March 25, 2013 by Jenny Kiffer
We had a pint with Bleached right before their gig at the Victoria in Dalston, and had a chat about music, bands, life in L.A and much more that luckily for me hasn’t been recorded or transcribed in this interview.
Not only are they talented and part of a great band, but those two girls surprised us with their welcoming manners, their loveliness and the fact they liked pizza or had tiny fingers just like anyone of us. In short, if I lived in Silver Lake, I would totes make friends with them.
Their album entitled Ride your Heart will be out April 1st and they will be playing Corsica Studios on the 22nd of May.
So you just got here from France, was it for promo or are you going to play in France in the end? I’m French, so it’s kind of interesting to see how it’s going for you out there
Jennifer: Oh you’re French? We noticed an accent but weren’t sure from where. We went there for promo, we are playing there in May though. We are probably gonna play with Foxygen. Everyone keeps talking about them it’s so crazy. We first heard about them a week ago and now everyone is bringing them up and loves them.
Jess:I don’t remember the name of the venue, but yeah that’s the plan. It sounded like “llll” or the ‘rrrrlllllll” yeah something like that. (laughing)
With Mika Miko you were playing punk mostly, but now with Bleached your sound is quite different, popier, is this the sound you were going for ?
Jennifer: With Mika Miko we were so young, we had taught ourselves how to play our own instruments and we all liked Punk a lot back then. Our favourite bands were like the Germs and Black Flag and once we all kinda started getting older we just got into different music and we realised we could write popier songs. With Mika Miko I wasn’t playing guitar so I didn’t realise I could play guitar and sing at the same time and because we realised Mika Miko was coming to an end because everyone wanted to do other things too, me and Jessie were like “Maybe we should just start playing together” so I just started playing guitar and singing and realised “I could totally do this”, so we started evolving and writing more complicated stuff, not just like street punk.
Jessica: We just wanted to start something new; I mean I love Mika Miko, I can’t say what I like better. I like this now, because it’s in the moment, but Mika Miko and being in a Punk band was so fun.
So you never felt pressured about changing styles? Do you feel people expected Bleached to sound the same?
Jennifer: Actually maybe in the beggining. I feel people would compare us a lot. Sometimes I do feel that way live wise, I feel people are expecting to come to the show and it to be really crazy like a Mika Miko show.
Jessica:Sometimes there will be people there that will go crazy and it will remind me of some of our Mika Miko shows.
Jennifer: Yeah I feel like now however the crowd reacts is more where the energy comes from because we are just so busy playing instruments whereas with Mika Miko I could just jump around because all I was doing was singing you know. So it’s hard doing that now beause I have to focus on singing and playing guitar and stuff.
Jessica: And I definitely think our energy comes from the crowd and vice versa because when they go crazy I’m like “This is awesome I can go crazy” because when the crowd is just standing there it’s really hard telling what’s going on, sometimes you might think it didn’t go well and people will actually tell you they loved it.
Is it much different playing in Europe than it is in the US crowd wise ?
Jennifer: It’s so unpredictable. I remember our last London show, we played Birthdays and that was so crazy but then a week before that we played Shacklewell Arms and that was more just chilled. So it was like a week appart so I never really know what to expect.
Jessica: Our last show was at the El Rey in L.A and that was crazy, and Jennifer crowdsurfed while playing and singing – it was pretty awesome.
Jennifer: Yeah it was with Ty Segall.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Jessica: Yeah, Velvet Underground, Germs, The Kinks, X..
How would you describe the song writing process?
Jennifer: I’ll start by writing a guitar part and singing to it.
Jessica: I will write the bass part and add the lead guitar, harmonising and then once we’re in the studio adding little extra things.
I heard that you changed drummers more than fifteen times, so have you got one now or are you still changing?
Jennifer. (laughing) We did keep changing our drummers a lot because in the beggining we didn’t even know if we were gonna be a live band, we had just friends drumming for us, just to record and then eventually when we started playing live we had more friends playing with us and either they wouldn’t be able to do it because they were busy, or we thought they were better drummers and when we played with them they weren’t that good, so finally we were on tour with one of our drummers and we were like “this is so bad, it’s embarrassing” and I think it was just because he was really nervous because he was really good during practice, it was his first show and he was messing up so much and we were like nooo.
So our drummer now, John, has been drumming with us live for more than a year now. But when we record, we record with a different drummer because in the beggining before John was our live drummer the guy we were recording with totally got our style, he is a really good drummer, he was playing with Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Jess: He didn’t start with them but he played with them for like ten years. He never made a big deal about it.
Jennifer: We used him for the second and third 7″ so by the time it took to do the record we just felt so strong about his drumming that we just thought we want to do this with him. And also it is kinda scary because we have rotated drummers so much, it seems safer this way and it kinda keeps it more just us.
Do the other members help you at all or is it mostly you making the music?
Jennifer: Yeah it’s mostly us making the music and then we have Rob the producer who has a lot of ideas about sounds and stuff and Dan the drummer will basically drum what he thinks and we could mostly just be like “hey this part just do something more like this” – he is like totally open to suggestions.
Jessica: And then we also have the funniest stories with bass players. (laughing) But right now we have someone playing with us and tonight will be her third show with us, it’s working out.
Jennifer: (laughing) It’s not like we’re these crazy girls hard to deal with.
You were just talking about 7″ and you’ve released quite a few before this album is there any reason behind this choice?
Jennifer: We were still trying to find what our sound was like. The first is super garagey sounding and the second popier. We didn’t want to rush it by recording a full length and also I just think 7″ are so cool; you get to pick the art, it’s just really fun. I collect 7″ a lot.
