Two years after the release of their first album and tour, Girlpool is back with their latest release, Powerplant. After dropping the album on May 12, the California punk folk duo is hitting the road in the US before heading to across the Atlantic, where they are starting to get attention from European audiences. The tour will bring them to the Republic in New Orleans on Thursday, June 15.
Cleo Tucker (guitar) and Harmony Trividad (bass) have both been passionate about music since a young age. They eventually formed their duo in 2013 when they were just a pair of teenagers playing small shows in Los Angeles. Their debut album Before The World Was Big came out in 2015, and featured one of their breakout songs, “Chinatown.” Their new album is their first to feature drums, which adds more rhythm and a grunge twist to their sound.
How is the tour going so far?
Cleo: So far the tour is going really well. We are on our way to Iowa City now, and we just met up with Ian Sweet. We are touring with them and Snail Mail. Yeah, it’s been great. We got a new car, so it’s our first time touring with a new car. We’re enjoying it.
You are performing at the republic on June 15th and you already performed in New Orleans. Does performing in New Orleans means anything to you as a musician?
Harmony: My dad is from New Orleans. He grew up there, so I’ve spent a little time there. All of my family on my dad’s side is from there. I have a lot of tender feelings about it, personally.
You started playing music at a very young age, how did you develop an interest for music?
Cleo: I grew up listening to a lot of music with my parents. I started playing the guitar when I was in second grade because I really liked Avril Lavigne and Green Day, etc. I wanted to play the guitar in school and I became totally obsessed with it. I took lessons and started writing my own songs and then started going to shows and that’s where I met Harmony.
Harmony: I developed an interest in music when I was in choir at a young age, and I was really into musical theater. My dad used to show me to a lot of music in the car while driving me around to school. I discovered DIY at like 16 and that was a game changer for me, but I’ve always had a deep love for music.
Your new album came out this year, how is it different from your first album?
Cleo: Well, I think that there are many elements to how we’ve changed. I think it captured those two years between Before The World Was Big and Powerplant. We moved a lot and toured a lot. The Before The World Was Big tour was the first time we were living like that. We wrote the songs for this one in a very similar fashion to how we wrote Before The World Was Big, but then, when we started exploring the arrangements and the instrumentation, we got more explorative with different instruments. I think it’s a pretty natural depiction of the way we both, individually, evolved from 2015 to now.
I noticed that you brought more rhythm to your music by adding percussion. What inspired you to incorporate drums into your music?
Cleo: I think it was a natural progression for our instrumentation, to expand our sound and explore where we could take these songs. We just tried it out to see how we could add dynamics and explore a new palette.
How are the live versions of your songs different from the album version ?
Cleo: Some are more noisy, some are less. Some start quiet and end loud. Some start loud and end quiet. There are different dynamics. It’s definitely not an identical depiction of Powerplant, but it’s pretty close and enjoyably explorative in a exciting way. So it’s a near image, but there is something special about the live performances. It is a different form of the music.
In one of your songs, “Static Somewhere,” you mention the influence of certain media outlets. Is the influence of media a theme that is important to you?
Cleo: I think we like to talk about how the culture around us affects everyone and everything, and how, even subconsciously, media is taken in and processed by our subconscious minds. It influence our actions, our beliefs and the way we feel about ourselves in the world.
What other issues do you like to highlight with your music ?
Cleo: There isn’t really an agenda or rubric when we are writing our music or anything. It’s just whatever is relevant to one of us at the time. There are an infinite amount of variables in our sources of inspiration, and then there are so many experiences, feelings, interactions and analysis that happen too. I think that’s just sort of our brain’s reaction to being alive more than something specific that we would like to speak about.
What is next for Girlpool after the tour ?
Cleo: After the tour we have a little bit of time off. We will do some recording and writing music. Then we are going to Europe with Ian Sweet, which we are very excited about.
Tickets for Girlpool’s upcoming show at the Republic are still on sale.