Puro Instinct

Interview by Emma Kathan

Photographs by Shanna Fisher

Piper: Libra sun, Libra rising, and Pisces moon, w/ Mercury in Scorpio
Skylar: Capricorn Sun, Taurus Rising, and Cancer moon, w/ Mercury in Aquarius
City: Los Angeles

What was the first album you bought that had an inspirational impact on you?

Skylar: I’m pretty certain that the first album I bought was Laundry Service by Shakira when I was six—also pretty certain that I was so territorial over the CD that I refused to let my dad burn a copy of it and made him buy his own. Lots of those songs are pretty tight. If I didn’t identify more with being a strong “person,” I’d say that she definitely contributed to me feeling like a strong “woman.”

Piper: Hmmm.. that’s a tough one, but I’m thinking X-ray Spex was the first band I ever developed a full-blown obsession with, when I was about 13 or 14 years old. Me and my best friend at the time would spend most days blasting ‘Germ-Free Adolescents,’ dying our mohawks dayglo shades and making crazy Poly Styrene inspired outfits to troll the streets of Los Ang’ in.

Skylar , do you write lyrics as well, or concentrate more on playing guitar?

Usually I like to concentrate more on the sounds and instrumentation of our tracks. because I have a lot of trust in Piper’s lyrics. I appreciate the way she strings words together to more specifically represent the planet we’re on. We’re both very visual in terms of making music. I also feel that I can rely on my melodies more than my words at this point in my life. But perhaps this will start to change with more “experience” or something.

Piper, do you play instruments as well as writing and singing?

I play a lot of the synth and bass lines and random sound effects/soundscape-y stuff that goes down in our songs. Everything ends up being 50/50 though because we usually just jam on whatever instrument either of us feels like playing until we lock down a vibe and then stitch the best of our ideas together to make one cohesive slab of dankness.

How long did you play together before you decided to start a band and find your other band members?

Skylar: We were playing together for about a year or so before Piper decided to bring in a bunch of crazy hooligans. Fun times.

Piper: Yeah, we started jamming in the fall of 2008 and I think by late summer 2009 we played our first shows as a 3-piece with our close friend Cody on bass. So, it was my sister on guitar, me on vocals, Cody on bass, and a drum machine. Soon after, between 2010-2012, we threw a few other talented friends into the mix to help us out with the band, playing on Headbangers and touring. Sky and I are back to being a two-piece on the writing and production side, and our friend Liam helps us with our live show.

Where or how did you meet your other band members?

Piper: Cody and I had been dating for four years prior to my sister and I starting the band, and luckily for Sky and me, Cody could still put up with me enough to practice and play with us for the next couple of years. We met the rest of the crew through hanging out and participating in random acts of degeneracy together.

Describe your impressions of Los Angeles to me.

Skylar: When I think of the city now, I remember a time, recently, when Piper and I were driving back from the beach with our homie Cisco at the wheel. The sun was going down and we were smoking a joint and blasting KDAY on Wilshire Boulevard. Couldn’t have really shared such a simple and sweet experience like that with my truest dogs in any other place in the world.

Piper: Lazy, sort of beautiful, hedonistic mind-cage.

Have you ever had the feeling of having past lives (reincarnation)? If so, when and where do you see yourself?

Piper: We were probably just like the daughters of some 11th century cobbler, the Al Bundy of the Middle Ages.

What is your main goal in this life?

Skylar: Right now it’s difficult for me to say because I feel like there is a lot to take care of at this point in time. But I think it’s important to start with people’s attitudes. It’s really important to me that the music I make helps encourage people to be curious and loving and appreciative of the things they have and the people they have in their lives. So much so that they find ways to improve this weird and confusing life we’re all subjected to today.

Piper: I just want to love and be loved by all the cute fuzzy creatures of the world.

What are your nationalities? Do you know about any interesting characters in your family history?

Skylar: I guess we’re Dutch. And apparently, we had a lot of money when our family first came to the United States in the 1600s. We owned all of Staten Island and had all kinds of property there. Then we invested a bunch of money into the Civil War to help out the North and fell off after that. It’s uncomfortable to think about how many times I’ve drunkenly told that story to people who couldn’t have been less interested in my ancestral background.

What are you working on now musically?

Piper: We have a few different projects in the works. We’re finishing up our second album, as well as some songs with our friend Strip Steve who we released a track called ‘Astral Projection’ with last year for his debut album Micro Mega on BoysNoize and there are a few more theatrical projects that we’re currently seeking funding for.

Where do you find inspiration most?

Piper: Hmmm . . .. I guess in the “struggle” and extreme loneliness, which in a way might be why living in L.A. has worked for me for so long. I don’t know of any place else that values what’s in a person’s mind or soul less, or rewards lack of ambition more, and, aside from it being super depressing and mostly unbearable, it’s been great for writing songs.

Skylar: 2Pac.

If you could change just two things in the world right now, what would they be?

Piper: I would change the apathy and flagrant narcissism that seems to govern the lives of young people these days.

Have either of you been reading anything interesting lately that has been inspiring you?

Skylar: Yes! Penetration by Ingo Swann is a really tight piece of writing. I recommend it for anyone interested in remote viewing, extraterrestrial activity on the moon, telepathy, etc.

Piper: I finally got my hands on a copy of Aleister Crowley’s Moon Child and I’ve also been reading Black Sun a biography about Harry Crosby, the founder of The Black Sun press and renaissance playboy of the Lost Generation.

What would you like to do next with your music?

Piper: We just want to make people feel nyce with a dash of DTF.