Interview: Chastity Belt’s Julia Shapiro chats with NWMS

Photo Credit: Beto Barkmo

Chastity Belt, the foursome that came from Whitman College—now based here in town–is back with a self-titled album on Hardly Art, and preparations for a nice long tour.  Singer/guitarist Julia Shapiro was kind enough to take a few questions.

NWMS: You just played an in-store at Easy Street Records.  Is this one of your favorite record stores in the city?  Any others you’d like to plug?

Julia Shapiro:  It’s a good record store. I also like Everyday Music and Sonic Boom.

NWMS:  How has Seattle grown and changed, for better, worse, and/or weirder, since you’ve been here?

Julia Shapiro:  It definitely has changed for the worse. With Amazon taking over, everything has gotten way more expensive and the city is overrun by condos. I think this is happening in a lot of places though.

NWMS:  The song “Drown” took roughly six years to finish.  How did it start out, and what changes did it go through to finally get finished?

Julia Shapiro:  I had the chord progression for a really long time, and throughout that time the lyrics went through a series of changes. It took a while for everyone else in the band to write their parts, but eventually it all came together.

NWMS:  How have the band members’ singing, writing, and playing abilities grown and changed over the years?

Julia Shapiro:  We’ve gotten a lot better. Also, we’ve “matured,” because we’re “older” now. I think as we spend more time playing together, it just becomes more and more intuitive. We’re really good at listening to one another and creating space for one another.

NWMS:  Where did you cut the new album, and with whom?  Any favorite recording stories?

Julia Shapiro:  We did basic tracking and some overdubs at a studio in LA called Seahorse with Samur Khouja. We finished up overdubs at a studio called Way Out in Woodinville, outside of Seattle.

NWMS: Ms. Shapiro was getting bugged by a man from the “Real World Seattle” cast, last I checked in.  Anything come from that?  

Julia Shapiro:  Oh yeah, haha, “Theo”. No, nothing really happened. Just a really aggressive voicemail.

Click HERE to pick up a copy of Chastity Belt’s self-titled release out now on Hardly Art. 


Andrew Hamlin

Andrew Hamlin likes to photograph shoes and write about dog shit. He was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, where he resides today. He attended the Evergreen State College, where he wrote and edited arts coverage for the Cooper Point Journal. He is the film critic for the Northwest Asian Weekly, and he’s published arts coverage and criticism in the San Diego Reader, Village Voice, Seattle Times, Seattle Weekly, Goldmine, and other publications. He misses Helen Wiggin. Hamlin’s website is

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