Girlpool and King Princess Found Love at a Claire’s in Florida
Girlpool recently released their fourth studio album, Forgiveness, and King Princess couldn’t be more excited about it. The Los Angeles-based pop rock duo, made up of Avery Tucker and Harmony Tividad, first crossed paths with the child king of pop (who also happens to be their number one fan) on a joint North American tour in 2019 that resulted in several ill-fated ear piercings at a Florida venue and a long list of destroyed band gear. The trio has remained friends since, even getting together this spring so that Girlpool could play an early version of Forgiveness for King Princess. The album marks a departure from the duo’s signature blend of raw harmonies and quietly devastating lyrics—it’s a full-throated, hyperpop and electronic-inflected catharsis record that marks the culmination of years’ long struggles for both Tucker and Tividad. To mark the album’s release, Girlpool hopped on the phone with King Princess for a weed-fueled conversation about the feelings of relief that accompany the new record, their unexpected musical influences, and the diseases they may have contracted at a Claire’s in Florida. —SAM FORD
KING PRINCESS: I’m thinking of becoming a long-haired dyke.
HARMONY TIVIDAD: That’s super hot for you.
KING PRINCESS: I like to stay on the cutting edge of hair. Where are you, Avery?
AVERY TUCKER : I’m in Mexico.
KING PRINCESS: Wow, good for you. I’m at Nana’s. She lives in Saratoga Springs, New York. I wish you were on the East Coast, because I’m filming a video this weekend and I need you both in it.
TIVIDAD: We’re going to shoot it at Ray’s, it’s a really campy vibe and I’m playing a bunch of characters, as we all love to do.
TUCKER: We love turning a music video into a full-ass movie.
KING PRINCESS: What is your favorite line on the new record? I know mine.
TIVIDAD: Oh god.
KING PRINCESS: Yeah, we’re getting down to fucking business. You found yourselves an interviewer, babes.
TUCKER: Honestly, “Let your body destroy and change me,” is one of my favorite lines in “Junkie.”
KING PRINCESS: That’s severely cunt.
TIVIDAD: I think mine is, “I loved you so traumatically that I can barely lift the world you left for me,” from “Faultline.”
KING PRINCESS: You guys are giving so extra on this record. I’ve listened to the whole thing, I love it, and I think it’s very different from your other stuff. You both are talking about your individual traumas in a very unified way.
TIVIDAD: Thank you.
KING PRINCESS: You’re literally welcome, calm down. So who did you work on the record with?
TUCKER: We did the whole record with Yves Rothman, who is amazing. He does all the Yves Tumor shit.
KING PRINCESS: So what is the deal, are y’all going on tour?
TUCKER: TIVIDAD, do you want to take this one?
KING PRINCESS: You guys are being so professional, passing questions to one another.
TIVIDAD: We’re not professional at all!
KING PRINCESS: I would do the same thing if I had a bandmate. It’s just me all the time, and it’s awful! I literally can’t phone a friend.
TIVIDAD: [Laughs] Anyway, we’re touring the U.S. in September. What about you?
KING PRINCESS: I’m so excited to be on tour again. When we toured together, I had so much fun. Remember we pierced our ears at that venue in Florida?
TIVIDAD: Oh my god, I forgot about that.
KING PRINCESS: Mine got infected almost immediately. I had to take it out.
KING PRINCESS: That machine we bought was definitely from like, 1992. It came with a How-To CD Rom.
TIVIDAD: Where did it come from again?
KING PRINCESS: A Claire’s in Florida.
TUCKER: Weren’t you destroying gear on that tour? I vaguely remember you fucking up the gear every night.
KING PRINCESS: Here’s the problem with having a “destroying the gear” phase, which I didn’t know. When you destroy the gear, you have to pay for it. That became a problem.
TUCKER: There was a “She did it again,” kind of energy around you destroying the gear. We’d be backstage after playing, and once it started, everyone would just shrug and nod.
KING PRINCESS: I don’t know if you feel this way, because obviously the two of you are rock and rollers yourselves, but I get a little bit embarrassed when people are like, “Who’s your influence?” I love Jack White, and people think that’s so dumb. It’s not dumb!
TUCKER: It’s very serious!
TIVIDAD: I had a big classic rock phase as a child—like Styx, Toto, Zeppelin.
KING PRINCESS: Harmony, did you just say Toto was classic rock?
TUCKER: I’m screaming.
