Earth Girl is a music label that helps promote the tight-knit scene of Hattiesburg’s underground.
Between a firm belief in the do-it-yourself ethic and an underworld of musicians and friends, Earth Girl has been the epicenter of current and past Hattiesburg acts such as Judy and the Jerks, Pleather, Fumes, Disco Lemonade, MSPAINT, Big Bleach, Baghead, Eye Jammy, and more. Through their twenty-three tape releases, Earth Girl’s history shows a timeline of Hattiesburg through the words and sounds of a group of friends connected through a love of punk.
Hampton Martin, the runner of Earth Girl, started the label after being inspired by the punk bands of old, starting and releasing music through their own labels, such as Minor Threat with Dischord Records in the 80s. Hampton sums up the label perfectly when he says, “I can’t trust anyone to do it as well as I know I can.”
Despite occasional efforts to release music for bands who are not from Hattiesburg, the label has always come back to strictly helping Hattiesburg artists.
“There’s been times I’ve tried to reach out to bands out of town, but for one reason or another it just doesn’t work out. I think it’s a message,” says Martin.
Record labels have a message or continuity about the music they release, and Earth Girl is no different. Although the actual music between the bands is unique and driven in their own sound, the reason why they are at Earth Girl stands the same: to keep the scene in Hattiesburg alive and thriving. The scene in Hattiesburg has progressed over the years, with bands from the area being able to tour across regions of the country. Hampton Martin looks back to a 2015 music festival in Oklahoma City called “Everything is Not OK,” which made bands realize that Hattiesburg was in fact a punk town.
Martin talked about the experience saying, “There were just a lot of bands we liked that were playing the festival, and having never been, we decided to drive there and go. Through talking to some of the bands there, they found out about our bands and Hattiesburg.”
Through these interactions, bonds and friendships were made. Suddenly, playing a show in Oklahoma City wasn’t an impossibility because now there’s someone’s living room you could crash in after just playing a set in the same space.
Since then, Hattiesburg has been a stop for several touring bands in the connected national and even international scene. Friends from Olympia, Seattle, Austin, Richmond, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Indiana and New York City have visited Hattiesburg to play in someone’s living room. Bands from other countries have visited too, including Germany, Japan, Australia, Brazil and Spain. With each gig a touring band plays in Hattiesburg, the credibility the city has as a punk town grows.
According to Hampton, the perception of Hattiesburg’s scene has been described as, “Aww… what a nice group of people! They’re just so cool!” Hampton jokes that there needs to be fake drama created so that Hattiesburg can be viewed even remotely as “hard” or “tough.”
But after all, that kind and driven attitude to music is what Earth Girl represents: a network of friends who want to create art their way.To support Earth Girl, visit their Bandcamp page at earthgirltapes.bandcamp.com and buy a tape or two! If you would like to listen to a compilation of Hattiesburg bands, I would recommend checking out ‘Dog City USA’. I would also recommend Earth Girl’s latest release, Bad Anxiety’s ‘Demonstration’, which contains four songs written and performed by Hampton. Earth Girl also has a Discogs page you can check out at www.discogs.com/label/1182682-Earth-Girl