Semi Precious Weapons

Four years ago, after the release of two albums, ‘The Fame’ and ‘The Fame Monster’, Lady GaGa brought ‘The Monster Ball Tour’ to Dublin. The tickets were inexpensive but the atmosphere was indescribable.

Fortunately, Ms Germanotta didn’t venture to the Emerald Isle alone but brought along a band whom she was the opening act for, prior to achieving international success. Their name? Semi Precious Weapons, comprising of Justin Tranter, Cole Whittle, Stevy Pyne, and Dan Crean.

Lead singer Justin, arrived onto the stage of Dublin’s 02 in gold glitter heels performing tracks such as ‘Magnetic Baby’, ‘Sticky With Champagne’ and ‘Put A Diamond In It’. Attempting to describe it; A cacophony of pop, rock n’ roll, glitter and attitude. It worked and I came away from the concert more affected by the NYC four-piece than the main billing artist.

Having toured their first album for over eighteen months, I had high expectations for their next release. It didn’t arrive immediately but it was worth the wait.

Semi Precious Weapons’ new album ‘Aviation’ launched this week. Their time apart from the industry has evolved their sound and whilst they haven’t lost any of their fun, their lyrics are cleverer and their melodies sharper.

Semi Precious Weapons

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Semi Precious Weapons and are still unsure why you should invest in their record or read my interview with lead singer, Justin Tranter…

Well, ‘Aviation’ saw SPW collaborate with producer Tricky Stewart. You may have heard of some of his previous hits: Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’, Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)’, Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’, Mariah Carey’s ‘Obsessed’, and my personal favourite, Ciara’s ‘Ride’.

Convinced? I hope so.

1. For those unfamiliar with Semi Precious Weapons, how would you describe yourselves?

Four folks that love songs, funny and/or fancy clothes, good guitar tone, dramatics and Sharon Stone. Well, I love Sharon Stone, I can’t speak for everyone there. 

2. Listening to ‘Magnetic Baby’ from ‘Semi Precious Weapons’ to ‘Never Going Home’ from the new album ‘Aviation’, a maturation of sound is most definitely evident. What experiences in the past four years have moulded this music growth?

Location. Touring the whole world played a big part in us growing and wanting more artistically. As did moving to Los Angeles. There is so much being made here everyday to inspire us, not to mention the weather and quality of life compared to NYC. It made it easy to explore new sounds and be a little more honest lyrically.  

3. Having toured the album ‘Semi Precious Weapons’ as part of the ‘Monster Ball Tour’, did you feel any pressure or have any concerns in releasing your next sound?

I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross our minds, but we just made the decision to focus on the songs. Let the story lead the way sonically, create the best aural world for each song, and trust that people will hear what we do. 

4. If you had to describe every track on ‘Aviation’ with one word each, what would they be?

  1. Aviation High – Love
  2. Look to the Stars – Pride
  3. Drink – Jealousy
  4. Never Going Home – Fearless
  5. Scream To The Sky – Debauchery
  6. Young Love – Nostalgia
  7. That’s My Friends – Friends
  8. Healed – Loss
  9. Cherries on Ice – Kinky
  10. Free Booze – Jocelyn
  11. Vegas – Delusional
  12. Hands Up – Bones

5. What role does fashion play in SPW? How intrinsic is it to the band?

There is no escaping the fact that music has a visual aspect. Videos, live shoes, album art, tour posters, and of course, what the artists are wearing. We want everything to reflect and enhance the sounds we are making, so obviously fashion plays a part. 

I think “our look” use to play an even bigger role in the band, but it will always be something we enjoy. There isn’t a day that passes that I’m not thinking about my next makeup story.

6. You’ve previously toured with both Lady GaGa and Kesha, but if you had the option of collaboration with and brand or artist, what or who would you choose?

Well, we are eternally grateful for the touring opportunities we’ve had, but I think everyone in this band would be thrilled to work with Kanye, Jay Z, Stevie Nicks, Tina Turner, the list goes on.

7. What are your biggest aspirations, either personally or professionally, for the remainder of the year?

Personally, I would love to fall in love again. It’s my favourite thing to do. Professionally, we just want to tour this new album as long as the universe will allow. 

8. Any last words…?

Sharon Stone for President.

You can follow Semi Precious Weapons on Facebook and Twitter. You can listen to their album ‘Aviation’ on Soundcloud or purchase it on iTunes.

A huge thank you to both Justin and Lindsey for making this ‘Minnie Meets…‘ happen.

Written by

Sinéad Burke is an academic and a writer with an obsessive interest in fashion, education and 'Extraordinary Women'. She is an ambassador for the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children and the National Women's Council of Ireland.