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 catch up with Shannon and the Clams‘ singer and guitarist Cody Blanchard to discuss the band’s unique sound, their latest LP, and his favorite Bay Area music, venues, and brews.
The Bay Bridged: Your newest album ‘Dreams In The Rat House’ has been very well received by both the media and your audience. What was the recording process like for this record?
Blanchard: We spent a year recording it. We kept feeling it wasn’t good enough and we’d go back and record new stuff or re-record songs we did already. Most of it was recorded in Shannon’s old family cabin in Gilroy in winter where you have to keep the fireplace going all day and all night, some in my house in Oakland, then some in the house I moved into in El Cerrito toward the end of the process. It was fun to spend so much time on it, but also kind of wasteful and indulgent maybe.
The band’s sound has been described as everything from doo-wop and old school rhythm and blues to garage, surf, and psych rock. How does the band approach the songwriting process and how would you describe its sound?
We can’t write anything straight. If there isn’t something weird or unsettling in a song, it doesn’t feel right. To us, music isn’t satisfying unless it has something pop and something weird and unique in it. We struggle with coming up with a descriptive genre or phrase. Right now I like “spaghetti western space ballads,” but I don’t think its very accurate, hah.
What’s next on the horizon for Shannon and the Clams?
We’re taking the next four months or so off from touring, hopefully to record something. We’ve been touring since June. Currently we’re waiting out Winter Storm Cleon in Denver on our way home finally. In April, we’ll go to Australia, then spend a week in Austin for Psych Fest, then head to Europe for some festivals. We can’t decide if we want to record on our own again or record in Austin with a friend or go to Berlin and record with the folks that did the Shrines records. Also been trying to coordinate a fall tour with Ty Segall.
What’s the best Bay Area music venue to play as an artist?
We love Great American Music Hall. It’s so pretty and the backstage and sound are great. Also the Chapel is a great new place.
What’s the best Bay Area music venue for catching a show as a fan?
The Knockout is so fun. It’s really intimate and the drinks are strong and it’s always wild in there. Also Taqueria Cancun is next door.
What’s your favorite album from a Bay Area artist this year?
Scraper’s self titled EP! so good! So nasty!
What other artist or band are you most looking forward to seeing at The Bay Brewed?
Mikal Cronin! Those are our good buddies.
What’s your favorite San Francisco-brewed beer?