New Music Editor, Bronya Francis, caught up with our Band Of The Week, Bleached, a few weeks ago and talked about ‘90s music, couch surfing, fast food and, um, bleaching shit.
What’s one fact that no one knows about you guys?
Jen: Jessie and I used to be really obsessed with Lisa Loeb. She had that song ‘Stay’ and we would sing it, like, every day. We made up dance routines to the Spice Girls and Ace of Base.
I did so many dance routines when I was a kid; I think that’s all we did in the nineties.
Jen: We were, like, the best.
You played South By Southwest, how was that? How did the shows that you played as Bleached compare to what you did with Mika Miko?
Jen: Well we played a lot of shows at SXSW with both bands. We played 14 shows this time.
Jess: With Mika Miko we played more punk shows; with Bleached we really want to have a sound check, and Jen wants to try her vocals and the guitars so they sound good.
But you played at the same venue as the two different bands, right?
Jen: We played a lot of the same venues, but then we also played some different ones. With Bleached we played so much, it was just really crazy and I started losing my voice.
Jess: Yeah, Jen got really sick on the first day.
Jen: Before we even got to SXSW we did a tour of Texas, and we played seven shows already.
Jess: It was fun but there was a lot of running around.
When you first started playing shows as Bleached did you find you had more Mika Miko fans? Have they changed now?
Jen: I don’t know if we had more Mika Miko fans, but we definitely had a lot of people coming who were like “I’m coming to check you out because I really like Mika Miko”. But then I feel that there are people too that like Mika Miko who don’t like Bleached, you know?
There’s some crossover?
Jess: Yeah, some people are mad at us for breaking up.
I read that you formed Bleached because you started listening to different music to what you were into when you were younger. How would you say your music taste has changed over the years?
Jen: I feel that when we were younger we were just into very classic punk bands and we’d always go to shows that were like those bands if we could see them – like Dickies or Union or TSOL – and that was when we were in early high school. Then when we got older we got into other music; we’ve always loved punk. I feel like as we got older we were more into more rock n roll punk, and then also started paying attention to more ‘60s bands, and stuff like Lisa Ronstadt – bands with more well written songs.
Jess: Catchier songs where more work is put into the harmonising and singing.
So did you have to make more of an effort in Bleached? Was making punk less musically challenging?
Jen: Yeah, exactly. Also, there were five of us writing music, and everyone did their own part. I only really had to focus on vocals, and Jessie only had to focus on her bass lines. With Bleached we’re writing pretty much everything.
So it’s more like your own creation?
Jen: Yeah, and then we have to work on the singing and the harmonising parts and stuff like that.
I guess a punk band is a good place to start off, ‘cos you can do whatever you want and experiment whilst you’re young and find what you like.
Jess : Totally. Also, we’ve toured a lot already and so that’s more easy for us now. Like, we’re used to getting on the plane and having to deal with being jetlagged
Jen: I also feel that being in a punk band and touring a lot, you just kind of pay your dues at the start, and I feel like we totally did that. We’ve played shitty clubs and been sleeping on people’s living room floors for, like, years, and not making any money at all. We’ve done it all.
Have you been on Couchsurfing?
Jess: I haven’t been on it but I know people who have been on it.
Jen: There’s this other thing called – wait, what’s it called? Our parents used to do it.
Jess: Air BnB.
Jen: Yeah. People wither rent their whole house out or just like a guest. It’s really cool ‘cos it ends up being really cheap. We ended up doing it at South By and we got our own apartment so cheap.
Easy. You put out a load of 7”s last year, why did you do that? Was it anything to do with being a new band?
Jen: I think we were just into the idea of putting out them just to establish our sound, you know? I feel like, listening to the first one to the third, you can hear such a different sound. I also like how 7”s are a little package – it’s about the art, and the colour of the vinyl, and it being limited and having, like, a few really good songs – people are more inclined to listen to all of them, and with a full album I feel like you don’t pay as close attention to each song.
True. Do you collect 7”s yourselves?
Jen: I don’t really anymore but I used to; like, if I come across an old band I get so excited. It has to be an old classic if I’m gonna buy it.
