8 Things You Should Know About November Girl
NYC-based indie rock foursome November Girl have been making a name for themselves over the past year with a string of impressive singles, and some of the wildest live shows in the city.
Consisting of vocalist Willa Rudolph, bassist Dylan Davis, drummer Phillip Brand, and guitarist Billy Flanagan (photo: L to R), their latest single, “Down Bitter,” showcases their unique sound, which incorporates everything from ‘90s alternative, to grunge, to slowcore.
A band clearly poised for a huge breakout, here are eight things you should know about November Girl.
November Girl’s story starts with an Instagram Story
In the spring of 2020, during the initial leg of quarantine, Willa and Billy began making music together, but she says, “It wasn’t until summer of the next year, summer of 2021, that we decided we wanted to make it a full band, and go for it.”
To find a bassist, and a drummer, Willa took to social media, posting an Instagram Story that she wanted to start a band. Phil, and Dylan were quick to reply, at which point, according to Billy, the formation of November Girl, “All happened pretty organically.”
The band is Willa’s maiden voyage in music
While the other members of November Girl have previously been involved in music related projects, for Willa this is her very first band. The dream of being in a band, however, had been in the back of her mind for quite some time. She says the only thing that had been holding her back was that she’d lacked the confidence to make it happen.
“When COVID hit I kinda couldn’t not face the fact that it was something I really wanted to do, and I didn’t want to let fear get in the way anymore.”
She credits Billy as having a major impact on her when it comes to taking this leap, saying, “I’d never even really recorded a song before me and Billy started working on stuff together. Hearing that even just with the two of us he could make the songs I was writing come to life in a way that is how they sounded in my head, it gave me confidence.”
Willa’s inspirations include Hole, Liz Phair, and The Breeders
As a now confident, badass frontwoman, it should come as little surprise that one of Willa’s initial inspirations was Courtney Love, and Hole.
“When I first heard Hole,” she remembers, “I think I was 13, and I just had never heard a girl sound so angry, and yell in that way. It just really did something to me.”
Willa, however, does not yell on her songs, at least not on any that have been released so far. “My voice I kind of just let be itself,” she says, “I don’t really, sonically, have vocal influences.”
Writing-wise she has a number of influences, including Liz Phair, and The Breeders. When it comes to The Breeders, she enjoys the poetic nature of their lyrics, while in the case of Phair, she says, “Her emotions are very to the point, and I admire how she’s able to say so much with such simple words. I find that’s actually the hardest thing to do for me. If I can use all the fancy words it’s easier to get my point across, but you can say a lot more, I think, with a more simple lyric, if it’s done right.”
The band’s sound is continually evolving
Describing their songs as “very full,” Willa says, “I feel like everything we’ve done so far has gotten better and better because we are new at it, and that’s exciting to witness for me. It’s the first time I’ve really done anything like this, so it’s cool to have evidence of us improving.”
She continued, adding, “I think with our songs that we have out right now, it’s kind of setting up the groundwork for November Girl, but I feel like every song we make sounds different than the last, and we don’t really sound exactly like anyone.”
The closest she’ll come to associating the band’s music with a genre is saying, “It’s grungy, but I don’t think it fits into any one box,” adding, “We touch on a lot of themes that are a bit dark, but there’s still a sweetness, and a lightness to the songs that we have made thus far.”
Nature, sex, and power are Willa’s holy trinity of themes
Speaking of the themes they touch on, Willa says, “I really just write about my own experiences, and emotions, but I do think I focus on nature, sex, and power. That’s how I can put it most simply – issues of all three of those things, and how those things relate to me being a woman, or just femininity in general.”
She continued, adding, “I try not to write every song to be too personal, because I want it to be general enough that others relate to it, and I’m not trying to make it necessarily like a diary, or anything, but it’s obviously coming from a really vulnerable, and personal place for me. It’s probably what was the scariest part of putting music out, knowing people were gonna hear these lyrics that are so personal to me.”
Having become more comfortable with these revelations, a November Girl EP is in the works, with the previously released singles “No Crying In Baseball,” and “Down Bitter” being the first two songs to make the track listing.
They aren’t afraid to get a little dirty … or A LOT dirty
In June of this year November Girl teamed up with Sofia Zarzuela to throw a show that was one part concert, one part mud wrestling event. Much like the founding of the band, everything came together thanks to a post on social media by Willa.
“We just, again, posted out into the ether – ‘Does anyone know where we could do something like this?,’” Willa remembers, “This venue/house reached out to us, The Hancock in Bed Stuy, saying that they were down, and they’d love to help us out.”
The show would turn out to be a huge success.
“We sold out, and ended up going way over-capacity, selling out and then some.”
A second concert/mud wrestling event may be in the works, but Willa says it won’t be happening in the remaining weeks of 2023. “It was a lot of fun, and everyone wants us to do another one, and I think we probably will, but not until next summer, because I don’t think I need to mud wrestle twice in one year. It was also a lot of work, and cleanup was a lot.”
When Billy, and Willa were younger they had decidedly different experiences on stage
Billy has been rocking audiences since his pre-teen years, and had a talent show triumph back in middle school.
“(For my) eighth grade talent show we covered a Metallica song, ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls.’ We won, and then we got to play at the school fair for winning, and we switched it, we played a different song, we played (Rage Against the Machine’s) ‘Bulls on Parade,’ and I did the Tom Morello guitar solo.”
Willa, on the other hand, recalls an on-stage epic fail from when she was just five years old.
“I danced my whole life, and I was in a dance routine where the dance instructor had us take our dad’s jeans, and make them into outfits that we wore with our arms in the jeans, and we cut out eyeholes, and stuff. The jeans were just so large, (and) I was so tiny, even though I was wearing them over my head they were still way too big on me, and I slipped in the middle of the stage. It was like my solo moment, and I fell on the floor, and I couldn’t get up because my arms were in the jeans. I just heard my dance teacher off-stage yelling, ‘Keep dancing! Don’t help her!’ It was so embarrassing, I cried so hard after.”
While it was a tough moment for a five year old Willa to handle, she says it was not the end of her dancing days.
“I kept going. My dad never let me quit anything, which I think is a good thing.”
They can’t wait to come to your house
When it comes to November Girl’s live performances, they have an affinity for literally rocking the house.
“We’ve definitely been prioritizing house shows,” Willa says of the band’s bookings, “because it is able to get way crazier, and way more lively, and fun, and it’s easier to fill out a space, and kinda make your own rules.”
She adds that they aren’t just booking any houses for shows, “The house shows we’ve done have been at houses that are also venues, and do it as a regular thing for them, so they also kinda know what they’re doing, and can help us.”
So to book November Girl you’ll need more than just a backyard and a dream, but get a proper sound system, and who knows, mud wrestling, and indie rock could be in your future!
For more November Girl, check out novembergirl.net.