Worriers is the kind of band whose music feels like an intimate conversation with a close friend. If you listen close enough, you can feel the triumph, fight, heartbreak and joy that threads through each guitar riff, drum fill and bassline. Political sentiments presented on each record are deeply entrenched in lived personal experience.
Songs like “They / Them / Theirs” relay the feeling of exhaustion that comes with having to explain your identity to others on a constant basis; “Yes All Cops” sears with the frustration of living in a world in which the police system can cling to racist, homophobic and transphobic patterns of policing; and “Glutton for Distance” effuses a feeling of gratitude for a partner who helps you find balance even when you’re missing them.
Lauren Denitzio (who uses they/them pronouns) is the vocalist and guitarist of Worriers. Denitzio is the primary songwriter at the helm of a rotating cast of friends who jump in for tours depending on who is free. It’s a small punk collective which includes Mikey Erg, Lou Hanman and Nick Psillas, among others.
The band has a yet-to-be-named forthcoming release on SideOneDummy, with whom Worriers recently signed. The first single, “Future Me,” is a warm-sounding song that grapples with nostalgia and reflects on interpersonal relationships that have soured, i.e., wishing you could have done things differently, now that you have a clearer perspective of how things actually were.
Denitzio can’t yet spill the beans on when the album is coming out or what exactly it sounds like, but on this tour show-goers will hear new material. Based on the band’s plans, Denitzio cautions it may be the last Pittsburgh show for a while.
Plenty of things have changed since the release of Worriers’ 2015 album, Imaginary Life. That includes a change of scenery for Denitzio, who moved from Brooklyn to Philadelphia after living in New York.
“I miss New York a lot, and I wish I could still be there, but it didn’t make sense for us anymore,” says Denitzio during a phone conversation with City Paper. “Philadelphia is much more my pace.
“We have more space. I’ve gone from living most of the time with two to eight other people, so it’s nice to go to a quieter city, and have a house with just myself and Lou [their partner and bandmate]. I feel like a lot of my friends here are also in bands, or make art, or are somehow self-employed.”
Philadelphia has become Denitzio’s hub for their visual art and music writing, as Denitzio is a full-time artist. The two mediums intersect on occasion. For example, the video to announce Worriers signing to S1D is a time-lapsed video of Denitzio drawing the announcement out, and Denitzio’s art is used on all the tour promotional material for this summer tour.
Additionally, Denitzio has been working on a longer-term project documenting non-men and queer folk in their homes.
“Over the years, I’ve done various groups of artworks that are all looking at the domestic space of women and queer people, and anyone other than cis men is my focus,” says Denitzio.
As a full-time artist, it’s up to Denitzio to manage all their own projects and deadlines. By doing a conscientious job of managing their time, they also are practicing an important balancing act of self-care necessary to self-employed folks.
For some in this political and global climate, self-care has become part of the routine to manage the day-to-day stress of work and worldly environment. But that isn’t at the forefront of Denitzio’s mind, they do use time management as a method of self-care for their personal world.
“I don’t necessarily group self-care with the goings-on in the world at large, but the period of time [during which] I’ve made a much more concerted effort toward time and task management has directly coincided with Trump’s election,” says Denitzio with a laugh. “The world does look like a garbage fire if you read too much news or spend too much time on Facebook. But I’m trying to focus on the positive things, and working on the things I do have control over.”
Denitzio’s prioritizing the experience of gender-nonconforming women and queer folks, as well as people who are politically disruptive, comes through musically as well.
Rather than being particularly on the nose, the reality of a gender-nonconforming person is simply woven through the song narratives because that’s how the songwriter lives their life.
It’s sometimes difficult to parse which bands are genuinely feminist and committed to queer justice when both stands can be used as a marketing scheme these days, but Denitzio maintains it can be a point of empowerment.
“When I see bands defining themselves as a queer band, or feminist band, or in general, a political band, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that,” says Denitzio. “Using your identity as a definitive part of the band or audience can be nice. It’s healthy to be open and not worry about if people are going to be OK with it.”
Adding: “I personally just try to be really genuine in the way I speak about myself.”