french cassettes

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 French Cassettes‘ frontman Scott Huerta about the band’s first LP ‘Gold Youth’, their November residency at Amnesia, and Bay Area music and brews.

The Bay Bridged: Your debut full-length Gold Youth dropped in August. When and where was the album recorded and mastered?

Scott Huerta: Gold Youth was partially tracked in our hometown in Ripon, CA and mostly tracked in our living room in SF the Sunset at a house dubbed the Cathouse. A lot of our friends from home were great musicians so we would invite them over for a “party”, which was basically us having drinks until we asked them to sing on the album. We had the mics all set up already of course. To us, that was the most effective way to capture the mood we were going for. It was mastered by the band, too.

TBB: You’ve referred to your sound as “sunshine pop” – how do you define that sound and how does the band approach the songwriting process?

Huerta: Wow, sunshine pop, I’m trying to remember where we posted that genre, but that was a while ago. I guess most people would say we’re “indie rock.” Mac

[guitarist Mackenzie Bunch] and I usually bring an idea for a song to the group and see what everyone wants to do with it. For the most part everyone writes what they want to play. We don’t really have a standard or high filter system for new ideas. We really trust each other musically.

TBB: You are doing a residency at Amnesia during the month of November with Black Cobra Vipers. How do you know the guys in Black Cobra Vipers, and how did the idea of the residency come about?

Huerta: We’ve known the dudes from Black Cobra Vipers for a good amount of time now. I was at an Ingleside party one night, and a friend I had freshly met waltzed me into a corner of the room and told me about those guys and how great they are. So when we finally got to see them live, it just confirmed it for us. Easily one of our favorite SF bands.

As far as the residency goes, we had been planning on approaching Amnesia for a residency for awhile and, then the booker told us that Black Cobra Vipers was actually planning one, too, so we thought, “perfect.”

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

Huerta: We had the best experience playing at the Great American Music Hall. The sound was incredible and the staff really took care of us. It really means a lot to us when a venue has a sense of integrity. The audience doesn’t see what happens before and after, but that stuff really sticks with us. We like to play for venues that take pride in being a host for live music and bands like us. Not to mention how beautiful that place is.

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

Huerta: Brick & Mortar really won us over the first time we played there shortly after it opened. The location is great, the sound was awesome, and the fact that they had 18+ shows was a major perk. Having shows for folks under the drinking age makes a big difference. We’ve had to break the bad news to a lot of our fans in the past for having a 21+ show, so it’s awesome when the 21 uppers can get their drank and the underagers can still enjoy live music in the same place.

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

Huerta: We’ve gotten some super sneaky sneak peeks at the Black Cobra Vipers’ latest album in the works, and it’s probably safe to say when it’s done we’ll be spinning it on our portable CD players.

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

Huerta: I have yet to hear any of the artists we’re supporting at The Bay Brewed, but the festival sounds like an inevitably good time, so we’re really looking forward to hanging out and watching everyone’s set.

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

Huerta: 21st Amendment has some tasty brews. The first one I had was Hell or High Watermelon. I know some of my fellow Frenchies have tossed back some IPAs from Speakeasy at practice.

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

Huerta: We just plan to keep our pallets open for an invasion of flavor. I’m sure 21st won’t disappoint.

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