Monday, July 26, 2010

The Pretty Reckless interview with The Punk Site

The Pretty Reckless are a rather young band; having only formed in 2009 and without a proper release to their name (their debut comes out in August), you may not have heard much more than their single Make Me Wanna Die but chances are you've probably heard the name already. The band has shot to pop-culture prominence because it's fronted by sixteen year old Taylor Momsen, best known for portraying Jenny Humphrey in Gossip Girl and Cindy Lou in the Grinch That Stole Christmas. There's more to them than just that though, and any preconceived notions you may have when you hear "that actress in Gossip Girl sings in it" are probably way wrong. The Pretty Reckless are not your run-of-the-mill radio pop filler but actually have some chops to them. Momsem, while being young, has a voice that most people would kill for and while the press will harp on her provocative outfits, she's really just a modern day Cherie Curie mixed with some Courtney Love.

During the second day of the 2010 Vans Warped Tour, I caught up with three of the four members of The Pretty Reckless - Taylor Momsen, Ben Philips and Mark Damon - backstage to have a quick chat about those preconceived notions, how they got on Warped Tour, Kick Ass and stripper shoes.

Bobby: I guess the main question is today’s the second day of the Vans Warped Tour, you guys are playing the entire tour, are you excited?

Ben: Very excited.

Taylor: Psyched.

Bobby: Now, you guys are a relatively young band. You only formed in 2009 and you just have an EP which just came out. So how were you able to get a spot on this tour without having a full length out and only being around for less than a year?

The Pretty RecklessTaylor: Stripper shoes. [everyone laughs]

Mark: You think she’s kidding but she’s not.

Taylor: I’m being very, very serious.

Bobby: Yeah, I saw them and was wondering how you even walked in them.

Mark: She has very good balance.

Ben: Very good balance.

Taylor: I just walk. Just walk.

Bobby: Of course, with so many bands playing and you guys being a relatively unknown band – especially in Canada where I’m from – what are you guys planning to do to go out and try and convince kids to come watch you guys perform over all the other bands?

Ben: I don’t think we’re trying to convince anybody. We’re playing our songs, if they like them – cool; if they don’t…

Taylor: Yeah, we want fans in the audience who are into the music.

Ben: We’re trying to play music, not to sell it. I suppose that’s the best way to say it. If they want to buy it, that doesn’t hurt our band at all.

Taylor: We just make it and play.

Bobby: On Tuesday you guys released your self-titled debut EP, which was released just in time for Warped Tour. Did you plan it to be released for Warped Tour or was it just coincidence?

Taylor: Yeah, the record comes out in August and we wanted to have music to sell. It’s an exclusive with Hot Topic and the Warped Tour.

Bobby: The record’s called Light Me Up right?

Taylor: The record’s called Light Me Up, yeah. It comes out in August.

Bobby: Do you have an official date yet or just in August?

Taylor: Not an specific date yet.

Ben: [asking their manager] Do we have an official record release date yet?

Manager: Not yet.

Ben: Not yet.

Taylor: Not yet, but August.

Manager: End of August.

Bobby: Is it going to be all new songs or will the four songs from the EP be on it as well?

Taylor: The four songs are off the record, so yes, they will be on it.

Bobby: Now you’re obviously no stranger to see yourself on the big screen with Gossip Girl or How The Grinch Stole Christmas, but was it kind of weird hearing your song, Make Me Wanna Die, in the Kick Ass soundtrack?

Taylor: It was awesome although we had a very shitty time hearing it when we went.

Ben: We saw it with a bad sound system.

Taylor: We saw it and there was no one in the theatre so they turned off the lights, turned the sound down. We’re like “we’re not done yet!” We waited the whole movie for the song. I was a little disappointed.

Mark: The movie was good.

Taylor: The movie was good, that’s not what I meant.

Bobby: The movie was cool, although I kinda wish they focused on the Hit Girl and Big Daddy storyline more because those guys were awesome characters.

Taylor: Yeah, Hit Girl was fucking bad ass.

Bobby: Now, Taylor, with you playing Jenny Hemphrey in Gossip Girl, is it kind of hard to balance the music career with the acting career?

Taylor: You just don’t sleep.

Bobby: You just don’t sleep?

The Pretty RecklessTaylor: Pretty much, yeah.

Bobby: That’s kind of what Zombie is about right?

Taylor: It definitely has that vibe. It’s all good; music is what keeps me going through all of the other bull shit. So it’s a lot of fun to play a show.

Ben: Zombie is based on the horror movie The Serpent and The Rainbow.

Bobby: Playing the cynical, devil’s advocate on this question, looking at you guys you have a lot going against you. You’re the actress turned singer that a lot of people don’t like, you’re only sixteen so you have the age going against you, and you’re a female fronted band in a very male dominated scene. Have you ever had any problems with that and how do you feel on the Warped Tour in a very male tour?

Mark: Well people tend to have preconceived notions about her, about what they think the music’s going to be like, what the band will be like and as soon as we get on stage and play – as soon as they hear the music – nine times out of ten they go “wow, that’s not what I was expecting. This is really good.” So I think we just need to let the music speak for itself.

Ben: I also think if you take the look at the charts for the last, almost ten years at this point, it’s no longer male dominated. It was.

Taylor: Well no, now it’s pop dominated.

Ben: It’s pop dominated but pop is a very female dominated era. I mean you’re talking about a female dominated reign of the music industry right now.

Bobby: I gotta say when I first heard it, I through the vocals were very strong and I was very surprised when I found out you were only sixteen – it sounds so much older than that. I think that when people give you the chance and hear that, they’ll be surprised by that.

Taylor: Did you like it?

Bobby: Yes I did, but I haven’t heard the EP, I’ve only heard the single so far.

Taylor: Well you’ll have to check it out.



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