Published on September 10th, 2015 | by Lili Nimlo0
Lozen, A killer band, made more powerful by the strength of the friendship behind it, ventures in new directions with the recent move of drummer and vocalist, Justine Valdez.
Fans of the beloved Tacoma band may be distraught at the news that Justine left Tacoma for LA this summer. But while this is certainly a bittersweet moment for the band and fans, Justine is emphatic that this is not the end of Lozen, but merely a new chapter.
“I think there’s a big misconception. A lot of people thought we were breaking up because we announced that we were having our last show for a while. But we’re calling it our chrysalis,” she explains, “It’s more of a ‘see you later’ than ‘goodbye.’”
The move isn’t because of unhappiness here; Justine says that she will miss a lot about Tacoma. “I’m just at a place in my life when I feel like it’s time to venture off.” The music of Lozen, too, may be at a point of metamorphosis. Justine explains that she has become increasingly interested in creating digitally produced music. She wants to incorporate other genres that she loves like electronic and hip-hop into her work with Lozen and hopes to reach wider spectrum of fans. ’I want Lozen to be able to play to many different audiences like we used to.”
In the midst of all this change, though, Justine believes that the essence of Lozen will always be there: “I feel like it will still have our same feeling to it, because of the way we are.”
Over the last 10 years, Lozen has become indispensable to the Tacoma music scene. Part of what makes the band so successful is the friendship behind it. The two members, drummer Justine Valdez and guitarist/ vocalist Hozoji Matheson-Margullis, met their freshman year at a howdy dance–Stadium High School’s welcoming dance, Justine explains–and have been friends ever since. “I knew who she was at school and I kind of thought she was a badass.”
Music was always part of their friendship. “She listened to a lot of underground music that I didn’t know about, and then I listened to a lot of classic rock, which a lot of my friends weren’t into and so of course we bonded over music,” Justine recalls, “we would just listen to records together and get high and then she would play me some weird stuff.She had a bunch of 7 inches; I thought she was tuned into the underground scene and I was so excited. I think our friendship has definitely become stronger through sharing music together. I just think it’s become so intertwined.”
More than any one place in Tacoma, Justine says that she will miss her best friends. “I’m gonna miss Hozi the most out of everyone, and Elliot [Lipp].”
Lozen has a special place in the hearts of female fans. Being a two-woman band is not the most distinctive aspect of Lozen–their ferocity, serious skills, and sludgy style all eclipse that fact–but their presence as women in the genre is rare.
Justine says that being girls in the music scene was definitely a struggle growing up.“Back in the day you used to get a lot of backhanded comments like ‘oh, you’re a good drummer, for a girl,’ or ‘yeah you two rock, for girls.’”
She has seen things begin to shift though, noting ‘now it just feels like I can go in somewhere and typically people don’t trip out like that. It’s seems a little more acceptable, whatever that means.”
Rock music is about fighting the system and upending the status quo, and Lozen continues to embody that spirit. The very name of the band, which recalls a revered Apache warrior woman, reflects their unyielding attitude. For this reason the name has always been special to Justine who says “it gives me strength.”
The Tacoma community will seriously miss our regular Lozen shows as well as Justine’s presence, but this new chapter promises more great music and perhaps an even richer and more nuanced sound.
Photos by Kali Raisl