"Our sense of community at our shows is extremely important to us and specifically the safety of women, non-binaries, LGBTQ+ individuals, BIPOC individuals, and people with disabilities. These people and their support, their love, their light that they bring to the music scene is what inspires us-- and making that scene accessible."
Photo by @theoverallbandit (IG)
I love the fact you guys are a 3-piece band, you make your sound very eclectic, which is impressive. Can you describe your process?
Jenna: Typically Razz or I will write the skeleton of a song or a poem and bring it to the rest of the group to build on. I think we all enjoy writing together much more than by ourselves, after working creatively together for the past four years.
Razz - Yeah, although we usually begin a song on our own the end result is always a group effort. If I were to bring in a bass line or chord progression, Jake could add a rhythm I wouldn’t have thought of, and Jenna a vocal melody that compliments it very uniquely. Working as a three piece is great because there is so much room to experiment.
Jake - I like to think of it like the idea is a lump of clay, it has all the substance and density but doesn't have the shape that does the contents justice. After we all sit with the song and contribute our different parts and try out each other's ideas, the lump of clay idea is now a vase, or some other pleasing pottery. Pretty much we just all shape it together.
I’ve seen you guys live before. There is a lot of visceral energy, does playing live give you some sort of euphoria?
J: Absolutely. Playing live is unlike anything else and though it can be emotionally exhausting and so vulnerable, there is strength in it and being able to perform so honestly.
Razz - The synergy between us and the crowd is a very very unique experience. It feels very animalistic, yet meditative.
Jake- Playing live does different things for people. Sometimes like Jenna said it takes something out of you to be up on stage, and then like Razz said it can sometimes be a release. There is a very real catharsis that I think we try to make mutual for both ourselves and the audience and the beauty is that everyone can have that release in their own way.
How did you guys choose your band name? I’m curious!
J: I think Street Play was something we strongly identified with in our early youth-- in our own ways. Not being able to find a home in my own home, I often turned to the street and confided in the big bad city. It was truly my playground.
Razz - Street Play was definitely an amalgamation of all our experiences growing up in LA. I think the name reminds me of that freedom we found as kids exploring various areas of the city.
Jake - We were all fortunate to live that call for late nights and living for the present. The name always conjures an image of keeping that youthful mentality that the gals mentioned.
How long have you guys been musicians? I bet you guys have an awesome backstory.
Jenna: I’ve been teaching myself how to play piano and guitar and whatever else I could get my hands on since I was about 8 years old. After my mother passed, music was one of the only things that made sense to me.
Razz - I’ve been playing guitar since I was a kid as well, but bass was the instrument that really ignited my love for music and writing my own pieces. There’s nothing like bass. For the past 5 years that has been my main squeeze, although I have been digging getting back on the guitar for a couple new SP tracks.
Jake - We all share a mutual experience of finding music at a young age and growing up in houses that treasured music in all its varieties. I grew up around drums and watching my dad play in clubs since I was a wee lad so I was always just waiting to get big enough to sit at his drum kit. Once I could I did end up teaching myself and feeling comfortable with the influences and gear I found that made me feel like I’d found my style.
Can you describe what genre Street Play is?
J: We’ve often described Street Play as grunge because it mixes the themes of punk, rock, blues, and hardcore. I like to think of us as if Portishead went punk.
Jake: That's pretty spot on. We’ve heard people describe us as all kinds of things. I almost enjoy hearing what people tell us we sound like more than telling them our genre.
What is your favorite show you’ve played thus far? Did the crowd’s energy/vibe enhance your experience?
J: My favorite show we’ve ever played so far would have to be a Sleezehog Productions Halloween party we played at a house a little past Crenshaw. The show was called Punkoween and we played with Nightmare Enterprises and Sitting on Stacy. We didn’t get a single bit of footage from our set but I’ll never forget it. I remember it felt like the entire house was vibrating or shaking like a bounce house-- it was so crowded! A girl right in front of the crowd grabbed me by the shoulders while I screamed and screamed right back at me. It was amazing and so powerful. At the end of our set, we all completely collapsed on each other, covered in sweat. I was so happy that night.
