Interview w/ Summer Cannibals


The molar-gnashing mosaic of incendiary vocals and guitar bruising distortion roars, ever so confidently, over the drum eviscerating songs of Portland’s Summer Cannibals. The band – Jessica Boudreaux, Devon Shirley, and Jenny Logan – create a wrecking ball of sound that is both melodic and yet unflinching. With their newest album, Full Of It, releasing on May 27th, we asked Jessica about items ranging from the band’s aggressive new LP to their upcoming appearance at Sasquatch! Music Festival


Rob Patrick: There’s a lot of great visual lyricism in the band’s music videos. And, for “Something New”, some pretty rad camerawork. What’s something that’s important to you when crafting those aesthetic components?

Jessica Boudreaux: For me it’s really important to try to make sure all of the visual components of the band are well thought out and tie-in with not just the music but also our personalities, and I think that has come across in our videos. Working with great directors who have distinct visions like Whitey McConnaughy (who did “Something New”) is a huge priority too.


Would you ever consider scoring a film? If so, what director would you want to work with?

Oh absolutely, I’d love it. There are lots and I could go on for a while but I just saw “Appropriate Behavior” a couple nights ago and loved it. I think Desiree Akhavan is wonderful and amazing and super talented. Would love to work with her.


You have a stage presence that is empirically confident. Whether at a large venue or in a contained atmosphere at KEXP, there is a palpable sense of enjoyment – you know what you’re doing up there. What is the evolution of a great music performance to you?

It’s cool when the enjoyment that you get out of playing music is something that people can see and feel. Getting to that place has always been the number one priority for me in this band. I think, at least for me, to put on a great performance as a musician you have to be confident in the technical aspect of what you’re doing. Once that happened and I started to feel a level of self-assurance in my skills as a guitarist and singer I was able to start losing myself in the show. A live performance isn’t just an experience for the audience, it’s an experience for me too and I live for it. I think that comes across. I know that it does when I’m watching the bands that I really love play.


As a musician, do you think Pitchfork has been more positive or negative for artists?

As a musician that has never been reviewed or featured or covered in anyway by Pitchfork I don’t think I can really have any kind of outspoken opinion on them in particular. Reviews in general can be dangerous territory…putting a “score” on any type of art is worrisome to me. That said I think the only time something like Pitchfork can really be negative to an artist’s career is when artists take it to heart. I think fans are fans and no matter what a blog says about an album people can form their own opinions, so to me it doesn’t matter too much in that regard.


You’re playing at Sasquatch! soon. What is the band’s strategy for the festival? Who are you excited about seeing?

No real strategy, just play hard and have fun like we always do. I am sooooo excited to see Autolux, Titus Andronicus, Bully and Speedy Ortiz.


Your new album, “Full Of It”, is releasing on May 27th. There’s a pretty cool limited edition white vinyl pre-order available for purchase. What’s your take on vinyl’s reemergence in music? Do you think it has positively affected artists?

Anytime people are buying albums and excited about listening to them I think it’s good for artists. In terms of physical products, we sell records more than anything else and I love that. I really like to be able to see the art that big. The experience of buying an LP isn’t like any other format. I love opening up a record for the first time, putting it on and looking at the lyric sheets and inserts and cover art while I listen.


What’s something inconsequential that you can tell us about yourself that your bandmates don’t know about you?

I’ve listened to the most recent Carly Rae Jepsen record like 6 times in the last 3 days.


“Go Home”, off of the latest record, is roaring in its unflinching aggression. What was the band’s mind state like when putting together the newest LP?

We had been touring on a lot of these songs for almost a year, and the music had gotten progressively heavier throughout our touring, so by the time we went in to the studio we had a pretty loud, aggressive record. The songs feel so cathartic to play – I love it. The mind set totally wasn’t aggressive or dark, we just were wanting a chance to get heavier. I was working through some stuff personally that I think shows a lot in the lyrics but it wasn’t a shared mindset throughout the band.


Finally, if someone made a movie about the band, what would it be called?


Author: Rob Patrick

The program director of the Olympia Film Society, Rob is also a former San Diego Film Critics Society member. He has written for The East County Californian, The Alpine Sun, The East County Herald, The San Diego Entertainer, and the San Diego Reader. When he isn't curating a film festival, he is drinking rosé out of a plastic cup in Seattle or getting tattoos from Jenn Champion.

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