Taking a break with Summer Cannibals’ Jessica Boudreaux

Jessica BoudreauxThrow out everything you know, or you think you know about Summer Cannibals' frontwoman Jessica Boudreaux. The Portland-based artist has branched out on her own, and her solo album, entitled No Fury, is starkly different to anything the musician has released before.

"Initially I was like, 'Screw it, let’s make it a Summer Cannibals album,' but it just felt like too much of a departure. It’s very pop and [it has] a lot of synth and drum machines. I wasn’t ready to deal with the preconceived ideas of what was going to happen next for Summer Cannibals, [and listeners not] letting the record stand on its own. It felt like the better decision to make it my own solo thing."

Jessica's assertion that No Fury is "very pop" isn't wrong, and while the move away from the catchy grunge of Summer Cannibals isn't radical, it's certainly enough to turn heads.

"I was having relationship problems, [as I was] in love with someone who wasn’t reciprocating it," Boudreaux explains of the pop influence. "I wasn’t angry about it — I was sad, and my heart hurt. I didn’t feel the desire to write a loud rock song about it. I found myself wanting to listen to pop music like Whitney Houston and Carly Rae Jepsen and Tegan & Sara - stuff that’s emotional but still uplifting. It just seemed logical to try to funnel [my] emotions into [creating] something like that, rather than something like a Summer Cannibals record."

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The lyrical content of No Fury is clearly inspired by a break-up, but pop melodies? It's an unusual pairing, and an interesting assertion that despite feeling so sad, Jessica Boudreaux felt compelled to write tracks that make you want to dance. She agrees it's not an obvious match, but counteracts that she "wanted to be in the studio and having fun, despite the heaviness of the lyrics. I was going through something heavy but I needed a way to counteract it."

As for the musicianship behind the album, there is - as Jessica notes - a whole lot of synth.

"I think every musician wants to try and learn different things. So experimenting with synths and drum machines was just fun for me on a personal level."

It's not the first time she's played with the instrument, as a long history of collaborating and working with other artists has opened her eyes to the mighty synth. But this, she says, was the first time she's really been able to experiment with it. Elsewhere on the record, familiar faces loom.

"Jenny [Logan] and Devon [Shirley, Jessica's bandmates in Summer Cannibals] played bass and drums on a good amount of the record, but not all of it. And then Hutch [Harris, The Thermals], produced it and wrote like five of the songs with me. Then this guy Victor Nash, who I hadn’t worked with before, engineered it at his studio.

"The record took a while," she admits. "I think we were doing pre-production stuff for 6 months before we even went into the studio. Maybe a little bit less. Then we were in the studio from basically November to February, on and off. And then the turnaround — I wanted to do vinyl, so that was the biggest — the longest wait."

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No Fury has been available as a download and on vinyl since the beginning of November 2017, through Boudreaux's revived label, New Moss. After a long two years of touring and staying busy on the road with Summer Cannibals, this, she says, was inspired by convenience as much as it was the DIY ethos she continues to follow:

"I was kind of too busy last year to think about doing anything else [with the label], and I thought New Moss was done. But once I made the solo record, I didn’t want [the] pressure from an outside label to tour, or [to input] with any of the decisions, so I decided to start it back up to do this."

Rounding off our interview, Jessica muses: "Last year was just really intense. It was long, with a lot of touring, and I came out of it wanting to feel grounded. So I feel like, emotionally, I’m giving myself what I need. When you operate at our level, you don’t have a manager who can look out for you, you don’t have someone being like, “Okay, maybe you need a break.” You have to decide that for yourself. It’s hard to be like, “I’m not going to book any shows.” Because what if everybody forgets? What if it doesn’t matter when we come back?"

With No Fury tucked under her arm, it's unlikely anyone will forget Jessica Boudreaux.

Purchase Jessica Boudreaux's new album No Fury direct through Bandcamp.

Interview: Summer Cannibals are Full Of It

Summer CannibalsIt's been a while since we last spoke to Summer Cannibals, a garage rock band whom we first tipped for success back in 2012, with lead demo "Handle This Love" - now sadly departed from Bandcamp - in mind. Since then DrunkenWerewolf has kept the Portland based project close to our hearts, if not physically then metaphorically: through debut album No Makeup and follow up Show Us Your Mind, plus line-up changes, record label signing and news of US tours with one-time label mates The Thermals.

