Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Interview with Girls
My oh so trusty dictaphone has finally bitten the dust... and taken with it an interview with the band Girls that I'd only gotten around to writing up half of. Ahhh technology! So I thought I'd post up the half of the interview that was rescued, just incase anyone wants to see it. To be totally honest, you won't be missing out on much; they weren't really the chattiest of guys & even if the recording had survived, it was pretty much just two guys munching radishes and mumbling short answers. Fun!
Girls are from San Francisco, and released their debut album last year, full of dreamy, sun-drenched love songs. For a while before they released anything I'd been listening to their song 'Lust For Life' pretty much every day; it might actually be one of my favourite pop songs from recent years (find it here), but the album was a little less bright. The band doesn't contain any females (despite their publicity shots showing them surrounded by women - it gets confusing as to who's who) - and consists of JR & Christopher Owens (& it looks as though some more members have joined since the interview).
This is also the half with the particularly standard, textbook questions.. I'm sure there was talk of Comet Gain & some anecdotes about their tour, but it's pretty hazy now. Anyway, here goes (this took place late October '09)...
Why did you (two guys) choose to call yourself Girls?
JR: For no real reason, we just thought it sounded nice. We just liked it right away. We kinda had an idea of how we could go with the aesthetic for that kind of name. That was the first idea we had; we just said it and it sounded cool.. there wasn't much thought to it.
What influenced you when you were younger?
C: Just other people that I saw playing music made me want to play music.
People you knew, or bands..?
C: Ariel Pink was a band that made me want to start making music again, when I was like 25/26.
Can you remember the first record you bought?
C: The first record I bought was Melancholy & The Infinite Sadness by the Smashing Pumpkins.
JR: I can't even remember. Not sure. I think I've said different things in interviews but I can't remember to be honest.
Was there a specific album that got through to you when you were younger?
JR: Got through to me? That was a Black Flag single, with 3 or 4 songs on it. With Jealous Again, White Minority.. I always forget the other songs, 'cause Jealous Again was the one I really liked. That was like my introduction to punk music, and the record that I really thought was strange and exciting.
Was it just the sound that you were interested in, or also the politics and everything that comes with it?
JR: No, I mean... I probably didn't... because of the song called 'White Minority', I didn't know if they were a racist band when I was younger. I was kinda torn about it when I first heard it, because I didn't know anything about it... and the cover. I think that's why I bought it. There's a cheerleader who's going to kill her boyfriend; she has a gun to her boyfriend's head. It's bright yellow. I still have it... I remember becoming really uncomfortable with it because of that song, but within a few weeks of asking people, and asking my older sister I found out. I think that was the first piece of vinyl I bought. My first single was probably Teddy Pendergrass or something; I was really into 80s R&B, not like Motown, just really pop stuff.
When it came to naming your album 'Album', was that similar to naming yourselves Girls; just something you came up with?
JR: Yeah, it made sense afterwards. We had a couple weeks where we were trying to figure out what to call it, and we both had ideas but I think neither of us liked them. It got really melodramatic; I felt like I was coming up with an emo album or something. A little too serious. I think Chris just had a mock-up of the album artwork and had put 'Album' where the title was going to go...
Christopher: ...and then we were just like, let's call it what it is. The Girls' album.
JR: We rationalised it. There are also pictures of our friends inside who are girls, and it just seemed like a photo album.
How do you feel about being lumped in with all of this “lo-fi” music?
JR: I don't like it, and I don't think Chris likes it either. The idea of lo-fi music is weird, 'cause I like Ariel Pink, but I think he's doing the same thing we did which was making do with what we had...
(ends at 6.17 mins in. I'm such a professional.)