Sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin compose Bleached, a feisty and fierce pop punk band from L.A. that always packs a punch and surprises listeners.

Preparing for the interview, the catchy disco-inspired songs on their latest album, Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough, quickly got stuck in my head, singing them to myself for weeks after. Just released on July 12th, the new record features the hit single “Hard to Kill,” which is an anthem of confidence, perseverance, and creativity that only the Clavin sisters could inspire. This pop punk album transports listeners to an era of endlessly fun dance parties while still including that emotional vulnerability that we’ve come to know and love of them. And fun and emotionally deep really does sum up these sisters, as I found out during my hour-long phone interview on a hot June evening.

 

 

What does punk mean to you?

Jen – That’s a hard one because I feel like I could say a thousand things. The reality of what punk means is just being myself and not really giving a fuck what anyone thinks, and also standing up for what I believe in… Because that can go so many ways – punk can be music, an attitude, a fashion, but I think in the end, it kinda all comes down to not giving a fuck about what people think, and just doing you – to the fullest.

Jessie – When I think of punk, I think of when you double-look at something. You’re like, “Wait, what?” I think when you’re just being yourself, you double-look in your head, because you’re like, “Oh wow, they’re being themselves,” and it’s inspirational. I think punk is kind of being inspirational.

Yeah, if someone else is being themselves, then it looks so cool and badass, and it gives you permission to do it yourself.

Jessie – Yeah, totally. I remember when I was first getting into the Velvet Underground, when I was really young and the vibe of it was so weird – it was the music, it was like screechy violins in some songs, and you would just kind of ‘double-look’ at it, and it just felt so punk to me.

Jen – I love what you said, when someone is just so cool and doing their thing and not caring what anyone thinks about them, that it kinda gives you permission to do that as well. I love those kinds of friends. You know when you’re hanging out with someone like that, and you feel like you can do whatever. You can Thelma & Louise this day. We can rule the world.

 

What keeps you going and motivated?

Jen – I think that can be a struggle at times because if I didn’t think about anything coming up, I can really start letting my thoughts get the best of me… So, I just have to really live in the now and think about what I’m doing right now…. And then, the thought of when we’re actually on tour, sitting in the van, driving to our first show – just that idea of knowing that is coming keeps me super motivated and excited… Being surrounded by these people we really love, and my sister, that’s what keeps me stoked and motivated to keep going.

Jessie – I was just thinking about when I don’t get motivated, is when I start doubting myself, so just channeling this confidence, that can really help, and the confidence I get from the people [around us].

 

Photo Credit: Giraffe Studios

 

Can you talk a bit more how sobriety has changed your life and your music?

Jessie – Well, I feel like sobriety has just been giving me this new chance in life right now, to live life and to be and feel a little bit more free at living life… Sobriety has also been giving me a lot of confidence, and my true inner self is being exposed right now, and trying to be able to walk through some fears.

Jen – I would agree. Sobriety, for me, is just allowing me to be present in my life. I feel like I just didn’t care what would happen to me in the past. I didn’t even know what I was living for, but sobriety is just making me be the best person that I can be, for myself and for everyone around me. It’s giving me a new purpose and it’s a really great gift.

Jessie – A gift that you just keep unwrapping.

Jen – Yeah, totally. And it is hard. It’s not easy. It’s a lot to work through, but it just makes it that much better. It’s all worth it, and the good outweighs the bad… I think being so open about it has helped me because it’s made me be more accountable and makes me know that me sharing my experience can only help somebody else that’s struggling.

 

Where do you draw inspiration from? What’s the writing process like for you?

Jen – I draw inspiration from a lot of different things. A lot of this record is about the past and what it was like. I think, with this record, I was almost putting the past to rest – like this is a lot of crazy stuff that’s happened in the past. But, now we’re here, in the present, being super healthy, so we touch on that too. I take a lot from my personal life and personal experience, as far as lyrics go. Sound-wise… we were saying that we were so inspired by the punk-funk sounds… and also like Motown stuff… And we both really love disco, so we kinda took some stuff out of that too. We incorporated some violin, and what else?

Jessie – Well, we didn’t have an actual trumpet, but we were just layering actual guitars with this pedal, and it just sounds like a trumpet. And, with the sound that that was creating, we just went with this ‘70s vibe where the trumpet comes in and the violins come in and everyone’s dancing.

Jen – I heard once that disco is for people that do cocaine, and I know what it’s like to be on the dance floor at 3 A.M., and you don’t want it to end, and I feel like I was channeling that version of me from the past, for the musical side of this record.

Jessie – There’s nothing wrong with staying up till 3 A.M. and being crazy and dancing, just don’t do it with cocaine.

