Every so often, a band appear and you cannot stop listening to them. This is what happened to us and L.A group Girlpool. Made up of Harmony and Cleo they make honest and frank punk music and team that with an infectiously fun live show. They are everything you could possibly want from a group. They’re briefly over in the U.K and their debut E.P is out today in the U.K and tomorrow in the U.S. Before their show at Scottish feminist collective TYCI’s second birthday, we caught up with them and had a chat about ‘coolness’ in alternative music, being labelled and what we should all be listening to right now.
Hey Girlpool! This is your first time playing in the U.K, how are the shows going so far?
Cleo: We’ve played one show in Brighton last night. It was super fun.
Harmony: It was really fun, it was the first time we’ve ever gotten an encore, it was really weird.
C: It was so funny we played almost all of our songs, we don’t have a ton of songs.
H: Yeah it was really cool. It was really trippy, it’s our first show here and we didn’t know what to expect and it was so cool, it was awesome.
How and why did you two decide to start Girlpool?
C: Harmony and I were going to shows at this space called The Smell in Los Angeles really often. We played in two different bands and overlapped and played similar shows. I left my band and we started playing together. We decided to start something where we could wrote songs that are very honest rather than just creating for others to lo like. We wanted to start a project that had a specific intention of being honest.
H: I think we just wanted a lot of sincerity.
Your lyrical honesty and frankness is something that’s really refreshing, especially in guitar music where this is often shied away from. Why do you think this is?
H: I think there’s a lot of culture around being cool and that can be a part of it.
C: I feel like people always say it’s a strange time for music because of what’s happening right now. Like what’s the wave, what’s the scene?. Everyone’s in this niche and finding their own groove to ride. I feel like for very popular bands right now, cool is something that’s important.
H: Yeah, it’s difficult how much music culture interacts with image culture as an artist. Because of that image bypasses what the music is and it becomes a much bigger monster than it is.
C: Especially in Los Angeles.
H: It can be really disappointing and distressing and uncomfortable. I think image has the most to do with it.
I’ve never been aware of my gender until I started a band
You’re often described as a ‘feminist band’, do you take any grievance with being put in one category at all?
C: Yeah. Being labeled as one specific thing, regardless, can be frustrating. Both of us have struggled with that. There’s a few songs on the E.P that talk about gender and stuff, so we are doing other things and moving onwards. It’s frustrating to be labelled as one thing when your entire being is a million different things.
H: it’s also lke when you’re creating you don’t have an agenda or are propagandising, you’re just doing your thing honestly. When people take what you do honestly and make an expectation of you, that’s unfair to the rest of your honest being.
This year people are becomming more and more vocal about gross sexism in alternative music. Have you ever experienced this in the way that people treat you at gigs or how journalists write about you (e.g The Guardian’s description of you as ‘shrieking’).
C: We haven’t experienced that a whole lot, just a few times. I always say I wasn’t made aware of my gender until I started a band. It’s only happened in some articles, like The Guardian one and being called a girl band is always aggravating.
H: Sound people do it the most.
C: It’s not something that makes us want to write songs about it more. It’s just like, ok stop it go away.
Do you think that there’s any way we can change this culture around women in music, as artists, writers and fans?
H: Yeah, just forget that it’s women in music, it’s human beings in music. Whatever you identify as, it shouldn’t affect what your creation is seen as and I think that that goes for all types of art.
C: It’s frustrating to be called a girl playing music, or girl punk.
H: We’re just people doing our stuff.
So your E.P is out right now in the U.K and it is excellent but what’s next?
C: YES!! We’re ready for it, bring it on! We’re coming out with an album in spring, we’ve been writing and writing and writing and are super exciting to share it with everyone. There will definitely be more uk and eurpean tours!
Finally, we’d like to know who you think that we should be listening to from L.A or the States?
Simultaneously: Radiator Hospital
Listen to the full interview and track ‘Blah Blah Blah’ below.