Top image: Still. Norma and Jessica. 2015 SadGirl
LA trio SadGirl pull no punches. From their surf-noir sound to their rockabilly styling through the 16mm bloodstained slasher flick for their debut track Norma and Jessica – starring no other than Danny Trejo (aka Machete) – there’s a rolling theme. These guys sink their teeth in and stick around.
When childhood friends Dakota Peterson (bass), Misha Lindes (guitar/vocals) first jammed with Paul Caruso (drums) they instantly clicked, and in November 2013, SadGirl was realised. Having released their first single “Breakfast is Over”/”Norma and Jessica” last July, they’ve now re-released the double track as a seven-inch on Hard Feelings Records.
Like a gang of romancers belonging to a Tarantino picture, all Hawaiian shirts and slick Brylcreemed hair, they prowl to a surf rock soundtrack – like Link Wray and Dick Dale, should they ever get lost in a Mexican tequila bar together. We caught up with the trio to see what they’re all about.
Alex James Taylor: You’ve just re-released “Breakfast is Over”/”Norma and Jessica” on Hard Feelings records, and you managed to bag Danny Trejo for the video, that’s insane. How did you manage to get him involved?
Misha Lindes: We’ve known Danny for a long time, Dakota and I grew up with Danny’s son Gilbert. Dakota and Gilbert used to play in punk bands together, and he’s been a big supporter of SadGirl from pretty early on. Once we started moving forward with the plans for the video it only made sense to get Danny involved in some way or another.
AJT: What’s he like? I bet he’s cool as hell.
ML: He’s one of the funniest people on the planet and he’s just an all around generous guy.
AJT: The video itself is really great. Who shot it? It’s like a Rodriguez mini. A shit load of blood.
ML: Our buddy’s David Gantz and Theo Cohn wrote and directed it and Ben Mullen was DP. David and Theo are good friends of ours, and really talented film makers. We all hang out nearly everyday and had been talking about doing some thing like this for a long time. It took a ton of planning and work. It was probably one of the most satisfying and rewarding things any of us have worked on. You honestly couldn’t ask for a better scenario, we were collaborating with our best friends combining our music with their imagery and ideas, and making a movie we all would want to watch.
AJT: And let’s speak about the car in the video, it’s so sick. Does it belong to one of you?
ML: The car is our buddy Levi’s. Its a 1969 Chevy Chevelle all restored with a 355 small block engine. 3 speed transmission. I don’t know what that stuff means, Levi texted it to me. But it sounds lit. And the car is sick as fuck.
AJT: What type of films are you guys into? Give us a few staples from your collections…
Paul Caruso: Colors, Pulp Fiction, Back To The Future, New Jack City…
ML: I’m a sucker for movies that take place in LA. I love classic Los Angeles movies like China Town and Pulp Fiction. But I also fuck with Back to the Future.
Dakota Peterson: Films (movies).
AJT: When did you first form SadGirl? And how did you all first meet?
ML: We started SadGirl around 2 years ago-ish. Paul and I knew each other through mutual friends and work connections, we never really hung out but we saw each other around a good amount at shows and stuff. I remember him mentioning he played drums at some point and I hit him up to jam. I had kind of almost given up on being in a band, I bought a loop pedal and started fucking around by myself. Paul and I jammed once, on a total blind date kind of vibe, and immediately hit it off, probably one of the best music sessions either of us have ever had, we just totally clicked. We’ve been playing together pretty much non stop since then. Haven’t really fucked with the loop pedal in a while.
Dakota and I grew up together, and have been playing music together since we were probably eleven or twelve, so when Paul and I started thinking about playing shows Dakota was the natural person to hit up. NOW WE’RE GOING TO GET MARRIED TO EACH OTHER.
AJT: Why the name SadGirl?
ML: COZ The Beatles was taken.
AJT: You’ve got a real rockabilly edge to your sound and aesthetic, what sort of music did you guys grow up on?
PC: The Beatles, Marvin Gaye, Parliament Funkadelic, Sly & The Family Stone…
ML: We grew up listening to a bunch of stuff, I mostly remember the cassettes we listened to in my Mom’s Jeep, Elvis, The Beatles, The Crystals, David Bowie, The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, MC Hammer…
DP: Jimmy Buffet (exclusively).
AJT: You seem to take great pride in your physical output, like releasing SadGirl vol 1 EP on cassette with a really cool design, your latest single on hand printed gold vinyl and you also make your own merch. I expect that’s a really important part of the process for you guys, creating physical products that are both personal to you and also really desirable for fans?
ML: Definitely, we take a lot of pride in everything we do for the band. And it’s important for us to see how far we can take everything on our own in terms of design and production. We want to keep pushing the boundaries of ‘DIY’ and see how far you can really take it. Every release or design has some kind of idea behind it, and a ton of thought and discussion. We want to make our stuff inspire people to think, “Fuck that looks good, damn, maybe we can do this ourselves.” You don’t have to pay some one to make something great, whether its music or movies or fashion or design or whatever, if you really love it, and you want to do it, you can make really cool things happen and you can do it yourself.
AJT: Do you do your own album artwork too??
ML: Yeah, we pretty much do 90 percent of our own design work including the t-shirts and physical releases. If we aren’t designing the graphics then we’ll hit up one of our friends to come up with some thing, our home girl Malie Huffman does a lot of art for us, she’s rad af.
AJT: You guys are from LA, who else should we catch on the LA scene?
ML: Damn there are honestly so many rad bands in LA at the moment, its amazing. Would totally recommend The Paranoyds, Wild Wing, Prettiest Eyes, Greaser, Liphemra, No Parents, Counter Sink, FireWeed.
AJT: Where’s place to eat in LA??
ML: Leos Tacos or the Apple Pan. Leo’s has the best fucking El Pastor. And you can’t beat the burgers or pie from the Apple Pan.
AJT:What do you get up to when you aren’t working on music?
PC: Yo momma.
ML: Eyyyyy Paul’s right tho ^^^^
AJT: What’s next for SadGirl? What should we expect?
ML: We got a bunch of tight stuff coming. Our Next EP Vol. 2 is coming out really soon and it sounds sick, we’re super stoked on it. HANG ON TO YOUR HATS OR SEATS OR WHATEVER.