It's no surprise the three-piece - led by front woman Jessica Boudreaux, the only founding member to remain in the line-up - have accrued such a devoted following and academic success in the States. With news that they're finally due to tour the UK in October with third album Full Of It tucked neatly underarm, we realise it's high time we reconfirmed our own devotion with an interview.

"The highlight of the last few years has definitely been making this newest album and signing with Kill Rock Stars for the release," Boudreaux confirms, immediately sharing news of Summer Cannibals signing to the iconic record label, when asked about the bumps, crashes and kabooms she's experienced over the course of the past four years. We chat via the medium of email due to the band's hectic, KRS-authenticated touring schedule, but that doesn't diminish the sense of achievement that exudes from our inbox. "Also this tour that we’re on right now with The Thermals has been really special. Lots of highlights!"

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The Summer Cannibals line-up suddenly and silently changed in 2014, while the band were in the middle of promoting sophomore album Show Us Your Mind. Jessica avoids mentioning the departure of her former bandmates, and instead explains how the new line-up came to be: "I met Devon (drums) a while back when we played with his old band Grandhorse. When we started looking for a new drummer he was one of the first people we thought of - he’s such a solid drummer and a great dude. Jenny (bass) was introduced to me through a mutual friend and so I went to check out her band and was blown away. She’s a fantastic musician. We’ve got fill in rhythm guitar players for this year’s tour."

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Their signing to Kill Rock Stars was as sudden, though less surprising considering their musical direction and all out awesomeness - pairing the Riot Grrrl spawning record label with a band on the edge of garage punk and rock is a dream made in heaven. Regardless, it was a shock move from a trio who'd made a name for themselves as self-releasing, DIY punks.

"I met Portia [Sabin, head honcho at Kill Rock Stars] a while back when I was on her radio show the Future of What. She asked me to come talk about direct fan interaction from a label standpoint since she knew I owned my own label. She was a fan of the band and knew we worked hard. We kept in touch and when she heard we were making a new album she got in touch and said they wanted to put it out."

The band previously self-released under Jessica's own label, No Moss, and inevitably signing to Kill Rock Stars means that - for Summer Cannibals at least - the project has been put to bed: "I’d say it was definitely more like an opportunity that we couldn’t turn down," she explains when pressed about how hard it was to move from her own reigns to someone else's. "I loved putting out my own music and I definitely wasn’t in a hurry to hand that over to anyone unless if felt like a great fit, and this absolutely did. They were very open to making sure the agreement fit our needs as a band."

Besides style and ethos, working with an established local label made sense for Summer Cannibals, too. Although they're not individually natives to Oregon, they've been properly embroiled in the Portland scene for a while now, though Jessica explains they didn't necessarily want to stick to local collaboration: "I wouldn’t say that I was exclusively looking for a local label to sign with but I’m so happy that that’s how it ended up working out. There’s something so satisfying about being able to go into the office and be face to face with the people that you’re working with."

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The result of this collaboration is, of course, Full Of It. An extraordinarily loud album, it's an accomplished piece of work from a band who've carefully developed their sound into something that's unique on the modern day scene. Jessica explains the "music is heavier" than their previous work, but she thinks "the production really brought that out. The album has this like army of guitars sound that makes it so heavy and rad to me."

Said production work is down to Chris Woodhouse, who's previously worked with Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, The Intelligence, Sic Alps and Fuzz. Drawing inspiration from the band's live output, he's helped them to create a layered, howling record from start to finish. Jessica agrees: "He’s amazing and we all loved working with him. Production-wise he’s got such a cool style when it comes to recording drums. There’s a lot of character in the room where we tracked everything. He’s got a lot of tricks to make things thick and heavy and did such a great job balancing the instruments with my vocals."

The UK will have a chance to see Full Of It - which is out now via Kill Rock Stars - on stage this autumn. Dates have yet to be announced, but you should follow the band's Facebook page for more information soon.

Summer Cannibals bare their teeth for Full of It

Full of ItSummer Cannibals have grown up. They were never immature, but on third full length Full of It, the band capture the gritty urgency of their ethos in a way they never have done before. Play it loud and play it hard is the objective of the day, and boy, do the band take their mission seriously. Joining punk rock forces with iconic record label Kill Rock Stars for the release, the Portland trio have transformed to ooze a snarled confidence – a kickboxing leap away from the underground garage of 2013’s No Makeup and 2015’s Show Us Your Mind.

