Interview - Staz Lindes
Updated: Jul 1, 2020
Photo by Bryan Rodner Carr Half model, half musician, and possibly a mere figment of my imagination, Staz Lindes is the lead singer of punk band The Paranoyds as well as the face of Yves Saint Laurent Beauty. The Paranoyds' debut album Carnage Bargain was released in September 2019. The Mood 51: What is the meaning behind the lyrics “They wanna get a carnage bargain/I wanna pick up garbage”? The lyrics also include a clear reference to the Trump presidency (“Ever since he’s been crowned/all I see are orange clowns” etc)—what is a ‘carnage bargain’ in that context? Staz Lindes: I just got really overwhelmed by the news one day (everyday) especially after reading about a drone strike agreement in the Middle East. The stuff that doesn’t make it to mainstream media is the worst of it all…I’m thinking about the people seeking asylum that are stuck in cages STILL right now just as it was when I wrote this song. The government tries to make bargain war deals that cause mass harm and pain…sometimes all you can do to feel slightly less suffocated is a basic good deed like picking up litter. M51: That ‘impending doom’ sound is sort of your signature instrumentally (“Freak Out,” “Girlfriend Degree,” “Egg Salad,” etc). How did that come about? SL: It’s honestly just a lot of fun to play. Challenging time signatures and break downs keep the spice in the marriage. M51: As a member of a band that is ¾ women, what’s the most egregious example of sexism you’ve encountered in your music career, and how did you respond to it? SL: Well from getting straight groped by a homeless dude after a show to the 30-60 something year old guys that just lurk the merch table like we owe them something - we have to laugh to keep from crying I guess? We’re so lucky we have each other. David will step in when he’s needed if a guy isn’t getting the hint *take the fucking hint dude!!!!* but for the most part if we see the signs of a guy being predatory, we band together and tell him to fuck off. On top of all that the music industry is clearly male dominated. Sound guys are mostly guys and a majority of venue staff are men as well. As well as the bands of course. It’s a trip. When we get a girl doing sound at the venue we are so stoked. We’ve definitely played the token girl band for some of the bands we’ve opened for but honestly we’re grateful to be playing at all and if we can inspire any girls in the audience to start playing too then nothing else really matters.
"If we can inspire any girls in the audience to start playing too then nothing else really matters."
M51: I feel that I can properly understand and relate to almost every song on the album. But when it comes to “Hungry Sam,” I’m really lost. The video didn’t help alleviate my confusion. Help me out! SL: Haha! I guess it’s mostly about that feeling when you’re going to sleep (or maybe u smoked too much?) and you keep replaying all the things you said over and over again in your head- feeling bad about it. Like you said too much…I guess its about feeling gross about how you acted and then the music video is just super gross too.
Photo by Alice Baxley M51: Is "Courtney" about a specific Courtney, or just that type of person in general? SL: Courtney is our hustler friend that is killing it doing her own thing. At the time Lexi was working a 9-6 office job M51: The protagonist in “Heather Doubtfire” rebels against her mother. I think the line “[Ma] said her nightmare came true in me” is especially powerful. We can all relate to disappointing our parents, and that makes it even harder to stick to our convictions. The protagonist knows “what that costs,” but insists “It’s the same damn trick, it’s just a different man behind it.” What is the trick, and who are these men? SL: Heather Doubtfire ended up having two things going on. It’s a mix of rebelling against your mother but coming to the conclusion that she was right…I guess. I guess I was thinking of a sort of scenario where a girl is trying to date this shitty slimy dude and it turns into a battle with her mom because her mom sees through all this! I didn’t have a very strict mother growing up but I took inspiration from my friends who did. And the chorus is the resolution. I thought this guy would be different but he wasn’t. The seductive period was an illusion and time has revealed he IS a shit bag after all. Just like all the other ones! Mom u were right! M51: Which song from the new album were you the most excited to show to the world and why? SL: LAUNDRY I was so excited to be able to play this song at shows it’s just the perfect lil sci fi punk song M13: Clearly your sound is inspired by science fiction and horror movies. What are some of your fav sci fi and horror films? SL: I’m a big Carpenter, Craven, Cronenberg, King and all the classics fan but a lot of movies that turned into lyrics were from B sometimes D horror movies. Like the Stuff, CHUD, not technically a horror but more of an action Switchblade Sisters, Class of Nuke Em High, Motel Hell, ugh I feel sick even listing these some of them are so nasty. I still think my all time favorite horror is Nightmare on Elm Street 1 and off the top of my head my favorite sci fi Total Recall. Or does Repo Man count as sci fi?
