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Jennifer Clavin talks Mika Miko, Cold Cave and new band Bleached

Courtesy Photo

When L.A.’s post-punk darlings Mika Miko disbanded in 2009, front woman Jennifer Clavin was left disenchanted with music and pursued furthering her education in the world of fashion design before joining forces with east coast synthpoppers, Cold Cave.

After relocating to New York and touring with Cold Cave for most of 2010, Clavin recently left the band and returned to Los Angeles where she’s teamed up with her sister Jessica to form the fuzzed out duo known as Bleached. In her first interview since leaving Cold Cave, Clavin opened up about her experience living in New York and what fans can expect to see on Bleached’s inaugural west coast tour which kicks off Friday night at Soda Bar in City Heights.

How long have you been writing songs as Bleached?
Jennifer Clavin: Me and my sister started writing songs right when we realized we weren’t going to do Mika Miko anymore. So that was late 2009. We thought we were going to be able to just start Bleached right away but then other things happened. So now we have a lot of songs that actually aren’t recorded yet.

You said that kind of ominously. What sort of other things happened?
JC: I joined this other band Cold Cave. So I was in that for a year. We were trying to do Bleached and I was trying to do Cold Cave at the same time so I moved to New York for a little bit, but then it just wasn’t working because I really missed playing my own music and with Cold Cave I just sang.

How did you like living in New York City?
JC: At first I loved it there; before I moved there when I was just visiting. Then I decided to move there and I really did not like it. The weather change is so hard to get used to. I liked being able to drive places, because I feel like in L.A. your car is almost a way to get away from things and to just zone out and listen to music. In New York I didn’t have that, and just dealing with all the people really stressed me out. But then after a year of being there, I came back to L.A. and I was like, ‘Fuck now I really miss New York.’ So I was trying to figure out if there’s an in between kind of place, but I think it’s one or the other.

When did you move back to Los Angeles?
JC: I literally just moved back two months ago.

Do you live with your sister?
JC: No my sister lives in Highland Park, and then I’m currently trying to get this place in Echo Park.

So far Bleached has only played one show before your gig Friday night at Soda Bar.
JC: Yeah, I feel like this will be our first real show in a club where people will hopefully be dancing. I love San Diego; I’m so excited to come.

Who exactly is the Bleached lineup?
JC: Writing-wise it’s just me and my sister and then we have different people play drums for us. But performing-wise it’s me, my sister; both on guitar, both signing, then we have our friends playing bass and drums. Our drummer was actually this guy that was in this hardcore band called Hit Me Back.

How long will your set at Soda Bar be?
JC: I think we’re going to play nine or ten songs.

So that’s like a 40-45 minute set.
JC: Well we timed it and it was like 30 minutes. It’s funny because in Mika Miko all our songs were so short, but then this band, our songs are like two and half to three minutes so I’m actually kind of confused on how the set only lasted 30 minutes.

When is the Bleached Art Fag 7” coming out?
JC: That doesn’t come out until July 19.

Do you know how many copies they’re going to press?
JC: I don’t know, I kind of feel like it’s going to be 500.

You have a handful of dates after your show at Soda Bar, do you have any expectations for this first tour?
JC: I’m just excited to get back and start playing my own bands’ music. It was just so fun doing that before and I kind of thought after Mika Miko ended that I didn’t want to do music anymore. But then once I started playing with Cold Cave I realized how much I missed writing and performing my own songs. It’s just the most fun I could ever have is playing my own music live.

If you weren’t a musician what career would you have pursued?
JC: Well when I did quit music for a second I started going to school for fashion. So I feel like I’d be sewing.

Where did you go, FIDM?
JC: No I was just going to Pasadena City College fashion department. But that was for the smallest amount of time. Also, I like to sew bags in my spare time so I’m starting to make more bags again.

Do you have an ETSY account?
JC: No I don’t but I’m planning on it.

So what’s the plan, are you guys going to release an EP or are you ready to record your debut full length?
JC: Our plan right now is to do a 7”. Do you know the label PPM?

Yeah that’s Dean from No Age’s label.
JC: Dean’s going to do our third 7” on PPM, and I think it’s just going to be two covers that we’re going to do. And then in September our friend Rob Barbato wants to record a bunch of our songs for a full length.

When are you hoping to release the first Bleached album?
JC: I don’t really know yet. I feel like it will be early next year, because if we’re recording in September then I’m guessing early next year or maybe the middle of next year.

Does Bleached have a message for the children?
Jennifer Clavin: Do as much drinking and drugs while you’re young to get it out of your system.

Bleached perform at Soda Bar Friday, June 17 with Hunx and His Punx.