You appeared at the Choé Sevigny Fashion show in NY, how did it go ?
Jennifer: It was so fun. We played in the same church Patty Smith played.
Jessica: And we were playing next to Kim Gordon. There were five bands and each played a song. And Kim Gordon was playing with us and there was like all these models on stage while we were playing.
And Vogue featured your single, people in fashion seem to be interested in you!
Jennifer : I know! We keep getting fashion questions too. I am really into fashion. I went into school for fashion in between Mika Miko and Bleached, I like the fact you can create your own identity, there is so many bands that perform, that creating an image takes you to the next level. My favourite artists are Blondie or Velvet Underground and they had such a cool look and I feel this is important, the image part of it, but not in a superficial kinda way, a form of art.
So what would you guys do if you weren’t in a band?
Jennifer: I would go into school of fashion and have a clothing line.
Jessica: I would stick with music for sure because I’ve been always into music and movies so that’s probably the direction I would take. Maybe when we’re a little bit older and not touring as much then I’ll be scoring a film!
What advice would you give to girls who would want to form a band?
Jennifer:Just pick up an instrument, learn to cover your favourite bands. We taught ourselves how to play.
Jessica: If you teach yourself how to play you create your own style.
Jennifer: Find a hot boy to teach you how to play guitar, bass or drums. My roomate just bought herself a bass and it’s been sitting in the living room for six months, I’m trying to convince her to get this guy that she likes to teach her how to play it.
Jessica: I remember when I got my first bass, I got it, played it and didn’t pick it up for another four months because I thought it was too hard and then thought I just have to do this.
Jennifer: Also what helps more is if you have friends who are learning instruments at the same time or are learning how to play a little bit because it helped us having each other, we would just go to our garage and play music.
How long did it take you to sound good?
Jennifer: I wish we had recordings from when we first started playing because it sounded so bad because we were trying to cover the Slits and we thought it sounded the same but it just went “diiiinndiiinndiiinnndiiiinndiinnn”.
But then I have really tiny fingers so do you really think it would work?
Jessica: Well I have tiny fingers too, get a short scale!
Jennifer: Maybe you would be better playing guitar than bass because bass you would have to kinda be able to stretch.
Jessica: When I started playing bass my hands were kinda small and my dad would be like “yeah you have small hands”, so I started using my pinky a lot.
Did your parents play as well?
Jennifer:Our dad played guitar, well every instrument.
Jessica: He had a bunch of guitars round the house.
Jennifer: That’s kinda why I started playing guitar because they were just there and I saw Jessie playing the bass so I thought I should do the guitar. Also we would always go to family gatherings and my mom would sing and our dad would play covers.
You guys live in L.A, is there some sort of L.A scene, do you play with other bands a lot?
Jessica: There are a lot of L.A scenes, because Foxygen are from L.A and I had never heard of them. And then you have bands like Pangea or FIDLAR…
Jennifer: Yeah those are like our friends, they are really good.
Do you feel like an L.A band? Do you have this sort of L.A pride?
Jessica: At first I didn’t really think about it until recently. There’s a big part of it, growing up in L.A, being a lot into a lot of L.A punk bands, being influenced by it.
Jennifer: I think I never realised it, it’s something we are, but that we don’t make a big deal about.
Jessica: I feel like it’s annoying when it’s shoved in people’s faces. There are so many interesting places to live in.
Jennifer: Yeah I wanna live in New York again one day. I was in a band in New York when I lived there for a year and it’s so different. From your practice space to getting around places than in L.A. It is weird, almost more difficult in a way.
Jessica: I can imagine if there’s like a blizzard or something.
Jennifer: Exactly and you can’t wal,k so have to take a train there carrying your instruments, ordering a car service to go to the Airport. When in L.A you have friends driving you there cause in NY no one has cars.
I heard that when you were little, you performed Spice Girls dance routines?
Jennifer: There is actually a video but I haven’t seen it for a really long time. It’s one of Jessie prentending to be Emma because she was obsessed with Emma and she’s walking down the stairs wearing the big platform sneakers and falls.
Can you do it on stage for us tonight ?
Jennifer: Do you remember the dance?
Jessica: I remember the walking and then the…
Jennifer: Oh my God I need to find the video!
Jessica: Yeah that would be awesome. I was wearing a small little dress that she would wear, with small straps, I may have had pigtails and the shoes.
Jennifer: Which is funny because at the Chloé Sevigny show she was wearing some platform shoes.
Jessica: It’s funny because I’m thinking about this L.A question you asked earlier and there’s this other scene there I thought about.
Jennifer: Yeah, I feel like where we hang out is the best place, but maybe they think the same way too.
Where do you guys hang out ?
Jennifer: Silver Lake, Echo Park. I live in kinda Hollywood Hills area but if we go to shows we go to the Echo.
Jessica: We never go to the Hollywood clubs, unless a band I haven’t seen for a really long time are having some kind of reunion there.
Jennifer: I feel like I go to a lot of downtown warehouse shows.
Jessica: Yeah those are fun.
Have you guys been to Burger Records?
Jennifer: I actually haven’t gone there, I actually feel bad about it – I should go. But a lot of those Santa Anna shows, like the ones at the Observatory are INSANE, that was like when we played Burgerama, it’s like 600 kids, I don’t know where they come from, but it’s like the craziest shows. Everyone going there knows it’s gonna be crazy.
At what time are you playing tonight ?
Jennifer: At 10:10 we should get ready, maybe we could get changed somewhere here!