Originally from Southern California’s Riverside, sisters Chelsea and Justine Brown have been playing together in bands since they were in their early teens. They released their first music as Summer Twins back in 2010 and since then have taken their dreamy, sun-speckled garage rock around the country and as far as Japan. In anticipation of their upcoming Bay Area show, we spoke with Chelsea (guitar, vocals) about songwriting, the effect of instant gratification on creativity, and their upcoming release. Be sure to catch the band at Milk Bar in San Francisco on Friday.
Foundwaves: First off, we’re excited you’ll be making it up to Milk Bar! In another interview you did, you mentioned San Francisco as being a place that inspires you. Does that mean we might get to keep you here after your upcoming show?
Haha, no but I’m sure it won’t be long before we’re back! We’re actually making the move to LA right now! I think we’re a little addicted to the sunny weather here.
Foundwaves: Having grown up in Southern California, what is it about San Francisco that you find different and inspiring?
I love the energy. It’s hard to describe but you can feel it when you’re walking down the street: people walking everywhere, the clouds rolling by above your head. It’s refreshing and it feels unlike any other city.
Foundwaves: How do your songs usually come into being? Do you tend to start with lyrics, or a melody, or chord changes?
Always a melody, and sometimes I’ll find that melody through messing around with different chords. Other times a melody will come to me in the car or at work and I have to record it on my phone so I don’t forget it. Lyrics are always last and it’s always a little tough for me to find the right words to fit the song/mood.
Summer Twins – “Forget Me”
Music Video by Joy Newell
Foundwaves: The music video for "Forget Me" opens with you typing on a vintage typewriter. Later in the video, we see you both of you listening to a suitcase record player and then Justine reading a magazine. We can do all of those things digitally now, but it seems like there’s something still appealing about doing them in a seemingly anachronistic way. Why do think that is?
I think there’s something special about doing things the "old" way. It really makes you sit down and focus on that one thing you’re doing, whether it’s putting on a record or taking a photo with film. It seems like technology has rewired our brains in a way that we expect everything to be fast and easy and we lose attention. I think wanting that instant gratification can be a killer of creativity too. Sometimes you have to sit down, turn off your phone, and just work on your art. It can be a challenge and when you reach a tough spot you’ll want to find a way to distract yourself, but I think working through that usually yields the best kind of stuff. Having to work hard for something makes it more rewarding too.
Your last record came out a little over two years ago. Any new releases in the works?
We have a new album on the way! We holed up in a studio called The Dock in Sacramento for 10 long days and recorded 12 songs to tape last winter. We had the pleasure of working with engineer/producer Chris Woodhouse and we’re stoked on how it came out. It should be out later this year and we could not be more excited to share it with everyone! It’s our best stuff yet.
Foundwaves: We’re not confirming or denying anything, but if we had access to a time machine that would allow you to go back in time to any one year in the last hundred years or so, what year would you choose and what bands would you make sure to see live while you were there?
That’s a tough question because there are so many bands I would want to see! I would probably say sometime in the ’60s, but honestly I think nothing would be more special than to travel back to one of the shows we threw in my parents’ basement in 2004 or 2005. We were teenagers at the time and had just started our own band and had a couple friends in the bands so we’d throw birthday parties where we’d all play. Those were the best times.
Foundwaves: Lastly, in your next life, what will you be reincarnated as?
Either a cat, some kind of underwater creature, or something that can fly.