Fuzz rock trio Calva Louise have shared some big journeys to get where they are today. On guitar and vocals, Jess Allanic is a native of Venezuela who moved to France in her teens. There she met bassist Alizon Taho with whom she eventually travelled to the UK, where drummer Ben Parker joined the picture. Now based in London, the group routinely rip up venues nationwide with their explosive garage/surf tunes. Earlier this month they joined fellow mosh-stirrers Spring King on the road, where we got to know each other over warm rider beers.
HOW DID YOU GUYS FIRST GET INVOLVED WITH SPRING KING?
Jess: It’s a long story. The first gig Alizon and I went to when we moved to London was Slaves at the Scala, where the main support was Wonk Unit. At the time we were in the cheapest accommodation, changing hostels every day because there were promotions on.
Alizon: We needed somewhere to rehearse so we booked a random studio next to the hostel where we were staying. When we went to the counter the guy there was the bass player from Wonk Unit who we’d seen two days earlier opening for Slaves!
JA: Literally the nicest guy, his name is Mark. We then went to [Wonk Unit’s all-dayer] WonkFest and they asked if I wanted to join them on tour supporting Slaves. It was great, I’d never been on tour. Spring King were supporting as well and I started chatting with Tarek, I said I had a band, and sent him a link to some demos.
AT: After that he offered us support slots for a couple of odd shows. He was always giving us good advice, a bit like a mentor. Even tonight he was next to the stage watching the show. He definitely cares, you know?
JA: Sometimes in the industry it’s the agents who decide, “This band is doing well, let’s put them on tour with this band…” But Spring King, we’re nobodies and they still take us with them. It’s all about music and friendship, it’s genuine and not business orientated. It’s love!
YOU OPENED FOR TIGERCUB AT SCALA RECENTLY AS WELL. HOW WAS THAT?
AT: The Scala was special because, as we said, Slaves there was the first gig we went to in England. I remember thinking ‘I wish we could play here one day’, so supporting Tigercub felt like a milestone. We did two nights, London and Brighton. Brighton wasn’t planned – on the night of Scala they told us their main support had just dropped out, and asked “do you want to come to Brighton tomorrow?”
Ben: We woke up the next day and didn’t know if it was happening or not because we had all been really drunk!
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR SONG ‘GETTING CLOSER’?
JA: It’s about how young adults have all these worries, and thinking you’re running out of time when you’re not. The anxiety that is there is purely created by yourself. You are your worst enemy. What I’m seeing now with a lot of people our age is that they don’t give a fuck. They’re going to do [what they want] no matter what their family or friends say. It’s better sacrificing everything for something you love than for something you don’t, just to be secure in survival. So the song is saying don’t let that part of your mind or anyone else tell you that you’re going to mess up when you’re the only one who has a choice.
TELL US ABOUT GETTING WRAPPED UP IN CLINGFILM FOR THE VIDEO
JA: That was our friend George’s idea, who directed the video. The clingfilm [represents] the part of your brain that you feel is restricting you from doing what you want. But it’s just cling film, you can cut it, you can break through it.
AT: When we made it the conditions were pretty funny. We’d been to do a gig in Paris and decided to do the video at the same time, with basically no budget. George was amazing because he came up with all these ideas. So we went to the park just around the corner, it was raining, we were carrying instruments and using them to protect ourselves.
BP: Fun fact, actually maybe not so fun, Jess at the time was suffering from a horrible gum infection. We actually had to interrupt the shoot to find a dentist. And you can see in some of the scenes that Jess is really in genuine pain from it. Method acting.
WHEN CAN WE EXPECT TO HEAR MORE FROM CALVA LOUISE?
JA: Hopefully very soon. We have a lot of recordings, but we don’t really have the budget to mix them. We don’t release something that’s badly done just because we don’t have the money.
FINALLY, IT’S ALMOST FESTIVAL SEASON. IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ANY BANDS, DEAD OR ALIVE, TO HEADLINE YOUR DREAM FESTIVAL, WHO WOULD YOU PICK?
AT: I’d want to see Jack White and Pink Floyd.
BP: Mine would be Queen, Nirvana and… oh God, I don’t know.
JA: I’ve got one that isn’t a band. In the eighteenth century there was this violin player who people said was the devil because he was so good. Religious people actually said he was the devil because he was so good that women were horny all the time and men would sell their house to go and see him live. And I’ve always wondered… how did it sound? Because you can’t know! Paganini is his name.
BP: I mean, that’s not my ideal festival…
JA: I would say Nirvana as well, and The Beach Boys. Pet Sounds era.
Getting Closer is out now. Calva Louise are heading out on a UK tour in March, check out the dates below and get your tickets here.
Cardiff The Moon (March 1)
Southampton The Joiners (March 2)
London The Water Rats (March 3)
Bristol Mothers Ruin (March 9)
Leeds The Lending Room (March 10)
Manchester Jimmy’s (March 17)
Glasgow Broadcast (March 23)
Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s (March 24)
Birmingham Sunflower Lounge (March 30)
Sheffield Café Totem (April 6)