Full of It opens with a stereotypical drum roll, but what follows is far from average. Guitars burst into action as “Go Home” unfolds. The album’s ferocious call to arms, as an opening track it’s bold and unfiltered, with front woman Jessica Boudreaux challenging the listener to a fight via the medium of squealing guitars and reverberation.

The production on Full of It is key, not because it elevates the band so much as it allows them to convey a sound they probably strived for all along. Gone is the bedroom sound that charmed its way through No Makeup, replaced by crashing percussion and strings that ring long after they’ve snapped. The overall effect is that of sonic 90s - bands such as Pixies and My Bloody Valentine at the fore – but this isn’t a homage to the past. Summer Cannibals are fresh and vital, timeless in the fact that they draw comparison to previous bands, but still maintain a trademark growl that’s unique to their own material.

One thing that Full of It lacks is versatility. From the minute the guitars of “Go Home” kick in to the closing, lazy crunch of “Simple Life”, there’s no stopping Boudreaux on guitar, Devon Shirley on drums, or Jenny Logan on bass. There’s no moment of reflective silence; no loud/quiet dynamic; and certainly no ballad on Full of It. This is 11 tracks of fire and gut, and light-hearted music fans might balk at the relentless attack.

Thankfully DrunkenWerewolf can stomach the blow, and for that reason Summer Cannibals may well have created the album of the year with Full of It. This is a brave step into the future for the band and hopefully an indication of many years’ worth of releases to come.

Release: 27th May 2016, Kill Rock Stars

News: Summer Cannibals to release new album Out Of It on Kill Rock Stars

Kill Rock StarsPortland rock band Summer Cannibals have signed to legendary independent label Kill Rock Stars to release their third full length album, Full Of It.

As a preview, the band have released a single, "Go Home", taken from the album. It's a spiky number, coming in hard with chugging rock and roll bass lines. The song exudes attitude from beginning to end, demanding you turn the volume up full.

Summer Cannibals are led by guitarist and vocalist Jessica Boudreaux, who is joined by drummer Devon Shirley, bassist Jenny Logan and guitarist Marc Swart. Kill Rock Stars was founded in 1991 by Slim Moon, who ran the company until October 2006, when he left to become Senior Director of A&R at Nonesuch Records. They are now one of the few female run indie labels in America and take pride in their tradition of being our tradition of being "queer positive, feminist, and artist friendly."

The band see Full Of It as their defining statement to date. The 11 track album was recorded at analog recording studio The Dock with producer Chris Woodhouse (Thee Oh Sees, Wild Flag). The album promises high adrenaline thrills, speeding along at a breakneck pace.

Full Of It is out 27th May 2016.

Find out more about Summer Cannibals on their website. Check out the Kill Rock Stars website here and listen to "Go Home" below:

Summer Cannibals – Show Us Your Mind

Show Us Your MindIn a further attack on the music industry in 2015, our favourite Portland rockers Summer Cannibals will release their sophomore album Show Us Your Mind next week through independent label New Moss Records. At the forefront of the garage revival in the States, on Show Us Your Mind the band combines their established knack for gory imagery with their down-and-out garage meets grisly-punk style.

Presenting as a very decent contender for end of year lists, the album offers a furious hour-long listen by way of songs old and new. Of the more well-known tracks, we’re treated to album variations of eponymous song “Show Us Your Mind” and former single “Make You Better”, both of which also feature on last year’s Make You Better EP. Focusing on crunchy guitar and to-the-point riffs, tracks such as these demonstrate Summer Cannibals’ craft perfected by way of undeniably infectious songwriting.

Elsewhere, front woman Jessica Boudreaux’s vocal takes precedent. Opening track “All It Takes” comes crashing in with a whining and attention demanding squeal, but the charming versus monotone snarl of Boudreaux soon takes centre stage. Standout track “Summer” is noticeably less focused on vocals in favour of the guitar, but there’s no denying the sing-a-long “ahha-ahha” chorus is inspired.

