PHOTOGRAPHY Danielle DeFoe
WORDS Aamina Simone
“Reverb-soaked punked out rock,” a phrase almost synonymous to the DIY girl band, L.A. Witch. From their echoing lyrics to their occult aesthetic, Sade (middle), Irita (right) and Ellie (left) lure us into their bluesy-surf-psychedelic daydreams of broken hearts and bad decisions. Through sinister ballads and evocative hooks, their latest EP ‘Drive Your Car’ inebriates us into their distorted yet cathartic realm of cat skulls and wilting roses. If you haven’t heard of them before, get acquainted. Introducing L.A. Witch.
Why are you called LA Witch? Does it have any relation to Louise Huebner? (the Official Witch of Los Angeles County, or in fact, the only officially appointed Official Witch in the World)
SADE: We're all born and raised in L.A. So that's the "L.A" part. The idea of a Witch to me is mysterious and both masculine and feminine. But powerful whether good or evil. It was something I guess we can all relate to in a way. We all have our good days and we all have our evil ways too.
IRITA: Louise actually sent a message to our Facebook page a while back. She seemed pretty stoked on our name.
Have you ever practiced or been involved in an incident with witchcraft/black magic?
IRITA: No, but we were invited to the the Satanic Temple's screening of "The Witch." We didn't get a chance to go to the after ceremony though, which I really regret now.
SADE: I've always been pretty curious about that kind of stuff. I think it just rubbed off from my dad. When we were kids and were on road trips, he'd make stops at old cemeteries, ghost towns and deserted places. He believed in the energy left behind in those places. He seemed to be fascinated with the strange and occult. I believe in the power of manifestation created by your mind. I don't know any spells or shit like that.
When did the three of you meet and how?
IRITA: I had been jamming with some of my girlfriends and we wanted to incorporate someone who could play guitar and sing. Our mutual friend Tony introduced us to Sade, and the rest is history.
ELLIE: I met Sade in high school where we had one of our first bands together. I met Irita in 2013 when I joined the band.
What’s life like in California? Are you Cali girls at heart?
SADE: I love California. It's beautiful. We have the deserts, the beaches, the mountains, the forests and good weather. Los Angeles is my home and will always have a home in it. It's an interesting place with lots of punk rock and rock n roll history.
ELLIE: California is really nice because in LA you don't really have to worry much about weather.
Congrats on ‘Drive Your Car’! How did that song come about?
SADE: That song is about the idea of borrowing someone's car, what could be their most prized possession. Driving that car around town as you please. Now being the one in control. It's supposed to make you wanna drive and drive fast. Drive off the tracks if you want.
What was it like working with Joel Jerome?
ELLIE: He's fun. Also he loves In-N-Out as much as we do.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
IRITA: Eating late night pizza or mulitas from Taco Zone after shows.
SADE: I don't think there's any pleasures I feel guilty about these days.
What does Riot Grrrl mean to you?
SADE: A lot of great women were part of that movement. They did a lot for the following generations of women. Seems like there's a new wave of it. When we first started there didn't seem to be as many girls playing. Just in the past 4 years, I think that's really changed. I'm glad to see that and hope women continue to play and more importantly, raise the standard for each other and maintain what great women in music have done in the past.
Where do you think punk music is at in 2016?
SADE: I have a specific idea of what punk music is in my mind. And when I wanna listen to it it tends to be of the 70s or 80s. Not saying it doesn't exist anymore. But it's rare that a band of today sticks to that traditional idea. Everyone has punk influences who play music today, but the influence gets easily washed in with all their other music style influences. I guess it's easy to call everyone a punk band. When their actually a bunch of genres smushed together. There's so much music out there, can't blame anyone for not sticking to one genre.
When you aren’t playing music, what else do you pursue creatively?
SADE: I watch a lot of films. I like to paint or draw. I kinda do more active stuff then creative stuff when I'm not writing music. I like to ride my motorcycle. I like to skate. I spend a lot of time with my dog.
IRITA: Photography, designing flyers, making clothes.
ELLIE: We all love taking photos. I really enjoy sewing and crafting when I'm home
You’re on tour with The Kills, how’s that been going?
SADE: it's unreal. They were a big influence on me growing up. Never got to see them when I was younger. I feel so lucky just to see them for so many days let alone tour with them.
Do you remember the first record you ever bought?
SADE: Not really. But I remember the first song I learned to play was purple haze.
IRITA: ELO "Out of the Blue" at a thrift store.
Do you have a spirit animal?
SADE: A puppy
IRITA: Silver fox
The first concert you ever went to?
ELLIE: My dad is a bass player/singer, so I remember going to lots of his concerts when I was little.
SADE: The Pixies/At the Drive-In.
IRITA: Working on a full length album, and then heading to Europe on November!
SADE: the first album and the rest of the world.
Hair: Rachel Lee Brady @rachelleebee
Makeup: Brooke Hill @makeupbybrookehill
Special thanks to Moonlight Rollerway!