They went their separate ways for a short time following the disbanding of Mika Miko in early 2010 but in Bleached sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin show they are a strong creative duo. The group has matured from the noisey experimentation of their first musical outfit to writing well crafted and heartfelt pop songs as Bleached.
I caught up with Jessica prior to the band’s gig with Veronica Falls in Glasgow to talk music influences, how their approach to recording has changed since their days in Mika Miko and their latest album, Ride your Heart.
Why do you think yourself and Jennifer work so well together?
I think it works really well between Jen and I because for one we have been playing for so long together and Jen was the first person I even started playing music with and I was the first person she started playing music with so that just works and we get each other. Being sisters, situations like this where she couldn’t be here for the interview I’m like I’ve got it, I’ve got your back sis. We understand each other.
Who were the bands that inspired you to pick up an instrument?
We grew up on punk music. We were living in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles which is a suburb and really isolated. We were either taking the bus to shows like TSOL, Adolescents, Sub-humans; these underground punk bands. We were also listening to a lot of Black Flag, Gun Club, Siouxsie, Blondie and punk and 80’s nu-wave. It kind of hit us one day, since we are so isolated why aren’t we making music? Our Mum and Dad were also musicians. Our mum was a singer and our dad a guitar player so they had instruments around house we could pick up and play.
When listening to Ride you Heart I hear a definite punk influence alongside 60’s girl groups like The Shangri-Las. Do you think that’s accurate?
It definitely is as The Shangri-Las are one of the bands we do listen to. And I feel that now we’re more mature, not that I want to say punk was immature but we are moving on, hearing other music and bands it’s opened up our music selection. So for example I listen to Merle Haggard now and want to add that into what we’re doing.
The music you listen to when you’re fourteen or fifteen does stay with you but then the music you listen to also expands as you get older…
It totally does. Jen and I like a lot of the same music genres but then a band Jen will be listening to will influence me and a band I’ll listening to will influence Jen. It’s good to be open-minded about music as sometimes when you’re really young you can be really closed minded and being into punk you feel it can only be punk, which is really close-minded. To me punk should be open-minded.
People can definitely be music snobs but it’s OK to listen to Fugazi one day and Britney Spears the next…
That’s totally what we would put on in the van sometimes! It’s nice to still stay involved in what’s happening in pop culture and see what’s going on. And I like all the gossip too.
It really comes across that you enjoy being in a band whereas some bands like Savages just look really annoyed that they’re actually in a band?
I’m more where I get the buzz off being in a band but there are definitely times on tour when I’ll get annoyed but that’s life. But you learn from that and if I’m annoyed about something then I’ll know to change it the next time. In the end it’s always once you show up to the venue to play a show and it’s such a high and a thrill and you’re like this is why I do this.
I read a quote from Jennifer where she said that Mika Miko worked best as a live band but with Bleached the focus is more on the recording?
We really take advantage now of studio time which I felt we didn’t really do with Mika Miko. With Bleached we go in with the attitude that we’ve got all this recording space, all the tracks we want to do- let’s take advantage of it.
It makes it more of a recorded thing because then when you play live you can’t sometimes incorporate all of it. But we do try and do what we can which is why I have 6 pedals now which is more fun as I’ve never used these many pedals before and I feel really professional now (laughing….)
It is true that two of your sister’s; one is a Nasa Scientist and one is a professor, is that true?
Yeah, it is totally true! We have two sisters that we all have the same Dad but different Moms but Jen and I have the same Mom and Dad. Our two older sisters got really into college and science, which is really cool. I remember when I was a kid they were always in college and I was like when do they ever end college! But it’s cool as now one is a Science writer and one teaches at a really good university in Columbus, Ohio. So they’re like the Science sisters while Jen and I are the music ones. And it makes sense, as our Dad is a musician and super into science. The music he makes deals with math and sound called algorithmic Jazz so it’s really interesting how it worked out that way.
You grew up around the scene of the The Smell Music Venue in LA. So many other great bands alongside Bleached have come out of that scene like No Age and Abe Vigoda. What do you think makes it so special?
Around the time we all met I was under age and so was my sister and we were all just under age kids being wild. The Smell felt like a second home. The owner Jim Smith we’d go out and help out if we weren’t playing that night or we would play every night for a week. It was a really supportive venue for bands to start and now the smell has become this place that everyone can’t wait to play and it’s hard to play there but that’s kind of cool as Jim now has this awesome venue and it’s still all ages which is cool.
It’s another great month for gigs in Glasgow. Casual Sex play their first gig on home soil following their phenomenally well received US and Canada dates including performances at this year’s CMJ Music Marathon and supporting Franz Ferdinand. I’m disappointed to be missing the band’s Bastard BeatEP launch in Nice N Sleazy on 22nd November as I’m already heading to see Television in Dublin. I’m looking forward to picking up a copy of the EP when it comes out on 11th November.
Making a Dublin weekend of it means I’ll also be missing Shellac who play SWG3 on Saturday, 23rd November. Having seen the band live a couple of times previously this is definitely my gig recommendation of the month. Although it will cause a diary quandary for Shellac fans who also like METZ who are playing the same night. In an ideal world METZ would be supporting Shellac.
No Age – C’Mon Stimmung
Limited – You Must be Dreaming
The Microphones – The Glow Pt.2
Adam Stafford – The Sound of Fear Evaporating
Andrew Cedermark – Canis Major
Bite. – Rub it In
The Chills – Pink Frost
Dent May – Born Too Late
Smog – Hit the Ground Running
Avi Buffalo – Remember Last Time
His Clancyness is the alias of Jonathan Clancy. Having previously played with various punk and indie bands such as A Classic Education, Clancy went solo in 2009. A collection of his bedroom recordings were released as the Almost Mist cassette in 2009, then later re-released on LP in 2012 as Always Misted:Revisited with the addition of seven new tracks.
I came across Clancy as a result of his connection with A Classic Education and picked up Almost Mist: Revisited. I love the album’s mix of finely crafted guitars and psychedelic drumbeats. The tracks on Always Mist combine the urgent, as heard on Summer Majestic with more melodic tracks like Mistify the Ocean.
The first proper His Clancyness album is titled Vicious and will be released by FatCat on 7th October 2013. Pre-order the album now and receive a free download of the recent Charade EP. All pre-orders come with a free download of the Charade EP, and the vinyl edition also comes with an exclusive fanzine / poster insert.
Listen below to Zenith Diamond, the first track to be previewed from Vicious.
The first Left of the Dial DJ set took place yesterday in Dukes Bar, Glasgow. Dukes is a a great bar with nice staff, good beer and a trusting nature in allowing me, Noel, Alastair and Michael to play songs for the evening. We will be back in Dukes at some point but in the mean time check out the setlist below.
The Cure – A Forest
Olivia Tremor Control – The Opera House
Wedding Present – Corduroy
REM – Exhuming McCarthy
Archers of Loaf – Harnessed In Slums
Guided By Voices – Glad Girls
Throwing Muses – Counting Backwards
Cocteau Twins – Cherry Coloured Funk
My Bloody Valentine – I Only Said
Beat Happening – Sleepy Head
Elliott Smith-Son of Sam
Red House Painters -I Am A Rock
The Slits – Heard It Through The Grapevine
The Wipers – Doom Town
Rapeman – Hated Chinee
Big’n – Mite
ESG – Moody
Red Lorry Yellow Lorry – Monkeys On Juice
Romeo Void – Never Say Never
Beat Happening – Angel Gone
Folk Implosion – Natural One
Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea