Across their first two albums, Los Angeles duo Harmony Tividad and Cleo Tucker were disarmingly honest as they navigated all the ups and downs of growing up and trying to find their place amongst a world in flux.
Now approaching their third Girlpool full-length – following a string of top-notch tunes in 2018, including a collab with Dev Hynes – the pair return with an enviable confidence. “Cleo and I are breathing new life into our own voices,” explains Harmony.
Hey Harmony, Cleo, how have you found the year-and-a-half since your last album, ‘Powerplant’? Is everything okay in the Girlpool camp?
Harmony:Every period is a growing period no matter what – whatever I am doing, and however I am feeling, I find myself constantly being required to grow into myself more and more.
Cleo: A lot has happened, we’ve done a lot of travelling and moved back home to LA since it’s come out.
You’ve described it as a very transitional time for you guys, how did that impact ‘What Chaos Is Imaginary’? Was there much starting over as your thoughts, feelings or circumstances changed?
Harmony: I find myself coming into parts of myself I never thought I would. I can’t tell if this is growing up or just regular growth. Parts of myself I rejected for so long are being nurtured and strengthened, and I am learning to love new parts in myself.
Cleo: There wasn’t much starting over, Harmony and I knew the songs we wanted on this record by the time we were recording and arranging the tracks. I think this transitional period of Girlpool is reflected sonically on the album; there is different energy going song to song.
You dropped a lot of singles in 2018, did the reactions to the songs help shape the album at all?
Cleo:I wouldn’t say so!
How did you come to team up with Dev Hynes on ‘Picturesong’? Was it one you already had kicking about, or did you write it especially for the collab?
Cleo: We all wanted to make something together, so we just fucked around with something Harmony had already been working on.
How come it didn’t make the album?
Harmony: It just felt representative of a different time.
Cleo: We made that track before we started arranging and imagining the album.
What is it that marks out ‘What Chaos Is Imaginary’ as a step on from your previous work?
Harmony: Cleo and I are breathing new life into our own voices and also helping uplift each other’s, rather than it being a project of unison I feel like now it has truly bloomed into one of mutual support. These songs are songs we each wrote separately, and we worked together to record and arrange. It feels really good to turn this new page and begin to embrace all creative aspects and essences in ourselves in this record.
Cleo: I think this album is more explorative and imaginary. It’s the first record Harmony, and I have made that is a collection of songs we have built separately from each other. Our collaborations happened mostly in production.
It must feel weird going from being teenagers to adults in the public eye. Are you more adept at dealing with the ins and outs of band life now, or were you always pretty savvy?
Harmony: It was very weird. I think we really had no idea what we were doing and the whole uprising of Girlpool as a project was very shocking.
Cleo: I look forward to disappearing on tour for a couple of months here and there… sometimes it does cause me to feel a bit disassociated from my home life. I think because I started to tour at a young and I now feel unbalanced without space away from home and with the music.
How aware are you of having a spotlight on what you do and say?
Harmony: I am not aware.
Have you been affected by the cynicism that can come with growing up and becoming more aware of the world around you?
Harmony: I feel like I wish cynicism could reach me more… I remain so bewildered and curious, sometimes to a fault. Seeing the light in people, while being a positive thing, also has led me to believe in purity and specialness in people that simply aren’t really fully that (though they may possess some qualities of that). I definitely have aspects of my personality that are jaded and aware, but I also find myself to be very tender.
Cleo: No, I don’t think so at all!
Has what it means to be in a band changed during your time in Girlpool, do you think? It seems like there’s much more pressure now to speak out on socio-political issues.
Harmony: I don’t know what it means to be in a “band” — it is such an amorphous term and can embody so many different relationships. However, I do feel that the most important thing for any living creature to do is to speak out to help others – regardless of any circumstance.
Cleo: It is always important to be aware and active within your own privilege of having a platform.
What are you excited about at the mo?
Harmony: I’m excited for the new music to come out, I’m excited to explore new ways to express. Expression for me feels like a way out of our body’s constraints that we don’t get to experience with our cognitive mind. It really is such a pleasure that we get to explore this metaphysical creative reality – it is truly unbelievable and so sacred.
Cleo: I’m excited to continue making music and share it with those who feel it too.
Taken from the February 2019 issue of Dork, out now. Girlpool’s album ‘What Chaos Is Imaginary’ is out 1st February.
Words: Sam Taylor