Photo by Kaytlin Dargen
SBÄM Records signees The Von Tramps have shared the video for their latest song, "Sunflower." A cover of Post Malone and Swae Lee's original, the group is joined by Rundown Creeps for this fun-filled, ska version. We were fortunate to catch up with guitarist/vocalist Jenna Enemy ahead of the premiere to discuss the reason behind this song choice, the process in putting the video together, and their upcoming album, Go, which will be released March 2022.
Watch the video for "Sunflower" below and check out what Jenna Enemy had to say:
Tell us a little bit about yourselves! How did The Von Tramps form?
You know those true crime news stories where someone eerily says "They met on the internet and life was never the same" then some ominous music plays in the background -- it was kind of like that; except it turned out really good. I met Chelsea off of an internet ad asking someone to start an all girl rock band. I had just gotten done working on a few movies and wanted a change of pace. I thought going back to music would be fun. I had been in many bands before, but when I met Chelsea I knew this one would be very special. Kind of funny to meet your best friend from an internet ad, isn't it? I showed some of my original songs to guys in my previous bands and they weren't too keen on them; I showed the same ones to Chelsea and she was like "Oh I really like that- lets do that." We both liked a lot of the same things, we have a lot of the same kind of humor, and we also wanted the same things out of life which is important in a band. We didn't necessarily want to be a band that only plays their hometown- we wanted to work really hard at it and play our songs all over the world and we discussed that right away. Our first get together was in the basement of this rundown, rat infested, old building called the Rossmor downtown Saint Paul (it has been cleaned up a bit since!). I had a horror punk gig coming up that I needed to fill because a previous band had broken up so I asked Chelsea if she wanted to do some Misfits covers with me and that was our first impromptu gig- on Halloween night. Shortly after we formed, we went through some line up changes which lead us to meet Krissandra and she really is the glue to the group. She adds so much positivity and shine to us. She's an incredible musician with great talent and so fun to be around. We have had the privilege to work with so many outstanding drummers and horn players over the years as well. The drummer in the Sunflower video is our friend Derek from Stillwater, MN. On sax is our good friend Dante Leyva who has been with us since The Future is Female LP; and on trumpet is our new friend Little Jessi Dills from Indianapolis, IN. Our band really is like a little family. We do everything together.
For this music video you decided to cover the song, “Sunflower.” Is there any particular reason as to why you chose this song? I heard this song and both Chelsea and I really liked it. Sonically, this song lends well to our brand of sound. We pushed it into our ska/pop-punk wheelhouse and I'm very proud of our version. I think it is a good homage to the original song as well. I thought the lyrics absolutely lent to what it feels like being an artist on the road and not being able to commit to traditional relationships. There are so many things that I missed and I wished I hadn't; like small family gatherings, my nieces and nephew's birthdays, and important events for my friends. There was also a time where my mom was battling cancer and my dad was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers; I was on the road with The Von Tramps when I learned of both of their illnesses and though I'm doing something I absolutely love, it's a big sacrifice being unable be with them at any given time. I've always been so committed to playing music that I found it very difficult to have a traditional romantic relationship as well. The lyrics spoke truth to my heart. I felt like anyone who has ever taken a chance to follow a dream and has had to make sacrifices to do so would connect greatly with this song.
The video itself is reminiscent of life on the road, weaving in a performance with tour footage. With the lack of touring during the pandemic, how did it feel putting this together and going through the old footage? Oh, the first time I saw the edit I was kind of a teary mess. We love touring together and truly missed it during the pandemic. The video came together with old and new footage. I am a bit of a pack rat with the data I keep and I had just tons of tour video archived. I thought the footage would fit the song and Chelsea is such a great editor she really made it cohesive with the new footage. She shot performance shots at our rehearsal before playing House of Blues in Anaheim CA that night. We also shot a unit of it on location in Laguna Beach, CA on the beach and with our good friends Jimmy and Liza at KXFM TNN Radio Station. Of course I snuck some video of my hound Hans in it too. He makes a cameo in every Von Tramps video. It felt really good to be traveling again; it felt like back to normal! Our band is so close that the pandemic was one of the most impossible times for us to go through; but we are resilient like cockroaches. I just kept thinking "If The Von Tramps can survive this, I can guarantee we would survive anything." We have. And we will.
