California Trio Bleached on Their New Album and Instagram Anxiety
Plus, why the best songs come out of the worst times.
Having an Instagram feed that’s filled with your friends’ sunny beach pics and shameless celebrity selfies is already a recipe for FOMO for normal people everywhere. But what if you were an indie rock star? California trio Bleached knows a thing or two about the pressure to perform (both onstage and online).
Comprised of sisters Jennifer (vocals, guitar) and Jessie Clavin (guitar, bass) alongside Micayla Grace (bass), the band’s currently on tour for their sophomore album Welcome The Worms. While they appreciate Instagram and Twitter giving them the opportunity to talk to fans—especially on the road—they admit it also has a unique downside. “Social media is great for bands because it allows us to interact with our fans, but it’s also changed the game so much,” Jessica explained on the phone, en route to perform in Nashville. “Sometimes it’s like, ‘Is social media really the most important part of the band?’”
The musician’s job requirement in 2016 goes far beyond dropping incredible albums and performing epic shows. With the future of the music industry in flux, rising indie acts do double-duty as brand ambassadors, models, and Instagram stars. The actual songs themselves can sometimes feel like an afterthought. But although Bleached believes that having a social media following allows some acts to “fake it and let them seem more entertaining than they are,” they’re not worried. Especially considering the trio’s sophomore album is a real step forward in their sound, showcasing the darker underbelly to the group’s signature punky surf-rock. Themes of relationship drama, substance abuse, and loneliness come intertwined with irresistible melodies and sing-along choruses.
This is an album that will make you want to dance, that’s for sure, but it’ll also make you feel things—and Jennifer says they wouldn't have it any other way. “Some of my favorite lyrics are from Morrissey, or Stevie Nicks, or even Nirvana,” she said. “People want honesty, because it can help them through their own rough times in their life. And then with poppy melodies, it can make you feel good.” Jennifer explained that the album was born as a result of her own difficult experiences over the past few years.
"I was a loose cannon," she said online. "I was losing serious control of my personal and creative life. I was falling apart, trying to escape. I felt like Bleached was the only thing I actually cared about." Fortunately, she found her creative release—and not only did it pay off, but it’s resonating with their audience in a big way.
They meet fans before and after the shows, but Bleached actually has social media to thank for showing them just how much the audience loves the album. “Honestly, Instagram rounds out the experience in many ways,” Micayla said. “I have the experience of being onstage and meeting some people afterward, but it shows me how the other people experienced the show. It’s nice to know that you’re doing something that matters to people.”