The Clavin sisters chat to Clash...

The Clavin sisters aka Bleached made quite an impression on the UK during their stint touring our little island.

The Cali girls’ distinctive dazzling indie surf pop earned them a name check in the NME as well as a shedload of fans. I got to catch up with Jennifer and Jessie just after their UK/European tour ended and as they were getting ready to set off and play a slew of shows in the States, to talk about tour and post tour trauma, favourite records, drinking, and most importantly – when’s the album coming out...

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So, you’ve finished your UK/European tour, right? How do you feel?
Jennifer - Yes! I feel good now that I got to sleep. It was a really a really fun tour!

How much of it do you remember? Are / were you frazzled?
Jennifer - I still keep thinking about it because it was so fun and memorable. We met so many rad people, played so many amazing shows, and got to see incredibly beautiful parts of Europe.

Do you feel that the UK public have taken a shine to you? It seems to me that you accumulated a lot of fans during your tour.
Jennifer - Yeah I really didn't know what to expect for our UK shows. But it was so amazing and so many people came out. I think that's so awesome and I hope we get to play the UK a lot.

Is this the longest / busiest tour you’ve ever done?
Jennifer - No, the longest was in America where we did 6 weeks, came home for 5 days and were gone again for 3 more weeks. My boyfriend broke up with me during that time cuz I was gone so much. But it was the busiest I think.

What was your favourite gig on the tour?
Primavera in Barcelona! I didn't know what to expect and I was nervous. I was like does anyone know who we are? And we walked out on stage and it was packed and all these kids were dancing. We played really well too and the sound was good. Plus we were on the beach!

Tell me the most rock n roll story you have about the tour?
Staying up to 7am at David Lynch's club in Paris and then getting back to the hotel and hour before we had to leave for the next city.

What was the worst show?
For me one of our worst shows ended up being one that people said was the best they have ever seen of us. I think that's always the case with worst shows. But it was, our guitars were so out of tune and we were borrowing amps so it sounded like total shit. But even if a show is bad I try and tell myself it was good because I'll make myself crazy.

I saw you with PAWS, and that was a fabulous show. You also did a show with Mazes, correct? And in the States you did some shows with The Black Belles, The Black Lips. These are all terrific bands, but who would be your ultimate touring band sidekicks?
Yeah those were all amazing bands to play with. I love playing with different bands so I don't really have a dream band. Also when you open for a huge band everyone is there to see them and then you usually just get weird stares from the audience.

At your show at Birthdays you were talking about tequila. Did you get through a lot of tequila on tour? It has rejuvenating qualities, doesn’t it?
Yeah when I'm tired and I wanna drink, tequila is the best! And if you're really tired mix it with red bull and it's like a double upper. One night I drank too many of those and threw up black.

Press like to say that your sound is derived from where you live. Do you agree?
I think that's true to a certain degree. Like our surroundings for sure inspire us but I also think the bands we grew up being obsessed with inspire us too. Like bands from East Coast, Europe, UK, and still many California bands.

Of course, there are other influences on your sound and your style. What are they?
What I'm going through in life! Like a break up, or falling in love, just being crazy, or writing a song for the love of music. Without that I wouldn't be able to write the songs I write.

Bleached - Think Of You

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Is there anywhere else you’d like to live? Why or why not?
Jennifer - I would live in NY. I lived there for a year when I was playing with Cold Cave and I ended up falling in love with it. You learn a lot about yourself living there. It forces you to be really independent. You can walk everywhere which is nice not relying on a car. And it's a city with seasons which LA is not.

Jessie- I am pretty satisfied in LA. When we go on tour though its always Seattle that I say...I could live here. Jen thinks I would love living in New York and she is probably right. I want to be snowed in in a city that never sleeps.

What was the first record you bought? Tell me about it.
Jennifer - My first record was The Slits - In the Beginning. We started buying records before you could look online to see what was cool. So, we would go to the punk record store on Melrose called Headline Records, before Amoeba Records was even around, and pick out a record because we thought the cover looked cool. So, I ended up buying The Slits album because it was a weird painting/picture of four girls. It ended up being a good idea and still one of the best records I ever bought.

Jessie- Velvet Underground, Jen and I had this neighbor who gave me a Velvet Underground tape and the book called, From The Velvets To The Voidoids. I loved that tape and remember going to a record store and buying the album, White Light White Heat.

What is the record you couldn’t live without and why. The record, that in the event of a fire and you could only save one – and you had to save one – what would it be.
Jennifer - OMG this is hard. I feel like it would have to be a record that I couldn't easily just buy again. Okay it would be first pressing of Metallica Ride The Lightning.

Jessie- Eroc! 70s German psych. Really rad guitars playing over synth. I play that record twice a day.

Do you have any books or films that have been inspiring to you?
Jennifer - Texas chainsaw massacre!
Jessie - For books anything by Richard Brautigan. And yeah we totally love horror films. I love watching a horror film when I feel sad. I know things can't get any worse than someone being annihilated by a machete or chainsaw. Jen and I are also totally inspired by Fairy Tale Theater with Shelly Duvall.
Jennifer - Also we get a lot of our art ideas from films. There is this one book called Film as a Subversive Art. It has really awesome images of a lot of cult movies.

Do each of you seem to take on or play a role in the dynamic of the band situation, since you are sisters?
Jennifer - I'm a Capricorn, so I just kinda naturally take charge. Jess is more chill and it's easier that way because we don't butt heads.

So, when’s the album going to be out? I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Jennifer - Oh awesome! Early next year for sure!

Can you give me any juice about it?
Jennifer - We are still figuring out a lot of stuff like who's recording it. And who's putting it out. But it's being figured out very soon! I'm so excited to start recording because we have so many demos I love.

What other future plans do you have? More live dates? When are you coming back to the UK?
Jennifer - We leave for NY to play 4knots festival in like a week. Then we are doing a West Coast tour later this year. Possibly a month US tour in the fall. I love the UK so much! We will for sure be back early next year. Seems so far away right now!

Words by Libby Mone

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