Hailing from Cincinnati, Tweens have carved out their place in punk rock. Calling their sound “Trash Pop”, they have embraced the DIY ethos in spades.
I sat down with band founder Bridget Battle before their most recent show in Columbus for an exclusive one-on-one. They have rolled the best of 60’s girl groups, 70’s punk rock and 90’s angst into a sound that is loud and abrasive, yet completely soothing.
You formed the band in April of 2012…
“I had just moved into this house with my friends Peyton (Copes) and Jerry (Queen). We moved in there solely to have DIY shows in the basement, because a lot of venues had started to die out. I was just booking shows at the time. So, they got me up playing in there. They were jamming one day and we did a cover of a Dixie Cups song. It went really well, so we just started doing cover songs while I learned how to play guitar.”
Your first offering was “Live @ Mohawk” on cassette. Tell us about that.
“We put that out and did a Midwest tour and an East coast tour. Then we started cranking out some originals and doing demos of those. We put Be Mean on the internet and that’s how French Kiss (record label) heard about us. Then we got asked to do a tour with The Breeders, and we didn’t have a record!”
You recorded your debut album in late 2013 with a member of one of my favorite 90’s bands…
“We recorded it with Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys/Late Night with Seth Meyers Band). He’s like the biggest sweetheart of all-time. He was the producer and engineer.”
What are some of your influences?
“I really like the Royal Trux attitude and style. JJ is like my favorite… she’s insane!
“It’s stuff I grew up listening to with my mom. She was a singer, too. We would sing together to songs on the radio. But when Tweens started, that’s when I was going through my big, power-pop, girl group, late 70’s, early 90’s budget rock obsession. That definitely influenced the first record and the demos.”
What are the origins of the band’s name?
“People ask this question… and I feel like I don’t even really remember. It was something that came so easy and so quickly. I think it was just a word we were joking around with at the house. It’s also kind of about pop culture obsession.”
Tell us about new members Sam Cowan (bass) and BJ Marsee (drums)…
“Jerry left first, to pursue his own music project. Sam (Cowan) came in to fill-in on drums. Then, Peyton took off the following summer to tour manage, because he was kind of burned-out on playing music. So, BJ (Marsee) took the drum part and Sam moved to bass. They’ve been like two of my best friends for years. They’ve played in other Cincinnati bands, so we’ve known each other for a long time. So, when I was looking for two permanent players, these were my dudes!”
When can fans expect a new Tweens album?
“We’ve got about eight finished new songs, four of which have been demoed. I’d like to get into the studio by this summer.”
What are your long-range goals?
“I just want to keep going. It was kind of a hard setback to lose Peyton and Jerry. But, I feel like this is what I’m supposed to do. I guess I don’t really care what comes out of it, as long as I’m doing it. So, if I can crank out records every couple of years and tour the world, maybe make some money from it…”
You’ve already toured Europe. What was that like?
“We hit France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, the U.K., the Netherlands… which is the greatest place on earth! It’s so rewarding to go over there, but it’s hard to break even. Europeans always ask for an encore, even if there’s not that many people there, and everybody is really enthusiastic. They just love rock-n-roll and punk music!”