PINKY PINKY: SO DRASTIC, BUT SO COOL
photography by debi del grande
Anastasia Sanchez: If we write a love song, we like to alter it so it doesn’t sound like a love song, you know? When I write lyrics, I turn my pain into something funny or something really dramatic. It’s hard to not sing about like ‘I love him, but he doesn’t love me…’ I try to make it as dramatic as possible but then turn it into a story about something else, to cover it. I think it’s more fun to tell a story.
Which of the songs on the Hot Tears EP are you the most excited about?
Eva Chambers: I think ‘Fish Bones’ is pretty exciting.
Isabelle Fields: ‘Fish Bones’ is my favorite too.
Eva Chambers: We weren’t even going to record it at all. The guys who record us were like ‘Record it, finish it, make it work!’ and we were trying to finish writing it in the studio. but I really like how it turned out.
Anastasia Sanchez: When we started writing it—and when we went into the studio with it—there was no chorus at all. I sat outside and wrote a chorus and then came back and recorded it. It was really spontaneous, but it came out really well. It was about the Salton Sea. The sadness of the Salton Sea. Just California shit.
It’s sad out there.
Anastasia Sanchez: It’s so depressing. It used to be this enchanted resort, and then it all turned to salt. All the fish died.
Are you guys gearing up to tour anytime soon?
Eva Chambers: Right now we’re just working on our LP! We’re trying to slow down the shows, but we’re picking it back up in April.
You just released the Hot Tears EP and now you’ve got an LP in the works? You’re really churning them out.
Anastasia Sanchez: The thing about it is that it has taken so much time. Most of the self-titled we wrote in 2015 and recorded in 2016 and then it didn’t get released until 2017. We recorded ‘Hot Tears’ in 2017 and it just came out in February. So it does take a really long time, but with this album, we’re slamming it all together in a shorter amount of time. We’re trying to hone in and buckle down!
Eva Chambers: What I predict is that it will be a little more rock ‘n’ roll. We’re at the point where we’re trying to do fewer transitions. More straight-forward. Before, we did overthink it a bit. Even with the songs on this EP, there are different transitions. But in the studio, there were more. We had to be told, ‘This is a headache, pull it back—you’re doing too much.’ We’re such slow workers but it’s just because we’re perfectionists.
Anastasia Sanchez: When we went to record ‘Robber,’ there were so many more breakdowns. Once we took them out, it sounded so much better. It was too complicated.
Let’s talk gear! What kind of gear do you love, and what’s your current setup?
Isabelle Fields: I have 1978 Les Paul Junior I got in May—it’s my favorite guitar ever. I used to use an SG. I like Gibson a lot. I use an Orange combo amp. I’m trying to get a bigger one to change it up. I use pedals, like the [Ibanez] Tube Screamer. It’s an overdrive—it’s got that ‘oomph’ for when you need a little push. There’s fuzz, and then I have wah pedals. That’s my setup for every show.
Eva Chambers: I play a 1977 Fender Mustang, also my favorite. Especially cuz I have really small hands. All the Mustangs and the MusicMaster basses are really good for that. So good for small hands. I use an Ampeg Portaflex which is great for shows. The top flips in and there’s a handle so it’s so easy to move. I don’t use pedals because bass pedals are obnoxious. We just want a punchy sound.
Anastasia Sanchez: I have a Ludwig Down Beat from 1961. It’s my pride and joy. It’s amazing and beautiful, but also very fragile. One of the shows we played someone put a kick input in, and when I lifted my head up it completely ripped the front, so I have duct tape on it. It’s a beautiful drum set with a big slab of tape. Heads are expensive! I use Aquarian heads and they’re amazing. I try not to travel with my kit a lot because it is so fragile, and when people want to use it, it scares me. It’s precious.
Since the music you make is so irreverent and fun, I’m wondering who you like to listen to?
Anastasia Sanchez: It’s always the same few artists: Frank Zappa—
Isabelle Fields: Big Star.
Eva Chambers: Yeah, love Big Star.
Anastasia Sanchez: Everyone’s reading my mind! Todd Rundgren.
Eva Chambers: And Lady Gaga, Fame Monster album. It’s got ‘Boys Boys Boys’, ‘Alejandro’…
That is a jam.
Eva Chambers: Everything’s on there. All the hits.
Why Big Star? Are they just a band that is near and dear to your heart, or are they a big influence on the way you make music?
Isabelle Fields: They definitely influence us. I listen to them all the time, so whatever you listen to influences you. I wish I could play like them. I don’t remember the first time I heard Big Star—it was a long time ago.
Anastasia Sanchez: They’ve always been around. They are so drastic, but so cool. We like drastic changes.
That makes sense. You can hear that on the EP. Like the jump from ‘Dander’ to ‘Fishbone’, or even just within ‘Fishbone’—the songs vary from each other, or change a lot just within themselves.
