Hardcore Holidays 2022 Q&A: Girl Cologne

By Roman Salomone, Contributor

[Photo courtesy of Oliver Fleming]

On Nov. 10, 2022, ACRN hosted “Hardcore Holidays” at The Union in Athens. Alongside a DJ set, two fantastic bands took the stage, and one of them was Cleveland-based Girl Cologne. I had the opportunity to sit down with the band prior to their set to talk about how they got started, their 2021 album Phases, the local scene in Cleveland and some underrated Weezer songs.

[This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]

Roman: Could you introduce yourselves and what you play in the band?

Jenna: Hi, I’m Jenna. I sing.

Cade: I’m Cade. I play guitar.

Parker: I’m Parker. I play the drums.

Em: I’m Em and I play the bass.

Roman: How did the band get its start?

Jenna: Well, we all met at this program called School of Rock a while ago and parted ways after high school. And then got bored during the pandemic and wanted to start playing music.

Roman: How would you describe the music you make?

Cade: Other people think we sound like Nirvana and No Doubt.

Jenna: Grunge. Punk.

Cade: Grunge. Alt-sounding.

Em: I feel like it’s grunge and punk that you could sing along to a lot better.

Jenna: Like more pop vocals.

Roman: What does the creative process of your music look like?

Jenna: Usually, we all have our own ideas, and then we’ll take them to the group. We don’t really write together – it just works better when we can focus in on it and bring it to the table.

Cade: It just starts out super basic and then we bring it to each other. Then we try to add other stuff to it like “oh, let’s put a stop here.” You know, stuff like that. 

Roman: Your album Phases came out around midway through 2021. I wanted to ask what the experience of recording it was like.

Cade: It’s the best. It is the best part of this whole process, the whole recording process.

Parker: Yeah, that was our first album we recorded, so it was a big deal for us at the time. 

Jenna: And it was really chill. 

Roman: How do you feel about it now that it’s been released for a year? Anything you’re particularly proud of or maybe wish you would have done differently?

Jenna: Well, we’re actually re-releasing everything. Our first recordings, while they were really fun, we were focused on getting them out fast. So, we didn’t put as much effort in as we wanted to, but we’re really proud of the songs. So, yeah, we decided that we’re going to re-record everything.

Roman: How would you describe the scene in Cleveland? Obviously, there’s countless legendary venues like Beachland Ballroom, Grog Shop, and The Winchester, but, overall, what’s the feel around that area at the moment?

Jenna: We get a lot of local shows on the weekdays. We don’t have that many bands. Honestly, I feel like after the pandemic things quieted up. A lot of people dissolved.


Cade: I feel like every other bill is the same few bands.

Jenna: I feel like there’s not that many choices, but there’s a few new ones coming out. We’re excited to see what happens now that we’re transitioning back and seeing who pops up.

Roman: That’s probably the best way to look at it. I wanted to ask about some influences that maybe you have from around your area. Ohio has a pretty rich history in indie rock and alternative types of music, especially in the northern region. DEVO, Nine Inch Nails, Pere Ubu, The Black Keys – the list goes on. Would you say that there’s any particular groups from around your area that’s inspired you?

Jenna: Michael Stanley. Which is not at all like what we do.


Jenna: Well, genuinely though, my dad always played his stuff in the car.

Cade: Yeah, same thing with my mom. We listened to 90s shit like Weezer and Pearl Jam. And that’s where it all started for me.

Jenna: I think he meant from Ohio.

Cade: Oh yeah…


Cade: Well, what I’m saying is, like, that’s my only influence. I don’t really follow or listen to bands from Ohio. That’s just how I sort of came up – listening to every band that moved to California when they got big.

Roman: So, you guys would mostly say your tastes and influences stem from the West Coast then? 

Parker: Pretty much.

Em: Yeah, I’d say so.

Roman: Well, it’s always a good area to be inspired by. Now would you say there’s any local Northern-Ohio groups that inspire you? 

Em: I love The Sonder Bombs. They’re Lakewood area. I love their album Modern Female Rockstar. It’s literally one of my top five favorite albums ever. And they play in Mahalls’, they play all over the local Cleveland area. They were just on tour in the East Coast area, and it’s really cool to see them do that because they still live in Lakewood. And they just go on tour and I’m like “oh my god like I live in Lakewood,” so, inspiring to see that definitely.

Jenna: The Stereotypes.

Cade: Oh my god, you beat me to it. We fucking love The Stereotypes.

Jenna: They’re so good. They’re a three-piece and they all do everything, and it’s just so good.

Cade: One of them even sings and plays bass and then also keyboard sometimes on the same song. It’s pretty crazy. Not only that, but his range is ridiculous.

Jenna: And they all sound really good singing together.

Roman: So, you guys get to play with them a decent bit?

Cade: All the time. Stream Stereotypes’ new song

Jenna: They’re doing a music video tomorrow.

Cade: We’re just gonna be hanging out in it.

Roman: Hopefully we get to see it soon! I have a bit of a fun question for you guys to end things off with. I saw in an interview you guys did with FTD Music that you said you’d like to open up for Weezer among a few other artists? You can answer either individually or as a group if you want, what do you think is the most underrated Weezer song?

Cade: Dude, I don’t think we have enough time for this.


Jenna: I think Cade would have the best answer.

Parker: Yeah, I don’t know Weezer like he does.


Cade: I’m in the deep Weezer deep-cuts and weird shit that they have. Pinkerton is their best album for sure. If it’s not the Blue one. I can relate to it because I think I’m emo and sad. That’s what Pinkerton is. It’s like, Oh, I’m not in love with anybody and nobody likes me.” That’s the whole album and I was like, “Dude, I felt that.” There’s a lot of sleepers on that one. There’s one called “Tired of Sex” that I really like. It’s got such a good baseline too and it’s just a really good jam. If we can open for Weezer, I’d probably cry.

Anything else you guys wanna add?

Cade: Come to shows, buy our merch. 


Jenna: Thanks for doing this!

Cade: Subscribe on YouTube if we have one. 

Parker: We do. 

Cade: Or are we just a topic? Is it like Girl Cologne – Topic? 

Jenna: No, no, no, no. 

Cade: Okay, cool.

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