meet the bad girls of new york band bad girlfriend

Bad Girlfriend are New York's hottest new all girl band, i-D caught up with them after their first tour to discuss writing their own songs, the best music venues in New York and aiming for superstardom.

Paige Silveria

Photography Kathy Lo

Downtown New York's coolest new girl band, Bad Girlfriend - fronted by Brianna Lance alongside Savannah King, Lyla Vander and Christian Owens - are back from their first West Coast tour. After listening to the band's EP Touched, it's impossible not to fall for the four-piece whose catchy sound is both modern and nostalgic. Their beachy garage rock is a new iteration of bands like Best Coast, and yet songs like "True Blue" could easily fit on the soundtrack of any of Winona's 90s films. 

Who are you?
Lyla Vander: We hail from all over: Christian is from Mississippi, Brianna is from Texas, Savannah's from California and I'm from New York City. Outside of the band you can find Christian working on set production, Savannah designing and metalsmithing her own jewellery line Third Eye, Brianna designing as the Creative-at-Large for The Reformation and me marketing in the beauty biz. But we play music as much as possible.

What brought you together?
LV: Most of us came together from other bands and found we could write and collaborate together in a way that we found special. It's a unique thing to find people you think are interesting and funny to hang with, then go jam and create something together you can't get out of your head.

How would you describe your music?
Brianna Lance: We're a rock and roll band, but with a bit of pop, garage and psychedelia mixed in. We get so many "you sound like such and such mixed with such and such," which means it's familiar to people yet unplaceable. That's what we want: songs you feel like you instantly know and can relate to.

Why New York?
LV: The city vibrates with an energy that makes it hard to sit still and not pursue something you love. It's a great place to play music, to hear it and to meet other bands—plus we found each other here.

How important is your style and appearance for the band's perception?
LV: We like to dress in theme for shows or shoots, whether the theme is gold lame or just a white t-shirt and jeans. The theme changes, but the idea is to dress as a unit and crew. It makes you feel more show-ready—plus it's more fun to perform in dress up.

What was it like writing and recording your recent EP Touched?
LV: Touched was a labour of love; we wrote it together and found our sound. We were blessed to work with the amazing Benjamin Curtis who helped create all kinds of magic and the best sort of mayhem during the recording process. The end result was something personal and special to us all.

What's the ideal setting for listening to Touched?
BL: Honestly, it's about love and sex so the best way to listen to it is by engaging in either of those things. Or both at the same time.

Which New York venues are your favourites?
LV: We love playing at Baby's All Right in Williamsburg. The owners love music and bands and you can tell; it sounds great and the stage lights are awesome. Bowery Ballroom in the city is also great to play or see music. We are sad to hear that Glasslands in Brooklyn is going the way of other DIY-style venues in Williamsburg and closing its doors. We've played and seen so many memorable shows there.

You just returned from playing in Los Angeles, was it different from performing New York?
Savannah King: I'm from California so playing at The Troubadour was an important moment for me, a check off the dream list.
BL: It was awesome playing a sold-out show in a historic venue for our first California gig. It was definitely a mellower crowd. The hard part with that is being yourself in front of different energies every time you play. Disconnected connection.

Any plans for a nationwide tour?
LV: Hopefully we'll get on the road in 2015. There's nothing better than playing in different parts of the country, meeting the local freaks and connecting to a new audience.

Did you meet any noteworthy local "freaks" in LA?
BL: Honestly LA is such a mellow place that the freaks are pretty calm in comparison with New York. However the house we stayed in had these neighbours that were young Russian pop singers who would be waving guns on the balconies. That was something I've never been around before.

Describe the perfect weekend in New York with your girlfriends.
BL: I'm always the happiest making music or creating something. So for me it's band practice, shooting photos, drawing or anything that involves making something with people you love. That and dancing.

Is this a passion side project or are you hoping for rock stardom?LV: Superstardom.



Text Paige Silveria
Photography Kathy Lo