Come January 21st, five-piece exploratory rock band Salt Lick will play their first show since quarantine at Capitol Hill’s Barboza, alongside surf-psych rock group La Fonda and dream pop duo Coral Grief. The band’s raw-yet-dreamy sound has roots in an array of West Coast DIY scenes – including two of the Pacific Northwest’s most distinctive – and they’ve spent the last few years deepening their bond and collaboration.
Lead singer/lyricist Malia Seavey and guitarist/composer Teddy Keiser are looking forward to their first show back; it will be their first with new guitarist Dylan Hanwright, and the beginning of the build up to the debut LP they hope to release in 2022.
“We’re really excited. I’ve been to quite a few shows myself, but we haven’t played yet. We’re really looking forward to, you know, sharing our new lineup and we have a lot of new songs,” says Seavey.
Yesterday, they released a song called “Another Plane (demo),” for a compilation of local musicians that Tacocat and Childbirth bandmember Bree McKenna is putting together. For the compilation, McKenna asked Salt Lick to write a song based on a tarot card she pulled for them, and they got The Magician. Seavey felt a connection with the card right away.
“I’m not like super into like that area of spirituality, but, you know, it’s just about tapping into your potential and, I guess, recognizing and using your potential and power to realize goals and and dreams—especially creatively,” she said. “That just speaks to me.”
Sure enough, on “Another Plane (demo),” Seavey sings about some sort of transcendent love affair, above the driving, decisive energy of the rhythm section and guitar.
Salt Lick has been around since 2016, but Seavey’s history with in local music goes even further back, to her early adolescence spent in Olympia’s legendary punk and hardcore scene. Reflecting on her teen years there, she describes a close-knit scene ever-filled with interesting bands Seavey would often befriend and follow around to their regional shows.
“Growing up, we went to shows every weekend. I was like 14 years old when I started going and it was like a really cool, inter-generational, and really supportive and close friend group, where we’d all just hop in a car and follow [a band we liked] all over the state,” she remembers.
At the time, Seavey wasn’t yet a performer but her interested was piqued. The dream of making her own music came to fruition when she moved to Seattle to attend University of Washington (UW). After moving into the neighborhood around the school, called the U-District, she discovered one spot east of the I-5 freeway particularly dense with eclectic punk houses that frequently put on loud rock shows in their basements.
It was at one such show, at a punk house known affectionately as 5010, that Seavey first met Salt Lick’s co-founder Teddy Kieser in 2016. Keiser, too, had grown up in what he calls a “strong local scene” in San Francisco, which gave him a wide range of influences and musical experiences.
“I was fortunate enough to see a lot of great musicians growing up. Guitar bands that really stuck out to me I saw include Deerhoof and Sonic Youth,” says Kieser. “In terms of the more technical side of composing, I love Joni Mitchell. The tunings are wild and a lot of her songs have a through-line in the chord progression that outlines a melody.”
Naturally the two began collaborating—Seavey as lyricist, and Kieser as composer—and put out a recording shortly after that inspired them to build out a band. They decided to name the effort Salt Lick.
“Animals stock up on nutrients at mineral licks. It’s a metaphor for finding things we lack through making [and] experiencing art together,” explains Seavey.
Since, Salt Lick has added several more members—including bassist Ian McQuillen and drummer Kevin Middleton—and they’ve released several singles and EPs. That said, in 2022, they’ve got some surprises up their sleeve – namely, the release of their debut LP this spring or summer.
“It’s been in the works for years at this point, so it’ll be good to finally get it out,” says Seavey. “Many of the songs were written in 2018 and 2019 and then finished over quarantine times.”
Seavey says the quarantine held them up quite a bit, and that she personally struggled to stay musically motivated, even though she typically uses writing music to process her emotions about the world. Instead, she spent her quarantine making textile creations for her brand Soft Rock Goods and gardening to the sounds of rapper Lil Nas and British-Irish rock band Idles.
“I think the pandemic made it harder [to write]. I think it was really great to see a lot of peers and friends really kill it during the heart of the pandemic and put out a lot of releases and kind of tap into that. But for me, the the most exciting thing about music is sharing it and and playing it for people. And I think it was just really difficult to tap into that feeling,” she shares. Luckily, Salt Lick won’t have to wait much longer to tap into that energy again.
Both Seavey and Kieser are looking forward to rekindling their relationship with fans at the show on January 21st, when Salt Lick performs on a bill .
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