Friday, October 28, 2011

Mika Miko's Jennifer Clavin on Bleached, her new sisterly duo; show Friday at the Jackpot

Posted By on Fri, Oct 28, 2011 at 8:00 AM


Along with her sister Jessica, Jennifer Clavin formed two-fifths of exuberant indie punks Mika Miko. Though that group disbanded in 2009, the sisters continued making music. Earlier this year, the two of them came back together to form a duo they call Bleached. They've released two singles thus far, with a third — Searching Through The Past — due out December 6 from Suicide Squeeze. Bleached plays the Jackpot tonight, Friday, October 28, with CVLTS and returning prodigal sons Mouthbreathers. Jennifer Clavin was cool enough to speak with us by phone about how she and her sister returned to making music together, why they release singles, and some other stuff.

The Pitch: How long has Bleached been together?

Jennifer Clavin: My sister and I started it right when Mika Miko was ending in 2009, but we were just kind of starting it as a side project. And then, we both kind of went our separate ways for a little bit, and we didn't get serious with it until, like, earlier this year.

What led to you and your sister getting back together to make music again?

Because we had written music together before, in our old band, and then when we separated and we were kind of doing our own thing, I think we realized how we can work well together writing music. And, it's like, we're sisters, so we were like, “We should get back together and keep doing Bleached.” Although, we just felt really passionate about it, and it was hard to, like, do it when we were doing other things.

When Bleached started up officially, were there songs from before, or were you starting from scratch?

We had a few songs we had written, and then we had a bunch of new ones.

The two of you have released several singles, as opposed to an album. Why singles?

I think it's because we're trying to develop our sound, you know, so it's just like, singles are easier because it's just, like, two songs. I feel that it's nice, because every single grows a little bit more. And, we're still establishing our sound and our song style. I think, after this third one, we have a really clear idea of what our sound is now, so I'm ready to give it time to write, like, a full length.

I've noticed that between the Carter single, and the Searching Through The Past single coming out in December, your sound has gotten a little tighter — a little cleaner. Is that what you're talking about, in terms of developing your sound?

Yeah, totally. Just, I think, the songwriting style, even. I mean, not style — structure. Song structure.

The new song I've heard, “Searching Through The Past,” seems to be a little denser.

Yeah, that's kind of what I’m talking about. I think it's cool when bands are so new, 'cause when they write records, you can go back and listen to music they were writing back then, and then [hear] what they've evolved into. That's what we did with our first band, but I was just kinda just, like, excited to just get music out there, so it's just, like, faster to do 7-inches, too. And then, I just think that it's a cool way to put out different things that are separate frome ach other. The 7-inches are, like — each of them are their own thing, with their own style.

Do you find it easier to change up style and sound when you're only putting two songs together, as opposed to a full-length record?

Yeah, totally, but I also think it's really important to — well, for me, personally — before we do do an LP, I don't want all the songs to sound the same. I want [the listener] to hear, like, one song, and then the next song be completely different, but it's still, like, the same band. A lot of bands put out songs, and it's like every song sounds the same, and you're just excited about the album because there's just one really good song, instead of all those songs. I think we're just trying to develop our sound and our different styles, so we can be ready to write a really good album.

Do you think you're there, or getting there?

I feel like doing one more 7-inch, possibly, or maybe just doing a full-length next.

Are you ever going to collect these singles, or are you just kind of going to let them exist on their own?

Actually, that's why I think it would be cool to put out a fourth one, because then all four of them would be really cool to put on a full-length, as, like, a collection of all four of the 7-inches.

Do you find it difficult or limiting to work within that two-person band sound?

It is difficult, because we don't write the songs with a drummer, and so we just write the guitar parts first, and the vocals. But, at the same time, it's easier, too, because you're not having to take other peoples opinions. “Oh, try this part here, and this part here.” It's, like, we write it, and that's how the song is.

In our previous band, we would write all the songs together, and you kind of write them all as a group, and it kind of got stressful, because we had to work with what everyone wanted to do, and it's, like, the song would change a lot from the beginning until the end, because we were trying to put everyone's ideas together into one song.

It's cool doing it this way, because we just work on it. Usually, I'll write the base of the song, and just get all of the parts down, and the vocal parts. Then, Jessi will come in with all of the catchy guitar solos and little guitar lines, and the harmonizing.

What do you do for a drummer?

We've had so many drummers at this point. When we have a drummer, I'll just show them. I'm a drummer, so I'll just kind of tell them, “Do this beat here, and this beat here.” But, on this last 7-inch, we got a studio drummer to come in and drum for us. On tour, we have our friend Scott [Shannon] drumming for us. He just joined us right before this tour.

Listen to "Searching Through The Past"

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