EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Seagulls

Seagulls

Seagulls are a five-piece Philadelphia based band that describe their sound as “harmonic folk pop with glitches & surf influences.” Their debut LP, Great Pine, is being released February 3rd (my birthday, best present ever!) on Yellow K records. With angelic harmonies, and cool guitar-riff-filled mellow jams, the release of Great Pine is bound to be an AF favorite. I had the chance to ask band members Derek Salazar (drummer and producer) and Matt Whittle (writer, guitarist and singer) about their influences, favorite venues, and getting smacked in the face with food. Enjoy.

AudioFemme: So you recorded Great Pine in a cabin in West Virginia. How was that process? How did you decide on recording it in a secluded setting like that?

Derek Salazar: Basically, I was fortunate enough to be able to take a some time in life to sort of hit the reset button. Remaining very conscious of wanting an ideal spot to record Great Pine, I ended up finding this beautiful spot in on the top of a little mountain in West Virginia. Everything sonically, creatively…it turned out it was exactly where we needed to be. Matt would come down for periods of time so we could develop and track the outlines of each song. In between, the rest of Seagulls and our friends who played on the album would come stay. It was our own little world.

Matt Whittle: It’s kind of a funny situation, because yes, we’re holed up in a cabin off in the woods, but we’re not luddites. The cabin was full of all sorts of modern recording equipment, video games and things.

AF: Were there any albums or other artists that specifically inspired the sound on this record?

DS: I was super, super into the entire Beatles discography when we were recording this album. Matt and I share a love for The Beach Boys and Grizzly Bear. Paul McCartney’s RAM was on constant rotation as well.

MW: I’m a huge fan of Grandaddy. Their affinity for mixing organic and synthesized textures was a major influence on our recordings.

AF: I love the order you chose for the tracks on Great Pine. The instrumental opening goes pretty perfectly into “Swimmin.’” My favorite tune from it so far is “Old Habits,” what’s yours?

DS: “Old Habits” is actually a cover of a song written by a friend of ours, Jeff Pianki. His live show will stop you dead in your tracks. As for my favorite, it seems to switch from day to day. After spending so much time with the mixes, a lot of the time it’s from finding little surprises or things I forgot about. Today, I’d say “Love, Give.”

MW: Ocean Cyclone has a very dear place in my heart. It definitely encompasses all of the things I’m drawn to sonically in a short, succinct way.

AF: Do you have a favorite and least favorite venue to play in or see bands?

DS: Bourbon & Branch in Philly has been a consistent highlight to play and Johnny Brenda’s is an all-time favorite of mine to see bands. The 9:30 Club in DC and Mann Center in Philly have hosted the best sounding concerts I’ve ever been to.

MW: The Sanctuary at the First Unitarian Church in Philly and Union Transfer are my two favorite venues to see my favorite acts. I’d love to play either of them.

AF: Any plans for a tour or shows outside of Philly in the near future?

MW: Tour would be a blast. We’ll have to see how that shakes out in the future. We’re playing NYC and Frederick, MD in the upcoming weeks.

AF: Where did the name Seagulls come from? Do you just really really love seagulls? The beach? Animals that steal food off your beach towel?

MW: Indeed, I really do just enjoy seagulls. People love to shit talk animals that aren’t cute and fluffy, for some reason, like they know any better. If you were a crow or vulture or something, you’d be pretty gross, too.

AF: What is your dream show line up? (With you guys playing, of course).

MW: Opening for Kanye West and Grizzly Bear in a theater of some kind.  Or Gorillaz so I could finally understand how that whole thing works.  

AF: If your band was a food, what would it be and why?

MW: I’d say we’re that old ice cream baseball glove with the gumball on it.  Simple and sweet.

AF: Speaking of edible things, who thought of the concept for your “You and Me” music video? How was it to be wailed in the head with eggs, flour, and other questionable objects? Thanks for doing that for our enjoyment, though, we really appreciate it.

MW: It was my idea. I thought it would match the tone of the song, for whatever reason. It was a blast to film.  I caught an egg right in the mouth and immediately felt my lip swelling up.  It was a very cold Pennsylvanian October night… the shower afterward was definitely well-earned.

Watch the video for “You and Me” below.

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