Thursday, September 20, 2012

Taylor's Interview from "PULP" Magazine! (Philippines - September 2012 Issue)

Thanks to Naiare Taylor Momsen Brasil and Taylor Momsen Network!

The unstoppable Taylor Momsen

You’ve heard the phrases and the tired aphorisms over and over again. But this tall gazelle-like platinum blonde is the real deal. Taylor Momsen was born to be a star.
At the tender age of three, she already starred in her first TV comercial and went on to star in a number of Hollywood blockbusters such as Jim Carrey’s How The Grinch Stole Christmas, We Were Soldiers and Spy Kids 2. However she is probably best know for her infamous role as Lil-J in the gigantic hit TV series Gossip Girl.
Some people have it from day one, and some folks just have a lot more of IT than others. And this recently turned 19-year-old is gushing with talent, which is why when my wife saw her videos on YouTube, she insisted that her band headline the first annual Bazooka Rocks! festival – and I totally agreed. Momsen’s voice, to me, exuded a maturity and a warm thick quality and timbre uncommon to one so young. It was obvious from the get-go that this stunning beauty was born with good taste in music. Her break out track “Make Me Wanna Die” oozes with classic rock influences of the 70s, and a quick gander at her musical preferences confirms just that, as she cites Led Zeppelin and Robert Plant as key influences among more current luminaries such as Nirvana, Kurt Cobain, Audioslave, Soundgarden and Oasis.
“Imagine,” Happee gushed, “all of our other artists on the Bazooka roster are all guys, and the suddenly there’s Taylor (read: HOT CHICK).” Visually, the contrast was brilliant; a rose among the thorns, so to speak. But more than that it was just plain captivating, and the music of The Pretty Reckless is just so infectious. It was something we decided in an instant to make happen. And so when we learned the manager of The Pretty Reckless was in China, we jumped the first plane we could book and made a deal that was somehow concluded between the midnight and sunrise hours, bleary-eyed and smelling of whisky, vodka and beer.
Since it was my wife’s idea to bring in The Pretty Reckless, I thought she should definitely have the honor of interviewing her for the magazine. (Below is the transcript of that interview.)


HAPPEE: In the Philippines, there’s Gossip Girl, that’s being played on TV. We just want to clarity – have you stopped acting already? Are you strictly a singer now, or is it just a temporary thing?
Taylor: I am currently not acting. I currently quit acting at the moment, and I do not foresee myself acting anytime in the near future. I am very very focused on music and writing and playing. We’re currently working on our second record right now which is really awesome. We’re really excited about it. My whole mind and focus is entirely on music, but to say that I’ll never act ever again in my life… well, I’m only 18 years old. To say I’d never do that again is probably a really harsh statement, but certainly, I don’t see acting in the near future.

HAPPEE: What can the world expect from the music of The Pretty Reckless? Aside from your second album that you’ll be releasing, are you guys expanding to other stuff?
Taylor: It’s very hard to describe our music in general… but the best way to describe our live show is that it’s a very loud, crazy, rock and roll show, and anyone who come into it should be prepared to go-fuckin’-up. You know: sex, drug, and rock and roll – all those clich├ęs in a very extreme way. But I think the way to describe the music is… there is no direct way. It could get very adventurous and very musical. We’re working on our second record right now and it’s very adventurous. That’s the word I’ll use. It’s very different.

HAPPEE: Recently, we did a commercial to promote Bazzoka Rocks that led to this debate –some of our staff are saying that your music leans towards grunge. But me, I personally believe it’s classic rock. What are The Pretty Reckless’ main inspirations and what kind of sound do you think Pretty Reckless embodies?
Taylor: I feel like the band is very guitar-driven and drum-driven rock and roll. It’s rock and roll. I’m very influenced by a lot of grunge bands like Soundgarden: they are one of my favorite bands of all time. I am extremely influenced by Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. So it’s classic rock. I think it’s an element of both. We try to create something that is new – more experimental and different and modern, compared to those other bands. We’re very unique. The goal in what we do is to try to create something that hasn’t been done before, even if it’s taking and stealing from the artists that I love… to create something unique. I think it falls into a lot of genres so that it can cross a lot of boundaries and a lot of musical tastes… I don’t like to define it in one way. I like to kinda let it speak for itself, because it can cross a lot of different people and a lot of different people can be influenced in all different ways.