This song also features Rundown Kreeps, can you talk about the process in getting together with them to record?
We met Rundown Kreeps when we all played at a ska festival together in Seattle, WA. From the moment Richard Lamas opened his mouth, I loved his voice. He has this grit to his voice and this sincerity of how he delivers lyrics that cannot be faked. When we chose to do this song, I knew I wanted Richard to be the other voice. We worked together remotely because we recorded during the pandemic. He recorded his vocals in Los Angeles, CA and The Von Tramps quarantined together to record this song (and the rest of Go) with our producer Dustin Phillips in Fort Collins, Colorado.
You have a new album, Go, coming out in March 2022. Can you provide us with a little bit of insight as to what we can look forward to with it? Go is something we have never done before. It is an entire collaborative album between Chelsea and me. Before, our approach to records was more separate like "here's a Jenna song; and here's a Chelsea song." For it being written during the pandemic, we found a new way to write and write together. We really had no rules other than if we liked it we'd keep it. We aimed to write an LP, but wrote closer to 20 songs. Once we got started it became really easy to be creative. We weren't going for any particular sound, moreso a feeling. We wanted to communicate positivity knowing that people would be coming out of the pandemic feeling low. We wanted to help people and give them an album welcoming them back to their lives after this odd break. The sound is going to be a little more complex, dialed in, and of course true to The Von Tramps silly with plenty of heart. We chose Go because it's all about momentum. Whatever you do, whatever you want, whatever you dream- we just want you to get up and Go.
How does Go differ from your last album, The Future is Female?
The Future is Female really took a long time to make and was a concept album about survival after abuse. It was recorded in several sessions over the span of a year; and of course with everyone in person because there was no pandemic then to meddle in our affairs. During The Future is Female we were working on odd jobs during the day before coming to sessions and months would go by before we could resume work due to scheduling conflicts.
Go took longer to write and workshop, but was recorded in a mere 14 days. For the actual recording process of Go, We quarantined together and drove down to Fort Collins, CO where we rented a house. We lived and breathed every moment for this record during those 14 days. This is our third release with [producer] Dustin Phillips and we all have grown so much during each album. I was fascinated by his work during Go, as I always am, but it has been a joy to watch Dustin become a premier producer. It's like every time we go into the studio I can't imagine how it could get better, but it does! Seeing the growth in all of us as musicians, as people, as a band, has been spectacular. We all just knew what to do and once we got to it it went very fast. Dustin also drummed on this record for us as well and we love his work.
We had to record many pieces of Go remotely. Our horn players really deserve quite a bit of recognition. Dante Leyva was vaccinated early, so he was able to fly into Colorado and be a part of our recording process. He led the charge with the horns and helped Rick Bisenus (I Voted for Kodos) and Brandon Johnson (Mustard Plug) record their parts remotely. The Future is Female was completely independent. We pressed all the vinyl, and the artist DWITT hand screen printed the art on every sleeve. This time we are so lucky to have our friends at SBÄM Records helping us with the art, tour and release. It really is incredible to have support and to know that Go is going to be heard around the world.
Is there anything else you’d like readers and listeners to know?
I know it sounds absolutely cheesy, but there is nothing you can't do. I completely mean that. You just have to want it and somehow whatever it is will find a way into your life. I have always wanted to play in a band like this since I was young. I would dream about it all day long and when I was ready it just came to me. Though I've had to work very hard, we've all had to work very hard, to keep moving forward and it's not always "easy" per-say-- somehow if you honestly ask for what you want you get it. The world just kind of shows you how. And that's the truth. I hope you all like Go! and catch us on tour in 2022!