The three-piece, L.A.-based girl band Bleached nailed it with their 2013 debut album, Ride Your Heart – who hasn’t danced to their single Think of You? Seriously, it’s been everywhere. But sisters Jennifer and Jessie Clavin, along with bassist Micayla Grace, haven’t had enough, and after three years touring, playing shows and enjoying their success, they’ve come back harder than ever with a new record, Welcome the Worms (Dead Oceans). In it, they’ve distanced themselves from the lo-fi garage sound that used to characterize them, to go for a cleaner ‘70s rock vibe. We talked to Jennifer to get to know Bleached better.
Before Bleached, you were members of cult punk band Mika Miko – what happened to it? What made you create Bleached? 
Mika Miko started as a garage band when we were all just about finishing high school, and ended up getting way more attention then we had imagined. It got to a point where everyone realized they had put post-high school goals on hold for the band, which eventually lead to us disbanding. Jess and I wanted to keep playing music together, so we started Bleached, not really sure how serious we were because we parted ways for a little to play with other bands. It got to a point where I was like, “Jess, it’s all or nothing for Bleached, are you in?” It felt like we were making a pact, that’s kinda how it works with sisters.
The 1st of April you released your new LP Welcome the Worms. How does your new album differ from your debut Ride Your Heart?
It’s very different. It’s harder than Ride Your Heart, lyrically and instrumentally. The lyrics got more personal and darker. That’s why we called it Welcome The Worms – that title screams darkness!
Part of the creative process of Welcome the Worms took place in the desert. Why did you decide to head over there?
We did a lot of demoing in the desert, but we recorded at Sunset Sound, in Hollywood. The desert helps me focus and get more in touch with my mind. It’s hard to focus in Los Angeles. There is so much to do here. In the desert I feel at one with nature, the cactus, the mountains and the coyotes running around. My favourite time of the day is sunset, when they all start to howl.
And how were the recording sessions of Welcome the Worms?
So insanely fun. Recording demos in the desert is so enjoyable. You don’t question what you are doing, you just go with the flow… Whether it’s instrumental or lyrics, I’m jotting down. And then recording in Hollywood at Sunset Sound was huge for me. I would see old photos of Neil Young and Rolling Stones recording in the exact same spots as us and I was like, ‘’omg this is crazy!’
Your new album’s sound is much cleaner, less lo-fi and more ‘70s rock. What were your main inspirations?
We take inspirations from all different types of music. We love The Cure, Bob Dylan, The Smiths, CCR, Blondie. I noticed lately it’s mainly timeless bands that inspire me most, stuff that I listened to when I was 13 and still can listen to today. I’ll notice new things that I’ve never heard before, and I love that.
As for life inspirations, mainly what I was going through or what friends of mine were going through. We have this vision of what life will be like when we are adults, and then you become and adult and it’s nothing like you expected. Still figuring stuff out but also trying to embrace everything. Life lessons are very inspirational, whether they are good or bad, because they all make us wiser – which is a gift.
“We have this vision of what life will be like when we are adults, and then you become and adult and it’s nothing like you expected.”
Earlier this year you released the music video of Keep On Keepin’ On, one of your most powerful songs of the record. How do you feel about that song?
It’s funny, when you work with a producer you give them all the demos and they usually are drawn to a few they feel the most passionate about. So when Joe Chiccarelli (our producer) felt that way about Keep On Keepin’ On, I was stoked because I did too. We recorded in parts, all instruments first and then vocals last. I remember a week after I had done the vocals I asked if I could redo them because I felt like I could do a better job – and so glad I did. I love the synth part we last minute added during the chorus, it’s one of those sounds that makes my heart feel things.
The audience has always reacted so well to your music and you’ve got a considerable amount of fans. Did you felt any pressure when recording Welcome the Worms?
I just feel so happy and confident with this record, that I don’t feel too much pressure. Like there will always be at least some amount of pressure, because it’s my life. But I think ultimately if we are happy with it then I know our fans will be too!
Would you identify Bleached into this “girl band” movement that’s going on the music industry?
I don’t really think of us as a girl band because we didn’t go out of our way to recruit girls. Jess and I are sisters, and Micayla is our friend. The drummer is a dude. Now being a female in the music industry is a different question and more personal.
You did a teaser video for Saint Laurent, featuring a clip of the song Trying to Lose Myself Again, which will is included in your new LP. How did that collaboration come about? 
Hedi (Slimane) is a fan of a lot of underground punk bands from L.A., and we were one of them for him. He has shot Jess and I a couple times before. The first time he was at a show at the The Smell and he saw us playing and that’s how we met. But recently he asked if we wanted to play his fashion show with Joan Jett and Beck. So of course we said yes, which led to the teaser video. Saint Laurent rented out a roller skating rink for us and we all skated with him (also on roller-skates) for about four hours filming. It was so fun! He is the nicest guy ever and so is his whole crew. It was inspiring seeing how they all work together.
After the release, you’ll embark on a huge US tour. How do you face all these events?
I am just ready to get up and go. It’s one of those things once I start, I don’t wanna stop. I’ve had enough down time, I am ready for whatever. Very excited!
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