Interview The Like

Speaking in the girl’s loos of London’s 100 Club, bassist Charlotte Froom talks famous dads, fanzines and snogging Har Mar Superstar

Los Angeles all-girl troupe The Like are about as ‘Fake DIY’ as it gets. Speaking in the girl’s loos of London’s 100 Club, bassist Charlotte Froom talks famous dads, fanzines and snogging Har Mar Superstar

Do you miss the sun and sea when you’re over in the UK?
C: I don’t really miss the sea, I don’t really go to the beach a lot because I’m afraid of water, but I do miss the sun because I’m very affected by the weather. I feel like all English people are as well because it’s all they talk about. When it’s a really sunny day and I wake up and I can walk outside I am much happier. But I do love it here.

Yeah, it’s not been the best weather today to welcome you back…
C: We came here last week and it was very, very sunny. We were just here for press.

How do you feel doing interviews?
C: I’m used to it. Last time we were here, about two months ago, we had like 15 interviews in one day.

I’ve never been to LA - what’s the rock scene like there?
C: LA is a lot different than London as far as that goes because here there are very specific scenes with bands that sound alike, but in LA there are scenes of just people that are friends and their friends. The same people go to see all the same bands. But it’s LA, so what do you expect? It’s just a mix of everyone from different places. It’s weird.

Did you find it difficult to get signed, a, because there are so many bands in LA and b, because you are an all-female group?
C: We never really tried to get signed. We’d been together for three years when we did and we were playing, like, millions of shows in LA and put out a bunch of our own EPs and we were being played on local radio stations, so by the time we got signed we were ready to get signed. It wasn’t that difficult because we had such a buzz going in LA. I think, in a way, being a girl makes some things easier, like, for example, they’re like, ‘ooh three young girls, they’re young, we’ve gotta sign them right now’, but at the same time, in America, they don’t know what radio station we can be played on because no one plays any female artists except for the Top 40. It’s modern rock; they have no girls except for Evanescence and Hole!

Do you sometimes find it frustrating then, being in a girl band?
C: It is annoying, but there are good things and bad things.

What’s the best thing about it?
C: That’s hard. I guess probably the best thing is that we are completely different from every other band right now. And also, maybe we’ll inspire some young girls to do something. But I don’t know, that’s very difficult. I’ve never been a boy; I’ve never been in a boy band!

Have you experienced much sexism or ageism from the industry since you’ve been together?
C: There’s definitely sexism but you know, I understand why. It’s because how many female bands have been around in the past fifteen years, even thirty years? Really not very many. It’s difficult, especially as we’re all girls and not just a female singer. It is weird, guys just don’t know what to expect when they see photos of us - they think that we can’t be a band and we can’t be for real. They think that we must have been made by a record label or something, but we’re not manufactured.

I guess people are going to be particularly sceptical because of your fathers’ positions?
[Charlotte’s father is famed producer Michael Froom, vocalist Z Berg’s dad signed Beck to The Like’s label Geffen and drummer Tennessee’s old man was once the drummer for Elvis Costello]
C: I think that people make assumptions, which, obviously if you hear that you would assume that’s how we got where we are today, but that’s just not true. We haven’t exploited our connections at all. They haven’t really done much! We like to keep them out of it, because we think to ourselves, we’re teenagers, the nature is to rebel against your parents, not to ask them to make a rock band.

So, no wise words of wisdom from them then?
C: Not really. My dad just calls to make sure that I eat and that’s about it. We’re all vegetarians so… in England it’s a cheese sandwich for us. But eating before a show always makes me feel so tired.

Was it a conscious decision not to have any guys in the band or has it just happened that way?
C: Well in the very beginning, one of our [guy] friends was playing guitar with us. The there of us came together and started playing and we did two shows with him, but then the lead singer of his band got really angry ‘cause he was skipping their band practices for ours. We didn’t ever think about it really, it just sorta happened.

No hardcore feminist streak then?
C: No, we’re not like that. We love boys. We would’ve had a male guitarist as well if he hadn’t have been taken away.

So are you excited about playing with Har Mar Superstar’s new band Sean Na Na tonight?
C: Har Mar is a friend of ours from LA, so when we heard that he could open for us we were like ‘of course!’

Would you snog him?
C: (hysterical laughter) NO! He has a girlfriend on top of everything! He is not my type. I wouldn’t snog him and that is on the record!

Tell me about your fanzine. Is it something you did before you were signed?
C: Actually, our label wanted us to do it because I guess, all English bands do it, it’s cool, so we were like ‘oh okay we’ll do it’ and we put something together. So it wasn’t really our idea, but I think it’s definitely a good thing. We’ve already made another one; it should be printed by now…

Are you going to hand them out at shows?
C: We should do but I don’t know where they are. I guess they put it out in bars and clubs and stuff.

I see, ‘cause when I saw that fanzine I thought that you were part of some sort of DIY scene in LA…
C: No. But all our EPs in the beginning were handmade, so that was very DIY but no, we’re not part of a DIY scene really.

Your album came out two months ago in the UK, are you happy with the way it was received over here?
C: You know, I don’t really keep track of how many records we sell or whatever happens, all I really see is, you know, is that it’s more than I ever expected. I don’t really have many expectations though.

I think a lot of critics found it hard to coin your sound, so how would you describe your album in three words?
C: I. Don’t. Know. Yeah, I’m really quick off the mark!

So what’s next for The Like? Are you playing any festivals?
C: We’re playing, Reading and Leeds and I’m what I’m really looking forward to Wireless, because we’re playing with The Strokes and Belle and Sebastian and The Raconteurs and Dirty Pretty Things, so I think that’s going to be the main thing. The only bands that are playing on the stage that we’re playing on are all the amazing big bands – it’ll be quite a show!

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