Summer holidays season is upon us (even if the sun has made no attempts to join in) and heavyweight rockers, Summer Cannibals are here to confirm the theory that West Coast is, indeed, best coast. With a musical year book that’s heavy in female led alumi (Sleater Kinney, Quasi, She and Him), the dream of the 90s is alive in Portland, people. It’s unsurprising then that such a new music hotbed is offering up a supportive network for bands like this guitar gang to pitch up their punk roots and settle in. And for Summer Cannibals that means forming under the good sense of a Patti Smith song, sharing the stage with Braff-rock bros, The Thermals and joining the ranks at inimitable indie label, Kill Rock Stars for their latest release, ‘Full Of It’.
Deputy Editor, Cheri Amour grabbed some time with guitarist and vocalist of the band, Jessica Boudreaux to chat pedal board lust, Portland pals and playing the hell out of the guitar.
TGA: You have been sharing the stage a lot with your Portland pals, The Thermals of late. We’ve previously interviewed the inimitable Janet Weiss for the magazine and she talked about a number of similarly creative projects with local bands and artists. Does Portland foster this kind of supportive environment for creativity?
Jessica Boudreaux: Janet is incredible! I haven’t really played music anywhere other than Portland so I’m not exactly sure how it compares to other cities creative environments but there is a really supportive and rad music community here that is very inspiring. It’s cool that a lot of the more successful musicians who’ve been around for a while in Portland like The Thermals and like Janet are very much about supporting younger “up and coming” bands. Having that support gave me the confidence to keep going with my music.
TGA: Your upcoming record, Full Of It, is released via indie heavyweight, Kill Rock Stars, – we also had the chance to chat with Portia in one of the last TGA issues – what has the process been like comparatively to you putting out your own records on New Moss?
JB: Compared to me putting the records out myself this process has been so incredibly smooth. I can’t even start to describe the weight that’s lifted when somebody comes in who’s that experienced and knowledgeable and takes over. They care a lot about the music and comedy they’re putting out and it shows in how they communicate with their artists. I only have good things to say about the experience.
TGA: Production duties were carried out at The Dock where, notably, Wild Flag also produced their first full length of the same name. What was that experience like?
JB: Working with Chris Woodhouse at the Dock was amazing. We had never recorded there before. There’s not a ton to see in Sacramento so it you kind of just want to live in the studio and not leave which is great for productivity. Woodhouse understands rock music in a way that only a fan and also musician can. Such a talented and fun guy to work with!
TGA: The recent video for ‘Full Of It’ feels like an indie version of Cluedo (or Clue in the US, I think…) Where would we ordinarily find each member of the band in the house set up – is someone a big cook? Another pure pampering in the bathroom? Or all just having bevvies on the porch?
JB: I’m very into cooking…I’d be in the kitchen for sure. Jenny would be in her office (I don’t know think she has an office in her house but hypothetically) because she works a lot and is a badass lawyer. Devon would be in his living room playing with his synthesizers.
I read in an interview that you feel a “big responsibility to not be the sexy singer, but the frontwoman who can also play the hell out of the guitar”, do you think it’s important for people to see themselves represented online and in the media to keep artists and music diverse and inclusive?
JB: I think it’s extremely important! I often feel like I got a really late start playing in bands because I didn’t really see myself reflected in the media and in the bands that were coming through my hometown in Louisiana.
You’re also sporting our dear mag pals She Shreds’ T shirt! In a similar tech vein, we’d love to geek out over your pedal board with a virtual tour around it? There’s such a mighty level of distortion throughout the whole record!
JB: My two main pedals I use are a UFO Fuzz Octave…I never turn it off during the set! When I solo I switch on a Fuzz War from Death By Audio on top of my UFO Fuzz to help it cut more. I’m totally obsessed with Death By Audio and want to buy everything they make. On top of those I use an Ekko 616 Analog Delay which I also keep on at all times, just a simple slap back. And then last I’ve got a Boss Digital Reverb that also stays on with a nice hall reverb.
And finally, you guys are in the midst of an enormous US tour, any plans to pay us a visit on English shores? (please!)
JB: Yep!, we’ll be there in October!
Tuck into a slice of Summer Cannibals this er, Autumn at the following places up and down the UK:
Wednesday 5th October – Exeter, Cavern Club
Thursday 6th October – Brighton, The Albert
Sunday 9th October – Glasgow, Broadcast
Wednesday 12th October – London, Brixton Windmill
Thursday 13th October – London, Upstairs at the Garage
Follow Cheri on Twitter @thedivinehammer