Jangle-monsters Cruel Summer released their EP via West Coast power-indie label Mt. St. Mtn.. The effort, which showcased a sound steeped in noise-pop awesomeness was recorded in March 2012 by Jason Kick of Maus Haus fame at Secret Studios. The only complaint mustered about the record was its brevity and complaints like that are soon forgotten when immersed in breath-taking crescendos, and explosions of dreamy fuzz and feedback.
Cruel Summer are reminiscent of the mid to late ‘80s C86 and SARAH sound with a dash of 4AD’s hazy early ‘90s catalogue. Naturally, Ghettoblaster had to catch up with CS’ Josh Yule to discuss the record. This is what he said about it…
When did you begin writing the material for your record?
Thea and I began writing about half of these songs at the end of 2011 when we, (a three-piece band at the time) were deeply in need of a bass player. Thea had some nearly complete songs from her solo project, Wild Gift, and I rushed to catch up. We kinda helped out one another with songwriting and ideas of which direction we should seek.
What was the most difficult song to take from the initial writing stage through recording and mixing? Why was it so troublesome?
I don’t recall any one particular song being too much of a challenge when writing and recording. We were so high on coffee, pizza, burgers and fries, and beer it was all a blur.
Which of the songs on the record is most different from your original concept for the song?
“Skinwalker” was originally meant to be really dark when first practiced in my basement. In my opinion, we as a band didn’t know we could produce darker songs. At that moment we had no idea where our sound was going and when it would finally smack us across the face. With that, I think we pushed a little harder and spent a little extra time on the mixing and layering for “Carquinez.” That’s when realization had sunk in deep. We had finally found “our” sound. It was our satori if you will. No more Velocity Girl/Wedding Present riffs.
Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?
Jason Kick of the SF band Maus Haus has recorded and mixed us three times now. He has such an amazing ear for detail and the patience of a soccer mom camping in line for several days to see TRAIN.
Is there an overarching concept behind your new album that ties the record together?
No concept really, although now that I think about it, Thea’s lyrics may have some underlying tones in a few songs that tie in together somewhere that the rest of us aren’t consciously aware of as of yet. The idea was kinda like, “Hey we should record these songs quick so we can write more.” I personally have a problem where if I don’t record something as soon as possible, it will never be finished. ever changing. Not to mention todays typical music listener, promoters, and music bloggers, (who generally just give you 30 seconds of scrolling through your song on a pair of jalopy desktop speakers) who require instant gratification. If you don’t have something up on bandcamp, soundcloud, or facebook people other than friends and relatives won’t even glance your way.
Have you begun playing these songs live and which songs have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?
We have been playing most of the songs on the EP since day one. Our newer songs, that we are currently shopping for a home for, have gone in a darker and louder direction. But we still get asked if “Carquinez” is coming out on vinyl, generally by guys. And the ladies seem to be all up in to a 7″ of “Ventian Blinds.” Thanks to Mark and Jay at mt. st. mtn. you can have them both on one 12″