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Culture Shock

CULTURE SHOCK 2021: Manic Pixie

Manic Pixie is the newest girl band the Bloomington-music scene needed. Comprised of Maggie Zielinski, Grace Kryder-Reid, Frances Heintzelman, and Sophie Vukmirovich, the girls live and work together, making music from the comfort of their home. Their energy is contagious and the underlying themes of friendship and female autonomy are ever-present in every performance. Having started the band at the beginning of lockdown, Manic Pixie has yet to play big shows, but they're looking forward to playing more in Bloomington as vaccinations become more popularized. You can check out their Instagram @manicpixieband for more updates, live streams, and sneak peeks as they continue to make and release music.

You guys are a relatively new Bloomington band, how did you get started?

We got started by going to shows together all last year. Sophie and I (Maggie) have been going to concerts since we became best friends in middle school, and that has been our favorite thing to do together. We were all sitting outside one night wishing there were more girl bands that were playing in town, and that's when we decided we will just start one ourselves!

What is the story behind your name?

Manic Pixie is a play off of a “manic pixie dream girl” which is a common trope of female characters having little depth and only existing for a male protagonist’s character arc. We wanted to reclaim the term to show that we are more than just side characters in a man’s story. The name is also a bit ironic because as performers, we create a sort of exaggerated, manic pixie dream girl-esque persona with our songs and performance style.

How is it living together and playing together?

We’re like sisters at this point so at any given moment we’re either bickering or communicating telepathically.

As you’ve started finding your sound, how have you found your songwriting process, and what is that like?

For the songs we have written so far, they typically start as someone having a basic idea whether it be musically or lyrically, and we share that with the band and work together to form ideas and finish the song from there. I love writing with the girls because I have always loved writing songs since I was a little girl, but my struggle has always been finishing them! (btw this is maggie talking idk if I need to say my name haah) So it's been really great being able to have an idea in my head and then recording a voice memo of me singing the first verse or chorus that I thought of, and sending it to the girls with the idea I have in mind for the song, and all of us coming together to make it our own.

What are your influences?

Women! Alvvays, Hinds, Big Joanie, Joni Mitchell, HAIM, Lady Gaga, Fiona Apple, Mazzy Star, The Cardigans, Chastity Belt, Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers, Faye Webster and so many other amazing musicians help shape our sound and the musicians we are!

How have you navigated covid and what are you most looking forward to, as campus starts to open up?

Three of us live together, so it’s a lot easier to practice and perform together in quarantine. We’ve done a few livestreams and socially distanced outdoor gigs, but we’re most excited for house shows because they’re what made us want to form a band in the first place.

Style icons?

Tiktok lol :/

Best release of this year?

So hard to choose. Obviously, folklore/evermore by Taylor Swift, Fetch the Bolt Cutters by Fiona Apple, Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers, The New Abnormal by The Strokes, Women in Music Pt. III by HAIM, Crumb’s new singles… also Snail Mail LP2 whenever it gets released.

The full interview is available now on YouTube.


Manic Pixie will be performing at the 2021 Culture Shock Music Festival on Saturday, April 17th at 3:20 pm EST. Their performance, along with all others for this year's festival, will be streamed live on the Culture Shock Website. The festival will begin streaming at 1:30 pm EST. WIUX will also be set up in Dunn Meadow from 1 - 6 pm selling shirts, sweatshirts, and other merch.


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