Bleachbear: An Icon in the Indie Rock Music Scene

Bleachbear

Playful. Dreamy. Hopeful. That’s how I’d describe Bleachbear’s upcoming EP, Deep Sea Baby.

The EP follows love’s winding, uncertain path. From wanting to throw yourself into young love, wondering if your lover is thinking about you too, to realizing maybe things aren’t as they seem, the entire project is incredibly relatable.

This EP shows the versatility Bleachbear is capable of. It has that surfer rock sound we heard and fell in love with in Cowboy Movie Star. The title track itself give us a taste as to what the indie band could sound like if they genre hopped into Hip Hop and R&B. It’s an enticing idea if their grunge roots weren’t such a perfect fit already. But the album shows how well they can mix both sounds, creating a cohesive experience for listeners that leaves you wanting more.

I was able to sit down and talk with Bleachbear singer, and writer for Metiza, Tigerlily about her about her band’s process while getting more insight into the project itself.

What was your inspiration for this EP

I’d say the inspiration was, I guess each song has its own inspiration, but overall we wanted over the top glamour, heartbreak, soap opera heartbreak. Just overall young love. Daisy was inspired by Gatsby. I think the Great Gatsby captures that tragic side of love. I wrote 18 when I was 18. It’s the last year where  you’re super young and innocent. I wrote the song my first year in college in New York about my own adventures.

Deep Sea Baby and Body Full of Sunflowers are both about past relationships. I wrote Body Full of Sunflowers way before the rest of this EP which is why it has a different sound that’s the rest. It’s an acoustic song while Deep Sea Baby has more of a R&B inspiration compared to the other tracks.

What is it like to play in a city as iconic for indie and punk music as Seattle, and receive the accolades you guys have?

I love Seattle’s music scene. I moved to New York and it’s supposed to be the city of music but maybe it’s because I grew up in Seattle that I love their music scene more. I love Nirvana and Kurt Cobain. My favorite moment was when the bassist from Nirvana, Krist Novoselic, came to a show I was playing in. That was rad. In Seattle we had Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. It’s such a musical city. I don’t know any city like this. All my friends I grew up with played in a band or play an instrument. It’s a legacy all these artists before us created to make it what it is today.

The lack of women in tech and finance get a lot of attention but the lack of women in music doesn’t get a lot of attention.

Bleachbear

How has the creation process evolved now that you’re on your 3rd EP?

I think it’s still the same. Usually I’ll come up with the melody on piano or guitar and my sister Bird adds the beat with the drums. Then my cousin Emiko adds the bass. If we have outside artists collaborate, like the trumpet in 18, they’ll add their part next. We love to collaborate with people. We have friends on it to work with us. We usually send our songs to Lacy Brown and Jessica Dobson to get feedback. My uncle helped produce this upcoming album and he helped us with the first. We write it, bring in collaborators. My uncle and our other producer Paul have been our producers for both  the first and third record. It’s a family affair.

Do you have a favorite song off the EP?

I like the single Deep Sea Baby. I love that song, though I didn’t that much when we first recorded it. I showed the song to a friend of a friend in New York. He didn’t even know me but was like, “I love Deep Sea Baby lets get coffee and do something with it”. We have a remix coming and put a lot of effort into it. It sounds like so not Bleachbear but I love it. The remix will have a more EDM sound to it.

What is it like to be in a band with your family?

I’d say it has its good things and bad things. One of the bad things is that we probably fight more than any other band. We’re not really afraid of hurting each other’s feelings. We’ve had some crazy fights in the past. But the good thing is we always forgive each other because we’re family. It was great when we started out because usually you can be nervous about saying how you feel about a song, but with my family we can really talk about how we feel about a song or where our album is going. It’s refreshing. Plus it would be hard to break up because if we did we’d still be seeing each other all the time. Right now, two of us are in Seattle and the other L.A., but we still make it work.

In Seattle we had Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix. It’s such a musical city. I don’t know any city like this.

Bleachbear’s sound has evolved not just project to project but also song to song. Is that sound change intentional or does it happen organically?

It was intentional. We were super young when we did Lost Parade. Lost Parade sounds kinda, I always say it sounds more folk rock but that’s probably not right. It was more like Seattle grunge sounding. There were other songs inspired by Seattle’s folk scene. With the second record we wanted to make it surf rock. There were a lot of killer bands doing surf rock like La Luz. That’s where we also brought in electric guitar.

For this last record it was more Hip Hop. All these changes we’ve gone through happened at the same time something was changing within Seattle’s music scene. We’ve been a band for about 7 or 8 years, and our band is going through changes that coincide with the changes happening in Seattle’s music scene. Right now Seattle has a big Hip Hop scene going on.

You always ask everyone else this in your interviews so now I want to ask you – what does feminism mean to you?

Oh, I started that question. I think feminism to me is equality for everyone which is something others have pointed out to me. It goes beyond male and female. It’s intersectional. At least for me in music, women are underrepresented from people in A&R and producing. I was interning at a record label last year and got to see the behind the scenes of this. There’s just a huge issue if you don’t have women in A&R to sign female musicians. If you don’t have a lot of female producers.

The lack of women in tech and finance get a lot of attention but the lack of women in music doesn’t get a lot of attention. I think as we progress as musicians, I may do a solo hip hop project but I love having Bleachbear as this all female indie rock band. I think that’s badass. I think there are a lot of solo female artists and that isn’t as special but Bleachbear is this all female indie band and that stands out.

I’m not sure where the next record will go but I definitely want to keep the grunge, Seattle rock aspect. Expect more guitar solos. I don’t have any plans to have Bleachbear convert to anything else

Bleachbear’s first single Deep Sea Baby is available now and their full EP will be available on streaming platforms October 3rd. Keep up with the band by following them on social media @bleachbearband and follow their Spotify artists’ page!

Images courtesy of Bleachbear


Also published on Medium.