KING PRINCESS: Okay, what else?
TIVIDAD: I love DDR music.
KING PRINCESS: Wait, you like music that was featured on the game Dance Dance Revolution?
TIVIDAD: No, just stuff that just sounds like DDR music.
KING PRINCESS: Okay I don’t know what that is. Avery?
TUCKER: I’m a Bright Eyes stan, a Grouper stan, and I love Duster. I also pull melodies from growing up going to Temple. The cantors would get on their guitars and wail away.
KING PRINCESS: You have a real Jewish hymn sensibility. [All laugh] I love talking to you guys about this stuff, because the conversations we usually have are about love and friendship and Los Angeles. I’ve never asked you about the references that make up your personhoods.
TUCKER: Lots of ‘80s music.
KING PRINCESS: I can hear that on the record. When you guys played me the record, it was so cute. You guys had me at a desk chair and you were really excited to play it for me. I was like, “Oh, my god, Harm! Your voice is so clear!” I’m having this phase right now where I’m all about an extremely loud vocal, because I want to know exactly what is being said. Seeing you live is different, you guys sing together, but on this record you just hear Harmony really loud, and I love that. Avery, you’re always loud so it’s fine.
TUCKER: I’m actually quite wispy.
KING PRINCESS: You got a stage whisper of a voice. Have you been having fun making the art around the record?
TIVIDAD: It’s been so sick and liberating, honestly. It felt so cathartic to make, and I pushed myself so far that I actually ended up back in my body, you know?
KING PRINCESS: Being in makeup and prosthetics is like becoming another person. You’re accessing a part of yourself that you usually can’t. The minute I get into the garb, I feel like I’m not leaning away from myself, I’m actually leaning inward. That’s the sense I got from that video.
TIVIDAD: That’s how I felt.
KING PRINCESS: You should get those lips.
TIVIDAD: Oh, my God. I would lose my skater face, I wouldn’t look like a skater in the face anymore, though.
KING PRINCESS: Excuse me, it’s a bit offensive to assume that a skater can’t have lips like that. A botox skater.
TIVIDAD: A Juvederm skater.
TUCKER: I used to skateboard on my stomach down hills. You know the story Harmony, but I had long-ass red hair. I’ve lived many lives…
KING PRINCESS: I know.
TUCKER: So I had this hair wrap, and it got caught in the wheel and yanked out.
KING PRINCESS: That hurts my pussy to think about.
TIVIDAD: Do you get seasick on boats?
KING PRINCESS: Me? No, I’m a nautical person.
TIVIDAD: I’m a seasick bitch.
TUCKER: You have boat vibes.
KING PRINCESS: If your record was a season, which season would it be?
TIVIDAD: Fall, definitely. That season represents death and decay, and a lot of the songs are about acceptance and closure and processing. There are no summer vibes on this record. To me, it’s kind of a late night drive energy, which I think is a fall vibe.
KING PRINCESS: Those months are my zone. Summer is stupid. It’s like, girl what? You want to have a pool party? I don’t care, it doesn’t make any sense. [All laugh] Okay, next question. If this animal were an album—I’m so high. If this album were an animal, what would it be? I’m being serious.
TUCKER: The record is really sexy to me. It’s heavy but it feels hot, so I’m going to go with some type of cat.
KING PRINCESS: Ow! I just got caught in Quinn’s oversized Telfar.
TIVIDAD: That’s so funny.
KING PRINCESS: On to my last question. I had to ask myself this with my album and I want to ask it to you, too. If you had a mission statement to share with your fans who get strength from this album, cry to it, whatever… What would you want them to know?
TUCKER: For me it’s an attempt to accept what has happened, and what is left over within myself from what has happened. It’s an effort to forgive. I think that the only way through something is to embrace it. And if that ends up being helping other people, forgive their past selves and move on, that’s amazing. That’s what the whole process is about for me—giving my feelings space so that they don’t hide and ruin me.
KING PRINCESS: That is an important lesson.
TIVIDAD: For me, it’s about saying things as they are, and not living life in euphemisms, or making things more romantic than they are.
KING PRINCESS: I think that you guys have a really important perspective, and this record nails exactly what you just said perfectly. A lot of people, right now especially, need music that is contemplative and accepting and empathetic. You’re providing that to people, and that’s fucking cunt!
TIVIDAD: Thank you, angel.
KING PRINCESS: I love you both a lot.
TIVIDAD: We love you so much.