Interview: Mating Ritual Supports Planned Parenthood ‘No Matter What’
los angeles

To celebrate the release of debut album How You Gonna Stop It?Mating Ritual’s Ryan Lawhon opted to curate a benefit concert in lieu of a typical release show. The result is No Matter What, a day long party this Saturday, June 24th at The Hi Hat in Los Angeles, in support of Planned Parenthood Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley

Along with Mating Ritual, the benefit show features performances by Beginners, DYAN, La Bouquet, Oddnesse, Inspired and the Sleep, The Openers, and DJ sets from Sir Sly, DJ L0L0 (From Pr0files) and Bad WavePurchase tickets here.

Culture Collide chatted with Mating Ritual’s Ryan Lawhon about what sparked the idea for the benefit show, as well as members of Beginners, La Bouquet, and Inspired and the Sleep about their involvement with No Matter What and what happens when music meets politics.

Mating Ritual:
What sparked the idea of turning your release show into a benefit show?
When mulling over the idea with my brother, our conversation derailed (as they often do) into a mutual rant about the sheer volume of heartbreaking policies that our commander-in-chief has dropped on us almost every day since he took office. At that moment, it seemed ridiculous for us to be pushing something about ourselves when an organization that helps women daily was Drumpf’s budget cut du jour. We wanted to use our very small amount of influence to try and inspire others to do help in any way they can.


Why is it just as important for men to support women’s causes and how can men get more involved in showing their support?
As humans, we need to recognize the benefits that supporting each other will bring as a collective. It’s fucked that our government is threatening to disband an organization that supports and fosters human rights. Any man who thinks that doesn’t affect him is delusional. People need to support people. There is so much that men can do but I believe the most important step goes back to that recognition. Men need to acknowledge these discrepancies; from there it’s a matter of taking that first step and speaking up.

What inspired the major themes behind your debut release, How You Gonna Stop It?
HYGSI? Is about transition, or lack thereof as it may seem. Everyone handles life changes differently, and my go to move has been to blow up everything and start from scratch. While writing the last song for the record, I realized I was writing about the same exact thing I was three years prior – it was this idea of breaking the cycle and seeing something through for once. I don’t know if I’ve learned that lesson yet, but even if I never do, I’ll know that I’ll be alright.

Samantha Barbera / photo Robin Eagan

How did you get involved with the benefit show / what made you want to participate?
Samantha Barbera of BEGINNERSMating Ritual reached out to us about the show and as women artists who have relied on Planned Parenthood many times, it was a no-brainer.

Bryan Sammis of La BouquetI met Ryan from Mating Ritual in a past life when we were both in different bands on tour with Passion Pit. We got along and kept in touch over the years and were waiting to do something cool together. He approached me about this idea and I loved it because I/we really support Planned Parenthood and appreciate all of their services. Anything we can do to help, count us in.

Max Greenhalgh of Inspired & The SleepI’ve been a long time friend of the Lawhon brothers. We’re all from San Diego and my band has played several shows with some of the previous incarnations of Mating Ritual. I actually ran into the boys at The Hi Hat (I live right up the street!) a few months ago and they asked if I’d be interested in playing the show. I was super game of course.

La Bouquet / photo Jesse Deflorio

What’s the energy like for a show like this versus a regular show?
SBGalvanizing around a cause as important as Planned Parenthood definitely changes the spirit of a show. As artists, we get to step outside of our daily routines in order to contribute to something larger and more meaningful. I also think it’s an invaluable way of uniting a local scene in a massive city.

BS: I think it’s inspiring and warm to see all these bands and musicians and artists come together for a common cause, a cause we can all get behind and one that is near and dear to our hearts.

MG: I think the fact that it’s for such a meaningful and passionate cause leaves a great foundation for some very positive vibes the entire night. It makes the whole rock show thing quite a bit more meaningful.

Inspired and the Sleep / photo Christopher Laughter

Has the current political climate been influencing the music you’re listening to or making?
SB:The current political climate has affected every part of our lives, including the music we’re making. The threat on LGTBQ, Immigration and women’s rights has been a major wake up call to those of us who have had the luxury of being relatively politically disengaged until now. The current struggle and fear is always top of mind now, which translates into the lyrics and general spirit of our music.

BS: I think it has influenced a bit of what I listen to (diving back into my old 90’s punk records), but I don’t think it’s influenced what we’re making. I think I write about feelings, maybe more of the broad strokes of emotions, or what I’m feeling at the moment.

MGI think there has been an intense backlash towards everything going on with the Trump administration that it’s resulting in a lot of very passionate music. Rob Crow (of legendary San Diego band, Pinback), started a new project called Anal Trump that consists of all these 30 seconds or less grindcore songs. That stuck out to me for sure. One thing is for sure, if there’s anything positive that presidential election has taught me it’s that our country is in such a crazy state right now that absolutely anything is possible. If that guy could become our president then anything could happen.

photo by: courtesy of the artist; Marina Williams