Magic Fight

The Bay Brewed, San Francisco’s only indie rock beer festival, returns on December 7 at Public Works for a third year of great music and beer. Over the next month, we’ll catch up with all six of the festival’s superb local bands to discuss how beer, music, and the Bay Area all fit together. In this edition, we chat with Oakland’s Magic Fight, a group led by singer and ukulele player Alex Christopher Haager that creates shimmering indie rock with an arresting edge.

The Bay Bridged: How do you think your ukulele playing fits into Magic Fight’s sound?

Alex Haager: It’s like the smallest Russian doll of each song. Initially, it serves as the backbone to the creation of each track, but once numerous layers of other components are piled on, the ukulele serves more of a percussive function.

TBB: You guys self-released Wooden Swords and Stolen Echoes, and I think the production sounds fantastic. How did you approach the recording process?

Haager: After a pretty intense and drawn-out breakup, which included sleeping on a couch for three months, I picked up and moved to Oakland. Over the course of a couple months I recorded all of the tracks alone in my pretty big but mostly empty room – a state which sort of echoed how my life looked at the time. (Teardrop falls.)

TBB: On Bandcamp, the album is labelled as a “post breakup record.” To my ear, the album creates a rather dark atmosphere. Were you originally aiming for that kind of darkness?

Haager: Darkness was not a specific aim. In fact, I thought some of the songs sounded pretty upbeat; triumphant even. This turned out not to be the perceived effect, as proven to me by the worriedly terrified faces of friends and family when I shared the songs with them. Live and learn.

TBB: What’s the best Bay Area music venue to play as an artist?

Haager: There are a number of fine venues in the Bay Area, but I would say I have had the best experiences at Brick & Mortar. Good sound, good sound folks and a really nice space.

Hernando Buitrago: Amnesia or Brick & Mortar.

TBB: What’s the best Bay Area music venue for catching a show as a fan?

Haager: I have seen a number of really great shows at Bottom of the Hill.

Buitrago: Great American Music Hall.

TBB: What’s your favorite album from a Bay Area artist this year?

Haager: I am excited about the songs that Hannah Lew just put out as Cold Beat.

Buitrago: The self-titled full-length from San Francisco’s Muralismo.

TBB: What other artist or band are you most looking forward to seeing at The Bay Brewed?

Haager: Looking forward to seeing Kelley Stoltz.

Buitrago: Mikal Cronin.

TBB: What’s your favorite San Francisco-brewed beer?

Haager: I am a mighty fan of Social Kitchen and Brewery and Magnolia. The brewmaster at Social actually had a short stint as our bass player earlier this year.

TBB: Which brewer’s beers are you most looking forward to sampling at The Bay Brewed?

Haager: I am excited to see what Triple Voodoo and Pine St. will have to offer. I hope they have beers.

Head over to our Eventbrite page now to get your tickets to see Magic Fight at The Bay Brewed, along with Mikal Cronin, Shannon and the Clams, Kelley Stoltz, Golden Void, and French Cassettes. The event will also feature unlimited tastings from over a dozen local breweries all day long thanks to the SF Brewers Guild.