Eva Chambers: It took us a while to figure out. I remember listening to ‘Band on the Run’ my freshman year and being like ‘I want to do that!’ But then it always just sounded like we wrote two songs and smushed them together. It took us a while to figure out how to blend. ‘Hot Tears’ and ‘Fish Bones’ have some big changes.
How did you solve that problem?
Anastasia Sanchez: We figured it out by practicing.
Eva Chambers: We practiced until we didn’t have to think about it.
Anastasia Sanchez: I’m sure while you’re listening to it, it doesn’t sound like a hard transition. But when you’re writing it—when you have the notes in front of you and you’re trying to make it work—it’s so hard.
Who are your band role models? Who do you try to emulate—not just musically, but as people?
Eva Chambers: Any band—even if I’m not a fan of their music—if I see them perform and they’re so comfortable and happy and not trying too hard. You see so many rock bands that are trying to be, like, hot and pretty while they’re playing. There’s the L..A model bands, who are trying to be hot and pretty. There’s the rocker bands that try to do the Lou Reed persona. But it’s all so try-hard. I really respect and admire bands who can just be silly and be themselves. For the longest time, even now—we’re not crazy brave people onstage, but we’ve gotten a lot more comfortable. When people are just themselves, it’s really charming, and I’m inspired by that.
Isabelle Fields: I don’t really move onstage. I stay stationary, because when I try and move, I mess up. People have always told me, ‘Move around, you’ve got to move around.’ Now at this point, it’s just who I am. If I did try to break out of it, it would just be unnatural. It’s better to be who you are onstage and not have to try so hard.
Eva Chambers: People have come up to me after shows and asked me if I’m epileptic, because I’ll roll my eyes to the back of my head and make some weird mouth movements. It’s not even that I’m feeling it so hard, it’s just like, ‘Ow! This hurts!’
Anastasia Sanchez: When people watch us they’re not like, ‘Aw, they’re so cute and charming.’ They’re like, ‘What the hell are they doing?’ Eva is having a seizure, I’m freaking out, Isabelle is just like an ice sculpture.
Eva Chambers: People also think we’re really sassy because Isabelle will just be doing her thing, looking down, but Anastasia and I are rolling our eyes naturally all the time. We’re very focused. Eventually it will feel natural.
Anastasia Sanchez: We are still getting comfortable playing because honestly, we’re still kids.
Eva Chambers: My onstage persona is very awkward because like, ‘Do I have to banter? Do I have to have a conversation with the audience?’ I don’t want to do stand-up and be all cute with them.
Anastasia Sanchez: Our label guys had to tell us that we had to at least thank the audience or tell them who we are. We used to get up there, go through our set, say absolutely nothing, and then get off.
Eva Chambers: We have gotten way more comfortable, but it’s still fresh.
You’ve been written about in NYLON, VICE, PAPER—what’s it like to go from high school to this kind of press?
Eva Chambers: First of all we have an amazing PR girl! [laughs] I met Isabelle in 8th grade and Anastasia in 9th grade. We knew each other but we didn’t really hang out. All of our friendships were built on having a band and playing music together. At the same time, we were all growing up with each other and learning at the same pace. It’s special, though. There are a lot of people in bands who don’t have that kind of relationship, so I think we’re very lucky.
I read somewhere that when you were asked who your ideal celebrity roommate would be, one of you said RuPaul.
Eva Chambers: We’re huge Drag Race fans.
Isabelle Fields: I have three favorites: Sharon, Violet, and Katya. It’s so hard to pick! But those are my faves.
Isabelle Fields: Raja is SO beautiful.
I saw Raja at CVS one time.
Isabelle Fields: I ran into Valentina in Echo Park the other day and I lost my shit. I was like ‘Valentina! I love you! You’re my favorite on your season!’ I actually got out of my car and screamed at her.
Anastasia Sanchez: We were all in Isabelle’s car on Melrose and we were driving and all of a sudden, I was like ‘Isabelle, pull the fuck over—Katya is standing right there!’ So we pulled over into this valet lot, and this guy was like ‘OK, pay me,’ and I was like ‘Oh, actually our friend is just right there! We want to say hi to our friend.’ He wouldn’t let us park there without paying, and as I was haggling with this guy, I watched Katya get into her Uber and leave. It was hard. We were pissed.
PINKY PINKY ON SAT., JUNE 16, AT THE ECHO, 1822 SUNSET BLVD., ECHO PARK. 5:30 PM / $10-$12 / ALL AGES. THEECHO.COM. PINKY PINKY’S HOT TEARS EP IS OUT NOW ON INNOVATIVE LEISURE. VISIT PINKY PINKY AT PINKYPINKYTHEBAND.COM.