Somer Bingham of “The Real L Word” talks backstabbing, bitchery and Babeland

 
 

AE: Speaking of your music, talk to me about your band, Clinical Trials because I’ve listened to a bit of it and have seen a couple of your music videos, which I think are freaking awesome.

SB: You liked the samuri battles? Both of those were completely the work of friends of mine – especially the “Whip It” video which was conceived by my friend Kaz Phillips Safer. And for “Sweet Machine”, I went to my friend (and ex-bandmate) Dan LeMunyan and was just like, “I want to do something with stop motion dolls,” and he just took it and ran with it. So, I was really happy. Both of them are just awesome artists.



 

Check out some of the bloopers from the “Whip It” video while you’re at it.

But Clinical Trials and Hunter Valentine – there’s some overlap but I don’t think they necessarily coexist. I think Clinical Trials is just super dark and doesn’t really care. It’s very personal to me, so I get really excited about it. But it definitely has more of the PJ Harvey, indie college rock [sound] – probably never going to be on the radio. I think it’s catchy at times, but it isn’t made to necessarily have mass appeal.

AE: Well it’s not pop-y by any means.
SB: No. It has some melodic stuff but Hunter Valentine is way catchier.

AE: For me personally, I connect more with what I’ve heard of Clinical Trials. I mean, the bass in “Sweet Machine” is just super hot. That appeals more to my music sensibility, the darker side of things.

I think you told me in an email that you’ll be releasing more songs one by one, since you can do that type of thing nowadays. Have you recorded more and are you going to be releasing anything on a regular schedule?

SB: I hope so. I’ve been trying to! I’d really like to try to release a new song every two weeks, but it’s been really difficult because I’ve been trying to focus on maybe doing a little tour and doing Hunter Valentine. But if you’re excited about it, then I can be like, “I have to do something for Mia this week!”

AE: That’s right. I will bug you. If you want me to set a reminder in my calendar, I can do that.
SB: [Laughs] Your Google calendar will remind me? I like it.

AE: Well if it’s personal to you, it’s something you’ve got to go with. It’s got to be therapeutic for you.

SB: Definitely, it helps me heal a lot of emotions. There should be a reality TV-inspired song. It’ll probably be cryptic but I’m sure there’ll be something along those lines. There are a couple of things in the works. I have to figure out recording and playing drums.

It’s hard because I can record at home. [Since] I don’t have to book a studio, schedule a time, and pay for it, [it] slows me down because I can just be like, “Oh should I watch Battlestar Galactica today?”

AE: [Laughs] Yeah. As a freelance writer, I can totally understand what you mean. The other day, there was a Saved by the Bell marathon on and I even got to catch the episode where Jessie Spano was addicted to caffeine pills.
SB: Oh that’s so good!

AE: There’s actually an interactive 8-bit Saved by the Bell game that you can play on YouTube which is pretty exciting. I don’t know how you win exactly but it’s fun to play. We’re all winners when we play that game, that’s what I like to think.

So, some of our readers who are fans of the show had a few questions for you, if you wouldn’t mind answering. The first being, “Why are you giving Hunter Valentine your time and talent? Your band Clinical Trials is in a different league. HV has one or two songs that are strong, but as a whole, CT delivers. (Not to mention HV is losing fans by being on the show as the people see that certain member/s are douches).”

SB: Well first, thank you for the compliment! Clinical Trials has been a labor of love for almost eight years, so anytime someone connects with the music, it’s incredibly rewarding.  Hunter Valentine was something I sort of fell into. Kiyomi actually saved my ass at one show when my guitar went on the fritz mid-set. I had never met her before that night, but she walked up to the stage, handed me her guitar and said, “Do you want to borrow mine? I really like what you’re doing and I want to be able to hear the rest of your set.”

Wait, wait, wait … is this situational irony in light of recent keyboard developments!?

We became friends when the band moved to Brooklyn, mostly hanging out to get drinks and talk music. Out of the blue last fall, Kiyomi called and asked me to help them work on music. They were starting to write the new album and I think they wanted fresh ears and a slightly more modern edge & sound.  There’s only so much you can do as a three-piece, and it can sound very dated in comparison to cutting-edge artists like MIA, Santigold, Gotye and Sleigh Bells. Synths and samples really add another layer, and so much depth.

The girls initially wanted me to commit to a year of being in the band and Kiyomi had some really good insight about how it would help get me exposure for my own project. I could open for them on tour, meet their contacts, learn the ins & outs of the business, and learn from the experience of collaborating.

Unfortunately, we had our first fight during recording in Toronto! After the argument, we agreed that we should do a trial period, touring down to SXSW, and then regroup from there.  And…enter reality television!  That’s where our story picks up with the cameras.

AE: Our next reader question is, “How long did it take you and your wife to ‘merge’?”
SB: Donna and I have been together six years. After a week or two of dating, I said something incredibly unromantic like, “Well, I’m probably not going to be seeing anyone else now, so I think we should be girlfriends.” She agreed, and then we immediately went to Babeland.


Photo courtesy of Showtime

I actually moved in with her about six months in, because my lease ran out and I hadn’t found a place! But I did end up in my own apartment again, shortly thereafter. We officially moved in together after a year and a half. We were engaged after four years – I proposed – and married a year later.

AE: And lastly, if you had to play Shag, Marry or Dump with your Real L Word castmates, how would you play?
SB: I know this will disappoint, but even if I only hypothetically decide to f–k or marry anyone on the show besides Donna, I’m pretty sure she will KILL me!

Make sure you tune in this Thursday for the next episode of The Real L Word and you can also get more of Somer every Friday on her hilarious vlog, Somer Fridays.

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