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."


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."


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.


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