Voices of Resistance: NØ MAN’s ‘Glitter and Spit’ Echoes the Struggles and Strength of a Displaced Heritage

6 mins read

NØ MAN is hitting hard with their still fresh album “Glitter and Spit“, dropped on March 29th via Iodine Recordings. With their third full-length, the band from Washington DC proves they’re a vital voice in hardcore. Maha Shami, the band’s lead singer, is at the top of her game, delivering some of the most intense vocals of her career on this album.

Glitter and Spit is a story of personal struggle intertwined with political activism. Lead vocalist Maha Shami’s experiences, as both an artist and a daughter of Palestinian refugees, breathe fiery life into the album. This raw, personal connection to broader socio-political issues lends the album its gripping edge.

Our interview with NØ MAN reveals the band’s ambitious scope for the album, as they don’t shy away from tough discussions about identity, displacement, and resistance. Maha Shami’s recount of the casual yet brutal reminders of conflict—like being questioned about her existence and heritage—adds a layer of authenticity that’s both rare and essential in music today.

Her narrative is felt throughout the album. This dialogue with the band exposes the core of Glitter and Spit—a fearless confrontation of reality, aiming to challenge perceptions and encourage dialogue.



Recording and mixing duties  for this beast were handled by band member Matthew Michel at Viva Studio, ensuring that their signature sound—sharp, clear, and forceful—hits just right. And the mastering was done by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, who’s known for making everything sound epic.

‘Glitter and Spit’ is a deeply personal and politically charged beast. How do you balance personal experiences with broader political themes in your writing?

To us, politics and music have always been inseparable. Part of what pulled us into music were the bands that inspired us to believe another world was possible even if you had to create that world yourself — separate from the accepted ways of doing things.

Thankfully, we lived in Washington DC where that spirit thrived when we were coming up in the ‘90s.


Maha, you’ve described ‘Glitter and Spit’ as a reflection on distorted perceptions others have about you. Could you share a particular moment that inspired this theme?

It’s less about distorted perceptions than it is about people only wanting you to show up as the person they’re comfortable with. People love the idea of a woman singing for a hardcore band, but immediately become uncomfortable when that woman, for example, calls out abusers in their scene or has a political belief that they don’t agree with.

A good recent example is early on in putting out this record, Iodine (the record label we’re working with) wanted to hire an independent PR firm to help with getting the word out. This was a first for us and honestly pretty uncomfortable and unfamiliar territory. We sent them photos of us and a bio we had helped write and we were absolutely slapped across the face when the PR firm came back and asked us to edit our bio to remove mentions of Palestine because it’s “too controversial.”

This isn’t a huge PR firm, this is a PR firm that works with lots of smaller punk bands. Thankfully, Casey and Iodine are solid people and were happy to end that relationship and find us someone new to work with who wasn’t scared to let us speak our minds.

What track would you say is the heart of the album and why?

It’s hard to pick one tune, but I want to say Can’t Kill Us All. It was one of the first songs we wrote and although written well before October 7th, the lyrics became sadly timely and real. The song structure of this one also kind of informed the rest of the music writing in a way as well. I feel like we were able to embrace songs being more dynamic and having more melodic sections mixed in.


The music video for ‘Glitter and Spit’ reminded me of that atmospheric performance of A Perfect Circle’s ‘Judith’ in their iconic music video Was there any specific inspiration or influence behind the visual style of the video? Where was the ‘Glitter and Spit’ music video filmed?

The video was filmed in a large industrial warehouse in Warrenton, Virginia. We’ve always been uncomfortable doing any type of music video.

It’s pretty hard to come up with something that feels genuine. Our hope was to make it seem as close to what we do live as possible.

Years ago, our friend Joseph Pattisall made a video for a band called Striking Distance we all loved so we reached out to him to see if he would help us. Thankfully he was up for it and made us all feel really comfortable… he’s such a pro!

Having seen some atrocities firsthand in Palestine, how do these experiences influence your lyrics and work with NØ MAN?

