Catching Up With The Growlers
Written by Shay Davis on February 22, 2013
If you happened to walk past the Star Theatre on Sixth St. in downtown Portland Friday night and heard the loud sounds of drunken pirates who somehow managed to play very loud and droning rock n roll – you weren’t just really drunk – it was all very true. That sound is sometimes called beach goth or hip tit or psychedelic surf, and the band playing it is called The Growlers, and while they aren’t actually pirates, they are 5 surf bums who play some mean rock n roll.
The scene inside was frenzy, with a packed house full of drunken hipsters “marsh-wiggling” and sometimes moshing to the unique sound of one of Southern California’s finest and seasoned bands. After being riled up by the heavy surf rock of Portland’s own Guantanamo Baywatch and Seattle’s The Night Beats, and then a one and a half hour set by The Growlers, I was able to sit down and talk to a few of the band members – primarily the drummer/producer of the band – Scott Montoya.
SD: How glad are you that Hung at Heart is finally out?
Scott: Oh man, we couldn’t be more stoked. This album took forever, we started it over a year ago at Dan’s [Auerbach] and have just had all sorts of problems with deadlines. It wasn’t us though, there were a lot of people involved and we were getting more pressure from different angles about “the correct timing” and everything, but in the end we are stoked to have it out again with Everloving, and we’re just stoked that it’s finally done.
SD: What was different about the recording process of Hung at Heart as compared to your previous releases?
Scott: Well I took a back seat on this one, which was different because I had recorded and produced all of our albums before. And we just had a lot of songs, like 70 songs that we ended up condensing down to 15, and that was a lot of work in a very short amount of time, not to mention that we were getting wasted with Dan. [Laughs] It was all one big party, we had a lot of fun. Dan’s a real cool dude.
SD: It has been said that you guys described Dan’s recording as “overcooked” and re-recorded it yourselves. Were you guys not pleased with his recordings in Nashville?
Scott: It’s a shame what people have been saying about that. We loved working with Dan, and I don’t know how that got out there but we have nothing but good things to say about him and are really glad that we got the opportunity to work with him. The recordings in Nashville weren’t bad at all, they were really good, but just different, so we decided to just work on them more since the songs were really raw anyways. That worked out because we were able to promote it for so long before it got released.
SD: How does your writing process usually go down?
Scott: We all just kind of do our own thing, just like anything that sounds good, and then we all come together on it and put our own thing into it. Kyle and I are working on some really rad stuff right now.
SD: Beach goth has been used to describe your guys’s sound and you have created a new movement in Cali behind it. Do you feel the name actually suites your sound?
Scott: Yeah, I mean we never described it as that, that was more like other people saying that, but I mean it fits it. Certainly our first two albums, Hung at Heart is a bit more poppy, which we’ve never really done before, but yeah it usually fits it.
Kyle: Yeah all of our music is so depressing!
SD: Will there be a third bus?
Kyle: There better be!
Scott: Yeah I hope so. I miss our first two, those were so great, we’re just touring in a van right now.
Kyle: [Expletive] vans!
SD: You named her Lizzy right?
Scott: Yeah Lizzy was great, but Brandy was the first, and she’ll always be my bitch.
SD: I can’t wait to see the third one! Now, you guys have been together for awhile and I know you’ve all had jobs on the side to keep things going. Are you employed solely through your music yet?
Scott: Yes, we finally are. It’s great, but at the same time, it’s tempting to just blow it all on booze and nice stuff, but it always works out better to save.
SD: Who are your favorite current bands?
Scott: Well we always listen to the radio on the road so I don’t really know. I mean, Guantanamo Baywatch and The Night Beats are [expletive] awesome!
SD: Okay, so now what’s in store for the Growlers now that you’re done touring?
Scott: Oh man, I don’t even know. We’re gonna take a week or so off and jut kick it and surf, but probably just get back to writing. We want more material so if in like a year we want a new album, we already have songs worked out and everything.
SD: You also are doing Europe soon right?
Scott: Yeah, first time too! We’ll be there for a month or so in the spring, and we’re all super stoked. I [expletive] love Europe!