From the moment the first sounds of "Boys We Don't Know" reverberated through my skull, I instantly became hooked on The Tenth, a L.A-based bubblegum punk band. When "Dunes" came out, I was floored. And on a whim I posted on the Guillozine's Instagram story asking the band if they'd do an interview for Issue 8: Women in Music.
And they said yes.
It's like super exciting to interview bands, any bands. But when it's one of your favorite bands? It's a whole other experience. I definitely didn't do a double take when I saw vocalist and guitarist Taylor Blackwell's name pop-up in my DM requests.
So, without further a do, here is my interview with Taylor Blackwell from the greatest bubblegum punk band of all time- the tenth.
GUILLOZINE: What’s the difference between making an EP and making an album? Was one harder than the other?
TAYLOR: It’s not a whole lot different! An album is a larger time commitment in the studio, but the approach is about the same. With the EP we were new to the recording experience. There was a learning curve. Which was also exciting - a whole new world and lingo to sink our teeth into! The EP and album took hours and hours of work, but were both incredibly joyous experiences.
G: What were your influences when writing this new record?
T: Ooh, so many influences! At the forefront were Hole and Sleater Kinney. Harley was inspired by The Breeders. I was diving into the X Ray Spex, Richard Hell, the Buzzcocks, and many others. We both were listening to a lot of Echo & The Bunnymen, Joy Division, and New Order to name a few. Harley and I love sharing songs with each other.
G: Favorite line(s) you’ve written on the new album?
I’m really proud of Hymns and Hieroglyphs. My favorite line in the album is probably “she wrote fuck you in hieroglyphs!” I also like that we mention Margaret Keane and the Guerilla Girls in our song “I Will Not Make Any Boring Art.” Harley wrote some beautiful lyrics with “Goodbye Chelsea” - “I’ll resurrect you if you want me.” That gives me chills!
G: What advice would you give to girls that want to start a band?
T: My advice would be, just start one! Make it happen! You don’t have to be the most brilliant musician, just give it your all. I have grown a lot as a guitar player, singer, and writer since the band began. If you know a few chords and can observe the world around you, you’re good to go. Being a musician is magical.
G: What’s the writing process like for you gals? Is it lyrics and then music or the other way around?
I write some lyrics and show them to Harley, and she often comes up with a melody for them. Or vice versa. Often from there one of us will build upon the lyrics we already have. There’s a lot of discussion as far as what we are trying to say with the song - what the story is about.
G: If you had to pick 4 words to describe your album, what would they be?
T: Vibrant, nostalgic, bubblegum, punk! also, I’d say “coming of age.” Our songs are about finding your way, growth, figuring shit out. I know that’s more than four words.
G: Pick one lyric or verse to sum up you guys as a band.
T: “I will not make any boring art!” Ha.
G: Are there any pop culture references in the album that people should keep an eye out for?
There’s a lot of references in our opening track. The album art itself has a lot of symbolism. If you look closely I drew “For Pete Shelley” on my arm in the album cover. Pete (lead singer of the Buzzcocks) had died while we were recording. I had never met him but he meant a lot to me, and I would write “For Pete Shelley” on my wrist every day for the rest of recording. I can’t speak for Harley, but I dedicate my work on this album to him. I hope he’d like it.
G: If you could pick one person, dead or alive, to listen to your album who would it be?
I feel like Harley would say Courtney Love. My answer would probably be my great grandmother Beverly. Never met her but I think she would dig it.
G: What’s in the foreseeable future for you gals?
More albums! We are writing our hearts out! And hopefully a tour? We shall see. The future looks bright. We are excited.
A HUGE thank you to Taylor and the rest of the tenth for this. Keep rocking and I'll keep listening <3
where to find the tenth:
Welcome to the Geebox! I'm your host- Gee (I run Guillozine in case you didn't know). Much like a soapbox, the Geebox is what I'll use to share my opinions on things. In this case it's every My Chemical Romance music video.
Today (they day I'm writing this) is March 22nd, and for every current or former emo kid, that day has some significance- the day MCR broke up. I wasn't aware of them at the time as I only began my emo phase in late 2013 (I think? Does this mean I'm getting old?). Since Umbrella Academy was released, I find myself listening to MCR's discography a little too much. So what's a better way to fuel my emo-renaissance than doing this?
