Artist Interviews

Q&A: Girls

By | Published on Thursday 8 September 2011


Having escaped a strange and sheltered childhood spent living with California’s infamous Children Of God cult, Girls frontman Christopher Owens became the adoptive protege of millionaire Stanley Marsh III, a Texan artist and ranch owner. Under Marsh’s patronage, he abandoned a short-lived stint in boy-girl pairing Curls, later taking up with production partner Chet ‘JR’ White in San Francisco to write and record Girls’ 2009 debut, ‘Album’.

The duo then garnered universal plaudits for last year’s ‘Broken Dreams Club’ EP, which further explored their penchant for penning lovelorn serenades and easy, elegant arrangements, something that has since become a defining characteristic of their finest work. Girls will release their new LP ‘Father, Son, Holy Ghost’ via Fantasytrashcan/ Turnstile on 12 Sep, later embarking on a UK tour that’s set to launch on 8 Nov at The Globe in Cardiff. Meanwhile, Christopher Owens faces our Same Six Questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?
I initially wrote music for a group called Curls. There was a vocalist in that group who wrote lyrics to go with my music. When she quit the band and Curls broke up, I kept all my music, wrote my own lyrics to it, and then became the vocalist for this new project, which was named Girls. With JR on board as the engineer we began recording.

Q2 What inspired your latest album?
The songs on this album are the songs of mine that we felt were best to record at this time. They were written over the past few years, so there are a lot of influences. If I had to say ‘what’ in particular, I’d have to say life. Life influenced this record, because life influences the songs and the songs influence the album.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
Usually we record the beat first, with a drum kit, then a rhythm guitar track and bass and any other things like keyboards. Then we record the vocals, and then lead guitar, and then any overdubs like percussion, extra keys or sound effects, and last are the backing vocals. Then we mix each track to make one song, then we mix the sound of that song, and then finally it gets mastered with all the other songs on the album. Then we listen to that and decide if it’s done or not.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
Pretty much all artists do, there are the ones that influence the writing and then the ones that influence us sonically, then the ones that influence us professionally, and then we also pay attention to current music to see if there is anything that we feel we should be doing as well. Pretty much all recorded music gets weighed in to the decisions that produce a song or album. And then there are the artists that play on the songs, and then the artists that engineer and mix the records too, and they have a lot of influence over our sound at the end of the day. Then there are the labels that choose whether they’d like to release us or not, they are key in the creation of the records as well.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

Q6 What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
To record the songs I have written.