HAPPEE: We heard about your performance with Marilyn Manson at the Golden Gods Awards. What went through you mind when this idea was presented to you? Were you excited? Were you surprised?
Taylor: I was extremely excited. I am a very, very big fan of Marilyn Manson’s music so it was a very cool phone call to get. To be asked to not only play with him and do a duet of The Dope Show, but to TOUR with them… we did a full American tour with them, which was really, really awesome. Hopefully that will continue and maybe there will be more to see and hear. It was very, very cool phone call to get.

HAPPEE: The Pretty Reckless have opened for gigantic names like Evanescence, Guns n’ Roses, and Manson, of course. What are some of the most memorable performances you’ve had?
Taylor: Performing with Marilyn Manson at the Golden Gods is definitely one I will never forget. I am a really big fan of his music. To be able to play a song – one of his, was like… it will great. And also Asia, I can’t wait to get back to Asia. Playing in Asia was amazing. It’s so different than everywhere else in the world and so exciting to play shows because it’s such a different vibe and energy. All the shows in Asia have this extreme intensity. It was so much fan, and I can’t wait to get back and play again. But as far as duets go and playing a show, the performance at the Golden Gods Awards with Marilyn Manson is definitely one that I will never forget.

HAPPEE: What were some of the wildest memories you have touring with your band?
Taylor: Well, the wildest ones are the ones I can’t tell you. But as far as shows go and the thing I will say… and allow to be printed, there was a time when we were in a Paris when I was the face for a perfume by John Galliano. He had the band perform. We played on a truck in the streets of Paris, and we tweeted the address an hour before. Thousands of people showed up – like three thousand people. They swarmed the streets. They shut down the main street in Paris for four miles, and we played on a truck, like, three songs… Getting off the truck and getting into the event itself was chaos. It was a really, really cool experience. Thousands of people on the main street, that they literally blocked-off and barricaded with police so that we could pull-up in a truck and play an impromptu concert that was announced an hour beforehand… it’s one of the coolest thing, ever. And another wild memory is getting off an airplane and landing on an airport in Japan for the first time, and having hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of fans and people standing there excited to see you and, you know, coming to your show – seeing these fans for the first time and having such a mass-acceptance and adoration… it was mind-blowing. We just got off the plane, and we’ve been travelling for sixteen, seventeen hours, getting off the plane (I was like, half asleep) and all these fans are going “Oh my god, I love you!”. It’s the most incredible feeling in the world. It’s so hard to describe.

HAPPEE: What do you love most about being in a band – the songwriting process or the live performances?
Taylor: I think it’s just being able to create and play music; either being in a studio or playing live, or anytime I get to sing, perform, write or play – just to create music – I am the happiest when I’m doing that, and I am very lucky that I am able to do that. I feel very fortunate that I am able to do that. And being able to do that as a career, and not just hobby, is amazing to me.

HAPPEE: You said that the title of your song “Hit Me Like a Man…’ has drawn some expected criticism, and claimed that it’s just really an expression of pain and pleasure. Can you elaborate on the pleasure aspect of this phrase?
Taylor: Well the line it’s “Hit Me Like A Man and Love Me Like a Woman”. When you just say the title “Hit Me Like a Man”, it takes the aspect of the song away from it. I think you can’t have love without hate, or you can’t have pain without pleasure. I think opposites attract… I think that that’s what the song is kind of saying – it’s all about perspective and elaborating the idea of opposites: you can’t love someone without hating them entirely. Love comes with hate, hate comes with love, pain comes with pleasure, and pleasure comes with pain. The ideas crossing is too drastic. Emotions and ideas… whether it’s physical or emotional pain versus pleasure, it doesn’t matter. Crossing these ideas is a very interesting thing… it can’t existe without the other.