Considering the large majority of these songs play under three-minutes, you wouldn’t be hard pushed to call Summer Cannibals a classic band. Show Us Your Mind may not offer a wildly progressive attitude from the four-piece, but what it does do is document an act in their prime. Summer Cannibals, an undeniably home-brewed talent, have made themselves ready for the radio by way of tactics traditionally employed by pop stars. In fact they even toured the West Coast with CHVRCHES last year, and have since picked up press from Impose and NPR in recent months. Overall it seems Show Us Your Mind is much better prepared for takeover than debut album No Makeup, though arguably, the band have lost a little of their rough and ready charm.

Release: 3rd March 2015, New Moss Records

Interview: Summer Cannibals

Summer CannibalsComing to us from the magical land known as Portland, Oregon; Summer Cannibals are a four-piece indie-rock band in the best sense of the word.

With Jessica Boudreaux on guitar and vocals, Marc Swart on guitar and back0up vocals, Kyle Brittain on bass and Casey Frantum on drums, the band was somewhat suggestively named after a Patti Smith song. Simply put, Summer Cannibals kick butt, with fuzzy guitars and snarly female vocals that pull on the very best of the Kim Gordon tradition. Their first album No Make Up was self- produced by the band and released on their own label, leading to a Tip for 2014 by DrunkenWerewolf at the end of last year. 

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How did you guys get started? I started recording and posting demos online. I asked Marc if he wanted to play guitar; he was into the songs and we started playing with the original line-up. When the first record was out, Casey and Kyle had to leave the band so we asked Lynnae to join on bass. We were both friends with her and she jumped in really fast. Valerie, our current drummer, was introduced to us by our first drummer.

DrunkenWerewolf has just dedicated an entire issue to female musicians. Do you think there’s still prejudice against female musicians? There can be, but I try not to focus on it. We aren’t a “girl band” and we don’t play up the fact that 3/4 of the band are women so I guess that’s one way of dealing with it. We have all been musicians for a long time and we play hard live so to me that’s the best way of dealing with any prejudice… Playing hard, practicing hard and focusing on where you are as a musician, not where you are as a ‘female musician’.

I was thrilled to see the Wipers listed as one your influences, since I think they are one of the most underrated bands ever!  They are a massive influence. Marc and I have worked really hard on our guitar tones, making sure distortion and fuzz are working with each other rather than having a mush of fuzz and Greg Sage really had that mastered. I also have a lot of respect for musicians who expand on the ‘rock’ genre and I really love that about the Wipers.

Pros and cons of the DYI approach?  Pros: you have full control which is really important to me. Also, we didn’t have to wait around hoping a label would pick us up. With our first record no one knew who we were so trying to get onto a legitimate label seemed a stretch. The only two cons are money and exposure but we work hard and so these were only small hurdles.

How do you see the future of the music industry? The future of the industry is pretty unclear to me but I'm optimistic about my place in it. Music is one of the most important parts of being human and it’s not going anywhere soon. As long as people are creating and consuming and looking for new music there will be an industry. We have to be willing to change and evolve with technology and the times and I don’t see that as a negative thing. Music is so easy to access these days and I think that's exciting and positive-something artists should embrace and make the most of. The people who only want free music will always be there just like the people who want physical products and posters and so on will always be there. As a band you have to make something for both kinds of people.

Favourite gig stories? I’ve spent three days trying to think of something! We’ve had a lot of rad shows and weird interactions but nothing really stands out. Marc thought it was hilarious on our last tour when the sound engineer in Tulsa was playing Maroon 5 and Dave Matthews Band super loud to check the speakers.

Tell us about your label, New Moss Records? It's a small label run by Marc and I that’s in the very beginning stages. We’ve put out a couple of full lengths, an EP and a compilation over the last year and hope to expand on that in the future.

What's the Portland scene like? Portland is pretty intense… Tonnes of bands, way more than anyone could keep track of. Tons of music venues and DIY type venues so there are usually 10-20 local shows going on any night of the week. Some serious creativity happening in this city.

Touring plans? Might DW readers see you perform in the UK soon? Not at the moment, we just got back from some Midwest dates with CHVRCHES and have plans for regional shows but mostly we’re focusing on the next record. We’ll be in the studio early July and then hopefully start on extensive touring plans after that! Hope to make it over there one day real soon.

