By Tomato for Tom Tom Magazine | Photos: Tomatos House Of Rock
Choking On Bleach is an all-girl band from Brooklyn NY (ages 13-17) that has based all of their songs to date around the concept of a girl named Hope and her “search for patriotism and the failure of the American dream”. Regardless of influences such as Hole and Joni Mitchell, when asked, their main influence is life. This definitely comes through when listening to their music, and is what makes them unique and beyond their years creatively… COB write about their world and age perspective through a character called Hope.
Formed in 2011 by sisters Francesca and Antonia (guitar and keys), and their best friend Colette (bass), they spent some time searching for a male drummer as to not get pigeon-holed into the girl-group genre. Ironically for them, the best drummer they found was a then 11 year old, power-house drummer named Grace Goss, who had been playing/performing since she was 4 and hit harder than any boy they knew – the fit was undeniable. Grace is one of a kind, a young drummer’s drummer who studies the art of drumming in all of it’s forms: traditional, non-traditional, jazz, marching, rock, etc.
COB, now a complete band, set off on their quest to find answers to their/Hope’s questions, and created their own sound, approach, and look in the process. Antonia explains that Hope’s story is about “leaving a bubble by traveling and realizing that everywhere else is like a bubble as well”, and this gives their music a sort of folk/Americana vibe mixed with their aggressive post-punk/indie sound. And Grace’s pattern-based drum parts and Classic Rock type monster rolls carry COB’s non-traditional song structures along, and support the other 3 girls as they trade off complex vocal lines to convey the story.
In 2012, COB recorded a 4 song EP called “You Awake?” at the legendary but now defunct Stratosphere Sound, and then went into Room 17 studios in 2013 to record the 9 song extended EP “We Were Laughing When The Carousel Crashed“. This gave them the opportunity to realize their sound and tell Hope’s neo Odyssey-esque journey: “Hope gets into a place where she can’t move any further and is stuck mentally. Inspired by the Occupy Wall St. movement, she meets up with band of kids, and they go cross country. She has romantic visions of what America is, and the kids she’s hanging out with. She doesn’t find what she’s looking for, but ultimately finds that all she has is herself.”
Besides their musical influences, Choking On Bleach are also inspired by novels such as To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, as well as “characters and cohesive collections”. Though their story of Hope is not a complete collection yet, their journey is ongoing. When asked what their goals are, Francesca responds “we want people to hear our music… we also want to get a van and a radio (lyrics from their song Highway) and go on a journey like Hope.