Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace has been very open about her transition from man to woman—even detailing her body changes and intimacy worries to Cosmopolitan—but until now, we've had less insight into how the transition affected the band's recent album. January's Transgender Dysphoria Blues was the band's first with Grace at the helm, but the punk frontwoman reveals most of the highly-personal record was written before she came out.
"Probably 70 percent of the record was written before I had come out, and the other 30 percent afterwards," Grace told TheQuietus.com. "Initially, I was afraid of what I was talking about. And I tried in some ways to project into another character and disassociate myself from it, even though the lyrics were based on my life experience.
"Originally, I was projecting this idea of, 'Oh, it'll be a concept record about a transsexual prostitute,' or something like that. But again, that was a thinly-veiled attempt to defer the reality that this was me, dealing with my feelings."
Grace added that the transition has allowed her to be 100 percent truthful in her creative process.
"It's been liberating, totally liberating," she said. "There were definitely songs in the past where I was dealing with these same emotions, but I didn't feel that I could be truthful about what I was talking about. I'd often have to veil that in metaphor."
And despite the uncertainty and personal struggles, she ultimately concluded that writing the LP has been therapeutic.
"Songwriting has always been about trying to take a negative experience and turn it into something different, liberating, empowering for me," she said. "Singing your worst fears and feelings to a catchy melody... it's a pretty good feeling."