WLUW chit-chat patty wacked with Cleo Tucker and Harmony Trividad of the folk-rock band, Girlpool. They’ve been on a U.S. tour after releasing their second album, Powerplant, and make their way to Chicago on October 25 at the Logan Square Auditorium.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity
M: How ya guys doing today?
C: I feel good, I just had tomato soup
M: Aw nice nice. What’d you have for lunch Harmony?
C: Harmony didn’t eat yet, she made some ramen this morning.
M: Ooh breakfast ramen. Where are you on your tour right now?
C: Heading to Iowa, and just left Kansas
M: How’s touring been?
C: You know what? It’s been full of… surprises
M: Can you elaborate?
C: I got my wisdom teeth out maybe t-minus 4 days ago. It’s been crazy, honestly. I can’t really open my mouth all of the way, the side effects of the pain medication is kind of altering the energy in the tour van
M: Oh my god i’m so sorry, that sucks.
C: It’s pretty weird. I’m just kind of going with it
M: I wish you fast healing in that process.
C: Thank you. Thank you Madeline
M: What show has been your favorite and why?
C: Boise was cool, wait no that wasn’t my favorite. I think Reno was my favorite.
H: I’m trying to think, you know it’s been a fun tour. Last night was quite pleasant. I think Denver was my favorite for sure.
M: Why’s that?
H: It was just a really good vibe at the show, it was popping perhaps. A popping gig. I don’t know I had a pleasant time. I had a really nice thing of ice cream with my friend Megan that night. We shared a basil blackberry Earl Grey shortbread combo ice cream. It was really really incredible.
M: Never even heard of that, that is extremely pleasant. Have you guys been writing any songs on tour?
C: We’re not able to write any music on tour usually because we don’t have the time. We wrote one song on tour once.
M: What has been your go-to car music?
C: Go to car music…SZA. Megan showed me SZA
M: So good. Ctrl.
C: Sooo good.
M: Would you collab with SZA if you could?
C: My god. That’d be cool.
M: What did you listen to growing up as a kid?
C: I listened to a lot of Bob Dylan, Elliott Smith,Neil Young, and was really into the Bright Eyes band in middle school and in high school. I got really into folk punk. I liked punk music, I really liked The Germs in middle school. I’ve always really been into hip-hop and rap music too. I kind of like a lot of stuff of wide selection. My mom really likes funk music so I’d listen to funk, B.B. King too.
H: Music I loved as a child. It all started with The Beatles, then it was ABBA. My first concert was Queen in 2005 with Paul Rogers leading the band. I loved Queen. Then I loved Elliott Smith and Bright Eyes, and Vashti Bunyan. And as I continue to grow as a person I develop new favorites everyday.
C: My favorite guitar player in the world is Harmony Trividad!
M: Awww haha
C: Harmony just said that...
M: Going off that, have you guys felt like you have grown as musicians?
C: Definitely, everyday. Yeah totally I think that honesty I was talking to my Dad about this the other day because Tom Petty died. I loved Tom Petty’s guitar playing. And I used to play ‘Breakdown’ on guitar all the time, that was one of the first guitar solos that I really learned, and he was talking to me about how he saw my play in Girlpool recently and he was like “ you’ve just gotten so much better at guitar” and I was like it’s weird because I felt like I reached this plateau of guitar playing where I just know what I’m comfortable doing but I think that honestly playing every single day, even if it’s the same SHIT, you just get stronger. You feel more comfortable and ya know ‘in it’ or whatever. I’d love to take a class though of a different type of guitar playing. I think that’d be cool. I really wanna learn piano. But I also learn a lot from Harmony. She’s my favorite guitar player in the world.
M: Did you teach yourself growing up?
C: No I had Marcus Watkins, a sweet person on Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles, California teach me guitar. He’s cool, I messaged him on Facebook recently and he had a kid. Adams Music was the name of the guitar shop. I got my first guitar at Toyorama, this really cool toystore in Westwood that closed down. Harmony want to talk about your experience?
H: Well, hm. I was choir kid and loved music theory, and then my uncle sent me a guitar that he had white-outed my name onto that said ‘Harmony’ and it had little flowers on it when I was 13. And I started playing acoustic guitar and learned ‘First Day Of My Life’ by Bright Eyes on it, and ever since that day… you know, it’s been a pretty wild few years and I think I have learned a lot through….. You know I feel like Cleo and I are basically married. Creatively married, and, you know in any relationship of any sort you grow together and I feel like we have learned a lot through and with eachmother and bounced ideas off of each other and expanded each other’s perspectives on things. I think so much of everything is perspective, so I feel like it’s even less about the physical action and more about the perspective on the physical action. So I feel like a lot of my views on how I play guitar, how I play music, has changed because of my perspective on what makes music good, and being less judgemental about what makes art good, and if things I make are good or not, you know, just feeling like good about the thing in it of itself because it’s existence is solely enough, you know.
M: Yeah it can be hard to put yourself out there. Do you feel like it’s easier because you have this solidified band?
H: Honestly I don’t know because I feel like it’s a daily thing, like– wow sorry, I’m driving really bad suddenly and everyone’s mad at me haha. I think it’s just like when I can be my most honest I make things that I feel best about. But sometimes you don’t get to being the most honest for a while. It’s just all process. Processing and I don’t know, not being judgemental but then also having to be judgemental to get to the honest moment where you’re not judging, and then… I don’t know I feel like everything in life is just about constantly uncovering truth, and then hiding it again and then uncovering it again…. I feel like that is what resonates with me creatively, also. I dont’ know if that makes sense.
M: Yeah yeah I’m following. Are most of the songs on your album personal stories?
H: I think most of the music that Cleo and I write are glimpses into a feeling or an idea, not usually super explicit about anything in particular but sometimes it may encapsulate different experiences.
M: Can you tell me what Fast Dust is about?
C: It’s about a person and then resenting how ginormous a feeling I had was because it was like debilitating and holding me back from feeling free, because I felt so confined in this giant emotion that was consuming me. And the song is about needing to breakout of feeling imprisoned by my own love for somebody, and creating meaning for something, creating a new, big moment to look at.
M: Thanks, good to know.
M: If you were a breed of dog what would you be?
C: THAT’S the question.
C: To be honest with you ( I’m going to be honest with you) I think I have a Pitbull vibe. But my favorite dogs are English Bull Terriers with the sharkheads and when I see dogs like that I really get worked up and I have like a really intense experience because I really see myself in their behavior and like their physicality and the way they get rambunctious, the way that they move their head, that’s really how I feel.
H: Dogs. I have a lot of feelings about dogs. I love a mutt Terrier.
M: You can be purebred or a mutt
H: I feel definitely like a mutt. I’m just trying to think what mutt I would be. I guess I probably am a terrier mutt. My dog Lucky, my first dog, I got him when I was in fourth grade and he would prance around and the terrier nose is really special and he was just like joyous and gleeful and had a lot of energy, and had really sad eyes. And I really relate to that experience haha.
M: What’s the first thing you’re going to do when you get home from tour?
H: I’m honestly not sure, probably shower honestly. Probably take a really intense shower. That’s what I’m about right now. I’ve been smelling horrible everyday, the most toxic smell. And I don’t know hot to make it stop. It’s really tragic.
C: First thing I’m going to do when I get home is take off my tennis shoes, and probably get really comfortable. Eat something good, have some coffee, and hug my loved ones.
M: Aw well thank you so much you guys. Have a good tour and I hope you get to all of your places safely
H: Thank you so much, have a good day. Thank you very much. Cleo say thank you