
You’re a political creature and address social issues in your music. With lyrics that reference “pushing back hate” and “boys kissing boys,” gay fans have identified with your song “Dancing In A Minefield.” Did you set out to address gay rights in the song or it is just a happy coincidence?
It was directly meant to address gay rights, and the rights of all kids who are told their uniqueness is morally corrupt. As we have seen in the last election, progress is possible, yet thousands came out to endorse the hate-filled Prop 8 in California. This was driven by social conservatives and funded by religious institutions.
“Dancing in a Minefield” is about reacting against these institutions directly through living life, free from subjective “morality.” I do not place judgments on someone’s religion, but I do not think that intolerance from anybody can be justified.
Your current video, “Just Impolite,” stars a trio of young actors — Juno Temple (“Atonement,” “Notes on a Scandal,” “Year One”), Brittany Snow (“Hairspray,” “Prom Night”) and Shiloh Fernandez (“Cadillac Records,” “The United States of Tara”) — who play out a woman-scorned scenario with a queer plot twist. The clip features a beautifully lit and, frankly, hot kiss between stars Temple and Snow. When you wrote the song, was the object of the woman’s ire meant to be another woman?
Not exactly. It was about my own personal struggle with lost love. However, it’s important to realize that these emotions are felt all across the gender continuum.
You count Daniela Sea and her girlfriend Bitch as fans and just played Chicago’s queer-inclusive Decibelle Music & Culture Festival (formerly known as Estrojam). Do you have a large lesbian following?
As many as a nerdy breeder boy can attract I suppose! I tend not to ask fans their sexual preference, but I am sure the inclusive and unitary meaning behind the music brings a lot of people together.
You’re 25. With the last election, it was nice to see so many 20-somethings enthusiastically embracing not only electoral politics, but social politics on a variety of fronts, vocally confronting ignorance, hatred and separation. That wasn’t always the case. What was the catalyst that brought about this new age of enlightenment?
It is hard for me to step into the shoes of the less politically active, I have been politically active — to a fault — since early adolescence. But I would presume the death of apathy amongst my peers was a reaction to the Bush administration. Action leads to reaction, and actions based on such ignorance can bring about the best in those who wish to rise above it.
Okay, last question. What are your top political causes?
Equal protection for all under the law. This applies to queer rights, women’s rights, and even the separation of church and state. There is still work to do, and there are still many who wish to limit the rights of those with alternative lifestyles, be they gay or atheist.
Plushgun’s “Pins & Panzers” (Tommy Boy) is out now. On July 19, the band embarks on a two month, 40-plus city U.S. tour that includes two North Carolina stops: July 26 at Milestone Club, Charlotte, 8 p.m., 18 and up; and July 27 at The Brewery, Raleigh, 6 p.m., all ages.
— Andy Reynolds contributed.