LA’s DIY indie duo Girlpool have seen critical acclaim in the UK since their release of debut album ‘Before The World Was Big’ earlier this year. Hooting & Howling catch up with the carefully producing impassioned and expressive pair at their Manchester show, amongst a string of UK and European dates. From nostalgia and living in the moment to subjectivity, the pair proves to have extensive minds behind their touching craft…


So how has your UK and European tour been so far, where have you guys most enjoyed playing?


Cleo Tucker: So far so great, it’s been so good. End Of The Road festival was really great.


Harmony Tividad: Really cool, really great…


Cleo: Really great yeah, really fun times. It was just like really chill and a lot of really nice people…


Harmony: A lot of good vibes.


Did you get to see any of the acts there?


Cleo: (Thinks) At End Of The Road…


Harmony: No I don’t think we did get to see anyone, because we had to go to Ireland the next day.


Has it been a little exhausting moving from place to place all the time?


Cleo: It’s been okay actually, yeah. But the coolest thing we’ve experienced so far was the other day. We played Electric Picnic. And Tame Impala played. And we played and then stayed for like four hours to wait to see them – because we were so excited.


Are you guys big Tame Impala fans then?


Cleo: The new record is so good!


Are you excited to play The Deaf Institute tonight? Is this your first time in Manchester? What can we expect from tonight’s set?


Cleo: I am!


Harmony: Umm we’re gonna play songs that we have on records…


Cleo: And yeah we’re excited!


Harmony: And one song that we haven’t yet got on record.


Your music has been described from punk to indie-pop and emotional minimalist. But how do Girlpool describe their music?


Harmony: I don’t know if I ever would…


Cleo: I guess it’s just doing it – I don’t know…


Harmony: It’s just Cleo and Harmony, having a good time. Keeping it real together.


Do Girlpool consider themselves to be beholding to a punk ethos. ‘Jane’ calls out ‘to share all your feelings’ and ‘put your fist up to’. Do you think it is important to be freely expressive?


Harmony: I guess, yeah…


Where do Girlpool take influence from in sound?


Cleo: We listen to a lot of Elliot Smith and like songwriters…


Harmony: And our friends bands…


Cleo: Like Frankie Cosmos…


How did Girlpool become involved with and signed to Wichita Recordings?


Harmony: They found us in LA. Our friend was interning for them and we played a show that Wichita was DJing and they just wanted to talk with us from there really.


Have you been happy with the response to your debut album ‘Before The World Was Big’?


Cleo: It’s been fun yeah, it’s been really great. We’re very grateful.


Did you expect for the album to have such a global success and for it to be acclaimed over here in the UK?


Harmony: I didn’t expect anything – I just don’t even know what’s happening.


Was it all a bit of a whirlwind?


Cleo: I guess when you think about things; yeah they’re a whirlwind.


Harmony: It’s kind of just hard to tell what’s really happening, like we have no idea…


Cleo: I don’t even know how well it’s doing!


Harmony: Yeah, like we don’t know… We’re just like going from show to show. And if there are people there are people. And if there are not, there are not. That’s just how it is or whatever.


Hailing from the close-knit community of the DIY LA music scene, did you ever expect Girlpool’s music to spreading to such success as vast UK and European live dates?

Cleo: I just expected to go to college…




I didn’t expect to really play music like this, in this fashion or whatever.


Harmony: Yeah, same.


Cleo: So yeah, we feel pretty you know… ways about it.



The title track ‘Before The World Was Big’ beholds a child-like innocence, do Girlpool ever wish they could rewind to a simpler time of young naivety – before all this excitement?


Cleo: That’s interesting…


Harmony: Uhm I feel it’s hard for me to say I wish for less excitement or something, I mean I think everyone feels that way sometimes but it’s really special and important to accept and love and be grateful for the moment.


In the times when I do feel that way – I try to remember how beautiful things are constantly.


Cleo: Yeah, I feel like there’s like equilibrium of like doses of excitement. Always. Like when I was not doing this I found the thrill in something else you know? So.


But I definitely do you know, try on nostalgia every so often. And it’s an intense feeling. Nostalgia is really fucked up. And beautiful.


What made Girlpool decide to film the mini-band documentary ‘Things Are Okay’? How did the insightful film come around?


Cleo: Our friend Corey who was just like kind of around in LA, like through friends of friends and going to shows just offered to join us on our first East Coast Tour.


Harmony: And he just like followed us…


Cleo: And he just followed us and yeah we had a documentary.


Do you feel Girlpool’s honest and impassioned lyrics could provide a voice of empathy for those perhaps lonely or misunderstood?


Cleo: I mean, that would be cool.


Harmony: I feel like any part of music in general is so much like down to the perspective of the listener. The person observing it or experiencing it. So I think that our music is kind of whatever anybody needs it or wants it to be.


Do you sometimes worry how others may perceive your authentic words and sounds?


Cleo: I think subjectivity and the way one perceives art is the scariest and the prettiest part of it all.


Harmony: What is so powerful is that for one person something could mean something entirely different.


What’s next for Girlpool after a colossal amount of live dates? Can we expect to anticipate a second album in the not-to-distant future?


Cleo: Maybe…



About The Author

Emily Schofield

First Year Music Journalism Student. Particularly focuses on indie and alternative music. Has a keen eye on new and unsigned bands which need a push and promotion. Born in Bolton just outside of Manchester, she is a follower of the Manchester music scene and its history. She also constantly has her eye on up and coming artists gigging in and around London. Twitter: @TheMoverTweets