LA-based sisters Jessica and Jennifer Clavin, aka Bleached and formerly of Miko Mika, bring their unique brand of dark, girly ’60s pop to Europe this month. We caught up with them to chat about their influences, the darker side of things and how partying hard helps them work even harder…
Who do you admire who works hard and plays harder?
Jennifer: I watched a documentary on the making of Rumors, the Fleetwood Mac album, and it’s crazy how they wrote such an amazing record but partied so hard and did so much coke. How in the world did they do it? I get tired just going on tour.
Jessica: Sometimes I feel like I have to keep partying so I can keep up. Like, if I take a break, I’ll want to just sleep for days.
So you guys are influenced by Fleetwood Mac? Didn’t see that coming. What else inspires you?
Jessica: Well, initially we were influenced by punk bands like Ramones, Germs and The Misfits. After that we started opening up to stuff like Fleetwood Mac.
Jennifer: We got into ’60s girl groups, too. And Jess and I were really into Velvet Underground, their whole look and the music they would write. Also, the other day I was watching these two old Brigitte Bardot movies, and they were just super dark. I’m inspired by dark things.
As musicians, what’s work and what’s play?
Jessica: It’s fun when you first start writing a song, because you get to sit down and have a glass of wine. It becomes work when you have to go to the studio to record it. Especially if the producer is like, ‘Nobody can come in hung-over.’
Jennifer: When we’re playing a show or I’m writing a song that’s actually going well, I feel like I’m having fun. But when I’m trying to force something out or feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, it’ll feel like work.
Jessica: It’s work to unload my equipment for a show or go practice but once we actually start playing, it’s complete fun.
How does being in Bleached compare to when you were starting out with Mika Miko?
Jessica: When we first started playing in Mika Miko, we were in a garage – we didn’t even know how to play our instruments.
Jennifer: It was definitely just play. We went to shows every weekend and we wanted to see if we could start a band like the ones we loved. But then it got more popular than any of us ever thought it would. I think that was a major part of coming into Bleached – wanting to start a band that we are serious about.
Speaking of taking Bleached seriously, how was playing SXSW?
Jennifer: We played 14 shows in four days. Like, that was work.
Jessica: But we all had a lot of fun too.
Jennifer: During the last three shows I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m dying.’ But I had to act like I wasn’t.
Bleached play on June 6th at OT301 in Amsterdam. The show is free for Subbacultcha! members.