Venice Psych Rock Duo, Movie Club, Unveils New LP, Great White

Today, Movie Club, Venice Beach’s most prevalent psychedelic rock duo, celebrates the release of their new LP, Great White. Movie Club, consisting of guitarist Vince Cuneo and drummer Jessamyn Violet, recently celebrated the band’s 5-year anniversary and just finished their “Psychedelic Circus” residency in Hollywood. Through its ten tracks, Great White showcases Movie Club’s modern psychedelia and rock-influenced sound in a new light. KXLU’s Teia Ciornei connected with Movie Club to answer some questions about their well-anticipated LP.

What inspired you to title the album Great White?

Vince Cuneo: All of our albums have been named after powerful and/or rare creatures: Kraken, Hammerhead, Man o’ War, Black Flamingo, and Fangtooth. The Great White is one of nature’s most epic creatures, and we channeled that vibe for this record.

Jessamyn Violet: We are also huge fans of JAWS and watch it twice yearly. Since I grew up outside of Boston, we go east at least once a year, and we’ve journeyed out to see JAWS at the historic drive-in in Wellfleet, Cape Cod (where the film was based and whose shores great white sharks frequent year-round) twice in the last three years. It only seemed appropriate to commemorate this by naming our most cinematic record after the main character.

What albums were you listening to the most before and during the writing and recording process?

Violet: Great question. A couple of the albums I had in rotation pretty heavily at the time were Portico Quartet’s Monument and Wolf Alice’s Blue Weekend.

Cuneo: Osees’ Protean Threat, Joep Beving’s Solipsism, and IDLES’ Crawler

What instruments/gear did you frequent while recording?

Violet: My favorite part about tracking the drums at Station House Studio in Echo Park was when our recording and mixing engineer, the great Mark Rains (who uses all-analog gear and also records/mixes psych rock legends Death Valley Girls, Hooveriii and The Darts) put my drum tracks through his tape machine. It makes them sound so warm and crisp. Sorry, techies… but you just can’t beat the real thing. I’m an analog girl through and through.

Cuneo: The beauty of recording this album was Mark’s studio because he has so many amazing instruments and fun gear. I got to use this wild guitar from Electric Guitar Company that makes guitars out of metal, and I plugged it into a Death By Audio Fuzz pedal through a giant vintage Marshall stack. We were using a classic Space Echo as much as possible on each song. One of my favorite moments was tracking “Goblin” because he had an upright piano for Jessamyn to use her classical chops. Our special guests on ‘Great White’ added a new sonic element to our sound. David Ralicke (Dengue Fever) played baritone and alto sax, flute, and even flugelhorn on the album. Tim Lefebvre (David Bowie) played electric, upright, and synth basses. We are so grateful for David and Tim because they create such a cinematic sound that comes naturally to them.

What track are you most excited to play live? 

Violet: We’ve been playing most of the songs live since before recording them, as we always like to test the waters to gauge reactions. It also allows us to grease them up good for release week! My favorite one to play live is “Tiger” because there are such different parts, and there is an ominous urgency to the finale that makes me feel like putting every ounce of myself into the beat. You really can’t fake that kind of excitement when it comes to drumming.

Cuneo: My favorite songs to perform are our ambient track “Requiem” into the heavy-hitting tune “Spinner”. Starting our shows with these two songs is so fun because I think it represents the power of Jessamyn and me as a duo. We perform with special guests often, and it is really fun to add different voices to our show. But when we play these tracks, there is a musical conversation happening between us that we’ve been working on for years. I visualize the opening credits to a movie when we play “Requiem,” then when Jessamyn kicks off “Spinner,” it’s like firing up the engine on our psychedelic spaceship.

Movie Club’s second full-length studio album, Great White, is available everywhere on December 12th.

Photography Credit: Bobby Rivero