This Summer Cannibals Introducing Interview was originally published in Issue 18 of the magazine, available to download for FREE from here and also featuring Whales in CubiclesThumpersSophie Jamieson and Petite Meller.

Summer Cannibals – Make You Better EP

Make You BetterThe art of the cassette tape seems a tricky one to shake. Over the past few months there’s been a rise in acts releasing singles and EPs on the long forgotten format. In 2014 Summer Cannibals join the lot. The obvious stumbling block is that of missing apparatus. My tape player met a sticky end circa 2002 when a copy of Jamie T’s Panic Prevention tape got stuck in its teeth. Ironically I panicked and took a fork to the thing. Since then and with the exception of my old car’s sound system, I’ve lacked an actual cassette player.

That’s why buying a copy of Summer Cannibals’ quick turnaround Make You Better EP boils down to a keepsake from a band DrunkenWerewolf has become heavily invested in. Fortunately the purchase comes equipped with a digital download. We’re guessing that’s what most will rely on here.

The EP makes its descent into the chasms of garage rock by way of lead and eponymous song “Make You Better”. Premiered on Impact Magazine in December, it’s the down and dirty equivalent of a power pop ballad. Ferocious and biting, the lyrics hardly go hand in hand with the instrumentation. Technically this is a love song, but it’s a clawing, frantic declaration if ever there was one. It also documents the Portland band at their best; all whirring guitar and flecked percussion, aided by front woman Jessica Boudreaux’s nearly monotone vocal. For those who have yet to sample the delights of Summer Cannibals, they’re a bit like Be Your Own Pet if the quartet extended the project for a few more years and developed a fascination with The Breeders.

Summer Cannibals’ trademark sound continues throughout the following three tracks, but carves a new path on the notably heavy “Not Your Turn”. The biggest difference between Summer Cannibals’ debut album and Make You Better is the production. The scent of development hangs heavy in the air and renews the electricity of the comparatively raw No Makeup. Although it moves forward, it doesn't move away, and the band take pains to honour their heritage. “That Feeling” revisits the imploring plod that embodies the band’s name, but Boudreaux’s vocal is layered for effect. Final track “Sit Still” incorporates all of the new tricks into a hazy, fuzzed out affair that’s more shoegaze than Smashing Pumpkins, although the latter still plays a clear influence.

Promising more to come in the following year, the Make You Better EP offers a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come from Summer Cannibals. No Makeup was recorded and released in such a short amount of time; some missed the fury it left in its wake. Although Make You Better follows a similar pattern, at this rate it’s going to be hard to let Summer Cannibals pass you by. Even if they are going at 100 miles per hour.

Release: 9th January 2014, New Moss Records

Summer Cannibals stream new song “Make You Better”

Make You BetterSeattle band and New Moss Records signees Summer Cannibals are fast becoming a very firm DrunkenWerewolf favourite and my personal highlight of the 21st Century so far. The quartet's debut album No Makeup featured on our Albums of 2013 list at Number 22, and our Editor’s Pick at Number 2, while also proving a highlight of our Tips for 2014. Now Summer Cannibals are putting their money where our mouth is with new song “Make You Better” while offering a tantalizing glimpse of the year and new material to come.

A new pop sensibility flourishes on "Make You Better", which was recorded towards the end of 2013 and follows the release of No Makeup in the summer. Vocalist Jessica Boudreaux's gutsy growl takes president while guitar and bass shimmy their way down your spine like no other. It’s a pretty magnificent display of garage rock done right, and a tactic that has so far stood the band in good stead.

“Make You Better” will feature on a new EP for 2014, released on a limited run of cassette tapes and available to pre-order from the Summer Cannibals website soon. The song premiered on Impact Magazine a few weeks ago, but you can now stream it below.

Summer Cannibals stream new track from forthcoming debut album

summercannibalsSummer Cannibals have now firmly cemented themselves as our all time new favourite band ever, confirmed with this: their third streamed track from debut album No Makeup, due out on 6th August 2013 through New Moss Records.

“Take Me Out” shows off their garage rock side, complete with front woman Jessica’s infectious vocal and churning guitar and bass. If you’re not in love with them yet, prepared to be bowled over.

Stream “Take Me Out” below and read our interview with them here.

