Hellfire and Harmony: An Interview with Crimson Calamity

Photo courtesy of Indi Pattinson
Lauren Harding and Mallory Trunnell first met in college while attending theatre school in Hollywood. It wasn’t until years later that they reconnected while playing the singer/songwriter circuit in Los Angeles, and ultimately formed the duo Crimson Calamity.

“We have similar interests and complimentary senses of humor so being in a band seemed like a natural fit,” they said. “We really are soul sisters and joke that we share a brain. You will often hear us saying the same thing at the same time. There’s no one else on earth we’d elect to spend this much time with - especially on the road for 12 hour drives.”

Before they were officially a duo, they were a part of a songwriting group that distributed prompts as a challenge to write a new song every month. One prompt was to write about an historic event or person, and as the two had been binge watching Deadwood, decided to collaborate on a song about Calamity Jane.

“We each came together with the initial ideas for ‘Line Em Up and Shoot Em Down’ and ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ and we were really excited as we finished each song because this sonic landscape started to show up,” they said. ‘We were nerding out about the branding, the staging, the outfits and all of the songs having a bad-ass vibe to them, be it Wild West, Folky, or Classic Rock.”

They loved alliteration so much that they went with Crimson Calamity, giving a nod to the woman that inspired their sound and encapsulated their own badassery as “women to be reckoned with, serving you hellfire and harmony.”

In addition to being badass women themselves, they have an entirely female production team. Their last three singles, and two upcoming singles, have all been produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by the talented Gena Johnson, Rachael Moore and Kim Rosen.

They’ve released two EPs, All in the Cards and Gypsy Heart. While they were full of whimsy and mystery, this time around they plan on showing real vulnerability.

“One thing that we’re trying to show in this new music is our softer side,” they said. “We don’t always have to be badasses or present things super polished... It’s a little more earthy, a little more raw and has more space for the listener to absorb the music and interpret what the songs mean to them.”

Their latest single, “My Best Friends”, was actually written a few years before Crimson Calamity was established. In another writing workshop, they had to pick a word out of a cup and write a song about it. The word they picked was ‘grass’. Written with their friends James Longsteet and Leighton Shields, the song was never meant to be a Crimson Calamity tune but made its way onto one of their setlists and quickly became a fan favorite.

Even though the song has been a part of their catalogue since the early days, they felt that now was the perfect time to release it.

“This past year has been so heavy and we wanted to release something with a feel good message,” they said. “We hope people are swept away with memories of summer nights in their youth and the reminder that you can have fun at any age.”

From theatre school to songwriting workshops and everything in between, Crimson Calamity have been working diligently to perfect their craft. With a lifelong friend by their side and an endless amount of inspiration, these two are sure to be unstoppable.