MUNA talk touring with Harry Styles and their next album: "Harry should be our muse"

"He seems like an angel from heaven..."

Girl band Muna have quietly released what for many critics is shaping up to be one of the best albums of the year.

Released in February, About U - the LA trio's debut - is emotive indie-pop charged with political prowess, emerging as a glimmer of hope for those feeling discouraged and scared in the middle of a politically turbulent 18 months for the world. 

An example: one of the record's standouts, I Know A Place, is, in their words: "Written for queer folks, for people of colour, for immigrants, for those who have been made to feel unsafe in their own skin.” The song took on an even deeper meaning in the wake of last year's shooting at Orlando gay nightclub Pulse, which killed 49 people. 

After working the international festival circuit, the band are currently supporting Harry Styles on his world tour, which reaches the UK this weekend (Oct 29 - Nov 2).

Official Charts caught up with Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, Naomi McPherson to find out what life is like on the road with one of the world's biggest pop stars, and what we can expect from their next record. 

Hello Muna! Let’s talk about Harry Styles.

Josette: “Yes please!”

That’s pretty big as far as breaks for new-ish acts go, isn’t it?

Katie: “It’s actually amazing, and our fans have been so cute about it. They’re like, ‘we don’t want to lose you because we’re so proud of you…’ it was actually quite emotional seeing how pleased people were for us about it.”

Naomi: “I love how everyone talks about him and how nice he is. He’s like a nymph or something. He seems like an angel from heaven. He should be our muse. Does he look into your soul or something? I’m crying now and I don’t know why. I’m excited for this now!”

Josette: “We genuinely loved his album, before we knew we’d be touring with him. How ballsy is it to release a seven minute lead single? He’s a really great writer.”

It looks as though your album, About U, is going to end up at the top end of lots of year-end album lists...

Naomi: “I mean that would be crazy, wouldn’t it?”

Josette: “We would be very happy and honoured. It’s too much to think about to be honest. We’re happy about that. A lot of great records came out this year, so we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Given everything that’s happened in the world since you made the record, it came out at quite an important moment. It's one of those records people have been discovering throughout the year.

Josette: “We’re still babies in this... except I guess we aren’t now really, are we? We released our first album eight months ago.”

Katie: “I know what you mean though, I still feel like I’m telling everyone to get the f**k on our album already! We’ve been going for four years – September is our anniversary. We were finishing school when we started, so we’ve spent most of that time figuring out who we are and what we want to sound like.”

What do you make of the term “woke pop”?

Josette: “That’s just a way to label things. It seems a little bit… dumb.”

Katie: “I read something the other day about artists increasingly becoming involved in the political discourse, particularly identity politics, and how this age features humans rocketing out in all types of directions and screaming about things.

"At the end of the day, most of it is just another form of distraction. It can be disguised as having substance but the ultimate action we’re taking is to distract us from what’s happening, which is that the planet is dying. And we’re responsible for it.

"It’s really, really, f**king tricky. Every type of ‘wokeness’ can ultimately get funnelled back into the machine. We're reaching a  type of apex for that now. As much as I think I’m cool and above it and I see what’s going on... I’m actually happy about it in a way because this is the point in which everything is going to to fold in on itself and see what leads to real change and what doesn’t.

"I don’t know what the f**k I’m going to realise – I don’t really know what I’m talking about. You have to look at it when our biggest celebrities are claiming activism and then you have to look at yourself and say, ‘what am I claiming? What are my hypocrisies?’"

Who do you think is going beyond claiming activism and actually doing something good?

Katie: “In terms of people who are doing a good job in their artistry… I’m from Chicago so I really see what Chance The Rapper is doing. He was recently asked when he was going to stop putting everything he has into the fight for Chicago’s public school system and his answer was something like, ‘I don’t know exactly when I’m going to die’. He’s more about building communities rather than his brand, which is why I see him as kind of a hero.”

“Also there are people who are doing a great job at building worlds and our imagination and looking to the future. Bjork is great at that."

Josette: “Isn’t Bjork’s new album about Tinder or something? I’m sure I read that somewhere. The way she analyses what our experience of life is right now is just amazing. She goes above reality to reach something new.”

You recently released In My Way as an in-between-albums song, but we’ve also heard a really good track of yours that feels like a big step up in terms of sound. Is that for the next album?  

Josette: “We’re talking about that right now because we write so fast and we work so much that sometimes… this is one of those moments we have to turn inward and work out what the best movement is for us. It's literally all happening right now. We have to make some decisions about what the roll out is going to look like."

Katie: “[SONG] is the more recent of the two. We’ve been doing these writing retreats when we get a week or two off. The idea was to get back into the experimental mode and trying new things out. [SONG] was one of the first ‘what the f**k’ songs that came out of that.”

It’s a really good.

Katie: “We’re really f**king excited about that song.”

Please explain to us what happens on a “writing retreat”. Do you all just get drunk?

Naomi: “It’s definitely not relaxing. We suck at vacations anyway, so it's cool It’s more like a boot camp of mania and food – and trying to make it about having less food.

“The next album is in its foetal stage, so we still need to protect it from the world. We’re an actual, established band now, so we really want to treat this next album with a lot of care because we have the ability to. We want it to be very planned and be methodical with it. We need to beat About U.”

MUNA are currently on tour with Harry Styles. They play their own headline show at London's Heaven on October 31. Tickets are on sale now. 

Article image: Catie Laffoon

Related artists

Join the conversation by joining the Official Charts community and dropping comment.

Already registered?

Log in

No account?





This is fascinating because I could've sworn MUNA were very vocal about their activism and feminism and yet here they are, praising the SEXIST lyrics and character of a man who has continuously been sexist ever since his solo career launched. But I guess $$$$$$$$$$$$$ speaks, right?

I mean, as recently as yesterday he told a crowd of women to shut up and be pretty, that really sounds like a an angel, doesn't it? Let's not forget the televised shaming, the lyrics that suggest visiting prostitutes and explicitly shame, and then of course, writing a song about a ONS, putting her name in it so she can be identified and never getting her consent! Amazing man this sounds like.

Hope you got what you were after and it was worth compromising your morals, girls.