Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, Natalie Comer — formerly known as Lydia Hearst from the experimental noise rock duo MORE GIRL — is making her solo debut under the moniker Cherry Pit. In true DIY fashion, Cherry Pit’s debut EP What a Pity was recorded in Comer’s bedroom. Partially inspired by their love of horror-based media — specifically The Haunting of Hill House and the ’60s French horror film Les yeux sans visage (Eyes Without a Face) — this six-track catalog of rough-hewn punk and goth rock psalms touches on queer identity, trauma, and the persisting violence of late-stage capitalism.
LGBTQIA+ individuals have always gravitated to horror and revenge tales, frequently identifying with the monsters who represent the “others” cast out by society. On What a Pity, Cherry Pit subverts this narrative by highlighting how the most mundane cultural norms can actually be the greatest horror of all. On “Styrofoam Rosegarden,” they sing about nuclear families dropping bombs and feeling an unbearable wave of sorrow for today’s newborn babies, blissfully unaware of how unremarkable their lives will inevitably turn out as they get older (“All the babies in their cradles/No awareness life is so dull”).
A Grrrl’s Two Sound Cents spoke with Cherry Pit about composing these songs, their plans for the future, her favorite horror movies, and the enduring legacy of My Chemical Romance.
How would you describe your music to a stranger?
I would say it’s like music that comes straight from the body. It’s like the music that would be in my veins and is just… me [putting myself] out there as I am.
When was the first time you saw your personal experience reflected in another artist?
It was probably My Chemical Romance! I was a massive fan all through middle school and I was discovering my love of horror and playing with gender expression at the same time and it all felt so immediate. It was very freeing.
What attracted you to the goth rock space when you started creating your own work?
I really got into gothic rock the first summer of the pandemic! I was like a full blown trad goth directly after my riot grrrl phase that came right before. I get really into different genres of music and investigate them really thoroughly and take traits from my favorite bands. I really love Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Cure, and The Shroud. I love the atmosphere and performance and the appreciation for bass that we so desperately need. Goth women’s vocals are incredible.
Which of these songs is the most personal to you and why?
I think “Unfortunately, Yours” has the least performance to it. It has the least metaphor and storytelling behind it and is just a very honest piece on how I see my life right now.
How does horror inform your music and what makes horror a central touchpoint of how you express yourself?
This is funny you ask because I’m watching Interview With The Vampire with my girlfriend right now! I think horror resonates with me really strongly because I have this inexplicable fascination with the macabre and I think horror is very linked to the gay experience. Some of the movies are extremely campy like The Bride Of Frankenstein and some are really heavily coded like Ginger Snaps. I actually just wrote an essay about that!
If you could time travel and witness the gestation and birth of any record throughout history, what record would that be?
I think Disintegration by The Cure would be incredible. That album was super formative for me and it’s one of those albums I feel like I could never match, not in a negative way, I am just so in awe of that. [Also] Mirel Wagner’s work, Romantic by Mannequin Pussy, and some of Yves Tumor’s work.
For you personally, why is it important to tell stories of personal and political strife through art?
I am deeply interested in politics and filled with a lot of righteous anger over the state of things. It ties into the way music is therapy for me. I think we can’t give into this wave of doomerism, and music won’t necessarily start a revolution but it’ll give people the words for what they feel and it gives me the words for what I feel. When I sing my songs it’s like reflecting back what I feel and venting it all a little bit. I think if I can make people feel better or at least heard, and share some political messages about anticapitalism and anti-colonialism that are really important to me, then I’ve done what I need.
What else have you got coming up for listeners to look forward to?
I just finished recording an EP of four covers today! That one won’t be on spotify because of the distrokid costs but it’ll be on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. I’m covering some of my favorite punk and folk songs. (I’ve been very into 90s and 2010s folk lately.) Past that, I have about 10 original songs written that I’d love to record, but I’m waiting for when I find band members because I think my songs would benefit a lot from live drums. (BTW, any teen drummers in the Richmond, VA area, HMU.)
KEEP UP TO DATE WITH CHERRY PIT