It’s a busy time for Gossip Girl’s Taylor Momsen. Her band, The Pretty Reckless, releases a new EP this week and hits the road as part of The Warped Tour for the next two months. Taylor takes some time out to talk to RadarOnline about her other career.
RadarOnline: Tell us how it all began; when did music first enter your life?
Momsen: The first thing I ever listened to was the Beatles. My dad played vinyl records all the time so I became obsessed with the Beatles and that was the first influence, and my first experience with music ever.
RadarOnline: Was there a defining moment when you knew this was what you wanted to do?
Momsen: No, it was sort of a drive and a need to do it. I loved writing songs, and I loved singing, and I loved music. It kept me sane.
RadarOnline: When did you start writing songs, and what is the songwriting process like for you?
Momsen: I started writing songs at about the age of five. Now, the process is different every time. Inspiration comes from everywhere, different places, so you have to wait for something to kind of inspire you. You have to have something to write about, or something to say, so every song is different.
RadarOnline: What’s it like up on stage for you? Describe the feeling.
Momsen: It’s a blast. It’s great. The crowd can make or break a show. Or, they can make a difference. Every show’s different, but I love playing, so you know it’s a blast.
RadarOnline: What’s the significance of the name The Pretty Reckless?
Momsen: It was supposed to be ‘The Reckless’ but we had some trademarking issues. So, we liked it better than ‘Moderately Reckless’.
RadarOnline: And how about the EP name Light Me Up?
Momsen: It just seemed fitting. There’s a song on the album, and it just seemed, you know, start the fires. It’s got a couple meanings, Light Me Up has got a couple double entendres and it seemed to fit the record, I don’t know, you know, better than having to come up with something else! It’s already a song, so you don’t have to think anymore.
RadarOnline: What has been the standout moment of your career so far?
Momsen: Making a music video. It hasn’t come out yet, and maybe it’s not the standout, but it’s something I’ll always remember— the first music video I ever shot. When you see it I think you’ll understand why it was so dramatic to shoot.
RadarOnline: Have you met any of your musical heroes yet?
Momsen: Most of them are dead. I’m trying to think…I met Debbie Harry. She’s just an icon. And I met Chris Cornell and that was awesome.
RadarOnline: I read that Robert Plant is your idol; tell me why.
Momsen: He’s definitely one my idols. He’s a God. His voice. He’s great. Whether you like the music or not, you can’t argue that he’s great. He defines rock.
RadarOnline: Is your look inspired by Debbie Harry? Or Courtney Love, who I’ve heard you compared to?
Momsen: My look isn’t really inspired by anyone in particular. I dress kind of for myself, and try to be unique, but, you know, there’s only so much rock and roll fashion for girls so, you know, it goes around.
RadarOnline: Tell us about your fashion; do you have a stylist? Or favorite stores?
Momsen: I don’t have a stylist. I put all my outfits together myself. I’m running out of clothes, I need to go shopping. When I try clothes on, if I like it and it fits me, and I feel confident and good in it, then I buy it. I kind of walk around until I find a store that looks cool, driving around or whatever, until I find something. It’s kind of random. I like to shop vintage a lot though and I redo vintage.
RadarOnline: What’s your “getting ready to go out” song, you know, that you blast and dance around to in your bedroom?
Momsen: Well, I don’t really dance around, but it depends where I’m going. “Supersonic” by Oasis. “Mailman” by Soundgarden is really great. That’s definitely one to put on when you want to get amped.
RadarOnline: Did you get to see Oasis live before they broke up?
Momsen: I didn’t, and so I want them to get back together!
RadarOnline: What’s your ultimate goal with your music?
Momsen: I want to make good records. I want to continue making records. That’s the goal: just keep making music, and just keep getting better and progressing yourself, and hope people like it.
RadarOnline: I read that you auditioned for the role of Hannah Montana. Looking back, are you glad you didn’t get it?
Momsen: I don’t look back at it at all, you know, I was eight years old. I do lots of auditions. I guess Miley happened to mention that, but, no, I’m very happy with the path that I’m on, and I like having the control for sure. I’m very lucky.
RadarOnline: Other than your own album, what are you listening to a lot lately?
Momsen: I’ve been listening to a lot of Rage Against the Machine lately, the first record. What else? Led Zeppelin 1. All The Beatles records are on rotation constantly. And Soundgarden records I’ve been listening to. I YouTube, I’ve been watching a lot of live performances lately on YouTube, more than records. I’ve been listening to a lot of Jackson Browne, Cocaine.
RadarOnline: You seem to have a lot of knowledge of music before your time; do you credit your parents for that?
Momsen: Yeah, I mean some of it I learned myself because I investigate things. But my dad, I have to credit him, he’s a big music buff and he likes great music. And he’s the one that influenced me with The Beatles and then Bob Dylan, and listening to the Dylan records. He put me on to that at a very young age and so it’s what I grew up with, and it’s what I learned from.
RadarOnline: Anything you want to tell us about your live show?
Momsen: Just come see it. Come see the show. Don’t judge it before you see it because, you know, it’s rock and it’s cool. And it’s very loud!
Check out tour dates for The Pretty Reckless at theprettyreckless.com/events.