Savannah’s The Casket Girls play hypnotic, hallucinatory pop music. Their new album True Love Kills the Fairy Tale moves from ethereal to booming and back again, hitting the right pop-song beats but never letting the listener get too complacement. In advance of a pair of shows in New York next week, I checked in with members Phaedra Greene, Elsa Greene, and Ryan Graveface to learn about the group’s history, their use of the studio, and more.
The historical roots of your name weren’t something that I was aware of before doing research for this interview. How did you first hear the phrase in question?
Ryan: I was obsessed with weirdo history growing up. Anything that wasn’t being taught in my shitty school. So I found this book called something like, Strange and Unusual Facts About American History, and went fucking nuts. The legend of the casket girls had only a brief mention but that mention has stuck with me…clearly.
I was curious about the origins of the song “Secular Love” – where did the title come from?
Elsa: The idea of secular love is born of the idea that not only is everything always open to interpretation, but also that every perspective is in a constant state of potential change. And if one believing something is true is the only thing that makes it true, then truth is also in a constant state of change. I guess that’s the grander scope. But as an example, here, we explore the impacts of old religion on a new generation. Sex and the marriage concept. Human nature and curiosity. Also independence as a woman.
How important is the recording studio to shaping a typical Casket Girls song?
Elsa: Our first record Sleepwalking was made entirely in our homes. Phaedra and I weren’t even with Ryan for most, if not the entire recording process. However, on our latest, although it started the same way, in our respective homes, we decided to take it to the next level and go into the studio to re-record the vocals and do drums and some overdubs…we worked with Andy LeMaster, who also mixed both records, who I now consider to be a genius of sound.
As the title of your album references fairy tales, I’m curious — did you have specific ones in mind, or more the archetypal view of them?
Phaedra: Well I guess both in that fairy tales are generally archetypal themselves but it could speak to specific ones as well. There are some fairy tales that don’t end so ideally but most of them do and that’s what we tend to think of with the phrase “Fairy Tale.” I guess it speaks to the “happily ever after” motif and how completely empty that is. Life is far too complex to have a “happily ever after” and so is love of any kind. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a beautiful journey, it’s just that the journey itself shatters the illusion of simple, happy endings.
What are you reading these days?
Phaedra: Carl Jung’s The Red Book.
The Casket Girls play Shea Stadium on February 17th and Mercury Lounge on February 18th.