Though young, Los Angeles rock band Frieda’s Roses released an impressive debut on June 28 via Mika Records. Titled Jessica Triangle, the 12-track album has received plenty of positive press, and for good reason: the record is incredible, channeling rock and surf influences to create an album that’s energizing, rich and catchy. Greta and Ava, two members of the band, answered a few emailed questions about the album, its namesake and their musical history. Check out the interview below.
Indientry: Hi, guys! How are you all?
Greta: I’m doing good, thank you!
Ava: Hi! I’m doing well.
What artists are you all listening to right now?
Greta: I’ve been listening to Bleached, Cherry Glazerr, Courtney Barnett, Tacocat, and the Beatles lately.
Ava: I’ve been listening to a wide variety of music lately. A lot of AC/DC, Metallica, and Led Zeppelin.
You have a pretty solid sound for being such young musicians. How did the three of you meet and decide to start a band?
Greta: I met Poppy when I was about 4 years old at a homeschool park day. I started taking guitar lessons at about 8 years old, I would come up with simple chord progressions just for fun, then Poppy started writing lyrics and singing. When we were around 10 and 11 we called ourselves The Red Roses and played a couple small shows. I had also known Ava for a long time and I knew she liked to sing, so I asked her if she’d like to play with us. A little while after we renamed ourselves Frieda’s Roses. We got along and collaborated really well.
Ava: I was actually the last person to join the band. Greta asked me to join a little over 2 years ago. I connected with her and Poppy almost immediately.
It seems like you guys are getting a lot of positive press, especially radio coverage. How does that feel?
Greta: I think it’s all really exciting! I’m a bit surprised about all of the radio play because I didn’t expect that to happen. I like reading the reviews because I get to see the different things people enjoy about our music. Having Rodney Bingenheimer play us on his radio show the past few weeks has been one of the most exciting parts so far!
Ava: The press and radio coverage has been a pleasant surprise for me. Radio play is something I never expected to experience. I still can’t get over the fact that there are people I’ve never met, turning on their radios and hearing my voice.
Where does your primary musical and lyrical inspiration come from? What does your songwriting process look like, as a band?
Greta: Seeing other bands play live is probably one of my biggest inspirations to write music. After seeing a band play, I’m always motivated to write something new and to be a better musician.
When we first started writing our own songs it was part of a songwriting workshop with Dan West and Azalia Snail. (from LoveyDove) They would give us inspiration and ideas for songs, and this experience gave us the tools to later write songs on our own.
When we write, usually the music and lyrics are started separately. Poppy and Ava would come with some lyrics that they either worked on together or separately, and I usually would come with at least a verse already written for the guitar part.
When I write the music it always starts by just playing with different chords on the guitar, until I find something I like.
Ava: We usually write our songs in two separate pieces. The music, and then the lyrics. Sometimes the lyrics are inspired by the music, like in “Wonderfully Free.” Other times, lyrics are inspired by a strong feeling or opinion, like “Forever Defend Her Story.” And then, there are songs like “Need to be Free,” which is a story I came up with and turned into song lyrics. Usually Poppy or I would bring in lyrics and Greta would bring in music and we would combine them the best we can.
Tell me a little bit about the album you just released, Jessica Triangle.
Greta: When we started writing the songs we weren’t really expecting to release an album. But after we had a good collection of songs, we thought it would be fun to record them. I love the album because I think it has a good variety of sounds and is a reflection of how we’ve grown and changed as a band over the past two years. For me, it was really great to add extra guitar, and also piano and strings on a few songs. It was also interesting to learn the technical parts of recording an album. And I’m very happy with the way it turned out.
Ava: Jessica Triangle is a little Triangle in Mount Washington. It is full of plants and is overall a really happy place to walk past. However, when we researched it, we learned that it wasn’t always that way. Until it was restored to beauty by the community, Jessica Triangle had become a popular place for waste and litter. We thought its dirt-to-beauty story was inspiring. After turning the story into a song, we realized that it would be the perfect story to represent our album. Our album is full of songs that represent our journey into our own personal beauty. Each song we write and each gig we play takes us one step closer to our own Jessica Triangle-worthy transformation into the young women we are becoming.
What are some of your favorite songs on the record, and where did they come from?
Greta: I really love “Lucy Poe,” which is a song about my cat, Lucy, and Poppy’s dog, Poe, as if they were one animal. It is also one of the first songs that we’ve written. I also really love “El Mismo Que Tú” which is a song about acceptance. I particularly love all of the guitar and drums on that one, and the Spanish lyrics I really like, too.
Ava: My personal favorite songs are “El Mismo Que Tu,” and “Forever Defend Her Story.” Both of these songs were inspired by intense emotions that I personally experienced. “El Mismo Que Tu” is a song that talks about accepting people for who they are because nobody should have to change for other people to be happy. Half of the song is in Spanish to demonstrate that even though Poppy, Greta and I come from different backgrounds, we can all come together and play music and be happy. “Forever Defend Her Story” is a song about catcalling and harassment. Growing up as women in today’s day and age, we have been taught to cover up skin and to fear men. We are constantly given a list of things we can’t do: don’t stay out late, don’t walk alone, don’t show too much skin. We think that as the next generation of adults coming into this world we need to show people that change is necessary and has been for a long time. How about instead of telling women to learn how to defend themselves, we teach men to be better humans?
How has the response to the album been?
Greta: The response has been really good so far, and everything people have been saying about it has been very positive!
Ava: The response to the album has been incredible! The amount of positive feedback we’ve been getting is outstanding. As I mentioned before, this is never something I expected to happen to me, but I couldn’t be happier to be experiencing it.
What’s next for your band, either short-term or long-term?
Greta: I would say for short-term, we will mostly be writing new songs this summer and maybe play a couple shows this fall, and possibly make a new music video soon.
What else about your group or your music do you want readers to know?
Greta: We’re very excited right now to be able to share our music with everyone. There have been some changes recently with Poppy moving on from the band, and our friend Riley Wagner Lewis is now in the band as our drummer. We love playing music together and want to keep performing and writing music as long as we can!
Ava: I would just like to share that we are all so happy to be experiencing everything we have and we love to share our love for music with others! Thank you!
Access the entirety of Freida’s Roses’ discography via their Bandcamp page, and stream the title track of their album below.