As they drop their debut album today, we catch up with witty alt heroes The Prettiots.
We can’t get enough of The Prettiots here at Wonderland. Back in 2014, we spoke to the New York based girl band about their name (“pretty idiots…because the most powerful thing we can do as a band is be underestimated”), the virtues of being cutre, and their musical heroes. Since then, a whole lot has happened for Kay Kasparhauser (ukulele hero) and Lulu Landolfi (bass queen), not least a record deal with indie giants Rough Trade. Specialising in cheery melodies paired with extremely frank lyrics and casually delivered melancholia, the twosome are part The Smiths-influenced poets – they’re favourite Morrissey lyric being “Give in to lust, give up to lust, heaven knows we’ll soon be dust” – and part punky rebels who couldn’t care less what you think of them.
In one of their best tracks to date, ‘Suicide Hotline’, the girls make a fairly bad taste, and fairly funny, allusion to Sylvia Plath’s suicide. With that kind of irreverence we weren’t in the least surprised when they claim their other literary influences are “Steve Harvey and that chick that wrote 50 Shades of Gray.” Inspiration certainly comes from unlikely sources for The Prettiots, with “PC computer music, Samba and Dwight Twilley Band” all name-dropped as current obsessions. Indeed, you only need to look to their sublime cover of The Venga Boy’s ‘Boom Boom Boom’ to notice their trademark wit and talent for re-appropriation – performing the track during their European tour was, they tell us, a highlight of their live performances.
When we get on to their songwriting process during the making of the new album, they explain that their method is completely collaborative: “there’s essentially 100s of voice notes passed between the two of us that are generally recorded while humming on the way to the grocery store.” It’s a lovely image, and one which seems to capture the girls’ spontaneously D.I.Y. attitude and they’re unashamed honest. “Our music is truly honest so lyrically there isn’t any tweaking that goes in there. Musically we write and produce based off of what kind of music were getting into at that moment.” If you imagine them recording in a dingy Brooklyn studio, however, think again, because the first half of album production was spent in pretty idyllic surroundings: “we all went up state with Paul Kolderie for the week and set up a studio in this beautiful guest house. We got to barbecue and swim/sun bathe between sessions which was phenomenal.”
We can’t help but wonder whether such an inherently subversive duo would be happy signing on to a record label where they might find their artistic identity compromised. This is Rough Trade we’re talking about though, and the band have only good things to say, gushing, “it’s been so phenomenal working with such a great support system and they are constantly inspiring us to take more risks which is really sick.” They’re favourite song from Funs Cool? “‘hope yr happy’ I’m not totally sure why, I just really treat it like our baby.” As for our number one? With this many alt-pop bangers, it’s too tough to call.