Nihilist Cheerleader are here, they’re queer, and they’re punk as hell.
Punk rock at its very roots is riotous, loud, against the grain, and polarising. It’s queer, it’s radiant, it’s misunderstood and it’s all about breaking down the barriers. With the advent of pop punk, these ideals became more palatable for the mainstream, and focused more on the sound of the music than the tear-down-the-walls beginnings of pure punk.
Leora Hinkle, the bassist for riot punk group Nihilist Cheerleader, who identifies as a non-binary bisexual person, drives the talented group that define themselves as a queer dance punk band. They know the rules, know the expectations, and know just how to break them, and they proved this with their most recent album Riot, Right?
I came across Nihilist Cheerleader through the hashtag #queerpunk, as I’m always looking to diversify my punk playlists with some incredible LGBTQ talent. Artists who fall under this spectrum always catch my eye, as it’s been my personal mission to shine light upon the community I call home within a community I already call home.
And so, when perusing the catacombs of wildly talented bands and artists, I came across this article posted on the gram, which I thought was tremendously important. Nihilist Cheerleader happened to be not only featured in the article, but also tagged in the post, so from there I was able to really sink my teeth into the talents and triumphs of this Georgian band.
In the article, bassist Leora Hinkle says:
“I could never come out to my grandparents, or most of my family for that matter. I often get told that my identity is less valid or ‘not real’…leading Nihilist Cheerleader to avoid putting the label ‘queer’ in front of the band, which may lead people to take [our] music less seriously.”
It’s a definite issue in the world of music, but Nihilist Cheerleader are doing all they can to bring forth visibility and inclusion to the world of punk.