Rocking out and getting sweaty next to complete strangers might not exactly sound romantic, but it's an unconventional and fun way to spend Valentine's Day this Monday. The Pretty Reckless comes to town to play Martini Ranch on their first headlining, intimate club tour, after the Taylor Momsen-fronted band sold out 2,500-seat venues overseas. Momsen is taking a break from acting on the television show Gossip Girl to focus on the band, which just released their debut album, Light Me Up, last week. We caught up with the 17-year-old singer, actress and model to talk about the band's new album and tour.
Why did you decide to form a band with the people you did? In this industry, to find people who have the same vision as you is really challenging because it's such a pop-oriented market. It just sort of naturally fit.
Tell me about the process of recording the album. We worked on the record for a year and a half. We wrote and recorded the record at the same time. It was a very different process from how records are usually made, going straight to the studio to record all night until 3 in the morning (because of the show). It was a pretty grueling process.
Describe the songwriting process. In the beginning, when you're writing with anyone, it takes a minute to solidify the direction you want to go and how you work best together. "Make Me Wanna Die" was the first song written for the record. It kind of the set the direction and bar we had to equal.
A new song, "Zombie," is on the American release of the record. Tell me about that song. That came from an idea from a thing I had written awhile ago, and we turned it into this song. It's about feeling like you're doing all this stuff, and you don't know what the fuck you're doing.
Where does your inspiration come from? It's hard to say. Inspiration comes from everywhere. As a writer you're constantly keeping your eyes and ears open. I write about what I know. I write about my life and what I've experienced and seen. It's a very honest record.
How much input do you have when it comes to the melodies? A lot. It's a very much team and collaboration.
With your acting career on Gossip Girl and your modeling and everything else you're doing, where does music fall within your priorities? I consider myself a musician who acts as well as a job. I would consider myself a musician foremost. People have to get used to seeing me as myself. Right now the primary focus is the band. We're touring a ton this year. We're going all over the world this year. It's going to be a lot of music this year.
You have very mature lyrics and a very mature image. What's your response to people who think you might be acting too mature? I don't really think about it. It's just the life I have, and I know what I know. I don't really have any friends that are my age, and I think that just comes with the territory. My friends are my bandmates. I tend to not compare to myself. You don't need to analyze yourself like the press does.
What can people expect from your show? It's a rock n' roll show. I hope everyone leaves thoroughly entertained. It's a very loud show. Come see it and get down and dirty.
What are your goals with music? I want to write great songs, and I want to make records for the rest of my life. It's a drive that's kind of unexplainable, that any artist would say that you need to do it. I don't really have a choice. I want to be writing and making records the rest of my life. Where my other careers take me and future, who knows, but right now I want to be making records for the rest of my life.
Why should people check out your music? They might be surprised--it's different from a lot of stuff that's on the radio.
Do you worry about fitting in on today's radio stations? I don't think about it. When we wrote the record, we wrote it because we wanted to write great songs and we wanted to be performing.