Hometown heroes James Supercave have been turning heads with a gleaming and gritty aesthetic for years now. Flooding ear canals with their dreamy, sometimes psychedelic sound, they've managed to continue to sell out venues and pull new fans in from every outlet. Since coming out with their much anticipated LP, Better Strange, more and more attention is being drawn to this unique ensemble.
"Much anticipated" being an understatement. Don't mistake the years the album took to create for anything aside from diligent polishing and hard work. With that being said, the vastness of audible emotion that is harnessed in tracks like "Burn" and "The Right Thing" is more than enough to make Better Strange worth the wait. Breaking the mold with energetic synth and dynamic vocals, each track rings you through into their world. We sat down with frontman Joaquin Pastor to talk coming together as one, breaking down genre barriers with just a few fun adjectives, and the future of this electric powerhouse.
So you're based out of Echo Park, which one could consider one of the indie meccas of Southern California, or even the nation. Are you all locals?
We've all been living here for five or six years now. I was born in L.A. but I grew up in Santa Cruz. I think we all gravitated toward Echo Park because the rent was cheap. Right now, we're all just kind of staying because we have great rent locked in. But yeah, no doubt there's a very solid scene out here and it's been a beautiful thing watching friends develop. There's a musical community out here that's hard to find anywhere else in L.A.
How did you come together as James Supercave?
So Pat and I met in college. We went to UCLA together. We would kind of peel out of class and head to the music room, not our major, and we'd just fiddle around. It was before songs were even an idea. We would basically just fuck off for hours and eventually I got a batch of songs together and asked Pat if he wanted to start a project. We started that up, and then we let it fall apart. So we got together again, then we met Andy through some mutual friends. That was kind of the beginning of what's become James Supercave.
So music wasn't either of your majors. What were you majoring in?
We were actually both studying theatre.
Well your music videos definitely have the essence of a theatrical adventure to them. Did any of your theatre experience tie into the creation of them? For instance, the video for "The Right Thing" has an entirely alternative feeling and overall look to "Better Strange." Were you behind that, or were the reins at the hand of the directors?
There's actually a great story behind that one. We just came off of making the video for "The Right Thing," which was a big endeavor for us. There were a lot of days of shooting, we saw an edit, then went back and did some reshooting. We just kept working on it. You know, I'm happy with "The Right Thing" but in many ways that video felt like a grind. "Better Strange" was completely different. My girlfriend actually found a short film by a UK animator named Sophie Koko Gate. She ripped it off of Vimeo and cut it together against the song. She showed me late night after a show what she'd been working on, and I could not stop laughing. I was out of my mind because I could not believe how easily a video could get done. It was pretty much perfect right out of the gate. Then we reached out to the animator, and she was hyped on it. She actually ended up reanimating one of the sequences just for the video and gave us approval to put it out there. It's rare that you see something finished before it's even started.
So the actual LP took you guys quite some time. Was that due to the production of the songs or was it based around outer influence? What went into the time span?
Everyone's pretty interested in doing the best work they can in this band, and I think it took a lot of time to get that out of us. There's definitely a collective neuroses that everyone's trying to shake when possible. But yeah, good things take time, and we let ourselves take it. It took, I mean, literally years of shepherding recordings around and putting together sessions from different recordings. Just a lot of reworking and then it all wrapped up in a three month chunk in the studio. So we had probably too much time to get the record done, to be honest.
You have a really different sound. Genres and sub genres can be pretty confining, but if you had to personify your sound, yourself, what would that be?
Um, for me? Glam soul hip hop. I think people have kind of gotten comfortable with the psych pop label but that kind of falls flat a certain number of places.
You've spent plenty of your time as a band performing live, specifically locally. Do you prefer being in your hometown because there is such a loyal following, or do you prefer getting out and touring?
We love touring. The most recent tour we went on was actually our first national tour. We were out supporting Wild Bell, who are great. I watched the show pretty much every night and thoroughly enjoyed it. A lot of inter-band love; it was just a dreamy run. It's hard to imagine it going better. It was our first time getting out to New York. We did two shows out there. We went all over the east coast and hit the south as well. That was most of our first times getting down to the south. The run was a total dream. It was almost completely sold out every night and I can't wait to get back out there. Playing L.A. is great though. I love playing LA to where we can get all ages shows working. It turns out there are a lot of kids that don't end up being able to come to our shows because of that.
Any tours coming up?
We've got a west coast run the first couple of weeks in August. We're nailing it down right now, but it'll be our first headlining run and we're excited.