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.

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