Words: & Interview: Alex Khatchadourian
Santa Barbara's Clean Spill has been busy lately. After the indie, surf rock quartet released the easy-going and infectious tracks "Sid" and "Come Around" last year, they've been kind of quiet, but for good reason; they've been hard at work writing and recently recording a number of songs that they plan on releasing throughout the rest of the year.
Clean Spill originally made their way into local Los Angeles and Santa Barbara music venues with their garage-tinged rock, back in 2013, taking sonic cues from The Strokes and fellow beach dwellers, the Growlers. Since, they've consistently dished out crisp, indie-leaning tracks that are far from contrived, and totally indicative of their even-tempered surf lifestyle. Yet, what's most exciting about Clean Spill's progression over the years is watching and hearing how consistently the band tries to experiment and evolve their growing sound. Compared to their older songs, their newest track "Note To Self" feels a little grittier and more energetic, with lead singer Pat Curren digging deeper into his lyrical content, and showing a band willing to continue to grow. Curren, along with bassist Geoff Shea, guitarist Cameron Crabtree, and drummer Charlie Fawcett, are creating some seriously solid music that stands out from the otherwise saturated surf genre.
We had a chance to catch up with the band following their newest release "Note To Self," where they told us about the evolution of their upcoming new music and how their sound reflects their lifestyle.
Tell us about your new release “Note To Self.” When was this song written? What’s it about?
This song was written about 2 years ago. We wanted to play something grimy and fast. It's a rough, happy, quarter-life crisis and heartbreak song.
This is the first track you guys have released in a while, is there more to come?
Yes and we are really stoked to finally start getting them out there. We recently recorded a strong amount of tracks and plan on releasing the songs throughout the rest of the year.
What’s the song-writing process like for you guys? Who does what?
We all work together as a whole and try to bring the best out of each other. If someone writes the chords or lyrics for a particular song, everyone will usually chip in with their own parts, and vice versa.
How do you think your guys’ sound reflects your lifestyle?
Our sound reflects the type of music that we listen to, the other musicians, artists, and surfers that we hang out with. Surfing and playing music has definitely steered us toward the type of people that we are typically around.
Clean Spill has been around since 2013, but how was the band originally conceived? When and how did you all start playing together?
We initially started playing as a three-piece until Cam walked into a barber shop and got a juiced haircut by Geoffrey Willam Shea III. He's been cutting our hair and playing bass ever since.
How do you think your sound has evolved or changed since you came out with “Sid” and “Come Around"?
Our sound changes all the time, we're always messing around with new guitar sounds or beats to keep things fresh. Compared to our old songs, our more recent stuff feels a little grittier and more energetic. We've also been trying to have fun with the songs by developing them lyrically and spending more time on concepts and stories that have meaning to us.
Who or what has been the biggest source of sonic inspiration as of lately?
Hanni's new album Savage Times was definitely a big influence for us, its very raw and pure fun. Also "Serenade to a Poodle" is a great way to get out of bed.
How was it playing with Hanni El Khatib for a string of dates on the west coast? I know you guys have played with him before.
Writing music and touring with him has definitely helped us grow as a band and has been an insane amount of fun. The man puts on a killer show and is a really cool dude. We've become quite close with his whole band, they're all talented musicians and very hilarious.
What happened to Geoff’s arm on that tour? How’d he break it?
After playing a couple shows, we thought it would be a good idea to go skate once we got into Boulder, Colorado. After attempting a hippy jump, Geoff's arm looked like it was run over several times by a truck. It's all fun and games until you wake up from the Ketamine the doctors gave you and have to deal with a broken arm in a sweaty van.
Current band/artist crushes?
Hinds, Bishop Briggs, Peaches
For more from Clean Spill follow them on Instagram: @cleanspill.