Jen – And no, I think it’s fine too if that’s your drug of choice, if that’s what you’re doing at that moment in your life because I think everything happens for a reason, So, I’m not trying to shame anyone that still drinks or does drugs at all. Do what you have to do, because I was that person once too, and I had to figure things out for myself, and I had to hit a really hard bottom to then realise that’s not what I wanted…

It’s almost like when you watch a really good movie, like that scene in Boogie Nights, when they break into the house, and the guy is holding the gun and the Asian boy is lighting all those fireworks off, and the main guy in the house is doing so much cocaine and the song is playing, and I can’t even remember what song it is. And, every time I hear that song, I think of that scene, and it’s almost like I’m in that scene; it’s so intense. I kind of want that for when people listen to Bleached songs. I want them to feel like they’re in the song, like it’s a really cool scene in a movie.

 

Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? Artwork

 

I know in the past, Jennifer, you’ve talked about being in an abusive relationship – do you have any advice for if someone or a loved one is in a similar situation and how to move on from it?

Jen – It’s such a tricky and emotionally draining situation to be in for yourself, and I think for the people around you. The thing that sucks is, ultimately, the person being abused has to be the one that wants out. It’s hard because when your family or your friends are watching someone in that situation, you have no control over pulling them out of it and being like, “Hey, look where you’re at.” It has to ultimately be the person in the situation’s decision. For me, my personal experience was because I didn’t really love myself, so I put myself in relationships with people who also didn’t know how to love themselves. That combination is just very deadly, and I think that’s where so much of the abuse comes from – two people who ultimately don’t like themselves living together or trying to be in a relationship, trying to fill their void with the other person who also has their own void. Nothing good is ever going to come of that, unless they’re willing to get therapy.

Some advice I would give, is I’m a true support of therapy, for yourself or your relationship, and I think being able to talk about it and being honest with people – because that’s when it can be really dangerous is when you don’t share with anyone, like friends or family about what’s going on. You can even call anonymous phone numbers and talk to someone you don’t know. I think the more we talk about it, the more honest we’re getting with ourselves, and the more we’ll realise what’s actually happening… I can’t even believe I’m just talking about what used to happen in my abusive relationship like it’s a normal thing… The more you’re honest and open, the more you’ll see what’s happening if you’re not able to face what you’re going through. I think also a big part of it is looking at yourself and being like, “Why am I in this situation right now?” It can be really scary, talking about things I went through… I’m glad I was able to see the light and actually move forward, and now I can look back and be like, “Wow, I’ve really grown a lot from those times.”

Jessie – When you were talking about seeing the light, it just made me think about in those dark times, you just don’t see any other way.

Jen – And just looking at yourself, like, “Why am I staying in a miserable situation?” Like Jess just said, sometimes when you’re in those situations, you don’t see a way out. And that’s why I think my advice is as someone who has made my way out of an abusive relationship and now can look back and realize I was so in the dark and scared and not willing to see my unhealthy behaviour that I was also adding by keeping myself in an abusive relationship.

Jessie – I just kept thinking the one quote, “Misery loves company.”

Jen – Yeah, exactly. Also, after we wrote Welcome to Worms, there were multiple girls that reached out to me and told me they were in abusive relationships. Like one girl told me that she was about to go to court and get a restraining order, which is something I had to do in the past, too. So, just knowing that my experience could be helpful was worth it all – if by being vulnerable, I can help a girl in a scary situation, then I’m happy I helped with that.

 

What do you like to do in your free time? What are you passionate about besides music?

Jessie – I love to bake. I just made the other night these insane donuts with chocolate glaze and sprinkles on them, and they looked so professional. I can imagine when I’m older and retired [to] just open up a bakery [with] low-sugar, gluten-free baking stuff. I feel like what we’re talking about being in the moment, I just can be in the moment when baking.

Jen – I recently, in the last year, bought a house in the mountains and decorated it and have made it a vacation rental, so I realised I’m really passionate about interior design. I had to renovate the bathroom, and I did it with my friend, and Jessie helped a bit too, and I had to do the whole design and furnish the house. Since I’ve been renting it, I’ve gotten so many compliments, like “Who did you get to design this place?” and like one guy was like, “Can I hire you to do my place?” I was like, ‘Is this my new career? Do I have to stop music and become an interior designer?’, but, that’s something I could do as an older woman if I really wanted to.

Jessie – I do have a goal, another passion. I love watching movies, talking about movies, looking them up. One of my goals in life is to make film, or I started now getting into [the idea of] being a part of a mini-series because those seem to be the new thing. I just feel like I need to do something with film one day.

 

What else do you hope to accomplish in the future?

Jen – I guess, eventually, I hope to have a family. I’m single right now and I have been single for maybe like two years now. And I do wanna meet someone who I want to eventually have a kid with and build a family… And, like Jessie was saying, having a bakery, so maybe having a tea shop, because I love drinking tea, maybe having some pottery for sale. That would be the dream old lady.

Jessie – I want be to sell out House of Blues. I also have a goal of, lately I’ve been looking up land for sale, and I would just really, really love to one day have some land with a ranch on it. I love horses… and being able to ride them and take care of them.

 

“Shitty Ballet” Artwork, Photo Credit: Nicky Giraffe

Grab tickets for their upcoming fall tour.

The New Album Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough came out July 12. Get It Now.

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