Cleo Tucker, left, and Harmony Tividad are Girlpool. (Courtesy Gina Canavan)

Girlpool tweaks sound on ‘What Chaos is Imaginary’

Dream pop duo accommodates vocalist’s transition

Before heading out on tour to promote their new release “What Chaos is Imaginary,” Los Angeles dream pop duo Girlpool’s Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad did have to tweak their earlier material for a good reason — to accommodate the lower octave in which Tucker had begun singing since starting the transition from female to male. “It’s definitely different, so we had to reassess our work,” says Tucker, “and Harmony hadn’t even noticed, actually!” Tividad chuckles, adding “I didn’t actually notice until the other day. So I’m just happy that Cleo’s doing Cleo.”

What brought on this change?

Cleo Tucker: Well, when you see anything from the outside after a lot of change, you don’t have any of the experience or actual history to understand the outcome that you’re looking at. I mean, it’s like you see your niece or nephew after seven years, and you’re like, “How the f—- did that happen?” It was the same thing for me. There was all this change happening, but now it’s tangible and in sight. So that it’s visible to people, it feels a little abrupt. And people are suddenly going, “What prompted this change?” But it’s more like when you first get to high school, and you’ve already learned all these lessons from third and fourth grade, so it doesn’t feel as abrupt to me.

Had you felt this way for a long, uncomfortable time?

That’s not really how I felt. It’s so hard to answer that question, because it wasn’t so simple, and everybody has their own truth, their own reasons why. But when you feel aligned with making change in your life, it’s not always linear. So it wasn’t like clarity just came out of the blue. I had complicated feelings about my body and what it communicated, politically. And just what it communicated in general, in being a woman. So there’s a whole head of hair that we’d need to carefully examine if we really wanted to get into it. So this isn’t a general trans story.

Still, it takes a lot of guts to make such a decision.

Yes. But I’m not really in any kind of imminent danger compared to other people. I have a job, and the job is actually to be myself and write music, all while kind of passing as a white male. So in some ways, I’m experiencing more safety than I’ve ever had. So while I agree with you that it takes guts, there is a force out there — a whole lack of encouragement — attempting to do the exact opposite.



Where: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F

When: 8 p.m. April 9

Tickets: $20 to $22

Contact: (415) 771-1421,

Pop Music

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