Razz - Punk-o-ween was an incredibly glorious show. Thinking about it now, there are so many that stick out to me… I suppose I gotta mention the Friday the 13th show that happened three years ago just yesterday. It was a house show thrown by a LGBTQ+ pride organization and the crowd was getting down that night. It’s funny, unlike Punk-o-Ween, our whole set was recorded. It’s on our YouTube. I remember really admiring the dancers and the lighting that night, it was all really cinematic. After the show, our friend who owned the house made us quesadillas.
Jake: Those were both great shows. Punk-o-ween was definitely one for the books. I’m biased towards the two nights back to back at the Smell that we did in February. There were so many friends and fellow artists that showed up to support and just an all around feeling of community. Every band on both of those lineups played amazing sets and were some of the kindest and complementary people we’ve ever played with. The crowd screamed the lyrics back to us and the dancing was non stop. Everything just worked and went so smoothly.
I’m curious as to who you guys look up to and drive you to make music. Any musicians or artists, or anything, I know there are no bounds to what can inspire music.
J: I’m a total mutt. In short, anything that makes me tap my foot or shake my head-- I will take something from it. My father raised me on Black Sabbath but it wasn’t until later when my older sister introduced me to emo, heavy metal, and punk music where I fell in love with My Chemical Romance, (early) Paramore, Slayer, The Misfits, Bad Brains, The Adicts. Now I can say most of my music is influenced by Riot Grrrl bands, Nirvana, Radiohead, The Slits, or Babes in Toyland.
Razz - My music influences are quite varied too... I really appreciate the musicianship of Ethiopian jazz artists, the soundscapes of William Basinski, and the composition of Alex G’s tracks (both unreleased and official). Vocally, I take a lot from Chelsea Wolfe, the freak folk duo CocoRosie, and sometimes Julian Casablancas (both Strokes and Voidz). I adore Eliott Smith and a lot of darkwave like Molchat Doma, too. Talking Heads is probably my favorite band. Cibo Matto rules.
Jake- My music taste shifts from day to day and month to month. I started off in that framework that classic rock was the gold standard of music and anything new was phony; pretty much I was a dumbass. My instinct is always listening to drums and bass lines. My core influences stem from Art Blakey from the Jazz Messengers, Lenny White from Return to Forever, John Bonham from Led Zeppelin, Mitch Mitchel from the Jimi Hendrix Experience , Bill Ward from Sabbath and then both Joey Castillo and John Theodore from Queens of the Stone Age. I pretty much listen to any band with a creative drummer who adds another flavor or riff into the music.
Can you talk more about your latest EP “Sirens”?
J: Sirens was our first complete album as our three piece. It was a mix of our early songs that we decided to keep and some of our more present sound. Many of the songs embody beauty as well as the pain of the femme experience, while others are simply inspired from horror movies.
Are there any new releases on its way?
J: We are releasing our single Lycanthropy off of our current project we are working on with Emilio Zoen.
OH yeah, where are you guys from?
J: I’m from west Los Angeles.
Razz - Born & raised in Venice, California.
Jake - I’m from LA.
What inspires you to advocate change? You guys have a very strong, powerful presence.
J: Thank you! We are blessed to have the platform and outlet that we do and recognize the privileges that come with it. Our sense of community at our shows is extremely important to us and specifically the safety of women, non-binaries, LGBTQ+ individuals, BIPOC individuals, and people with disabilities. These people and their support, their love, their light that they bring to the music scene is what inspires us-- and making that scene accessible. It’s something we have felt strong about from the very beginning.
Razz - Jenna said it perfectly. I have been so grateful for the platform that Street Play has found. Using our music to raise money for different fundraisers or promote awareness of various social issues has been a really awesome way to channel this energy we all have. The inspiration definitely comes from our love for the people in our community, wanting to uplift and celebrate everyone.
Jake - I couldn't say it any better. We want to serve as a public entity that can stand against marginalization and oppression. It's special to play in the community that we do and preserving that and ensuring the safety and happiness of other people is paramount.
Photo by @Ashley.nramirez (IG)