For one, first hand experience makes it harder for people to dismiss your words even though they still try.

It’s tough for someone to argue they don’t strip search kids, interrogate you for hours, or kill your family members when you’re saying they did it to you.

Like many artists, I pull from these experiences for my lyrics — sometimes for release and sometimes just to process them.


Can you tell us more about your backgrounds, family roots and your experience in growing up in America as the daughter of refugees?

My mom was displaced from Jaffa as a child in 1948 to Khan Yunis in Gaza briefly and then finally to Jerusalem. My dad is from a smaller village outside of Ramallah in the West Bank called Beit Ur al-Tahta.

My dad came to the United States to pursue his education and wasn’t allowed to return, which ultimately landed my family here outside of Washington DC.

We traveled home to Palestine often when I was younger, giving me some of my earliest memories of the apartheid system there.

We were only allowed to stay as long as the Israelis allowed. The last time I was there was in 2011, but I still have lots of close family there. Like many of us living in the diaspora, I’ve always felt out of place. I have vivid memories of kids in school pointing to Israel on a map and telling me Palestine doesn’t exist.

NO MAN by Veronika
NO MAN by Veronika

How would you explain the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to someone not familiar with its history and the reasons behind the ongoing war?

I would try to explain it at its most simple level. There is an occupier with power and an occupied people that has every aspect of their lives controlled… what roads you can drive on, where you can build a home, if you’re free to travel, how much water you’re allowed, how you make a living, your access to healthcare. Lots of people like to throw up their hands and say “it’s so complicated,” but that’s exactly how they perpetuate the status quo.

With the current global political climate, what’s your perspective on the most pressing issues facing the world today?

I feel like we’re seeing a turn where the global south is done with super powers dictating the rules of the game. I also think with the ease of information sharing and access to independent, on-the-ground reporting, regular people are finally getting a glimpse into what’s really going on. Hopefully all of this leads to a more equitable and free world for everyone.


At both your shows and everyday interactions with your friends, do you feel that your audiences are engaged with global and local political issues, or is there a sense of disconnect?

Thankfully we’ve surrounded ourselves with a cast of open minded and caring freaks in music and in our personal lives.

By and large, the ones closest to us are here for us as we are here for them. Unfortunately within the larger hardcore scene there are lots of bands who are still willing to work with racists/abusers/genocide supporters in order to give themselves more opportunities.

It’s hard for some people to grasp that in the scheme of things your punk band is really not that important and you have to draw the line somewhere.

With your tour kicking off soon and a handful of dates shared, are you excited to hit the stage? Also, are there plans to add more cities or countries to your tour schedule later this year?

Super excited! Right now we only have a handful of shows and a few festivals scheduled. New Friends Fest in Toronto, The Fest in Gainesville Florida and Dark Days Bright Nights in Richmond VA. Hopefully we will bookend all of those with more shows and add some dates. Really excited to play with Orchid, Pg99, and Strike Anywhere.

(This interview was conducted shortly before the band’s shows in early May. Orchid played their reunion show on May 5th, 2024, live at The Drake in Amherst, MA. You can watch the footage documenting the show below.)

Looking ahead, how do you see your musical direction evolving in the next few years?

Honestly I just hope we have the chance to keep doing what we are doing. It feels so good to have the opportunity to keep creating art with like minded friends. As far as direction, we’ll have to see where the creative winds take us.


How connected do you feel to your local music scene? Are there any bands or artists you’d recommend that embody the spirit of your community?

As a band we live in a few different places. Pat is in California, Kevin is in NYC, and Matt and me are still here in the Washington DC suburbs. We do feel very connected to our community here, old friends and new. Matt records bands for a living so there are always new bands coming through our house.

From the area, I would check out Out Sick!, Rid of Me, The Ar-kaics, Delirent Nerve, Goetia, and Triac off the top of my head.


Thanks so much for your time. Feel free to share your final thoughts and take care! Cheers from Warsaw!

Thank you for the opportunity!

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