Interview: Summer Cannibals

summer-cannibals_2Attention! We’ve found another favourite to push on the world until it damn well listens. Not that we’ll have to put much effort into our raving; frankly if Summer Cannibals don’t catch you hook, line and sinker with their lead song “Hey/I Was Saved”, you must be a Justin Bieber fan.

Not only are the Portland, Oregon based four-piece named after a Patti Smith song, they’ve already been tipped by their hometown’s finest export The Thermals. Taking on the catastrophic goodness of The Breeders and mixing it with the delirious, inspired drawl of a band overdosing on sheer talent, debut album No Make Up is due to kick up a fuss and wear the remnants as earrings this August. And if you’re not listening by then, you’re going to feel really stupid. Yes, the music industry’s going to fall for Summer Cannibals – and if DrunkenWerewolf’s got anything to do with it, it’s going to fall hard.

Ready to make an impression and fresh from modelling the limited edition red and gold vinyl of their album, front woman Jessica Boudreaux takes on DrunkenWerewolf’s questions below.

Hello! Who are you and where did you come from?

This is Jessica! I’m originally from Louisiana but I’ve been living in Portland for the last five years.

Last time we heard from you, you had two songs and a BandCamp under your belt. Now you’re about to put out an album and neither of those songs feature. You must be the most prolific band in human history. Do you ever sleep?

Right now we don’t consider ourselves to be all that prolific, but we’re striving to be. All the artists that we really look up to are consistently, every year, putting out great music and I hope we can get to that point one day. I do have the next album’s worth of demos ready though! NO SLEEP.

You’ve all been in bands before, but have you approached Summer Cannibals differently and if so how?

We’ve definitely approached this band differently. There’s always been a pop element to all of our other projects so that’s remained the same but with this one we really embraced our rock influences, obviously. It’s such a release to be playing this kind of music and I don’t think I’d be having fun if I were doing anything else. We have also just tried harder with this band, we’ve set specific goals that we’re working towards and I think that’s important to keep you on track.

When you’re gigantic, will you re-name yourselves a la the Spice Girls, but with Cannibal names? Like Crazy Cannibal and Fresh Meat Cannibal?

Haha! Yeah I think I could be into that. But only if we can have a movie called Cannibal World where Meatloaf drives our tour bus.

“Summer Cannibals” is also the name of a Patti Smith song – is that coincidence or on purpose?

On purpose! Patti Smith is the greatest. Just watch this:

How did you all get into music and what makes you create such amazing songs?

Marc and I have both been playing guitar since we were pretty young so music has been a part of our lives for a long time. We’re just trying to make music that makes us feel good. It might be a little bit selfish but I don’t think anyone can enjoy your music if you aren’t enjoying it yourself.

“Hey/I Was Saved” is the lead song from your debut No Make Up. Was it the lack of makeup that saved you?

Our album title is deceptive… I wear makeup. Feels good to come clean.

How did you come to write the song? Do you all write together?

I wrote it right before we went into the studio to record. It’s just one of those songs that came about really fast, like in a couple of hours it was done. I do the writing on my own on my computer, I’ll write all of the parts and use a drum machine and then I bring it to the band and they make the parts their own and add harmonies and all that fun stuff.

No Make Up manages to sound raw and clean at the same time. How and where was it recorded?

That’s exactly what we were going for! It was all recorded live with the exception of the vocals. Mark Raymond (our recording and mixing engineer) has this little studio that’s attached to an office furniture liquidation building. Side note: that City Liquidators building has the most disgusting bathroom I’ve ever been in. The recording and mixing process was really quick, probably about 7 days all together. He also didn’t have a computer in the studio at the time so we had limitations on the number of tracks and how much editing we could do to the songs which I think aided to raw quality the finished product has.

The Thermals, a fellow Portland band, recently tweeted about you. How are you finding reception on your local scene?

The reception from bands here has been great! We’ve had a lot of support from bands and venues in Portland. Places like Mississippi Studios, Rontoms and The Know have been so rad to us.

Will you be touring No Make Up?

We’re doing a West coast tour in August right after the release and are hoping for another in fall/winter.

When do you predict you’ll be able to quit your day jobs and make more music (and visit the UK)?

We’re going all in with this band so hopefully it pays off and we can start touring extensively. That’s the goal. We’d love to come see you!

No Make Up is due out on 6th August 2013. Pre-order it or feel silly.