Three words: See. Jane. Run. One word review? FLOORED.
Never in my life have I ever been so amazed by a musical- especially
the debut of a locally-made one. Music? Floored. Set design? If I wasn't already floored, I would've been! Acting? WOW, the power of women. Costumes? WOW.
I can't get over the set design; the gasp that rolled through the crowd as the curtain went down was like no other sound I've heard before. I won't give the amazing set details away- you'll have to see it for yourself!
I'm so happy this is the first thing I get to review for Guillozine- I am so
blown away. It's been like an hour and I'm still buzzing from the pure jaw-dropping amazement of the first number. I'm gonna need the soundtrack on Spotify ASAP, or on a CD (I'd buy like, 100 copies).
This musical was ~*~magical~*~. I was infatuated after the opening number, and then as the show went on I fell more and more in love as each song was sang. By the end of the stunning "Girls Aren't Funny" number, I thought I was going to have to physically pick my jaw up off the floor and put my eyes back in their sockets. I had NO idea local theatre could be this mindblowing.
I said it once and I'll say it again- WOW. The power of women (young women!) and the power of local theatre.
Though I was (SPOILER WARNING) slightly disapointed that Jane didn't stay with Tarzan in the jungle, I thought it was an absolutley fabulous musical and I certainly hope to see it again (and certainly hope to see again on a bigger stage in a bigger city, maybe even winning a few Tony awards?).
Want tickets? Head this way:
Guillozine: What were your influences for this new single?
Gini: When I first worked on the song, I was travelling in Mexico. While riding in the bus, I was listening to a lot of to “Night Manager”, “Starcrawler” and “Death Valley Girls”, but I can’t really name a song or artist who pushed me in a direction… When I got back to Zurich and started playing it with the boys, it developed it’s groove with the way the guys are playing.
GZ: Does the EP have a similar sound?
G: We tried to get some kind of diversity in our songs, but in general I think the songs of our first EP are fitting together in it’s style. There is a bit of a 90ies influence, mixed with crunchy and dreamy guitars. Some of the songs in the EP where the first songs I’ve ever written. So I am double excited to have them finally arranged with the guys!
GZ: What inspired you to create this single?
G: Definitely the travels in Mexico where I had a lot of time for myself and could start appreciation the important things in life again. Also I was surrounded by a lot of great musicians and got this need of writing new songs. I recorded some demos with garage band or voice messages while I was there and send them to the boys. They really liked what they were hearing, so I got even more energized to be working to the songs with them.
GZ: How does it compare musically/lyrically to your other music?
G: Songs about feelings are a big lyrical topic in our music. Sometimes I even feel a bit insecure in sharing them, because it can also be very personal. But then I keep remembering myself, that my feelings of being bored, appreciating friendships, getting hurt, being in love etc. are things that everyone can relay to and I am not the only one on this planet feeling like that. But I think I write a lot of love songs….
GZ: If you had to pick 4 words to describe your sound, what would they be?
G: Catchy, dreamy, energetic, fierceful.
GZ: Pick one lyric or verse to sum up you guys as a band.
G: Have to Pick a Lyric by my flower child sister Mercedes Olles aka Las Robertas:
Run run run free, is the feel, you have to give it to yourself
Wide wide open, is my mind, you have to feel it for yourself
You have to feel it for yourself.
GZ: Are there any pop culture references in the EP that people should keep an eye out for?
G: I mentioned before, that there are some kind of influences from the 90's. I used to listen to a lot of Nirvana, which made a big impression on me. It’s funny, I never knew The Cranberries besides their song Zombie and discovered Linger like a few years ago. They totally introduced me to this
whole world of girl power 90's bands like Garbage, Veruca Salt or The Breeders. I couldn’t believe that I was missing out such a big musical world ruled by these chicks, so I started to listen to a lot of this kind of music and of course it also affected our song writing.
GZ: What’s in the foreseeable future for you guys?
G: We are super excited for this first EP to be released in April 26th via Taxi Gauche! Right now, we are preparing for the recording sessions in summer, which will lead to our debut album. Until then we are very lucky to be playing a show with Sugar Candy Mountain and FEWS.
Check out the music video for "Under Your Spell" here: