Calva Louise: The Interview

Calva Louise are clearly a band who like to be heard. Their music oozes attitude and verve and their punk-pop sound could well be a refreshing antidote to today’s Ed Sheeran wannabes churned out by record companies ten-a-penny.
The group’s Venezuelan lead singer Jess Eastwood tells Susie Daniels about the Sci-Fi influence on their second album and why underpasses and parks are the best places to jam…

Tell us about your single Belicoso.
Belicoso means lairy. It’s a Spanish word and the thought of the whole song is that we get angry for no reason. Why is that? People sometimes explode. There’s a lot of theories and ridiculous ideas about that. It’s like trying to understand mundane life and the little things that build up and someone exploding. We were trying to take that energy and transform it into something.

Belicoso’s wacky video was released in mid-October. How does it relate to the song?
For the video we tried to think of the most ridiculous things that make people lairy. Since we didn’t have much of a budget we tried a scientific experiment with scientists doing mildly disturbing things to patients. The twist is the scientists are little kids. We thought it was quite funny as children sometimes aren’t taken seriously. The children are forcing adults to brush their teeth for 20 minutes and gunging them with disgusting stuff. That anger energy became laugh energy.

Your music has a punk attitude and angst. Is that the music you can relate to?
I think our music is a cathartic way to express the frustrations of this life. It could make people feel they can let it all go. It’s not conscious. It’s more a way of disconnecting from mundane life.

I’m Gonna Do Well and Outrageous’s music videos have fab zig-zag sci-fi fonts. Does sci-fi interest you?
We take a lot of inspiration from sci-fi movies and movies that are kind of cool. It’s like a melting pot of mediums we use.

Some of your songs have a siren noise. Is that another sci-fi nod?
I wanted to do something quite sci-fi. It’s our love for vintage and retro. When we recorded these songs it was a very avant garde way of doing things. It felt like a next step for us in music production. We’ve got more electronic things and technology-based sounds coming into our music. We’re trying to move far from the indie roots. We’re embracing the world and music moving forward.

Who writes the music and lyrics?
I do. I started playing guitar when I was 11 or 12 years old. I write on my phone and laptop all the time. I ask my bandmates their opinion. My dad is a self-taught guitarist and teacher. I started jamming with my dad when I was young and he said to me, ‘you’re going to be in your dad’s back-up band’. I watched a lot of live music videos and would just pause when I liked the chords or the pose the guitarist was making with the chords.

Where’s your favourite busking place?
We never really busked. We’ve never been in one place too long but it happens sometimes that we jam drunkenly at 1am in an underground station and sing songs and people pass by and sing along and cheer. We would do the same in the park and people would just come up and join us.

You’re part Venezuelan, Ben’s from the UK and Alizon is from New Zealand. Is that a lot of different genres of music you are influenced by?
We were into a lot of different music styles. We all had different genres we liked. When the band started it was mainly my influence of Latin rock music and alternative South America music and hip hop. Alizon likes bands like Pink Floyd. We like every genre. A lot of popp-y metal. In Venezuela there is a big Oasis fanbase after Oasis played there. There’s a great hip hop scene in all of South America.

Where are you all living and do you miss your home?
We’re based in Manchester and Blackpool. What I miss most about Venezuela is to be around the warmth of the people I grew up with and being able to speak to them in my mother tongue. I love the humour. It’s a very different humour from the UK. Venezuelan is Spanish with a twang.

You wear fab eye make-up and no other make-up – it’s a great look.
I like experimenting. My eye shape is not the best so I need to make my eyes longer and bigger. I love the very colourful hairstyle of Hayley Williams, the lead singer of the rock band Paramore. It is important to have a style as a second thought.

Calva Louise play Glasgow’s Garage on December 2nd.