Sisters Piper and Skyler Kaplan of L.A. dream pop outfit Puro Instinct make music that calls on city-lights against breezy palm backdrops, lavish textures, foam on the tides, untamed hair flowing, old postcards of Venice Beach, acid-dance-moves under disco balls and girlish sensuality. Piper is the fiery bombshell with frosty eyes and luscious lips who swears like a sailor and has a fiendish sense of humor. Skyler is innocent and sweet-tempered, an inconspicuous prodigy with side ponytail who writes songs in her bedroom. Their appropriately-titled debut LP Headbangers in Ecstasy (2011) sent the sisters on tour with acts like Ariel Pink, John Maus and Geneva Jacuzzi. Here, the sisters run through their favorite children’s book, insect, movie soundtrack, Halloween costume, and much much more.
’90s Music Video:
PIPER: Warren G “Do You See”, all the Madonna vids, Suga Free “Do it Like I’m Used to it”
SKYLER: The vid for “If You Had My Love” by Jennifer Lopez is pretty nuts. I guess she’s portraying a camgirl type sitch where she has all these dudes, girls, and children tuning into her personal web page called “Internet TV.” After a while, she busts into this really awkward series of salsa and modern jazz dance routines which culminate into a freeze frame sort of double-take on her butt. It’s ridic.
SKYLER: Our mom makes really sick dresses for us when we manage to stay on her good side. She made me a Rita Hayworth-y, coral pink gown for prom last year that was pretty sick.
PIPER: Yea, our mom cranks out some pretty dope stuff when she’s not busy “working” or “having a life” or whatever. She can make anything we want, but she’s impossible to coerce, man. She used to have this amazing goth/costume store on Melrose Ave in the early ’90s called Quasi Glam that all the freaks shopped at. One time I was in the car with Ariel Pink and I started rambling on about goth in L.A. in the ’90s and Ariel was like, “Bullshit, what do you know about goth in L.A. in the ’90s?” and he name dropped Quasi Glam and I was like, “That was my mom’s store dood.”
PIPER: Henry Paget, the original dandy of the underworld circa 1900! Marc Bolan, Poly Styrene, Klaus Kinski, Secos e Molhados, TLC (G’d up from the feet up, every last one of them.)
SKYLER: Stella Stevens is rad. She was one of the top babe actresses of the ’60s and starred in a lot of films with dudes like Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. She dated Elvis for a while, too, which is crazy to think about. I work for her now as an assistant of sorts, but sometimes I just take selfies in all the crazy mirrors around her house and bring home vintage clothes she doesn’t wear anymore. Her stuff has inspired my style a lot.
SKYLER: Meditations by Peter Max
PIPER: Sky Mall
SKYLER: The Color of Pomegranates by Paradjanov
PIPER : Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams
SKYLER: Praying mantis
Hotel you’ve stayed in:
SKYLER: The Standard in DTLA. Not because I like the hotel all that much, but because I met my best friend/lover dood there in September of 2012. We took MDMA, made out in one of those weird water bed pods on the roof, and talked until the sun came up over the city.
PIPER: I’m going to have to go with the airport hotel at Shanghai International. I made the mistake of eating food that wasn’t in a wrapper and came home with parasites in my stomach. Also we noticed the people in the room next to ours were shooting a porno, or at least we’re pretty sure that’s what was going on. A couple of guys walked in there with a ladder and a tripod and the rest of our night was peppered with the sounds of female squealing and headboard slamming.
Item of vintage clothing:
SKYLER: Cherry red platform clogs, courtesy of Stella Stevens.
PIPER: I gripped a pretty sweet black and white ’50s vintage sweater from my mom that I don’t think she knows is missing yet. It has rad diamond shaped glass bead buttons and cool appliques on it, fits perfectly etc. Also this sick black vinyl Esprit mini-backpack I got from Goodwill last year is pretty tight.
SKYLER: Finding Nemo was always a go to for me when I was “sick” in bed in elementary school. I still watch The Aristocats sometimes late at night when I’m bored. I share a Netflix account and always get made fun of when it shows up in my history.
PIPER: I guess that menstruation documentary they put together for children back in the ’50s or whenever is pretty chill. I like The Little Mermaid too: The banned King Triton phallus VHS cover from the ’80s/’90s is tight. “Kiss the Girl” is a cool song. Eric is a hot prince. Chill flick.
PIPER: “Libra Sunrise” by Lasos: Everything on the Inter-Dimensional Music LP is rad. I also really love his Angelic Music and Sacred Sonic Tools record.
SKYLER: “Evening Star” by Fripp & Eno is a really beautiful one. I was listening to it the other night and sort of “fell” into an astral projection where I followed this glowing green spiral into a clearing surrounded by glaciers. “Thursday Afternoon” by Brian Eno is great too.
SKYLER: The soundtrack for Sanrio’s Nutcracker Fantasy.
PIPER: Woah, yeah. Definitely.
SKYLER: We played in Paris some time in the fall/winter of 2012 with our homie Austin on bass and Zane Reyn a.k.a. SFV Acid on beats. Afterwards, the four of us went to Le Baron and watched Hypnolove kill it; the guitarist does all this crazy arpeggiating up near the 12th fret and their synth leads are just incredible. The walls were red and had all these crazy mirrors all around. I was only 16 or 17 at the time so it was really exciting to be able to drink openly up in da club; they had these dank strawberry mixed drinks on deck that fit the vibe of the night really well. We danced until like 5am and then went and smoked a spliff by the Seine.
PIPER: Yeah, that was such a sick night. The cab we took to Le Baron was bumping alllll the smooth 70’s island fantasy disco jams. Props to Recordmakers for being the sweetest hosts a lil’ band from Cali could ever hope for!
PIPER: “Risk it All” and “Light it Up” by Bare Escentuals and this natural makeup company called Gabriel that makes this really nice coral-merlot lovechild shade that I really dig- can’t remember what it’s called though.
SKYLER: Yeah, that one is sick.
Trinket in your bedroom:
PIPER: My laser star projector! My ex bought it for me for my 21st birthday and it’s probably the coolest not-totally-useful thing that I own. It projects neon green laser shooting stars all over my ceiling and you can turn on this electric blue “breathing” nebula effect if you really wanna bust out. I spend most of my free time at home with it turned on, burning mugwort and synth-noodling; very good for the soul.
SKYLER: I have this neon pink and yellow balancing bird that I’m pretty into. Also pretty proud of this mini porcelain mask collection I got goin’ on right now.
PIPER: Claire and Leo in Romeo + Juliet? God damn it, I love that movie.
Halloween costume you’ve worn:
SKYLER: Our mom made me this lavender, almost holographic-looking pixie costume when I was about 4 or 5. Lots of silly pics of me running around in it.
PIPER: One year I was an oil spill for Halloween. I covered myself in grease paint and wore this long fitted beaded black dress that had crazy oil-slick-like iridescent bead globs stitched all over it. I spent the evening leaving a black trail on many surfaces and seats at the Chateau Marmont and other Hollywood “hot spots”.
SKYLER: Power Puff Girls, Sailor Moon, Jem & The Holograms.
PIPER: Fuck yeah, all those are the jam. I used to wake up extra early to catch Sailor Moon before getting dragged to elementary school back in the day. It was the only way our mom could get me to comply.
Forest dwelling creature:
PIPER: Fairies? Centaurs? Or are we talking “real” stuff only? Actually I don’t care, I’m going with fairies.
SKYLER: Yeah, same.
Photography by Jessie Askinazi and Styling + Glass Wear by Courtney Lynne Garvin