|With The Von Tramps hitting the road this week in support of their exciting new upcoming album, GO—which already features some of the best music of their growing careers—and the band opening up for LA’s The Dollyrots at the Uptown VFW last Friday, not to mention a sold out show with The English Beat at the Varsity to end the tour, we checked in with singer-songwriter Jenna Enemy on all The Von Tramps’ new and exciting developments. |
Since we last Q+A’d you in back in August of 2017(!), The Von Tramps have gone from an earnest up-and-coming around-town band to a nationally recognized musical powerhouse. In that old interview for your release The Future Is Female, you said “we wanted to revolt against the crumbling desperate music industry that’s jamming garbage down our throats, and we wanted to deliver a message of survival and resilience.” It definitely seems like your revolt worked and you’re in a new and exciting place. Do you think so? A few things have happened since 2017 that may have tested that resilience.
Jenna Enemy: I think, like anything with time, The Von Tramps have grown. Growth is really uncomfortable which is why so many people choose not to do it. There’s a bit of comfort in the known and the mundane, people don’t necessarily want to challenge that! Chelsea and I knew when we started the group we wanted to take it as far as we could and we knew at times that it would mean working when we didn’t want to, being on the road a lot, and being uncomfortable. Luckily we found Krissandra [bassist] who was all about this slightly cuckoo-nanners vision. We have grown considerably through this into becoming better friends, better musicians, and quite frankly better people. We had a definite vision in our heads of what this band looked like, even when others couldn’t see it. As we cross into becoming an international touring band what I think people are starting to see now is the way that we have seen and treated the band all along. I guess it kind of didn’t matter what other people thought, because we always knew someday and somehow we would be here as long as we didn’t give up.
Help us out . . . Which would you say the Von Tramps are? Punk? Pop punk? Ska-Punk? Rock? Or do bands at your level not even worry about that kind of thing? And does genre impact your songwriting at all?
Like all bands we have our influences, but we try to remain genre-less. If we like it, it goes on the album and that’s the way it’s always been. I’ve heard people call us irreverent pop punk and slightly sloshed ska- I like that. I think that’s close. I think we are mainly a rock band who wants to put out good music and try something new every time we record a track. We listen to everything, and I think that shows in our songwriting.
The production on your new songs like ‘2AM‘ and ‘Lo Mein‘ is some of the best we’ve heard recently, not just for Minneapolis-St. Paul. Is that the effect of your musical journeys? New open doors from the label? Chelsea getting fancy Reverend Guitars axes?
Hey thanks! We have had the same producer all throughout the life of The Von Tramps. I think we are just now starting to hit our stride working together and we have all grown as musicians, producers, songwriters etc. GO was produced by Dustin Phillips in Fort Collins, Colorado. I think the recording process for this one was very different than previous VT records. For GO we were all in a house quarantined together and we recorded 10 songs in 14 days which I think is some kind of record that might—just might— challenge the lads of Hüsker Dü. We had a very long pre-production process on this record and took a great care as songwriters. We wanted to give people the hope and the encouragement we were all craving while in the clutches of the pandemic. We started writing the record for them: our fans- our friends – our family, but soon realized we were really writing these anthems for ourselves too. The isolation was very hard on everyone for so many different reasons. I think before the pandemic, The Von Tramps hadn’t gone more than a couple days without seeing each other. Going a whole year without my bandmates was impossible. I think writing this album kept us connected in a way and helped us realize how much we truly value and need each other to be a part of each other’s everyday lives. Themes of GO address hanging up on repetitive and damaging life patterns, the negative societal implications of work dominated culture, how to deal with inauthenticity, and motivation to GO; Wherever you’re gonna go or meant to go . . . if you go. There’s quite a bit of vulnerability and honesty to address stuff like that. I think this is our best album yet.
You’re going on tour with the unbelievably cool and fun The Dollyrots from LA, and that includes a huge show here at the Uptown VFW on Friday with the similarly super fun Space Monkey Mafia and WRRC DJ sets. How did the tour come about? How long will you be gone? And how loud will you be singing ‘Because I’m Awesome‘?
Deafening levels of course, because we’re all so awesome. And because they’re awesome! We were supposed to play with The Dollyrots back in 2020, but we all know what happened. So luckily we were able to reschedule the tour and I am so stoked to be on the road with them! After our US tour, we are hopping the pond to tour Europe with the English ska band Buster Shuffle.