When Lauren Kashan joined American hardcore punk band Sharptooth in 2014 it was with two stipulations: that the band play heavier music and that she would write. Kashan tells Revolver Magazine as lead singer and lyricist, she found catharsis in their hardcore performances and a platform for the band's sociopolitical messages. Sexual violence, misogyny and addiction are actively addressed on new album Clever Girl, as well as homophobia, systemic racism, government corruption and climate change. "I have to give a shit, because if I don't, my fucking rights are gonna get taken away," Kashan continues. "All of our rights are gonna get taken away, if we don't pay the fuck attention. A lot of times when I hear people say, 'Keep the politics out of music,' what I hear is, 'Keep marginalized voices out of music.' Sociopolitical hardcore, she says, is about "taking all those extremely angry feelings, that are justified, and saying, 'We need to mobilize. We need to become a united front.'"
Kashan has spent much of her life pushing boundaries and breaking out of boxes — in other words, doing something about shit, not just getting angry about it. She's spoken candidly about her past issues with drugs, being raped and her involvement in an abusive Florida treatment center that's been cited multiple times for malpractice by the Florida Board of Medicine. She was admitted there at 19 and soon realized it was "legitimately a cult" that cut off its patients from friends and family.
Kashan tells Revolver she feels empathy and nuance are both "sorely lacking in a lot of our public discourse" these days. She's pissed off by what she calls "emotional laziness," when people don't want to worry about other people's problems. Sharptooth's songs aim to imbue hardcore with a furious compassion that Kashan feels is largely missing from the landscape. "If my band does anything, I would like to create spaces for conversations. Validation for people who have suffered. And opportunities for us to start talking about what comes next, and what's best for people. To feel like they can be able to heal."