"A lot of movies that turned into lyrics were from B sometimes D horror movies."
M51: What is your all-time favorite thrifting spot in LA, and what was your raddest vintage thrift store find ever? SL: To be honest all the thrifting here is kind of burnt. You have to be into digging in the goodwill bins and even that is a competitive bore and so dusty. My favorite thing now is estate sales. Yard sales are still great. You can’t go places where they care about what they’re selling otherwise they wont sell it. I’m not trying to spend $50 on some Alf piece man just get rid of it! I love all of my thrift store finds equally! Any good VHS loot gets me going. M51: The “Face First” video is a masterpiece, with the interactive 360 degree panorama. You could watch that video a million times and it’d be different every time. What are some easter eggs in the video that people rarely spot? SL: I’m so glad you like that one! I’m sure there are Easter eggs I dont even know about. Unfortunately Lexi wasn’t around for filming but I’m guessing you caught David, Laila, and mine’s cameo…I tried to put on peewee’s playhouse in the background of my shot but it didn’t make the cut. M51: Favorite up-and-coming clothing designers? SL: I will always love @WhateverNBD forever! She is the best thrifter and she paints or sews with what she already has. I love it so much. I really respect anybody using sustainable practices or natural resources and not outsourcing and creating more waste…@pyschic.outlaw, @_secret_sister_la_ @fashionbrandcompany
Photo by Brad Elterman M51: If I hadn’t seen you guys live before, I would almost think the vocals are just one singer double or triple tracked rather than having multiple simultaneous singers. Your voices work so seamlessly together. Was that hard to perfect, or was it a natural miracle? SL: Lexi and Laila are practically sisters so I feel like they pretty much have a blood harmony going. They met when they were 3…I met Lexi and Laila when I was about 14 or 15 so ya idk I guess from the amount of time we’ve spent with each other we know each others voices super well. I think its mostly by chance though that our voices are so alike. We’ve been seeing a vocal coach the last year and it’s been so cool to see how dynamic our ranges are. That’s really helped the harmonies! M51: Apparently you were discovered (for modeling) at a bowling alley…I’d like to hear the details on that story. SL: Ya! I used to be such a mall rat in Santa Monica. I was always out in public places whether the mall the beach the bowling alley…people were always scouting! My (now) agent came up to me at the bowling alley and I was 15 at the time. Laila was there! I had like a bright pink bowl cut horrible haircut and 10 pounds of blue eye shadow on. I didn’t technically sign with that agency until around 4 years later (my attitude for working was not great until then) but I’m still with them today.
"My (now) agent came up to me at the bowling alley and I was 15 at the time."
M51: What’s your craziest modeling story? SL: Pft oh man I dont know the whole thing is absolutely crazy. I guess the last craziest thing I had to do was in December when I got a call Saturday morning that I had to get a flight to Italy later that day. I was only there for like 24 hours or something. M51: What are the biggest differences between the fashion world and the music world? SL: I mean is there Fast Music like there is Fast Fashion? Copies of copies of copies made super fast and cheap? I guess that’s what some mainstream pop is like? There’s just more genuine artistic expression with music. The biggest difference is actually money, duh. The money in music vs the money in fashion is pretty meek. But I think in either fields if you work hard enough or know the right people (which most of the time is an unfair advantage) then you can earn just as much. I definitely feel my human duties are active when I’m playing bass with the band. M51: Describe the feeling of walking on the runway. SL: “Why am I doing this? I’m a foot shorter than everybody I dont know what I’m doing I wasn’t meant to do this"
Photo by Erez Sabag M51: Carnage Bargain has been years in the making. What was it like holding that first copy of the completed album in your hands? SL: I still can’t get over it! It’s so cute and pretty. And I took that photo that is the cover album art so even seeing one of my photos like held and big in someone’s hands. It’s so cool. M51: And finally, I have to know—where’d you get the idea to do toothbrushes for the cover? SL: It was New Years eve 2014 or 2015? I was in New Zealand at one of the best house parties I’ll ever go to and that was the boys bathroom. That’s all really! It’s just kind of nasty haha. Follow Staz Lindes on social media: Personal Instagram The Paranoyds Instagram The Paranoyds Bandcamp The Paranoyds Twitter The Paranoyds Spotify