Girlpool on bonding over Bright Eyes, believing in fate and advice to their younger selves
Girlpool are entering a new era in their career. Composed of duo Avery Tucker and Harmony Tividad, the band’s Los Angeles roots and DIY ethos undoubtedly shine through in much of their earlier releases. However, their highly anticipated fourth album, Forgiveness, out today, builds upon this foundation to create a work that fully embodies the personal and sonic growth of both artists. Ahead of Girlpool’s new album, Tucker and Tividad shared their thoughts on the musical exploration and inspiration behind the release. The pair also spoke about what they miss the most about being on tour, trusting in karmic ties and fate and the music that initially cemented their musical partnership.
FORGIVENESS’ MUSICAL EXPLORATION
HARMONY TIVIDAD: We’ve both been experimenting independently for a very long time. Even back when we were making Powerplant, there’s always been this urge to push what we can create sonically. It’s an exploration of something that we had been trying on What Chaos Is Imaginary. Between these records, we found the time to push the envelope of what we want, and it just felt very intuitive and natural.
WHAT POP MEANS
AVERY TUCKER: I feel even in our indie-rock songs, we always felt a craving for a poppy feeling.
TIVIDAD: To me, it’s just anything that creates a very immediate, visceral reaction in a person. To me, Duster, the slowcore band, is incredibly poppy because it creates [a] reaction in me [that] I immediately emotionally connect to, so I feel like pop is this arbitrary concept.
THE FORGIVENESS–ERA AESTHETIC
TIVIDAD: We’re both inspired by ’80s bands: the Cure, Siouxsie And The Banshees and the visuals that go along with that. I’m a big Madonna stan. I’m obsessed with her, but then I also feel like we’re really inspired by growing up in LA — the culture around Los Angeles and playing with tropes of LA energy. I feel like David Lynch and cinematic stuff also has contributed a lot to how we think or see things.
WHAT YOU MISS ABOUT TOURING
TIVIDAD: One of my favorite things is waking up really early with people that I’m touring with and going to Starbucks when the sun’s rising, and we’re just all so out of it. It’s a very primal experience and deeply bonding. I don’t even know how to explain it. It’s very uniting in a way that’s a really sweet feeling to have in my heart every day.
TUCKER: There’s the overwhelming sensation of playing a song that you wrote about this deep feeling and is historical and weighs so much, and then you just get to jump into the essence of that feeling amongst tons of other people. That’s just such an intense, cool sensation and such a gift to experience that.
BEST FOOD YOU’VE DISCOVERED
TUCKER: I remember our first tour, it was just the West Coast, and I remember having an IT’S-IT in San Francisco, which is this chocolate-covered ice cream sandwich. It’s sweet to think that was a tour thing that I was excited to eat. Japan obviously has insanely amazing food. Harmony and I went to Paris for the first time when we were 19 on tour, and we wrote down every single thing that we ate because we were only there for 24 hours. When we first got into touring, it was, “We have to eat everything!” [Laughs.]
TIVIDAD: We ate like 20 pastries in 24 hours in Paris.
ADVICE FOR YOUR YOUNGER SELVES
TUCKER: If we were written up in a magazine, we were pinned as feminine from the get-go, so that was really upsetting to me, and I really resented that pigeonhole. But if I could look back, I would just say, “Trust that even as uncomfortable as this is, you’re going to figure out how this can feel comfortable, and you can tailor it to who you are, and you and Harmony will really work together on making this feel good for both of you.”
TIVIDAD: I feel like my advice to myself would have been to be less hard on myself and gentler in general. But those are things I feel like you have to learn through experience.
YOUR LISTENING HABITS
TUCKER: Even if I’m literally in the bathroom, I put music on. I have that kind of relationship where I like it on a lot. Sometimes in the car I like quiet, but it’s pretty much always on. Harmony’s always [listening to] new music. I was listening to Al Green all morning. That’s my vibe.
TIVIDAD: I’m pretty much constantly listening to music. I always need stimulation of some kind. It’s in my nature to get bored pretty quickly, so I like to find new music. I make playlists, and I listen to them to death.
EAST COAST VS. WEST COAST
TUCKER: Living in LA, you have this choice of tapping into culture — music and partying. Then there’s also this quietness here that made growing up feel pretty balanced. Living in New York was really fun, but it was too extreme. I like to choose what happens to me to an extent, and I feel you have more control in LA of what energy you want to be embodying. In New York, it just happens to you without asking.
TIVIDAD: My family’s here [in LA], and moving back was the most healing thing I could do — finding love in a place that made me feel really isolated and alone as a kid. So I think it’s healing for me to live here. The thing about LA is it’s choose your own adventure. I know a lot of places have one or the other, and LA has the gift of both, which is very special.
FIRST MUSIC YOU BONDED OVER
TUCKER: We both were obsessed with Bright Eyes. We were both actually at a Bright Eyes concert together before we were friends. Bright Eyes and then Elliott Smith and Moses Campbell — this band that was playing at The Smell all the time, which is the venue that we met at in downtown LA.
BELIEVING IN FATE
TIVIDAD: Definitely. I feel like there’re layers to fate. There’re infinite karmic- and fate-driven things that are happening all the time, and it’s just what you’re tapping into energetically. I love thinking about fate. I think it’s really fun.
TUCKER: I feel like we have karmic ties with people that draw us to one another, and I feel like there’s meaning and depth behind who we are pulled to.
This interview appeared in issue 404 (The Modern Icons Issue), available here. Check out more photos of Girlpool below, taken by prettypuke.