This past Sunday, we experienced some unusually gloomy weather in LA. In times like those, I decide to sit by the pool and crank up my iPod, loaded with tracks that I hope will transport me to the sunny state of mind that we Southern Californians are much more accustomed to. “Ride Your Heart,” the debut LP from LA-based Bleached, made for the perfect accompaniment. The band’s tunes are odes to soul-searching, relationships and the heartache that often follows, dressed as cheerful, sun-soaked post-punk.
We catch up with Jessica Clavin, who, together with sister Jennifer, lead the band. If their names sound familiar, it’s because the Clavins once were members of the now-defunct and well-loved punk band, Mika Miko. Jessica talks to us about Bleached‘s new release, and some of her favorite things to do in LA.
LAC: With the new release of “Ride Your Heart”, what do you see as the message of the album? Any particular meaning behind the name?
J: When I was trying to figure out the name for the album, I wanted something that made sense with all of the songs as a whole, and a lot of the song are love songs about falling in and out of love, figuring yourself out. So “Ride Your Heart” was one of the names of the songs, and I just kept going back to it, being like, “that really makes a lot of sense” because Ride Your Heart kind of means fall in love whenever you can or whenever you do, just go with it, its a ride, hah.
LAC: The album seems like a collection of love anthems, or a soundtrack for a Californian summer. Would you agree with that?
J: Yeah, totally. A lot of them were written when I was going through a time when I was really depressed, and going through a break up. So I like how it’s kind of a “timepiece.” I was in California writing the songs, and actually at that point I just got back to California from living in New York and going through that break up there.
LAC: The production of the album is definitely a lot less “loud” than your singles like “Electric Chair” and “Think of You.” Any particular reason for the change?
J: Not really, it’s just [the product] of working with the demos, experimenting a little bit more. I think with the first songs, we just wrote them, then recorded them in a day, and then with the songs in “Ride Your Heart,” we had more time to work on them, more of a budget, and a bigger studio and stuff. Also, I think just growing as musicians helped grow the songs into what they are now.
Also, I don’t really know what the future holds with more songs; who knows it may even go back to sounding more like songs like “Electric Chair”, but I don’t think we would go back to songs like “Dazed” and “No Friend Of Mine” because those are super lo-fi, but I like how that was early stuff, so it’s definitely cool.
LAC: With summer festival season starting, do you have any big plans to play any upcoming festivals both in and outside of LA?
J: We have a few festivals we are playing. A week after the Troubadour we go to Europe, and I know we are playing a bunch of festivals over there, which I’m really excited about. After that, I know we are playing a festival in LA, and one in Colorado, and another in Seattle. I’m really excited about playing these because festivals are my favorite.
LAC: We did an interview with you guys back when LA CANVAS was still in its fledgling stages, how would you say things have changed since then?
J: It’s funny, then we didn’t have a full length at all, but we had the 7″. We didn’t have any idea as to what the full length was going to even sound like, because we only had a bunch of demos at that point. Now though, I’m really happy we have a full length out. I feel like our shows are more fun because people know more of the songs.
LAC: It helps when the crowd can sing along huh?
J: Yeah! Exactly, before we would play and people would sing along to the singles, and then we would play the new stuff and no one would really know it, and now I think people are getting really excited for stuff from the new record. That’s the best part.
LAC: Being that you guys currently live in Los Angeles, what would you say are some of your favorite spots to check out? Favorite bar, restaurant, coffee shop etc.
J: There’re so many things I like to do, but it’s funny that you bring this up now because we will be home today. All I keep thinking about is the first thing I want to do when I get back to LA. I think, first, I really want to go on a hike. I live pretty close to the Hollywood Resevoir. As for food though, there are so many good places. I’m trying to decide between Señor Fish, which is Mexican food, and they have the best potato tacos. Have you ever heard of Spitz?
LAC: Yeah, I live right by the one in Los Feliz. Falafel and shwarma?
J: Yeah! It’s really good, the sandwiches especially. Also, the sweet potato fries are the best.
LAC: So for our readers, you’d recommend those two spots?
J: Yeah, totally. There’s also this place called Cafe 101 that is really cool. It’s this old diner, and there’re usually celebrities there.