STORY / ANGIE PICCIRILLO
PHOTOGRAPHY / KASSIA VERA
CLOTHING / SAV NOIR
As if being a female-fronted band wasn’t already cool enough, Thrift’s lead singer is not only female she’s an amazing bassist and songwriter. With their newest single, “Bombshell,” the so-called “dirty disco” band has just released the video — which features a desert and strange metaphors for being chained down.
Based out of Southern California, Thrift aims to captivate audience members with their easily distinguishable, perhaps slightly hard to describe, sound. Others have referred to their genre as “dirty disco” or in other words, garage rock-meets-pop. Regardless of genre and category, “Bombshell’s” dizzying synth dance hook will likely capture your attention while the vocals glide on top, sounding like a young Gwen Stefani — yes, back when she was cool.
Anna Carmela says she initially wrote the song about a court case that caught her interest from the early 2000’s, in which a girl named Jodi Arias killed her boyfriend. Apparently Jodi was super unassuming that no one would have thought she was capable of murder — in the end she earned the nickname the “bombshell killer,” which clearly served as inspiration for the tune. Anna adds, “after reviewing all the footage and hearings from the case, it was really clear that she was a really manipulative, psychotic girl.”
Though the song takes inspiration from the case, it isn’t directly about it — and is actually more about an abusive relationship. The video follows suit, showing Carmela tied by rope to her masked captor as she circles singing her cries for freedom. But just as she sings “I gotta have it, I kinda want it” — the knot around her ankle comes untied. Yet, instead of fleeing, she hands the rope back to her captor to tie her up once again.
Chances are you haven’t heard this much personality in a vocal in a long time, and the visual has all the metaphors for the broken relationship we all keep going back to. Check the video out here, and our Q&A with Anna Carmela below.
What is the song about?
Anna: I wrote the song about being in an abusive relationship, but I wanted to touch on the primal side of that. In my situation, I began losing my own sense of self and almost enjoyed being treated so poorly, so a lot of the lyrics reflect that theme.
Why do you think your sound should be called “Dirty Disco”?
Anna: The term “dirty disco” came from my producer, Brent Setterington, and I think it fits so well with Thrift because it describes both sides of the influences – the distorted, dark tones as well as the danceable grooves.
How would you describe what it’s like to see you live?
Anna: I definitely put a strong emphasis on the live shows. Performing is my favorite part about being in the band. I always try to think about how I feel as an audience member at other shows and what I would want to see live. The biggest thing I want to make sure of is that I allow myself to be vulnerable. I want people to feel comfortable in the audience, so I need to make sure I feel comfortable when I’m performing. So I would hope that people come to our shows to give themselves an hour to just groove to the music and be themselves.
You play the bass, how did you learn to play and what made you decide to choose bass?
Anna: I learned to play for the band because we needed a bass player in the beginning. From the moment I picked it up, I knew it was going to be my favorite instrument. I also play guitar, ukulele, and some piano, but the bass really stands out to me. I think it’s cool to sing and play bass because I feel like I have two completely different voices in the band.
Who are some other female musicians you think are dope?
Anna: Honestly, I mostly listen to super old music. Bessie Smith is hands down my favorite artist. She’s known as “The Empress of the Blues,” and she’s been a huge influence on me. I also love Etta James, Debby Harry, St. Vincent, Big Mama Thornton and Alison Mosshart.
What inspired the video for Bombshell?
Anna: Shelby, Caleb [the directors], and I came up with the concept together. I basically told them what the song was about and what I wanted to depict, and they ran with that idea. The desert theme was all their vision, and I’m so happy we went with that. It makes my character look so much more broken because of how barren the world around her is.
What do you hope fans will take away from hearing the song?
Anna: I never want to force-feed a meaning out of each song to listeners because I’m a huge fan of leaving art open to interpretation. BUT, that being said, I hope this song makes people think. I’d like to start an open conversation about the many forms of abuse – whether it be physical, mental, emotional, etc., and this song is the beginning of that for me.
Who is your ultimate garage-rock-pop icon that you would give anything to collab with?
Anna:I would LOVE to collaborate with Trent Reznor someday. That would be rad.
What’s next for you in 2018?
Anna: We’re going to be playing some shows in L.A. and releasing more music!
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