Hailing from Portland, punk outfit Summer Cannibals have returned with a new album titled Can’t Tell Me No, a follow-up to their first album with legendary punk label Kill Rock Stars, 2016’s Full Of It. While it’s not as ferocious as Full Of It, the new, entirely self-engineered and produced album, is more mature, as guitarist/vocalist Jessica Boudreaux delves into deeply personal topics while expanding the band’s sound to incorporate the hazy melodies of alternative rock, the the raw energy of riot grrrl, and the defiance of grunge.
In this interview, we talk to Jessica Boudreaux about the band’s origins and the tumultuous process of making Can’t Tell Me No.
How would you describe Summer Cannibals to someone who’s never heard of the band before?
Loud rock music with pop melodies, lots of guitar harmonies and a clear message <3
Could you talk a bit about how the band was formed?
I started the “band” in 2012 just by recording a few demos on my own and throwing them up on the internet. After that I had a few folks join and it’s been a rotating group since then. Devon (drums) and I have been playing together in this project for a while and then about a year and a half ago Cass (guitar) and Ethan (bass) joined and made it a real family. This group has changed the band for the better and we’ve been touring non stop since they joined.
How did the name Summer Cannibals?
We’re named after a Patti Smith song.
As your first self-engineered and produced album, how was the process of recording Can’t Tell Me No? Were there any challenges?
Time constraints were a big challenge but aside from that the process was actually really smooth. Cassi and I had been working together as co-producers/engineers in my studio for a year at that point and both have worked on plenty of other bands records so it wasn’t that different from doing that kind of stuff.
I read that you decided to scrap an entire record and start over after a whole year. Could you talk a bit more about that?
Yeah, we had a finished album that Cassi and Ethan didn’t play on that we had been shopping to labels for a year. Sadly one of the folks involved in making that record/co-writing a few of the songs turned out to be a manipulative and predatory person and to put it in the shortest, simplest terms I couldn’t let us be attached to him anymore moving forward.
Can’t Tell Me No is quite a stylistic shift from 2016’s Full Of It. How did that artistic change come about?
It came about pretty naturally…I feel like as I get older and continue to tour and write music it seems to just evolve on it’s own without any super intentional action on my part. I love pop music though and I definitely hear that coming through on the new stuff. I also think when we made Full Of It I had a lot more anger and resentment going on in my life. Now, even with all the awful events that happened with our unreleased record and my relationship to the person who we had to detach from-I wasn’t angry about it. I felt contemplative and like I wanted to move forward and I think the music reflected that.
What were some of the bands you were listening to while you were writing the new album?
Not much time to listen to other bands while we made this one!
What’s your favorite song to play from the record?
We love playing One of Many & Can’t Tell Me No.
What’s next for Summer Cannibals?
Lots of touring for the rest of the year and then a couple months off in the winter to write a new album 🙂 Just going to keep moving forward.