Bear Call’s Eric William Mohammed, Skyler Warren, and Nikk Moreno
San Francisco’s Bear Call is the brainchild of Skyler Warren, a musician who started the project four years ago in his bedroom in Seattle. Playing as a musician alone back then wasn’t originally what he had in mind for his musical ambitions, which have since then evolved into the musical project of reverb guitar and all-too familiar lyrics about frustration and love that Bear Call is known for by now. I took some time to discuss with Warren what Bear Call meant to him and the future of the band in the overall San Francisco music landscape.
The Bay Bridged: Is the name Bear Call an overall tribute to California? There’s a lot of California-themed imagery in your work. What’s the story behind your name?
Warren: In a little bit of ways it is, I was born and raised here in California but I moved around a bit when I was younger. I lived in Seattle in a year after I graduated high school and I was trying to play music up there and it was frustrating because nothing worked out as much as I wanted it to. The idea behind this band is kind of something that I’ve been working on for probably the past six years. In Seattle, I wasn’t finding people I was vibing with and the style just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I moved back to California and settled in San Francisco about four years ago and just this past year Bear Call started. The name originated from this road trip with friends and we wondered about this deer call sign. I wondered if they had signs for people hunting bears, as in a “bear call”, and I thought that would be a cool band name. So in a way it kind of is a tribute to California, I love it here so much. There’s just so much to offer.
TBB: Where are you originally from? Has location and lifestyle inspired the direction of the new release? There seems to a recognition of the fear of wasting away youth in the entire EP, notably starting with opening track “Melting”.
Warren: I’m originally from San Diego. I feel that especially with music there is that big fear of wasting away your youth because I grew up in the suburbs and I feel like it’s so easy to get sucked in there and never leave. Playing music all throughout high school, I thought that this had to be my way out. Staying there in the suburbs and never moving on was always a big fear of mine. San Francisco was kind of that beacon for me. I just felt that it was this place where I could fulfill everything I’ve always wanted to fulfill. I definitely did not see that in San Diego with music, not to say that there aren’t any great bands there — one of my favorite bands to come out from that area is Delta Spirit.
TBB: I understand you started Bear Call alone in your bedroom back in 2011. Has adding on members changed the overall musical direction of the band?
Warren: At the time when I started Bear Call in 2011, that was in Seattle and I was trying to find people to play music with. I went to Seattle thinking that there would still be remnants of the music scene back in the ’80s and ’90s and it was very much the opposite of what I expected. It was very singer-songwriter, very mellowed out. It was frustrating because that wasn’t what I wanted to do so I just started writing the songs. Two songs from the EP, “Golden Chairs” and and “Shut Up Morrissey”, I wrote in my bedroom in Seattle. It was just an acoustic guitar and me working by myself. I like playing in a band, I feel like I can never do a singer-songwriter type deal because there’s not enough energy in that and it’s not as satisfying for me. I was just really excited to start playing with others under the name Bear Call. For the first time since I’ve been in bands, the songs are finally sounding how I’ve wanted them to sound in my head when I’m writing them — which is just an extremely satisfying feeling as a musician.
TBB: What have you been listening to lately?
Warren: A lot of stuff, mostly Thee Oh Sees. I think that’s probably my favorite band right now. They were the first band I heard when I moved here. I had a friend who introduced me to them and I went to a show of theirs back then. Also a lot of David Bowie just because of how innovative he’s been throughout his career. Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, Meatbodies — just that whole group of musicians who moved up from LA at the same time. I’ve also been listening to a lot of Royal Headache recently and of course also some local stuff like Meat Market and Unity.
TBB: How do you think Bear Call fits in with the developing music culture of San Francisco or the Bay Area in general? Any long term goals for the band?
Warren: I’d to think we fit in well with the overall music landscape of the area, I think the coolest thing about it is just really having a sense of community and there are so many bands that I’m determined to play with as much as possible.
Catch Bear Call with other local Bay Area acts Crush, Pardoner, and Whatfunlifewas on October 2 at the Hemlock Tavern and stream their latest EP from their Bandcamp or on the player below.