Taylor Momsen's group have recovered from Hurricane Sandy's wrath and are back with 'Going To Hell.'
The Pretty Reckless, the rock band fronted by Taylor Momsen, have just dropped a new video, 'Going To Hell,' the title track of their upcoming album through on Razor and Tie. It's a long time coming -- their debut, 'Light Me Up,' was released in 2010 -- mostly due to Hurricane Sandy destroying their New Jersey studio last year.
The tragedy dislodged the band, physically and emotionally. "It definitely took a minute for us to get back into the flow of things because everyone was pretty devastated," said Momsen. We caught up with the frontwoman during the Los Angeles stop in The Pretty Reckless's 'Going To Hell' Tour (which runs till November 11), to discuss losing the album’s initial demos, rebuilding the band's arsenal of gear, and what we can expect from the forthcoming release.
So the album finally has a due date. It’s coming out in 2014?
We don’t have an actual date yet, but it will be out in early 2014. And we’ll have a bunch of singles out before then. We’re pretty much finished, finally. It took some time – unexpectedly longer than we were hoping for with the hurricane wiping out our studio. So we had to rebuild and the recording process after that took a lot longer than we were expecting. That’s why we had the push back.
When you hear the record, that will make a lot more sense, but 'Going to Hell' seems to sum it up in a simple way.
Were you pretty far along when the hurricane came and wiped out the studio?
Yeah, pretty much. We weren’t expecting it. We were recording at Water Music Studios in Hoboken, New Jersey, and Water Music Studios is in a flood zone because it’s technically below sea level – so with a bad rain it can flood a little. The room we were recording in, though, was raised above sea level, and no one thought that room would flood.
Everyone was moving their gear into our studio preparing for Sandy that was coming, and we had no idea how bad it was going to be. It was eight feet of water, and it just took out everything. Our producer really got hit hard. He lost so much gear and hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment. It was pretty brutal. It took us a while to rebuild our arsenal of gear and find a new studio that wasn’t covered in sewage. It took a lot longer than expected, but we conquered and we’re finished finally.
Did you end up redoing some of those early demos that you had or did that change the whole tone of the album?
The songs were already written, but it definitely took a minute for us to get back into the flow of things because everyone was pretty devastated.
What is most of the material of the album inspired by?
We were touring the record for about two-and-a-half years and when we got off the road, I really had to regroup and kind of go away and get inside my own head again and get back into the process of writing and not tour. Ben [Phillips, the lead guitarist,] and I were writing the record, and a theme started to develop naturally, and it was sort of unintentional. When you hear the record, that will make a lot more sense, but 'Going to Hell' seems to sum it up in a simple way.
The point of a rock show, you crank things to 10. You put your phone away, you take your earplugs out and prepare for an experience of rock.
The title is pretty dark; can we expect a gloomier tone on a lot of these songs?
I wouldn’t use the word gloomy, but I’d say it has a deeper tone. We wrote it in the mindset of going in with no boundaries and not conforming to any sort of trend or anything, so whatever we wanted to do, that’s what it was. When you hear it, it’s deeper, and I hope people listen to the record from front to back. I think the more you hear the songs, the more you’ll be able to discover more and more things about it. They are not just three-minute pop songs you listen to once. There are a lot of elements to them, so I think there more you hear it, the more you’ll discover new things.
What’s the track 'Going To Hell' about?
'Going To Hell,' the song was actually written after the hurricane so we were not in the happiest space. 'Going To Hell' is essentially just talking about our sins as a society and our sins, individually. Going to hell and religion is a metaphor and not meant to be literal, but it’s actually talking about everyone’s sins.
The more you hear the songs, the more you’ll be able to discover more and more things about it. They are not just three-minute pop songs you listen to once.
What’s on the agenda for the rest of this year and next?
Lots and lots of touring. Right now we’re on our first tour of this record cycle, which is a North American tour. And when this ends, I’m sure we’ll be going around the world again for the next year, if not two. But lots and lots of touring, lots and lots of playing, music videos and all that.
I’m sure when you first started out with the band, people were curious and coming out because they saw you on 'Gossip Girl.' At this point, do you feel like you’re established a real authentic fanbase of people who come to your shows purely for your music?
Yeah, absolutely. The transition has definitely moved in that way – I mean, I haven’t acted in four years, so it’s definitely switched a little bit. We have awesome fans that come. There are girls, and there are guys. It’s a mixed group of people who come to our shows, which is always nice. On this record, what we did is we really developed a sound for the band. We had been touring for two years and playing every night, and I think that’s the great thing about this record -- it’s very raw, it’s really just what we sound like. There’s not really any added production or sound tools to it. It’s very honest.
For people that haven’t been to one of your shows yet, what can they expect when they buy a ticket?
They are getting into some super motherfucking loud shit. When you come into one of our shows, you’re leaving deaf. It’s ruckus, it’s chaos, it’s super raw. It’s super loud. There’s no tracks. There’s not anything. Anything can go wrong at any point, which makes it fun. It’s real old school rock and roll. Come to our shows and prepare to get nuts because it’s all about letting loose. Don’t bring your fucking earplugs! Take your earplugs out. The point of a rock show, you crank things to 10. You put your phone away, you take your earplugs out and prepare for an experience of rock.