“I can’t pay my rent but I’m f***ing gorgeous,” Justin Tranter sings on “Semi Precious Weapons,” and it’s a fitting mission statement for his band of the same name. After wrapping up a world tour with Lady Gaga in 2010, the quartet spent six months living rent-free in their manager’s pool house as they prepped their sophomore album and adjusted their “filthy” Brooklyn vibe to the West Coast.
Their style’s hard to define: they’re the kind of guys who’ll match high-fashion jewelry with yard sale cast-offs. Of course, when you design your own Barneys bling, as Tranter does with his Fetty line, you can rock whatever you want.
“As a band, we’ve probably assembled over 400,000 pieces of jewelry,” Tranter says.
Both their style and work ethic extend to the writing process: guided by new mentor Tricky Stewart, they’ve penned over 40 songs for sophomore album consideration. And, in Tranter’s case, all in high heels.
“We look like this while we write. We always look like this. I wouldn’t want to write a song in a pair of sneakers,” he says. “I think it would be a horrible song.”
Interview by David Greenwald & photography by Joseph Llanes