Impacter Brian Garcia got the chance to talk with Christopher Owens, lead singer of Girls before their show at the Magic Stick in Detroit, discussing the scene in San Francisco, the sound of their new album, and just why they call themselves something so generic.
Impact: Was it a conscious effort to name the band and album something so generic you couldn’t find it if you searched Google?
Christopher Owens: No, the two things were done probably a year apart from each other. Both times we weren’t really think of anything like that. We liked the name Girls for the band, and that’s the only reason we picked it. And Album, we didn’t have a title for the album. A lot of bands for their first album is self-titled of somehow the debut of, we just didn’t give it a title.
I: I realize it is conveinent to think of music in scenes or waves, but there is a newer wave of pop music that sounds like it comes from California. Even if the band isn’t from California at all, like Real Estate.
CO: We don’t feel connected, like Real Estate are friends of ours, we did a tour together. I think in order for there to be a scene, there would probably be more going between all of us. And we just feel like that, we’ve been touring so much we’re just self absorbed. Every once in a while, we tour with a band we really like, Dum Dum Girls, the Smith Westerns or Real Estate. I wish there was some cool scene, but I just don’t know if there is.
I: Do you feel like there is a scene in San Francisco?
CO: Yeah, San Francisco’s really small. So the music scene is bascially every band in town. [In San Francisco] all the bands are friends with each other, the garage rock bands, punk bands, and weird bands like us. Everybody is really close.
I: Does that extend to other Bay Area cities?
CO: Oakland has some bands coming in and out, like Hungston is Punks. I don’t know what’s going on with Berkeley, I think just all the people are going to college there. There are a lot of cities around San Francisco I never hear about, Marin County, all these cool and nice places. If there is music going on, they don’t play out or anything.
I: Knowing your background [Christopher was raised into a Children of God cult, where he escaped at age 16], do you find it easy to cultivate something like that.
CO: It’s fun for me, before I was even in a band I was hanging out with those people. I think people do that naturally, you feed off each other’s energy in that way.
I: There is a certain honesty and directness to your songwriting, do you feel it is easier to do that within the frame of pop music?
CO: I think pop music is a good format for that kind of thing because you can hear them, a lot of times in a metal band you don’t really know what they are saying. They could be saying the exact same thing as me, but when you play clean or kind of catchy music the lyrics stand out a little bit more. Country music is the same kind of idea. And the only reason I write simple lyrics like that is cause I can’t do anything else. I’m not that smart, I don’t have a big vocabulary, I’m not very poetic or anything. The song are just casual conversations.
I: What is the next record going to sound like? I was reading that you guys originally wanted orhcestral arrangements with string sections on your debut album.
CO: We think a lot about recording, ‘cause we don’t get to on tour. I don’t think it’ll be a complete 180. But we might do some stuff like that, but I think it’ll be a step towards that direction.
I: What else is next for you guys? Festivals this summer?
CO: We’re doing a lot of fesitvals in the summer, mainly in Europe, Japan too. We’ve been touring nonstop for the past year. So the next thing we’d like to do is go home and record after playing Coachella.