Beginners is an Los Angeles-based pop outfit with roots in punk and hardcore.

Launched in 2014 by frontwoman/bassist Samantha Barbera (formerly of Holy Fever and Malbec), the band’s lineup includes her former Holy Fever bandmate, guitarist Neeraj Kane (also of The Hope Conspiracy and Suicide File), drummer Jason Walker and keyboardist Honor Nezzo. Following a self-titled EP, which generated a buzz from the likes of Perez Hilton and Rolling Stone, and myriad TV/film licenses (including New Girl) the band is set to self-release its second EP, Pleaser on September 16.

Though Beginners’ music combines shimmery, 80s-influenced pop, electronic beats, and indie rock, Barbera says the members’ punk pasts remain at the heart of the project and come out most when they get on stage. “When we formed Beginners, one of our goals was to bring that element of raw aggression to our live show,” Barbera says. “We definitely play like a punk band on stage, even though we’re singing pop songs. It’s just in our DNA” she said.”

For Barbera, it’s also in her bass gear, which is the same set up she used in Holy Fever. “I have a ‘69 Fender Mustang Bass that I run through a Fender Rumble head and a Ampeg 4×10 cab stacked on a Ampeg 1×15 cab. The bass tone (mostly due to that bass guitar) is super punchy and aggressive. It sounds incredible with more garage driven songs and I kinda like the cutting and unexpected tone it brings to the Beginners live show.” In addition to bass, these days she also plays guitar in the band. “For simplicity’s sake I just have it plugged into an A/B switch to my bass rig. I usually play a Tele with a Holy Grail and overdrive pedal. It sounds pretty dope even though the bass amp,” she says.

“I Fucking Hate You” is the latest single Beginner’s has released from Pleaser. Built around a simple, steady guitar line, clap-along beats, and a hook-driven chorus, the song is the most straightforward rock track to be revealed from the EP yet, though the musical influences behind it are anything but. “It’s funny because we all definitely love guitar-driven rock, but [the song] was actually inspired by Kanye West’s Yeezus record,” Barbera says. “The sparse instrumentation and aggressive tones on that record stop you in your tracks and they also allow for lyrics to really cut through and grab you.”

With lyrics detailing a revenge plot with a slinking, flirtatious twist, “grab you,” could almost be taken in a literal sense, though Beginners are definitely more playful than nefarious. “Even though it’s really fun fantasizing about the demise of someone who burned you, I think the best revenge is probably just channeling all of that energy into achieving amazing things and forgetting they even exist,” Barbera says.

Listen to “I Fucking Hate You” now and purchase Pleaser when it comes out on September 16.