Cleo Tucker, left, and Harmony Tividad are Girlpool. (Courtesy Allyssa Yohana)

Girlpool musicians thrive on intensity


Roches-rustic outfit Girlpool – guitarist-vocalist Cleo Tucker and bassist-vocalist Harmony Tividad – didn’t set out to track their debut “Before the World Was Big” as a drum-less duo. They just gradually whittled other possible musicians out of the equation. It started when they met in Los Angeles three years ago, and immediately got into a deep discussion about Conor Oberst’s music, both in and out of Bright Eyes. “We were jamming with some other people, but we just found that we shared a really similar intention that we wanted to explore, without any other factors,” says Tividad.


In the album title track, you’re leaving your house at 7:45 in the morning. Where were you going?

Cleo Tucker: I was going to school. To high school, and studying everything, all the good stuff. And I got into studying music for a long time in high school, but I took a music theory class, and it made me really sad and it freaked me out. But mainly, I just wanted to play music, so I started getting distracted toward the end of high school, because the only thing I cared about was writing songs.

What was so scary about music theory?

CT: Well, I actually was good at it. But it just really broke my heart, just thinking about music in that way. Harmony knows a lot of theory, and some people can really use it and apply it, and it can be really helpful. But I don’t see it like that. I remember we had to write a song and record it, write the music out on paper and bring in the sheet of music to class. So I did, and my teacher played mine on the class computer, and said – in front of everyone – that it belonged in a ‘60s porno. That was probably one of my, uh, less-better school days.

Is that why you simplified things with Girlpool?

Harmony Tividad
: Well, our goal was just to do whatever felt good. And sometimes our music is complicated, and sometimes it’s really simple. But Cleo and I always felt really drawn to each other because we have a similar intensity, and we like to think about things in a specific way and seriously discuss our ideas together.

Do you always pal around together? Even on tour?
CT: Yeah. We hang out almost every day. We hang out a lot. And visiting places on tour together is real cool, real special. And we both carry around notebooks, We heavily journal. And this past year on tour, Harmony and I have both been drawing, making art in those journals, too. And it’s fun to share that kind of stuff with each other whenever we’re journaling.

IF YOU GO
Girlpool
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St., S.F.
When: 9 p.m. Oct. 24
Tickets: $16
Contact: (415) 522-0333, www.slimspresents.com

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