An Interview With Summer Cannibals

Having had Beatles on the brain for a while now, specifically the early years of their hysteria-inducing mop tops, I started to think about their early interviews. I looked up some of those early pressers and was taken aback by just how many times the fab foursome was asked about money and marriage, but there were also some gems hidden amongst the clunkers. And so, inspired by the early press conferences of the Beatles, especially their US tour interviews, I decided to ask some of those very same questions to some of the best and brightest making music today.

Portland's spiky foursome Summer Cannibals is about to roll through DC in support of latest record Can't Tell Me No. The bands sound is both defiant and inspiring, with paint stripping riffs and more shoutiness than you know what to do with. It's a riotous, take-no-shit kind of rock and roll in all its unruly, unapologetic glory.

Before tomorrow night's show at Comet Ping Pong, why not to get to know the Cannibals a little bit better? In true egalitarian fashion, the band answered the Beatles questions by committee, giving you all sorts of insights. So scroll on and get better acquainted with Jessica, Cassi, Devon, and Ethan.

What has been your most exciting moment in the last year?

Jessica: We’ve been really lucky to play with and tour with some really incredible bands over the last year, so it feels kind of impossible narrow it down to one. But a big highlight was definitely touring with Cursive which was amazing and a total honor.

Do you feel safe riding in airplanes?

Ethan: Yes. It’s like a really expensive amusement park ride with a cool view. I love it.

How would you describe yourself in one word?

E: Rule-breaker.

What kinds of guitars do you use?

J: Exclusively Fender Mustangs for this band. Love how light they are and easy to play and the tone is perfect.

How do you prefer for your fans to act at your concerts?

J: The best shows are the shows where people are moving! We have the most fun when the crowd is letting lose and having fun. Dancing is dope. Singing is dope.

How do you go about writing your songs?

J: The band is moving into a more collaborative method of songwriting so we’re kinda still figuring out what that is gonna look like for us. But for the last 7 years or so of this band, writing usually starts with me writing a bass line and then recording some drums over it. From there I’ll start working on vocals/lyrics and then guitars generally will come last. After that I send the demo to the band and we’ll all start playing it and seeing where it evolves from there.

What is one question you would like to be asked that probably nobody has ever asked?

Cassi: Probably a tie between, “Did you have to work at being so funny or does it just come to you naturally?” or “Do you want to pet this dog?”

Have you ever had a mental block-out on stage?

Devon: Actually yes. One year we were playing Treefort Fest is Boise, Idaho, and I ran into some old friends from Denver. We started drinking white wine at 3 PM and that lasted for 6 hours until I was throughly hammered. We had to play at 11 PM, I believe, so I went back to the hotel room to take a nap. That nap lasted for 2 hours until my alarm went off shocking me awake. I ran to the venue in a weird haze and during the first song I stopped after the first chorus because in my mind we had just played the entire song. My bandmates looked back at me so confused as I clicked off the next song.

What advice do you have for teenagers?

C: Be kind to yourself! We’re all making it up but life is long and it’s not all gonna feel easy all the time. Do what you love, and keep going!

Do you think of yourself more as an entertainer or a musician, or do you think it's more of a combination of the two?

D: I’ve put a lot of thought into this exact question over the years, but mostly I just think of myself as a clown.

[posted 8.17.19]


  1. I wish you'd asked them, so do they *not* practice cannibalism in the winter time?
    Anyway, thanks for this, I love them.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts