Samson, who is a leader in the LGBT community, wanted to create dance music that also spoke to her politics, beliefs, and passions. Formed in 2007, MEN released their debut full-length album, Talk About Body, on IAMSOUND Records in February 2011. This February, the band released Next, the first in a series of four EPs to be released this year that further mix dance floor beats with politics and life issues. They also recently performed at Occupy Wall Street on May Day.
"It's been really interesting for me, especially with MEN, because I have this freedom to do what I want with this project, and still, all I want to do is be a protest band. And if anything, just give a reality check to people about what's going on in the world, whether that's conceptually stated or pretty literal, I think that's what's important to me. What inspires me about being a performer is the ability to create this desire to move for change, and when I look out into the crowd and we're singing 'Who Am I To Feel So Free,' people just have this realization, and you watch their faces turn to smiles because they realize that as a team they can have power. That's the best gift that I could get. But also the best gift that I can give. I've been really lucky to have been in project that work like that." - JD Samson, from an interview with The Village Voice.
Upcoming JD Samson + MEN tour dates:
05/10/2012: Los Angeles @ The Echoplex
05/11/2012: San Francisco @ Rickshaw Stop
05/12/2012: San Diego @ Bar Pink
05/17/2012: Honolulu @ Next Door
05/18/2012: Honolulu @ Soho
JD Samson + MEN are performing tonight at the Echoplex in Los Angeles and Friday at Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. The band, formerly called MEN but recently renamed for clarity (try searching just MEN and see what you come up with!), is a Brooklyn-based art/performance collective led by JD Samson (of Le Tigre) and Michael O'Neill, with Le Tigre bandmate Johanna Fateman and artist Emily Roysdon contributing as writers, consultants, and producers. When MEN performed at Amoeba Hollywood last year, they were joined by Tami Hart on bass and guitar. For this West Coast tour, they are performing as a four-piece for the first time.
Watch their full performance from Amoeba Hollywood: