By Jess Goulart
Photo courtesy of The Prettiots
Meet The Prettiots, an anti-folk trio with pop sensibilities and punk-rock style who are poised to set the Millennial world on fire.
With a dry grin and razor-sharp confidence, lead singer and front-woman Kay Kasperhauser’s ukulele is cute in a totally-fuck-you-up kind of way. Her inventive melodies add depth to shimmering drums (by Rachel Trachtenburg) and playful bass lines (Lulu Prat), beneath lyrics that unabashedly dissect all manner of youthful sins. Their latest single, “Boys I Dated in High School”, details the ill-fated (but fun!) musings of teenage naivety. Their upcoming full-length will feature Mammott-chic love, sex, and suicide and is slated to come out later this year.
Don’t miss a taste of The Prettiots at The Cakeshop for the upcoming CMJ Festival, but until then, check out what Kasperhauser tells BTR about the recording process and how she got Richard Kern to DP for their video.
What’s your background as a musician and how did you girls all meet?
Well, my name is Kay. We’re all from New York; I’m from Manhattan, Rachel is from the Lower East Side and Lulu is from Brooklyn. I started doing solo stuff about three years ago, which was like a ukulele with a loop peddle, and I opened two shows for Super Cute and decided I needed to start playing with a drummer — because it’s pretty hard to just do that yourself. So Rachel and I started playing together, and then I decided I wanted a bass player and she suggested Lulu, who had been on tour with Super Cute, and then I met her and it was love at first sight!
What would you say are some of your major influences?
Our major influences is a lot of anti-folk, like Moldy Peaches and Jessica Lewis, and then also some ’50s girl group stuff like the Ronettes, and then French ‘50s pop like Franze Gal, who was like a pop musician that Serge Gainsbourg wrote a lot of stuff for. They had a kind of amazing relationship where she was a vehicle for his like ultra-extension of pop stuff.
And what’re you listening to right now?
I’m like all over the place right now because my I’m kind of going through some stuff. Whenever my mental state is a little weird the music I listen to becomes really weird. I’ve been listening to a lot of breakcore, but Lulu listens to a lot of punk and a lot of hardcore, and Rachel listens to a lot of like psychedelic stuff and psych rock. And I listen tot a lot of sludge metal…we’re all kind of all all over the place.
When you say you’re going through some stuff with your mental state, is that expressed in your music?
Yeah, so I wrote a new song that’s not really together yet but it’ll be on the album, and it’s about Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf. And it’s kind of dark, but really funny. So that’s how I deal with my darkness — try and laugh about it, and then write songs about it. It’s definitely the most effective coping mechanism I’ve found.
And about that upcoming album…
Yeah, so, it’s a full length album and it’s in the works. We don’t know an exact date – we’re hoping for sometime in December, but we have a 7” coming out with the single “Boys I Dated in High School,” which we just made a music video for, and a B-side with a song I wrote a couple years ago called “Anyways,” and that’s coming out in the next month.
Do you have an album title yet?
We’re working on some stuff! I don’t want to say anything yet, because it’s not for sure, but we have a few ideas.
Can you tell me about your writing process?
So far I’ve written all the songs and the music, and then I bring it to the girls and Rachel writes the drums. I’ve written a little bit more than half of the bass lines. But then the most recent song, or two songs, have really been lyrics me and then music collaborative between Lulu and I, and that’s been amazing.
Speaking of “Boys I Dated In High School,” what was the process like for that song and the video?
Well I was walking to work and thinking about the boy that I lost my virginity to and kind of laughing to myself, so I just wrote this list song — cuz I love a good list song, like I love “People Who Died” by Jim Carroll and “88 Lines About 44 Women,” by the Nails. It was orginally a lot longer [laughs] but yeah, it’s just brutally honest. I dated some dirt bags in high school, I was like a kid and I think everybody does that, I’m not ashamed of it. After I wrote the song, we all loved it, and I really wanted to do a music video but we were kind of struggling with a strong idea. And then, I’m just a huge fan of Richard Kern, so I approached him about doing the video, and he was totally into it. So Richard Kern stuff is well known for being naked teen girls, so I was like, really psyched to turn that on his head and have all these cute naked teenage boys that I knew hanging out in my friends’ rooms.
And what was the recording process like for the upcoming album?
For what we have so far, it was really exciting for me because it was my first time that I’ve recorded. My parents have a house in upstate New York and so we went up and like locked ourselves away for a week and self-recorded in their deck garage. And…it was amazing, it was so much fun. And I love it. We’re going back in, we have a couple songs we have to finish and a couple songs we’re hoping to send to other people to work on…but nothing is confirmed yet…but it’s really exciting!!!
Any songs especially close to your heart?
Well…all of them, but right now it’s the song I wrote most recently, because I think every song I write is better than the one before. Because I’m new at this, I’m growing, so it’s really an exercise in learning from my mistakes. But my most recent song is called “I Probably Won’t Kill Myself Today,” and it’s like a funny list (another list song!) about Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, and Ernest Hemingway, and all these people who have committed suicide…it’s kind of sweet and weird. And then we have another one about Elliot Stabler from L&O that is really important to my heart. We’re really trying to get Christopher Meloni to be in the video but you know what? He’s really hard to get ahold of!!