HAPPEE: If you were to choose any TPR song to best represent you, which track would that be and why?
Taylor: I would say probably “Make Me Wanna Die”. I mean, it’s hard to pick one because the entire record is very representative of my drastic times. And now we’re creating a new record which is moving-on from that, and it’s different in a lot of ways. But if I had to pick a song that I think kinda defines me as an artist on that record, Light Me Up, it’ll probably be “Make Me Wanna Die”.

HAPPEE: When can we expect your second full-length album out?
Taylor: We’re currently in the studio recording and writing. We are aiming for next year, in the fall – late fall. I’m taking the proper time to make it, you know? The way I-

HAPPEE: Who takes the lead role in the song-writing process?
Taylor: I write all the songs. I write them with our guitar player, Ben. I would say that I’m at the forefront of the songwriting. It’s a very collaborative process – I write most of the lyrics and a lot of everything, but Ben is the guitar player and there’s a lot of collaboration: he learns something from me and I learn from him. It’s a very collaborative process.

HAPPEE: What is your long term vision for The Pretty Reckless?
Taylor: To make better records, that’s my long term vision… To keep making records – consistently make records and consistently tour. And make sure that the current record is better than the last…

HAPPEE: You are headlining the first annual Bazooka Rocks in the Philippines and you are billed above all these international artists, some of whom have been around longer than The Pretty Reckless. How do you feel about this?
Taylor: We’re very, very honored and excited to be headlining the festival. I’m amazed by it. When we found out that we are headlining a festival in the Philippines, I felt that it would be an experience of a lifetime I can’t wait to experience Bazooka Rocks – I’m so excited. I don’t really know what to say, other than I can’t wait, and that I’m honored to be the headliner of this festival.

HAPPEE: What can your fans in the Philippines expect from your performance?
Taylor: A really loud, rowdy, mouthy, rock and roll show. I hope there’s a very, very high energy. I hope anyone who comes to the show is ready to get fuckin’ down and dirty. It’s rock and roll all the way. This is what makes it fun to play every day – you never really know what to expect from a show. Leave your parents at home.

HAPPEE: Do you do any special rituals before hitting the stage?
Taylor: We don’t have any handshakes or anything, like a lot of bands do. I think my ritual is I smoke a cigarette, I put on my shoes, and walk out on stage. That’s pretty much it. Haha.

HAPPEE: You have an expensive collection of ragdolls. How many do you actually have and do you travel with them?
Taylor: I don’t travel with them, but I do have a very expensive doll collection. I sell ragdolls, and have some of them made, but my entire collection isn’t just ragdolls: I also have a very expensive collection of porcelain dolls, and other different dolls… I’ve gotten one from every country I’ve been to. The doll collection has gotten very large, over a hundred now. I had to put them all in my tiny New York apartment. I’m running out of rooms. It’s very interesting: everyone has a story, you know, and I look at every doll the same way: each has its own experience that comes with it, when I was in that certain county. And now, I have something to remind me about it. I don’t take photos so I look at the dolls.

HAPPEE: Any message to your fans?
Taylor: It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me, and I am so excited to go there and go fuckin’ crazy… and make it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for YOU! PULP.

PULP: Favorite type food?
Taylor: Pretzels and cream cheese from Taco Bell

PULP: Favorite drink?
Taylor: Vodka. Vodka…. Anything.

PULP: Who is the one person you always go to when you get in trouble?
Taylor: My lawyer.

PULP: What would you do if you were given a million dollars?
Taylor: I’d give it away. I’d give it to people who need it more than me.

PULP: What song would describe how you are feeling right now?
Taylor: Kim Richey’s song, “A Place Called Home”.


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