GEN F: Puro Instinct

Photographer Daryl Peveto
June 26, 2011

Skylar and Piper Kaplan are both weirdly pale for Californians. Maybe that lack of tan is a sign of their disinterest in the unchanging culture of constant sun and strip malls. The two sisters started Puro Instinct—formerly Pearl Harbor—at home, something Piper said she never would have been able to do without Skylar. “I didn’t feel really comfortable expressing myself and sharing musical ideas with other people up until I started jamming with my sister—because we’re dogs,” says Piper. “We have a cosmic understanding of each other.” The closest they let us come to that understanding is the way their relationship blooms outward into their music. “California Shakedown”’s guitars glitter cocaine white, Piper’s vocals floating miles in the distance. The song feels like mutated twin speak, lazily telepathic. All their songs sound similarly muffled, sketches missing concrete hooks or any real sense of urgency, though nonetheless compelling because of their familial primacy. In other words, if they weren’t sisters they would suck.

It seems like they’re realizing their own shit kinda jams at the exact same time we are, but would never actually say it and don’t really want anyone else to either. And even though Piper says that if their music ever gets not fun, the plan, without question, is to just stop playing, it doesn’t seem like that’ll ever be an issue, especially when the ultimate goal is simply to keep flowing between each other. “I don’t feel like the world’s standards really mean anything to me,” Piper says. She doesn’t sound egotistical so much as warmly spaced out, Puro Instinct the result of her perpetual comedown mood and her sisterly love, aka the entire universe. “As long as I’m happy with the product and as long as my sister’s happy with it, it’s kind of all I really want.”

Puro Instinct are spending their summer touring with Ariel Pink, trailing behind him in a van with their newly fleshed out band. It’s a risk for a new group, and even more of a risk for Skylar, who at 15 can’t even legally be inside most of the venues they’re booked to play at. “My sister is definitely on an accelerated evolutionary path,” Piper says, an epic no duh about a girl barely in her teens writing guitar parts that hold the emotional weight of a full-grown adult. She also says Skylar loves Ariel Pink and only wanted to tour because it was with him, so they’re heading out with ten songs and less than two years under their belts. Whatever happens, come fall Piper will still be hanging with her dog, Skylar will be back at school, Puro Instinct practicing, returned home to the mythological city that birthed them.

Stream: Puro Instinct, Headbangers In Ecstasy

GEN F: Puro Instinct