Tamaryn On Girl Power, Psychedelics & Making The Record Of Her Dreams
All eyes are on our latest girl crush, Tamaryn. While deservedly grabbing attention with her band’s dreamy psych-pop on Tender New Signs and even her creative direction on the Dum Dum Girls‘ latest album – Tamaryn is just reaching the pinnacle of her career. Cranekiss, out this August, is the record she “wanted to make for many years” and a record we truly needed. We caught up on Carson Creek Ranch at Austin Psych Fest before her stunning late night performance to chat about her upcoming LP, plus we got some insight into the life of being a boss with a badass girl gang.
Who would be in your ultimate girl gang?
I already have a bit of a girl gang, I always have. Personally, for as long as I’ve been into music, I’ve been predominately into female musicians. I was raised on Kate Bush, I started music because of being inspired by ladies like Lydia Lunch and Siouxsie Sioux. In this time, since I’ve been playing music, most bands I’ve liked, has had a women involved. It’s really funny when people say, “what’s it like being in a female band?” or make it seem like a minority situation. It really doesn’t feel like it to me, considering the people I know personally making the best records are usually women.
We have a female drummer and a bass player now actually – Our bass player Jennie Vee is out playing on the Lana Del Rey and Courtney Love tour right now. I would also say Bethany from Best Coast. I love her new record and she’s just a total inspiration and boss. She’s authentically herself and has grown increasingly has an artist with each record. She’s been a really good friend to have in my life. Someone who has always been open and unapologetically themselves but also completely taking over. Obviously, Dum Dum Girls – I’ve worked with them for creative direction stuff. I think Dee Dee is really talented. The Black Ryder, who’s about to play, the lead singer and guitar player is this woman Aimee Nash, she’s one of my best friends and our bands have sort of evolved around the same time.
Let’s talk more about that Courtney Love/Lana Del Rey tour – we’re incredibly excited. Tell us about your love for Lana and your favorite moments from the queen.
I think people are going to look back and say Lana Del Rey was one of the most important artists of our time. It’s really interesting to me that she gets this misunderstood or frowned upon reputation. People have called her inauthentic but I find her to be one of the most authentic artists around. She’s mysterious and she’s weird but she’s completely original. There’s no one else making the songs she’s making and I think she’s flawless…I saw her play at the Hollywood Cemetery and I cried a lot. My favorite song on the last record is definitely “Cruel World”. It’s like Roy Orbison or something: it’s a classic, incredible song.
Tell me about your upcoming record, Cranekiss. Why is this one special for you?
This is a record I’ve wanted to make for many years. Shaun Durkan, my new bandmate, and I were working on some of the demos for this album even before I was writing my last album Tender New Signs. It’s been a long time coming and I’m really proud of it. Jorge Elbrecht, who produced the album had been in several bands I love over the years like Lansing Dreiden and Violens plus he produced the last Ariel Pink record. He’s been a hero of mine since the early 2000’s and was someone I’ve wanted to work with for a really long time. It was a really pleasurable experience because all three of us have a ton of different influences as well as a lot of common ground. When we came together it just felt really natural and fluid. I love my old records and my relationship with my old bandmate Rex is something I hold near and dear to my heart. We just both wanted to do different things. People say “creative differences” and it really was that. I had a vision of what I wanted to do and I figured out how to do it, essentially. it exceeded what I thought I could achieve so I feel very good. It’s sort of a synthesis of everything I love in one.
What are some of those things you love that made it into the record?
OK, well for instance, we just put out the single, “Hands All Over Me”. It’s the only song like it on the record. It’s the most traditionally pop, upbeat song but if you listen to it you can tell specific elements I’m paying homage to: a bit of My Bloody Valentine Isn’t Anything in the beginning then there’s a bit of “True Blue” Madonna song happening. My voice just sounded like that and it wasn’t premeditated, it just happened. That song in particular is a mix of where I come from and the things I love with sort of being ambitious and trying to go into a territory of songwriting I’ve never approached before. Later on the record, we might reference anything from Nine Inch Nails, Prefab Sprout, Freur, Art of Noise to Slowdive; it’s really all over the place. Nothing was off limits.
What about crushes – who would you be down to put their ‘hands all over’ you.
At this festival? I don’t really have any crushes here except maybe Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream. But honestly my crushes are not so much about being with them but wanting to be them. There’s a really good Courtney Love quote where she says, “Do not hurt yourself, destroy yourself, mangle yourself to get the football captain. Be the football captain.” I’d rather live my life by that motto.
Given that we’re at Psych Fest – what’s the weirdest trip you’ve ever had?
I’ve taken a good share of psychedelics in my life. I went to Joshua Tree a couple summers ago with my friend. We took a bunch of psychedelics and I had the Carl Jung “The Red Book” and I went into this adobe house – I think it’s one of those team building places obviously made to take psychedelics. It had all esoteric books and games. I was looking at the Red Book and I had this vision where these ancient mystics came out of the ceiling at me. It was intense.
Interview & Film Portraits by: Shannon Kurlander