by Alex Kazemi on
Finishing up on the Vans warped tour with her band “The Pretty Reckless” and on her way to New York to promote the line Material Girl by Madonna which she is the face of stopped by to talk about everything from important musical influences, the constant comparison to Courtney Love and the sessions for her bands new record “Light Me Up.”
Alex Kazemi: Hey Taylor! How are you today?
Taylor Momsen: Not bad, you?
Kazemi: I’m good. I heard “Make Me Wanna Die” was #1 on the UK rock charts. Congratulations!
Taylor: Thank you so much!
Kazemi: That’s where bands like Guns N Roses & The GooGoo Dolls have stood.
Taylor: I know we’re really excited about it!
Kazemi: Do you feel that the audience overseas understands and is more appealed to the music your making rather then that typical American top 40 audience?
Taylor: Yeah, when we went to the UK theirs was very much a rock audience. You have the best bands like The Beatles and Oasis. I think it’s trickled down there’s a little less pop bands then America. It was cool to see the response from the crowd overseas, it was awesome!
Kazemi: You’re doing V Fest there am I correct?
Taylor: Yeah, we’re very excited to play both days. I think we’re gonna have a couple club dates too! So were super psyched.
Kazemi: That is exciting .I have to say “The Pretty Reckless” has changed drastically since last year and that debut tour with The Veronicas. Not just the new members but the sound too. How did you meet with Kato and Ben and start working on this record?
Taylor: Well when I toured with the Veronicas, it was kinda my first time on a tour. I’ve never played on a stage before that. So I hired a few of my friends who were in another band to go on tour with me because I didn’t have my band in place yet [laughs]. So I toured with some friends, played some demos I wrote a couple years ago just to kinda get some stage experience and stuff. I was working with Ben at that time, we were working on that record before I was going on tour. We wrote “Zombie”“and stuff at the time and I remember we wrote the chorus for “Make Me Wanna Die” in Skully’s in Ohio and we when we got that done we kinda flushed it out and finished writing the record together and making a real album. So, I didn’t have any final songs, I was touring on old demos to gain experience and Ben was in another band called Famous which is Mark and Jamie and himself.We were all super tight working on the record and it kinda just naturally formed as a group without taking auditions you know what I mean? We became a band.
Kazemi: The sound now is much more dark then those demos. Did you have to start from scratch and scrap more toned down songs like “ADD and Heart”?
Taylor: Well that was stuff was written a long time ago. I’ve been writing songs since I was like five, soI toured on songs I wrote a while ago and it wasn’t the record. It was no intentions to be the record. Those songs were never ueleased, that was a entirely different record. The only songs people have heard of it are “Make Me Wanna Die, “Zombie” and “Miss Nothing” Everything else is new [laughs]
Kazemi: I’m sure you didn’t work with any outside producers outside of Kato?
Taylor: I’ve worked with a bunch of different producers I kinda grew up in recording studios; I recorded a track for The Grinch when I was five years old with James Horner. I’ve been worked with multiple producers. I would write songs and then produce a track and kinda develop my sound. The weird thing in the music industry is theirs not a lot of rock producers. They’re very hard to find. So when I met Kato it was a natural, perfect match, he’s one of my best friends. We have a perfect musical connection, same ethics and everything. So I went through a lot of different people to find the people I’m working with today and who could get the sound I was looking for across.
Kazemi: In the studio are you very musically involved?
Taylor: I’m very meticulous and involved with every step in the process, every sound “make that louder, make that quieter.” It’s nice the guys can tolerate that [laughs] We will be making all our records with Kato it’s a team at this point. Me, Ben, Jamie, Mark and Kato.
Kazemi: I know you had some sessions with Veronica’s producer Toby Gad, what were those like?
Taylor: Ehh.I’ve met him and worked with him a bit. It wasn’t really my thing.
Kazemi: It didn’t seem like it! I understand you turned 17 recently, do any of your awkward youth experiences reflect on any of your lyrics? Would you say your music/lyrics are aimed to teenagers? Maybe like an escape and something to relate to. Is there a certain age group you want your lyrics to be a appealed too?
Taylor: I mean I think the thing about music is it’s so universal. I wouldn’t recommend eight year olds to buy the record, there isn’t an explicit title on it because [laughs] they wouldn’t print the lyrics for Miss Nothing, they won’t print them! So it’s censored! Well being a proper person I wouldn’t recommend young people to listen to it, I wouldn’t recommend a Disney audience to listen to it or something like that. It’s a little bit older but it can cross the board, it’s got general ideas about life and all the bases of it. It’s meant to be interpreted for the listener, as the listener feel and take what you want out of it .. Don’t try to forfeit to my life because you’ll never figure it out. [laughs] You have to take everything metaphorically.
Kazemi: Seems like the album is a forever lasting puzzle piece.. Do you have a specific time of day where you like to write/record. Tell me a bit about your song writing process?
Taylor: I have a very fluctuating schedule, it was a very interesting process recording the record actually.I was working on Gossip Girl in the day and we recorded most of the record at night. I would work pretty much every day, maybe one or two hours a night for about a year [laughs]. It was a little bit chaotic but there isn’t a specific writing process, inspiration can come out of anywhere. If you knew where it would come from, it would be a lot fucking easier to write a god damn record and it wouldn’t take two years, but it’s whatever hits you, you know?
Kazemi: I’ve been really appealed to the song “Factory Girl”.. What is the song about? Warhol?
Taylor: It’s definitely got that feel too it, its loosely based off the sixties drug scene and we wanted to have something like that on the record but a little bit lighter.. When you read the lyrics it covers the gritty parts of New York and LA. I wouldn’t say Warhol specifically but it’s got that feel to it.
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Listen to “Make Me Wanna Die” and “Miss Nothing” off The Pretty Reckless’s debut record “Light Me Up” out August 3oth.