Interview: Burnt Palms

One of our very favorite acts - Burnt Palms recently announced the details of their newest album Back On My Wall, with the insanely wonderful single "Fold." While we wait for that LP to drop through We Were Never Boring Collective on February 5th, the band was kind enough to answer a few of our questions!

The Grey Estates: How did Burnt Palms come together?

Burnt Palms: Burnt Palms was formed when Clara and Riley found each other through a mutual friend, who knew we were both looking to play music with other people. It started off as just us two, Brian then joined us after coming across a poster we put up looking for a bass player. Our newest member, Joshua Vazquez is a good friend of ours who we invited to play on our new album.

TGE: This is your newest full length after the Girl You Knew..what can fans expect and how does this particular release differ from your last?

BP: Our new album, Back On My Wall, is still true to the Burnt Palms “sound”, but with the addition of Josh, it’s a little heavier sounding with some more texture. Like our first self -titled album of 2012, this album involves more back up vocals from Clara, compared to The Girl You Knew.

TGE: Describe your recording process and give us kind of an inside peek at what it takes to go from idea to record.

BP: The usual process for the creation of our songs starts with Riley coming up with the structure, guitar and lyrics, on her own time. What happens next is the most exciting part – Clara on drums and Brian on bass, come up with their parts at practice, as well as Josh with the second guitar. It’s always amazing to hear the song evolve to a dynamic final product. There are times when suggestions are made to each other, but for the most part, we do our own thing.

For every album so far, we have recorded with Gary Olson (of The Ladybug Transistor). Our first, self - titled album was recorded in San Francisco, The Girl You Knew - in Brooklyn at Gary’s studio (Marlborough Farms) and the new one in San Francisco at Speak Easy studio (owned by Alicia Vanden Heuvel of The Aislers Set). Each one is recorded live in studio then we overdub some guitar parts and lastly - vocals.


TGE: A lot of your material deals with crushes and falling in love...what in particular about this inspires you or how do you come up with the material? 

BP: For Riley, lyrics can come from personal feelings or other people’s expressions of emotions and experiences - sometimes they are a result of combining the two. A conversation with someone, or reading, may inspire random verses which then lead to more when she picks up her guitar. As a very sensitive person, it is not hard to feel what others are feeling.

TGE: Since your single came out on a cassette single. what's a tape you just picked up or one you first got?

BP: Riley most recently purchased, A Certain Smile’s cassette. Her first ever was possibly Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous”.

TGE: What's a fun fact about Burnt Palms?

BP: We are nothing alike! Our personality type tests suggest we are not much compatible as friends, but are very likely to have successful working relationships (haha).

TGE: What's been one of the most surreal moments as a band?

BP: Being approached by someone who wants to put out your album is always pretty cool. It is just never really expected so it was a nice surprise that We Were Never Being Boring ( out of Italy/USA wanted to support us for two albums (The Girl You Knew and Back On My Wall).

Another was when The Flatmates approached us wanting to tour with us, it was kind of surreal just because they are such an influential band. The tour never happened because they didn’t make it over… but still kind of awesome!

Lastly, one time we were playing in Stockton at a secret spot in a sparse strip mall, when all of the sudden everyone in the music space had to be silent and hide, because outside were cops with guns drawn and some crazy stuff happening. We weren’t really supposed to be in there… it was so weird!

TGE: What would be a dream Burnt Palms merch item?

BP: At one time, Riley wanted to sell Burnt Palms coconut water as merch. We all drink plenty of it but mostly Clara on the drums after sweating like crazy!!!! It’s a great drink!

TGE: What can we expect from the band next?

BP: We don’t know what the future will hold, but we already have three new songs – hopefully towards a fourth album! 

Album - Always Almost - Tonopah

mp3 premiere: "Search Lights" - Exiles