7-11 Jesus is a name we can all form some idea of, picturing an all-hours preacher standing in front of a convenience store, clutching bible in hand. The conviction in the words he shares are powerfully delivered I’m sure, as customers make quick eye contact, rushing past him en route to the slushies they so desperately need. But this is an imaginary vision I’ve conjured up when I first discovered the trio that uses the moniker. One used to deliver its own message through the music the group creates.
Earlier this year the San Francisco three-piece, made up of bassist Emma Jacobson, guitarist August Darula, and drummer Kieran Gil released Tree Dream (Animal Testing Records) released a fuzzy slice of indie rock, filled with loads of melody and hooks through just about every nooks and cranny of every song. Guitars circle around tracks counterclockwise, only to reimagine the band’s own style as time readjusts itself. The album itself is a remarkable piece of life seen through the eyes of three individuals that undoubtedly bring something unique to the 7-11 Jesus mix. The members have spent a lot of time together, first meeting in college which accounts for the group’s cohesiveness already spending a few years together. I caught up with August Darula, the band’s vocalist who also handles piano aside from guitar, willing to give me the answers needed to get a clearer view of the group.
So who are you really? Both personally and musically.
Hmmm, this is a tough one to answer. Musically I would say that I am interested in a lot of different stuff right now that sounds very different from our current discography. I’ve been listening to a lot of Portrayal of Guilt, Kurt Vile, My Bloody Valentine, and Igor by Tyler the Creator. I’m interested in using effects/noise in a different way in the future and really building a wall of sound. I’ve been writing a lot and am excited to continue to try out some new ideas. Whatever we make next will have a lot more layering/production to it rather than the more straightforward style of our last album. Personally, I like playing Old School Runescape and playing with cats.
What are your (personal) aspirations?
I can only speak for myself but I think a main aspiration is to just keep writing and recording stuff. Going on tour is pretty fun as well, it’s a nice way to see the country. I know we would all enjoy doing that again at one point, it’s basically just a road trip. Music-wise I’m interested in continuing to write different stuff and staying excited about whatever we’re making at the time. I’ve been trying to learn how to record, mix, and master on my own time as well so we can avoid spending a bunch of money in a studio.
Where do you currently live and how’s that affected your energy and your creative output?
For all of the 7-11 Jesus releases, we have been based in San Francisco. However, we are all originally from the East Coast (Kentucky, Boston, New Hampshire). Right now, mostly because of the pandemic, we are all back home on the East Coast. I would say San Francisco, and the Bay Area scene, in general, has influenced us in terms of the fuzzy / shoegaze / psychedelic stuff that is going on there. I wouldn’t go as far as to say we sound psychedelic whatsoever but, at least in a live setting, we are relatively noisy. Output wise we have put out a fair amount of music throughout the past few years. It’s just a fun thing to spend time on and, because there were so many shows going on all the time, it was fun to write new stuff frequently (so we weren’t always playing the same set).
Currently, we are all living back on the East Coast as I’ve said. Because of the pandemic, and where we all live at the moment, we can’t really practice. However, I have been writing a lot and demoing stuff to pass the time. I’ve been back home in a pretty small town for a while, which feels pretty weird, but I’m sure it has impacted the writing style in some hopefully interesting ways. We’ll see!
When did you first begin recording and playing live?
I started recording/playing live when I was 16-17 years old. 7-11 Jesus started playing shows and recording around late 2017 or early 2018 I think. We really started playing consistently and actively trying to make EPs/LPs in the fall of 2018.
What would you like music listeners in the States to know about your music?
Hmmmmm, I’m not sure. Whatever comes next will be different and will have more time put into it. Thank you to anyone who has listened to our music and supported us in any way, we all appreciate it. Thank you and stay safe!