Heavy Cream is a young and talented punkish garage rock quartet out of Nashville. And, in their current iteration, they are also an all-female band. While some have found fit to compare them to iconic legends of the past, whether for their sound, their gender, or both; their vigorous performances and raw, emotive vocals are punctuated with the intensity and energy that may remind some of Sleater-Kinney.
They recently released their second record, Super Treatment, which they have so far supported with a couple of quick mini-tours. After their fire-breathing frenzy of a set opening for fellow label mates and Nashvillians (that has to be a band name, right???) Jeff the Brotherhood, Weeping Elvis sat down with the band to discuss the new record, Flowbees, and Quaaludes. The interview is a composite of our conversation with all four band members, now comprised of Jessica McFarland on vocals, Mimi Galbierz on guitar, Olivia Scibelli on bass, and Tiffany Minton on drums.
WEEPING ELVIS: How’s the Flowbee search going?
HEAVY CREAM: Oh, haha, we went on a Flowbee kick when we went into the studio, and we tweeted [June 7th] that someone should bring us one. Nobody has so far…We all want to get matching haircuts; we’ll look like we’re in a cult!
WE: Your first album, Danny, was a stripped down late 70s punk vibe; the longest song was 2:21. The new album is very different in a number of ways…it’s a bit less raw and shifts towards a sludgier garage guitar sound. Can you talk about how that evolved as you were writing and recording?
HC: The first album really just reflects us meeting, learning how to play together, and how to write songs. I feel like the sound on the new record definitely has a little bit to do with the production; Ty’s [Segall] production is awesome. It also has a ton to do with us getting to be better songwriters and figuring out what we want to sound like, as opposed to just playing what we could and having fun at it.
WE: I recall talking with Mimi after a show, soon after Danny was released, and she mentioned something to the effect that the guitar was a fairly recent pursuit for her and that influenced the way you play. Does that also contribute to the different sound, just growing as musicians?
HC: Totally. Ty was, like, “Use the fuzz pedal” and I checked it out and thought “Coooool.” I think the second album is maybe a bit more extreme, and the first album was a bit cleaner. So, maybe if we combine them, maybe there’s a happy medium, and maybe the third record will be a little bit more of both. Who knows though? We went into the studio without any real plans other than that we just wanted to be spontaneous. So, when we saw what we had to work with, we were, like, “Yeah!”
WE: In San Francisco, right?
HC: Yes. We definitely took advantage of what was around us and who we knew. When they were like, “Let’s make it heavy” we were like, “Yeah, let’s make it fucking heavy.”
WE: That is the home of Metallica, after all. But thankfully it didn’t sound like Metallica.
HC: (Laughs) …Unless it could sound like Master of Puppets!
WE: The lineup has changed since I last saw you; I believe that just Mimi and Jessica remain from the original lineup? There’s been some confusion about the current lineup…let’s set the record straight on just who is in the band.
HC: Set the record straight! Olivia Scibelli is now on bass. It all happened very quickly, and it’s fine. Seth (Sutton) is in another band and he wanted to do that and is really busy. We’ve only been (in this lineup) since May. We’ve all been friends for a while, and Olivia’s a really talented musician on her own so, it wasn’t weird. It’s been a natural transition. It just makes sense for us because we all have very similar goals, to be positive and have a good time and to make music that we’re proud of…that’s it.
WE: Nashville is no longer just a country music hotbed…you’re obviously on tour with Jeff the Brotherhood and Jake Orrall produced Danny. From what I can tell, the venues haven’t caught up yet, though. Is the scene driven by house shows and other non-traditional venues where everybody knows everybody, kind of like it once was here in D.C. in hardcore punk’s halcyon days? Can you talk about the burgeoning scene there?
HC: Definitely. Nashville is a pretty small city, and one that is really creative and driven. Everybody is driven to make music and everybody is in a bunch of bands.
WE: So how do you choose which one is your main squeeze?
HC: I don’t know…I guess it just depends upon what you want to accomplish with it. Over a while it all filters out. With the house shows, it’s like one place…that’s the place for a year, and then it will get shut down, and then another one will pop up. And then another one…and so on.
HC: We’ve slowed down a bit, but yeah, for almost two years. Ever since Danny came out we’ve been on the road at least a week each month. And since December we’ve chilled off a bit. And then after we recorded the record we were home for maybe a month, laying low and waiting for it to come out, and now we’re getting back out there, getting back on the horse. We did go to SXSW in March, and then toured a bit with Hunx [and His Punx], which was so much fun.
WE: The lasting impression I received from the first two shows I saw you play back in 2010 was one of intense, kinetic, almost cathartic energy. It seemed to be one of those things where you couldn’t come to the show and not start moving around…unless maybe you’ve had too many Quaaludes or something.
HC: (Joking) Which can be coooooool.
WE: Maybe it’s a Tennessee thing. Elvis made it cool.
HC: Everyone in the 60s was on pills, right? South Africa — if anyone wants to know — apparently that’s where you can get the ‘ludes. Or so (we’ve) heard.
WE: So you can head to South Africa for ‘ludes and then jump off a cliff or bungee jump; I’m pretty sure that extreme sports are big there. I’m not sure that those two go together very well, though.
HC: Dangerous! And isn’t that what Marilyn Monroe was on? I read some research recently about the question, “What happened to Quaaludes?” Everyone says that they were the best drug…but then they stop breathing. Or fall asleep on the toilet.
WE: So this year you’re continuing to tour a lot and support Super Treatment…what’s next?
HC: We just recorded a couple of songs for singles, including the Alice Cooper cover we did tonight (“Is It My Body”), and then we did the other song “White Lightnin’.” We’re going to change that name…
WE: You don’t want a moonshine reference?
HC: Oh no, we do. But, there will be a new name, and it’s going to be out on Suicide Squeeze with The Coathangers. Let’s see…it’s going to be called…“Train Wreck.” (Agreement echoes amongst the band).
WE: Maybe the operator was drinking White Lightning.
HC: And we’re going to be touring with The Coathangers in July for a week, and then doing whatever pops up. We don’t have a booking agent right now, so feel free to mention that!
Contact the band if you can help them out with a booking agent, or just go see them on an upper Midwest tour with The Coathangers over the next week at the following shows.
July 11 – Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups
July 12 – Cleveland, OH – Now That’s Class
July 13 – Detroit, MI – Lager House
July 15 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club
July 16 – Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock