Return to Girl In A Coma


Interview with: Jenn Alva, Girl In A Coma
Posted on 02 June 2009

In 2006, three heavily tattooed, well-coiffed, Latina girls from the Lone Star state, made a big enough splash at New York’s Knitting Factory that audience member Joan Jett signed the punk rockers on the spot to her label, Blackheart Records. In 2007, Girl in A Coma released the critically acclaimed, Both Before I’m Gone. Since then GIAC has toured consistently, supporting acts such as Tegan and Sara, Social Distortion, Frank Black and even Morrissey, to whom the girls have often been compared. Their sophomore release Trio B.C. drops today, June 2nd and I had a chance to talk for a few minutes with the very busy Jenn Alva between video shoots and record release parties about the meaning behind the cryptic new album title, the details on their upcoming tour, and the band’s endearing affinity for 90s alt-rock.

Reni Papananias, Popwreckoning: Hi Jenn? It’s Reni from Popwreckoning. How are you doing?
JA: I’m good, we’re actually at the college radio station here and they’re not quite ready for us.

PW: Oh, what radio station?
J.A.: KSYM, it’s the local college radio station here.

PW: Nice, are you guys playing or doing an interview?
JA: We’re doing an interview today because tonight is our CD release party. It’s exciting.

PW: Yeah, definitely. So what’s going on at the CD release party?
JA: We’re playing at this place called Jack’s Patio and it’s all sold out which is awesome.

PW: Congratulations!
JA: Thank you, yeah so we’re going to play and debut the new merch that we have. We tend not to play too much in San Antonio, maybe once every two months or whatever. We don’t want our fans to go away if we play too much!

PW: Right. So tell me about the new CD. I’ve only heard a couple of tracks and I really like it.
JA: Well, it’s called Trio B.C. and it’s an homage to the girls’ grandfather, he’s the man on the cover and his band was named Trio B.C. and he was a big inspiration to the girls, and he was kind of like my grandfather, too so…

PW: I love that name by the way!
JA: Yeah, it’s interesting, huh?

PW: It’s kind of fitting.
JA: Right. So, a lot of these are new songs, and we’ve been dying to put out a new album, so you can see our progression just a bit. The album before was written during a time when we had just started the band and this is all kind of new and fresh. I don’t know, we like it a lot and we’re not tired of it yet. It’s really good I think.

PW: I definitely like it, I feel like you guys have evolved on this record. In what way would you say your sound has changed since the last record?
JA: This is different because we all tend to listen to the same music, music brings us together, and we’ve just been hooked on our 90s music a lot. Everything that Nina listens to she’s influenced by Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins, and this record is kind of like what’s going on in our life right now, and that’s why the music sounds like it does. I think her lyrics are just getting better and going through a lot more experiences she started the band very young, like 12, 13, and she’s 21 now, so…

PW: I think you guys have a very mature sound, her voice and the music itself.
JA: Thank you.

PW: It has a dark, older feel to it, which I like. So, I actually saw you guys when you opened for Tegan and Sara in October of 08.
JA: Oh, what city?

PW: New York, Terminal 5.
JA: That was fun.

PW: You guys were great. How was that tour? I know you guys have been out with a lot of really great people. Do you have a favorite tour? I know you did the True Colors tour and have been out in support of Morrissey.
JA: Yeah, each one was great for it’s own different reasons. It was pretty wonderful to start with a big tour like Morrissey because it really kept us in this state of being like thankful. We like to call that tour like a “Boot Camp” almost. When you tour, you never know what the artist’s personality is like, and all you want to do is just do a good job. With Morrissey we tended to stay out of his way. We did what we had to do and then we ran to our dressing rooms and you know, I think it paid off because he appreciated that we kind of left him alone and he talked to us when he wanted to.

Going on the next tour, it was kind of the same thing. But with Tegan and Sara they were definitely like, “don’t do that with us! You guys can hangout whenever you want to.” Not to say that Morrissey is not, but they are definitely down to Earth and it was just a great experience, each one. We like to be ourselves around these people but at the same time show that we’re going to back off a little.

PW: Will you guys be headlining your own tour for this album?
JA: Right! We are. We joined up with Miss Derringer. She’s got a great voice and it’s sort of this rockabilly sort of dark kind of band and it’s going to be good for us too because it’s really nice to join up with a band that you enjoy and that’s kind of similar to you. It’s going to be fun. They’re from LA. We’re going to do a couple of months.

PW: Will you be stopping in New York?
JA: Yes, of course!

PW: Oh! Tell me about the video shoot you just did.
JA: The song is called “El Monte”. It’s a love song with a reality twist at the end, and yesterday we did “Static Mind”, and that one we wanted to keep random because you look at a lot of these 90s videos and that’s what we love about them; some of them were random, some of them were artsy when it was time to really appreciate a CD and to also really appreciate a video, too. So, we just had fun yesterday. We worked with Jimmy Mendiola again for both videos. He’s a good buddy of ours: we work well together.

PW: I’ll definitely look forward to that. Thank you so much. Good luck tonight!
JA: Thank you.

Trio B.C. is out on Blackheart Records today, June 2nd, 2008.