Chromewaves The rolling party known as NXNE 2012 is now done. The…
- Posted on Aug 14th 2012 3:00PM by Shauna Farnell
When asked how working with her sister is different than working with other musicians, Jennifer says, "for one thing, with my sister, I know we're forever. If we get in a disagreement, I know it'll be fine. But you know, when you fight with a friend sometimes you're like, 'Is this the end of our friendship?'"
As for disagreements, there aren't many between the Clavins. The two argued more when they played together in their previous band, Mika Miko, which broke up in 2009 due to other bandmates pursuing college studies.
"We were younger then," Jennifer says. "All sisters argue when they're younger."
Bleached, born in 2010, consists of Jennifer and Jessica, Jonathan Safley and Sara Jean Stevens. The gritty garage-punk act that is not unlike the Ramones on estrogen, is now up to six songs on three 7-inch records. They are very close to nailing down the label that will produce their first full-length album, for which about 13 demos are ready to go. Each of Bleached's tunes so far has manifested in the same way. Jennifer starts it, writing the lyrics and drawing the basic outline of the harmony, and Jessica finishes it.
"We just get each other really well with music. I'll write the bass for a song and she'll write all the guitar parts that are really good and exactly what I wanted," Jennifer says. "I don't even have to say anything. It's never a question. It's so awesome having that."
The Clavins have had similar tastes for a long time. Even the name Bleached stems from their shared tendencies.
"I was driving with my ex-boyfriend and I was like, 'I want a really cool name that could really look cool in print.' He was like, 'You and your sister are always bleaching your hair and your jean jackets,' Jennifer recalls. "We were thinking, hmm ... Bleach. But that is so Nirvana. So we decided on Bleached."
But bleached hair and jean jackets are just the beginning. As children, they both went through a horse phase -- as evidenced in the "Searching Through the Past" video -- and both went through a stint of vegetarianism, Jessica's lasting about four years and Jennifer's lasting about 10, and having just recently ended.
"I eat so much bacon now," she enthuses.
Although it's common for a younger sister to follow in an older sister's footsteps, Jennifer says this has never been the case with Jessica.
"We were on our own pages in high school," she says. "We both had separate friends. Toward the end of high school we realized we were into the same music. We were always sisters, but my friends became her friends. We'd go to a lot of shows all together as a group. In a way, she's always been her own self -- she's such a Leo like that. There were times I'd find a really cool band, then someone would have a T-shirt on and pretend they got into them first. But Jessie was never like that. I feel like we both just got into different bands. I was into Black Flag, she was into the Germs. We always had our own bands."
Jennifer and Jessica don't live together in L.A. but they are just a few miles apart. In addition to rocking out and writing music, they like thrift store shopping. When asked how often they hang out when they're not touring, Jennifer says it's a few times per week ... then thinks again.
"Well, I guess, OK. Yeah. I feel like we do hang out every day."
Of course the sisters love each other, but they don't make a big show of their affection.
"I remember reading that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen will squeeze three times to say I love you. We're not like that," Jennifer says. "But we're close. We hug and stuff."
One thing Jennifer will never understand is how certain people perceive sisterly relationships.
She poses the example of their first 7-inch album cover, taken from a photo book of what she describes are "stills from weird foreign films." The image on the record depicts one woman with her hand between another woman's legs.
"People are always like, 'Is that you guys?'" Jennifer says. "I basically say, 'Um, no. We don't touch each others' vaginas.'"
If ever there were a question of how much love they share, one should have been witness to the events that unfolded at the afterparty for the 4 Knots Music Festival in New York a few weeks ago. Jennifer was tackled by security guards, apparently for attempting to carry a bottle of booze outside.
"It was like 15 security guards and me," Jennifer says. "They were on some fucked-up power trip. My sister was fighting them. My friends took me outside and I was like, 'Where's Jessie?' Someone said she was in there choking out one of the security guards."
How punk rock. And on it goes. Bleached wouldn't continue in such fiery momentum if it weren't for the sisters' intense, heartfelt and sometimes telepathic connection.
"I feel like I wouldn't be playing music if I didn't have that with my sister," Jennifer says. "I really feel like we complete each other's music situation."