Welcome to #TBT Mixtape, Billboard‘s series that showcases artists’ very own throwback-themed playlists exclusive to Billboard‘s Spotify account. The curated set features the artists’ favorite tracks from their youth and childhood.
This week’s spin comes from Nasty Cherry. The punk-pop super group — comprised of Chloe Chaidez, Georgia Somary, Deborah Knox-Hewson and Gabbriette Bechtel — is having quite the 2019. The “brainchild” of singer Charli XCX, the newcomers — who channel the energy of past female-led powerhouse acts from The Runaways to Hole — inked a recording contract with the pop star’s Vroom Vroom Recording imprint (distributed via Atlantic Records) earlier this year. Called “romantic and bitchy at the same time,” the group’s presser further cheekily describes them as “if Robert Smith was created by Andy Warhol in the Factory,” or “The Strokes, if they all had vaginas.”
The rising talents are a true supergroup: lead singer Gabriette (who goes by Gabz) modeled on the recent cover of Galore (with an interview conducted by XCX) and sat front-row at YSL for Paris Fashion Week; as a former set designer for films including Star Wars and Avengers, bassist Georgia also “flies planes” and “loads 18th century muskets” in her free time; drummer Debbie tours as Charli’s live percussionist and has featured on the singer’s Beats 1 program; while guitarist Chloe “gate crashes” red carpets and “jumps off of speakers” as the raucous front woman of experimental pop outfit KITTEN.
XCX has teased the project’s existence slowly over the past year on Instagram. In one post, the singer wrote, “i like finding new music. this is Gabbriette. She’s the lead singer of @nastycherryband. Wanna collab??????’ The message even received a flirty comment from bisexual pop star Halsey (“Three way! Collab — or I mean — whatever!”) which only added further fuel to the hype machine.
As the band’s commander-in-creative, Charli lent her songwriting expertise as co-writer of their hook-heavy debut single “WIN,” released in March and produced by Justin Raisen (Sky Ferreira, Angel Olsen, Kim Gordon). She also co-directed the song’s glamorous video alongside director Kirsten Jan Wong.
The group followed up their debut track with the slightly more meditative cut “What Do You Like In Me?” released last week (May 28), and produced by French trio Planet 1999. Singer Gabz directed the glittering visual for the shoe-gaze-inspired cut alongside Indiana Piorek. “What do you like in me?” she coos over hazy electronics. “I want to see what you see.”
The fast-rising band crafted this week’s #TBT Mixtape to doubly serve as the kick-off to Pride Month. “I’ve always felt comfortable with my sexuality and am lucky enough to have people around me — like my bandmates — who would champion me regardless of how I identify,” LGBTQ-identifying drummer Knox-Hewson tells Billboard. “This is a privilege that many in the LGBTQ community don’t share. Pride should continue to be a demand for this to change, just as much as it is a celebration of how far we’ve come.”
Below, the girls each pulled five tracks that speak to Nasty Cherry’s own sonic vision and inspiration.
“My Dad & I would listen to these songs on the way to my gymnastics training, which was 90 minutes away,” Chloe says of her picks, which include Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes” and Avril Lavigne’s seminal “Sk8er Boi.” “We’d sing ‘em at the top of our lungs, which are some of my fondest memories.”
Gabz opted to aim for cuts that inspired the band during the songwriting phase. “These are some songs I listened to repeatedly during the first weeks I was writing with the girls,” she says of tracks like No Doubt’s “Running,” The Doors’ “The Ghost Song” and Dana Dentata’s “MAGIC PU$$Y.” “We were all getting to know each other’s taste in music to create a mash-up of everything we loved.”
Georgia went with five of her preferred G.O.A.T. tracks, from Roxy Music (“2HB”), Jenny Lewis’ side-project Nice as Fuck (“Higher”) and Black Sabbath’s “Fairies Wear Boots.” “I could replay these five till the end of time,” she says. “Lyrically they’ve inspired my songwriting a lot — maybe not ‘Fairies Wear Boots,’ that one’s more a sonic mood. [Laughs]”
Lastly, Debbie rounded out the set by picking her go-to party anthems — a staple in the XCX universe — to ring in June as Pride Month. The tunes remind her of “partying with my favourite people, plus one that reminds me of getting kicked out of a karaoke bar,” she cracks of tracks like The Knife’s “Pass This On,” Cocteau Twins’ “Heaven or Las Vegas” and XCX’s own “London Queen.”
Give the eclectic set a spin and catch the band at their next show at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right on June 18. Also, check out some snaps of the band from the incubation stage.