“This record is our past, it’s nihilism, it’s self-destruction…” - Bleached talk new album Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough?
Sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin have been making music together for a long time. Initially, the pair were part of garage rockers Mika Miko, who won a devoted, if smallish fanbase during their seven-year lifespan.
That disbanded in 2010 and the sisters formed Bleached. A grungy, power-pop band with a bigger ear for a chorus than their earlier work. Their 2013 debut Ride Your Heart didn’t make too many waves, but it’s successor, 2016’s Welcome The Worms, was a total triumph.
It won them huge acclaim, a new awareness from audiences across the globe and more opportunities than they’ve ever had before. You might expect that they’d be looking for something similar from a follow-up, something to keep the momentum going. Nope. Not a bit of it.
Made with Vampire Weekend/Sleigh Balls man Shane Stoneback, their third LP Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? Is largely an unashamed disco-pop record, with low-slung funky basslines and synths, driving guitars and choruses that are as catchy as they are slinky.
We spoke to the sisters to ask them why they decided to embrace their inner grooves...
When did you start putting this record together? Were you writing while you toured Welcome The Worms?
Jennifer: “I can’t remember when we started, the last year feels like a total blur. I’m so used to touring and being home for this long is weird to me, I lose track of days.”
Jessie: “We got right on it after we were done touring. We didn’t take a break, we’d meet every day at our practise space and we’d write new songs. We worked every day from 11 to 5, we were very dedicated.”
Did you have a sense of what you wanted to do differently with this album?
Jennifer: “Jessie and I have always been really into 70s disco and we thought we’d try and get into more of that. Jessie was playing bass on this record and we started experimenting with disco basslines and trying to build on those. Some of the songs were more naturalistic, but we started out wanting to make a dance record.”
Jessie: “We really wanted to see the audience dance. We had a lot of dancey songs in our old band and we loved getting the people moving. We really wanted that to be part of the show.”
When did Shane come into the mix?
Jennifer: “A few people had recommended him to me and then our manager set up a meeting with him. He’s a good producer if you want to try and make some changes. He’s somebody who can really help you define your sound. I feel like Bleached had a sound, but it wasn’t where we wanted it to go.”
Jessie: “He didn’t play on the record and it’s not like he did much arranging. It was more tone and knowledge and technical things. He brought in some synthesizers and we played around with them a lot. That added a whole new side to the record.”
What kind of album is this lyrically?
Jennifer: “It’s a record about the past and putting the past to rest. That’s the common thread. This was my record in terms of lyrics, I wrote all of them for this one.”
When did you settle on the title?
Jennifer: “It’s a line from ‘Silly Girl’. Normally titles are quite difficult for me to figure out, but I went through all the lyrics and that one jumped out. It hit the hardest. It reflects the record, this record is our past, it’s nihilism, it’s self-destruction, asking if we’d hit our maximum. It’s time to ask yourself some tough questions and this record does that.”
How’s your live set coming on? Are you bringing out lots of new ones?
Jessie: “We’re doing half and half. But we’re so excited about the new songs that I think we’ll be getting as many of them as we can.”
Jennifer: “We’ll have to pay attention to what old things people respond to and what they want to hear. If it was up to me, I’d play the whole new record.”
Jessie: “We’re out for the rest of the year and then next year we’ll be going to more places. We’re so stoked.”
Bleached’s new album Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? is out now in hmv stores.