You can carry a quarter in your pocket but it’s not always going to buy what you want. After being involved with a Cali punk band that burst into flames after maturity reared its head, Jennifer and Jessica Clavin took a chance with a new name and a new direction. The result is BLEACHED, a toxic mix of classic rock that isn’t afraid to mingle with the genres, let alone flirt and make out with them. The change was sudden but almost every indie darling and mom addicted to Jefferson Airplane and Fleetwood have nudged the sisters (plus drummer Jon Safley) to rip it on stage, making them a lock for festivals and an upcoming tour with Smith Westerns. Over the phone, we spoke to Jennifer about 7-inch discs, the group’s connection to punk and if this brand new momentum actually feels like momentum.
2011 was a pretty decent year for Bleached and you’re starting 2012 off strong with a number of dates including South By Southwest; is it your first time going to the festival?
We used to go to South By Southwest with our old band a lot. One year we played like maybe 18 shows, it was crazy! We haven’t gone as Bleached yet though.
Do you have different expectations this year?
We’re probably just going to end up playing more shows than we want to play but it’s also kind of like a challenge to see how many shows you can play in a day. I feel like if we’re not playing I’m just going to be standing around drinking somewhere, like in the heat.
Do you find there is much of a difference between touring and performing with the new band?
It’s weird to compare for me because with Mika Miko we started when the Internet wasn’t such a big thing and for awhile it was like we were just playing to be in a band. With Bleached I actually want to make a living off of being in a band and I just never thought about it like that when I was in Mika Miko before. We don’t have that crazy live show now but I think the songs are better and I enjoy singing and playing guitar, and I just feel really proud about these songs. It’s just a different feeling performing; Mika Miko was more for the live show but with Bleached, it’s still about the show but more about how well we’re playing.
With so many music genres out there, what made you depart from your stand-by punk and gravitate toward the sound you’re trying out now?
We grew up liking punk music for so long that when we decided to start this band we had been listening to a lot of other music, so we wanted to push ourselves more and actually try to write a song. But not just like some bad punk song. You know, it’s funny because I feel like the one we put out – calld “Electric Chair” – is like the most punk song we’ve ever written and that’s the one that Pitchfork put as a “Best New Track”. So now I’m like “Okay, maybe I should just stick with writing punk music!”.
Where would you say you get your other influences from?
At first we were trying to go for more of a 60s’ sound. I was really obsessed with a lot of Motown bands from that era like Mary Wells and Martha Reeves, but then I’m also really into the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. It’s funny because a lot of the bands that I like seem like they were also obsessed with the Rolling Stones; I know Fleetwood Mac and a lot of punk bands were trying to sound like the Stones so it all goes back to that. I also recently got Sirius XMU and I keep playing the 90s’ station and I didn’t realize how many 90s’ songs I know and that I’m obsessed with.
You created lots of buzz with the 7”s you released last year; are there any plans to continue with that format?
This year we definitely want to put out an LP. With the 7″s, we did three and we were kind of contemplating doing a fourth one, but I think we decided we wanted to write some songs for an LP that will hopefully be out by the fall.
With your touring schedule, has it been hard to find time to write new material?
It’s hard to write when you’re on the road because you’re just constantly surrounded by people. I like to go visit my parents, because they live in the desert, and I like to just go into the guest room and write music all day. That’s like the only way I can usually write songs. Hopefully after this tour we can take a little break to write a bit more.
Because touring is all music, all the time, you obviously need to have other interests. I heard that you’re both into Astrology, is this true?
We’re super obsessed with that. It’s funny because my sister is a Leo and I’m a Capricorn and now our new drummer, who we’re super excited about, is a Scorpio. We’re also really obsessed with Metallica and all their signs because when they had Cliff Burton, they had all the same signs as us except an Aquarius. So now we’re always like all we need is an Aquarius to make it really Metallica!
Have you ever been to a psychic?
No, I haven’t! I’m scared of going to one because I feel like whatever they tell me I’ll believe and live my life by it!
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