By Janet Martin
Nashville-based trio The Ettes is no new comer to the indie scene. The Ettes released its first full-length album in 2006, and by 2008 the band was supporting the likes of The Black Keys, Kings of Leon and The Dead Weather on sold-out tours. Gracing the stages of both SXSW and Lollapalloza last year, the group—consisting of Lindsay “Coco” Hames, Maria “Poni” Silver and Jeremy “Jem” Cohen—is currently on its own tour in support of its fourth studio release Wicked Will. Making a stop in Pioneertown, The Ettes will be returning to SoCal where the group originated. In the midst of a hectic tour schedule, Coco Hames takes some time out to tell the Weekly about what’s in store for the upcoming Aug. 26 show at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.
“It’s worth seeing us live,” she says quite bluntly, “it’s a completely different experience.” Hames describes an Ettes show as “an intense, high energy experience . . . we try to make our shows expressive and we want the same thing back.” The band creates lively and electric performances that, according to Hames, completely change the music experience. “There is an intimacy and it’s something worth seeing.”
This intimacy stems from the music. When offstage, Hames writes all of the lyrics, pulling from her personal feelings and emotions. Songs like “My Baby Cried All Night Long” and “The Pendulum” combine a funky, garage rock sound (courtesy of Jem and Poni) with Hames’ retro-tastic vocals and raw lyrics. “It’s written from all perspectives,” Hames says when describing her experience writing Wicked Will. “It’s pretty honest and reactionary.” This could be why Hames considers this her favorite album. “When we hear it, when we play it live, it feels really good. We think ‘this is us, this is what we want.’” She is proud of the group’s ability to remain quirky and different and true to producing something they love.
Wicked Will, produced by music mast Liam Watson (The Kills and The White Stripes), was released earlier this month. The group flew out to Watson’s studio in London to record this album and deciding to up its retro feel by releasing Wicked Will as a classic vinyl. The Ettes’ sound isn’t something you hear every day—a mixture of old-school jazz and ’60s rock. Hames is proud of the unique vibe she and the others have managed to maintain. “It’s about creating an honest expression of who we are as people, as a band, as artists . . . I don’t know what we set out to do, but it has become about us—us being us,” says Hames speaking of a remain-true-to-yourself attitude that can probably be traced back to the group’s California roots.
Despite constant relocations (the group has called Los Angeles, New York and now Nashville home), The Ettes feels a connection to the Golden State. “We’ve never played Pionnertown, but I’m told it’s a really great place to play,” Hames says. “We started in LA so we love coming to California . . . it really feels like coming home.” The group has also travelled to Chicago, Denver and San Francisco all in the name of promoting its newest album. According to Hames it has been crazy going on the road after such a long hiatus (the last album, Do You Want Power was released in 2009) but they are getting used to it. “It always takes three days to get used to touring. We are just now at that stage. Before that you feel completely unhinged and everything is insane.”
The Ettes at Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, 53688 Pioneertown Rd., Pioneertown, (760) 365-5956; www.pappyandharriets.com. Fri, Aug. 26. 9PM.