Jess: Being limited is such a big thing, ‘cos I remember when we used to go to record shops and look through 7”s, and if you found something from a band that you really like it’s kinda cool to have that collectable record.
I noticed that you’ve been lumped into that whole kind of west coast scene at the moment. Do you think the context of where you grow up and what music you’re around effects what you do as a band?
Jen: Probably. I don’t think Jessie and I have ever said that we’re west coast, but people say that so I feel that they probably hear it in our music.
Jess: I mean, like, growing up there were a lot of punk bands I liked that were from LA. It was kind of cool that we could say “we’re from LA, and that’s where so and so used to play,” or “that used to be an old venue” and be part of the heritage.
Jen: I think the tones of our guitars maybe have a west coast sound, but we don’t really think about it.
Jess: The music we write stems from the bands we’re inspired by and they’re all from everywhere: a lot of English bands, east coast and west coast bands.
What’s one band you think is doing something totally different at the moment?
Jen: I’m kinda really into Grimes ‘cos I feel that she’s doing something really unique, and she just seems really young and confident in making her own music. I like that.
Jess: I think Beach House are so good.
Did you go and see a lot of live shows when you were kids?
Jess: Oh yeah. We were constantly going to shows.
Do you find the people you used to go to shows with grew out of music? I found that loads of did and there are just a few odd people left.
Jess: Yeah, that’s what I feel like.
Jen: I was saying that actually earlier. When Mika Miko first came out here, like, we didn’t know what to expect and it ended up being a crazy tour with the craziest shows. Then I came back again with another band and it was really mellow and I was like, do people just not go to shows anymore?
What’s the best live show you’ve ever seen?
Jen: I saw Stevie Nicks and cried. It was so good.
Jess: I saw Metallica. That was pretty awesome.
You’ve obviously toured loads and loads, but have there been any weird gigs that you’ve played or gigs you’ve played in bizarre places?
Jen: We played in this kid’s living room to only him.
Jess: There were people there. I remember there was a keg outside and everyone was just, like, hanging out
Jen: Yeah, he told us there was a festival called Sexfest. We drove all the way out there and he was like “uuuuuh, it got cancelled so I had to move it to my parents’ house,” so we played in his parent’s living room and he just stood there in a corner and just rocked out so hard.
It was probably a lie that there was going to be a festival.
Jen: Called Sexfest.
Seeing as you’re called Bleached, have you had any hair or fashion disasters in your life?
Jen: We both have bleached our hair a bunch of different times. But I feel like the last time I bleached my hair was like a year ago and I did it four times until I could finally get the colour I wanted.
Jess: Get the purple shampoo. It helps.
Jen: It takes the yellow out.
Jess: Yeah, and we bleached a lot of shirts and jean jackets.
I need to bleach my denim jacket, but how long do you leave the bleach in for?
Jen: With that, you could just watch it. If you put the bleach in water and you’ll see it start getting lighter.
Awesome. Good bleach tips. What are the last few songs or albums that you bought at the store or put on your iPod?
Jess: I don’t have anything that’s really new, but I’ve been obsessing over the Small Faces – they’re so good! I just put all their stuff on my iPod.
Jen: I make sure to have Aftermath by the Rolling Stones on anything I have, ‘cos I think that’s one of the best albums ever.
What have you got planned for the rest of 2012? Are you going to put out your album?
Jen: Well, I don’t know if it’s actually going to come out this year but we’re definitely recording it.
If you were told you could have your dying meal now, what would be your ultimate death row meal?
Jen: I read a book once about death row meals. They’d always be home-cooked style meals, like something your mum made when you were young. I feel like mine would be pizza.
Jess: Mine would be a cheeseburger
I saw this thing on the internet the other day and it was like massive pizza but on the crust were, like, a gazillion cheeseburgers.
Jen: Oh my God! That would be it.
Jess: We could share it.
Jen: I’d also definitely want mint chocolate chip Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.
Yeah, that’s a good one. Ben and Jerry’s always wins.
Jess: And maybe some really good tacos with some really good kind of hot sauce.Jen: Or chips and salsa? Or cheese fries.
Basically, all fast food on a plate.
Jen: Yeah, exactly.