Los Angeles has bestowed upon us many glorious things, from its warm breeze to its glittery nightlife. I mean, we’ve got Axl Rose, fresh pressed turmeric juices, and 6 a.m. mornings when there’s no traffic, when you get to hang free, driving in the daylight with the wind kissing your cheek and calling you “baby.” Marry that image with the gospel-pop of 80s Madonna and you get Hollywood’s musical love children that are Piper and Skylar Kaplan. The sisters make music under the name Puro Instinct, and their melodies fall somewhere between a dream and a synth rave. Their tunes fill entire rooms almost like church music, and it could almost be considered religious… if you lit up your Christmas lights and wore all white.
The Kaplan sisters started Puro Instinct when the youngest of the two, Skylar, was just thirteen, when she was recruited by Piper to form a band. “It came as a surprise at first. I was thirteen years old at that point and had been teaching myself how to play guitar. I had always looked up to Piper, so the fact that she was into my long-winded, weird guitar riffs meant a lot to me. We learned how to structure songs together and it became a really important, fun, transformative thing for us.”
Piper chimes in: “I was thinking that Sky’s guitar lines were beautiful and interesting to me at a time when I needed a new color spectrum to trip out on. I got her a vox practice amp with a bunch of built-in effects and would drop by her house on my days off to listen to the melodies she was working on, and it was great. It was a really simple and satisfying time in our lives. At some point we found a dusty Yamaha in a closet and that was the beginning of whatever it is that we’re doing now.”
Since then, the women have glided on a fantastical journey creating dreamy sex pop that can lull your very soul into a daze. Their music library is an innovative database of songs that only the confidence, individuality, weirdness, and passion of a youthful mind can bring to life. It’s hypnotic and exciting, and most of all beautiful. Of course, it’s practically the girls’ birthright to be in the totally cool, glamorous, avant-garde indie-pop scene they’re in. Their mom owned the cult goth brand Quasi Glam, and in interviews Skylar talks about their their dad picking her up from middle school while blasting music from the The Stranglers. So yeah, even their parents are awesome.
Their appropriately-titled 2011 debut, Headbangers in Ecstasy, took music by storm and solidified the girls’ unique place in the world. Suddenly they were being whipped around from blog to blog, venue to venue, airport to airport, touring with acts like Ariel Pink, John Maus, and Geneva Jacuzzi. When asked about their veteran experience in the industry, Piper is candid, sharing that she often has to fight to keep her “sanity.” And as for what the L.A. music scene needs now: “More spontaneity, smiles, PDA, and free rose water. Less bars and more shows under the stars.”
The Kaplan sisters, whose album Autodrama is out June 24 on Manifesto, have always been vocal about their adventurous exploration into cool sounds and good vibes, floating around the globe with synthy music brimming with peace, love, and bad-assery. “Our sound has always been rooted in exploring different dimensions and femininity, but the nuances that started developing through the years came about naturally,” Skylar tells me. “We’re always getting lost and messing around with different soundscapes. A lot of the time it feels like a shell that’s getting chaotically tossed around and shaped by the ocean that is our psychic environment. Or a pile of garbage that gradually keeps getting more stank,” she says with a laugh.
“Totally,” Piper adds. “We are glistening trash-barnacles pinballing through eternity!”