As if 2015 – the year in which Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker are to release their debut album and take it around the world on tour – wasn’t going to be big and transitionary enough for Girlpool, the two Los Angeles-bred friends decided to kick it off by relocating to the other side of America.
Since moving to Philadelphia at the beginning of January, Tividad and Tucker’s debut ‘Before The World Was Big’ has been completed, polished and recorded by Kyle Gilbride of Swearin’, and is due for release in June. Speaking on the phone during a gruelling car journey from their new home to New Mexico, where they begin an extensive tour with new Philly neighbours Waxahatchee, the pair are trying to take all this change in their stride.
“We thought it’d be cool to try something different,” explains Tucker. “It’s not a complete jump into the unknown, as we’ve met a lot of people from this area previously while on tour, so we knew it would be a positive move for us before we actually did it. It’s hard to fit straight into an established scene when you’re moving across a whole country, but we’ve met a lot of brilliant people and have been made to feel very welcome.”
While the final two songs from ‘Before The World Was Big’ were finished in the week of their arrival in Pennsylvania, Tividad soon plays down the influence of geography. “I feel like, with Cleo and I, there’s always a similar tempo and route to our songwriting, regardless of circumstance or location.”
The group’s debut EP, released on Wichita in November of last year, was lauded for its painfully personal, honest lyricism, and while Tividad and Tucker can pick out differences between the release and the upcoming full-length, its honesty is something they hope they have recreated. “Harmony and I’s relationship is always changing and evolving, but the intention is always the same, which is to be present and honest with each other. We feel the album shows a change of emotional taste, representative of the growth Cleo and I have experienced emotionally before and during the writing of the album. I couldn’t pinpoint one reason for any change that comes about in our lyrics, it’s a combination of everything that’s happened to us inside and outside of this band.”
Addressing any potential pressure they may be feeling ahead of the album on the back of such a successful debut release, the pair cite only one reason to feel nervous. “The only thing that matters is internal fulfilment. The catharsis is very real.”
The pair constantly finish off each other’s points, consistently on the same wavelength, weaving in and out of conversation. It’s a sign of a duo who, although constantly changing and evolving, are tackling everything together. “In the past, there was a little bit more in the way of us bringing separate ideas to the table that were more developed, but currently we almost exclusively work together”, explains Tucker. “Within the past eight or so months, the writing process has become intensely collaborative”, finishes Tividad. “But it’s taken us time to get to that point with each other.”
"Harmony and I’s relationship is always changing and evolving, but the intention is always the same, which is to be present and honest with each other."
— Cleo Tucker
Since meeting, forming and playing their first shows in Los Angeles’ DIY scene, Girlpool has taken the pair all around the world on tour, including two trips to the UK inside the last six months. “We were overwhelmed by the hospitality of everyone, and that we were asked back so soon after playing here. Being so far away from home stirs something up in us internally, and helps us explore other parts of ourselves which come out when we’re out of our comfort zone and somewhere unfamiliar.” After playing their first UK show in support of Alex G in November, the pair then headlined (and sold out) London’s Lexington in February, with two more shows in the capital set for June, and a regional tour to follow in September. “To be asked to play anywhere other than LA was amazing for a while, and now we’ll have been to Europe four times in a year!”
“We’re constantly taking in our environment in a way that’s very absorbing. We’re like sponges! We’re constantly talking about our experiences in our songs, and I don’t think anything that we do can be ruled out from potentially forming ideas for new songs. Everything is happening around us and we’re always conscious of every last bit.” With countless months of touring ahead after they roll into New Mexico, Girlpool are set for countless new experiences to soak up and ring out into whatever comes next.
Taken from the June 2015 issue of DIY, out now. Girlpool’s new album ‘Before The World Was Big’ is out now via Wichita Recordings.