Emerging from the same scene that produced bands like Dum Dum Girls and Bleached, Los Angeles (almost goes without saying) outfit L.A. Witch is on the brink of a major breakthrough. They dropped their first physical release, 7-inch Drive Your Car, and are in the midst of their first full North American tour, opening for The Kills.
Their name itself brims with irony – “witch” is not the first thing that comes to mind when you consider the trope of the “California Girl,” all blonde hair and sunshine. And in turn this irony epitomizes everything about the Angelino trio’s sound. It’s surfy, bluesy psych rock layered with heavy distortion; it manages to nod simultaneously to (largely male) classic rock bands like Black Sabbath and the riot-grrl, horror punk aesthetic championed by artists like Kathleen Hanna. It’s confrontational in this way, forcing the listener to face his (let’s assume) pre-conceived notions about what female musicians can and will do,
They’ll hit the road with The Kills on Friday with a DC date at the 9:30 Club, stopping by Shea Stadium for a headline date of their own on May 18. It’s already safe to say that 2016 will be a big year for this band, so we’re thrilled to have had the chance to ask them a few questions.
Can you tell us a little bit about the 7-inch? How does it differ from your previous releases?
IRITA: it’s our first actual physical release, so we’re pretty stoked on that. It also features Ellie on drums, our EP was with our old drummer.
You guys have done a few tours on the east coast now. What do you like about New York plays?
SADE: I grew up on a lot of Scorsese and mafia films like Mean Streets, The Godfather, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, and I created a fantasy of what N.Y. would be like before I ever went and parts of it were very true! Theres something really romantic about it.
IRITA: New York is an amazing city. We’ve only been during the fall, so it’s hard not to fall in love with it. The crowd that comes out is super into music, everyone is super ambitious and hustles. It’s really inspiring to me.
ELLIE: I love New York. I love seeing my friend that lives out there. Its definitely harder to move equipment around out there. We’ve had to carry out amps and gear on the subways a few times and its pretty tiring but the city is so beautiful its worth it to play out there. The shows out there seem to go well and the crowd is usually pretty fun.
The imagery used in your music videos, album covers, posters, etc is so cool! Sort of a horror-punk vibe. Where do you get your inspiration for this aesthetic?
IRITA: 70’s pulp fiction covers (especially occult ones), post punk flyers, and 80’s and 90’s LA culture – basically what we grew up on.
Sade: Old movie and band posters, occult imagery, punk, shoegaze, psychedelic and rock n roll music, saturated, soft and fuzzy technicolors. Horror and Sci-Fi films and t.v shows. Acid, cowboys, goths, leather, glitter, vinyl and leopard print.
What are your plans for 2016? Any festival plays?
IRITA: We just played SXSW last month, so taking a little break. We’re opening for The Kills on their US/Canada tour in May/June, which we’re super stoked on. Those shows are like little festivals themselves!
SADE: The Kills was one of my favorite bands growing up. Its pretty unreal. Gonna release this album. Do more touring.
ELLIE: We have some plans to go to Europe and Australia.
Are you real witches? Do you cast spells?
IRITA: Nope, but maybe I can cast one that allows me to never ever get sick on tour.
– Nora Keller & Mandy Brownholtz