HomeCommunity NewsLCF’s Maskin, Muna Come Home

LCF’s Maskin, Muna Come Home

The synth-pop band Muna has toured with Harry Styles, Lorde, Kacey Musgraves, Phoebe Bridgers and Taylor Swift. They’ve played Jimmy Fallon, at SXSW, Bonnaroo and Coachella — and that’s just the start.
La Cañada Flintridge native Josette Maskin plays guitar with Naomi McPherson and singer Katie Gavin. In just 10 years, the L.A.-based trio has gone from local college band to international pop sensation, touring the world with some of today’s most popular artists. But on Oct. 11 and 12, Muna came home for a sold-out, two-night stint at the Greek Theatre.
To call Muna just a local college band would be a disservice to their success, undermining their artistic trials and rise to fame. The trio met and began making music together at USC. Guitarists McPherson and Maskin were both music majors who began collaborating after meeting Gavin. From an array of different genres in each artist’s musical background, the trio built their indie-synth-pop sound that has only grown in depth and following since being dropped by major label RCA and being signed to Phoebe Bridgers’ indie label, Saddest Factory Records.
It is Muna’s Maskin, however, who brings a sense of local pride to the Foothills communities. Maskin, whose pronouns are she/they, grew up in La Cañada Flintridge, playing music from an early age and expanding their artistic skills through La Salle College Preparatory’s award-winning visual and performing arts department programs in Pasadena. From choir to the school’s audio-visual filmmaking program, to lead roles in numerous theater productions, Maskin rounded out their artistic endeavors with collaborative roles. Fellow students even recollect Maskin’s performances at pep rallies and student events.
The former chair of the Visual and Performing Arts department at the guitarist’s alma mater spoke highly of Maskin, having spent many hours mentoring and supporting them in a range of artistic disciplines.
“I always knew she was destined for great things. She’s incredibly talented and dedicated,” said Jude Lucas. “She was her own person. She made sure that she was her own person. Yeah, she was mentored, but she already had a real clear vision of herself as an artist and a musician.”
It seems Maskin’s experience in the arts — at home, personally and recreationally — has created a solid foundation and jumping off point for a professional career. In an interview with Heather Hawke for Decorated Youth Magazine, Maskin recalls how they “knew from a very young age that music was gonna be a big part of [their] life,” that playing guitar and singing were “[always] something I knew I wanted to do.” Maskin grew up going to classic rock shows and taking guitar lessons as a teenager, “consuming all kinds of music all the time.”
While early musical influences included Bob Dylan, Incubus, Pearl Jam, Jim Morrison and Eddie Vedder, Maskin is recalled by one former peer to have covered Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” at a performance during their high school years. As of late, Muna’s collective style can be attributed to the pop artist Robyn: a synth pop beat with the kind of emotional lyrics that “make you feel seen,” as Maskin puts it.
In an interview with Leila Fadel in 2022 for NPR, Maskin described the philosophy of Muna. “There’s something so cathartic about dancing to a song and having an emotional release. I think it’s always been the goal of ours because you could either take the song for what it truly means or you can use it for the way that you need it. Maybe it is just to dance to, or maybe it is to process something that you have needed to hear someone else say.”
Perhaps, this isn’t a surprise: in 2017, as a part of Vice Media’s “Call Your Mom” series, Maskin called their father Jonathan, whose openness and love echoed — and likely ignited — Maskin’s own strong character and belief in the power of music. “When I think about the fact that I have a daughter that’s part of a band who is trying to be part of social change, of social justice, and I look at Muna, I believe all human life is significant. Even though our gods and our skins are different, it’s true. You’re not just standing up for LGBT, you’re standing up for Blacks, you’re standing up for Latinos, you’re standing up for people to embrace differences. We all need a place to dance.”
And dance they did. Muna’s shows are often imbued with energy: each overflows with new and seasoned fans bouncing and swaying to top hits like “Solid,” “I Know a Place,” and the band’s latest summer-smash hit, “Silk Chiffon,” sung with Boygenius during their encore. Their audience, already teeming with adolescents and youthful spirits also boasts a diverse crowd of members of the LGBTQ+ community, people of color and their allies. In this spirit, Muna welcomed the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles to accompany their song “Kind of Girl,” a heartfelt number about identity fluidity and personal acceptance. Though the song is specifically written as a gender-specific ballad, Gavin, McPherson and Maskin have all said they are queer, with McPherson and Maskin identifying as nonbinary. The band’s music has created a space for social diversity and acceptance, while championing individuality with the encouragement to embrace oneself wholeheartedly.
Muna’s two-night stint at the Greek was a long time coming, the band said, telling the crowd that headlining the venue had been a dream since its formation a decade ago. Now that the trio has made that dream come true, the only question left is, as mentioned in their song, “Home by Now” is, “Why is it so hot in L.A. in late October?”

Josette Maskin grew up playing music in La Cañada Flintridge and Pasadena going to concerts with her family and performing in her schools performing arts programs

First published in the November 9 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.


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