Imagine it is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It's summer, a scalding one, wherever you live. One of those summers that could sunburn a left arm as it hangs out the car window. You place your cassette collection on the car's dashboard: the Ronnettes, the Beach Boys, and some nice nineties grunge, let's say, Mudhoney. You step out for a cigarette, or a refill on road snacks, and when you come back, those sun-scorched tapes have melted into one gooey mass. That musical mashup would be Jeans Wilder, the beach blanched, fuzzed up project of San Digeo's Andrew Caddick. He was once a band mate with Nathan Williams of snotty rockers Wavves, the boyfriend of lazy beach-chick popster Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast. But unlike them, Caddick still remains relatively under the radar, dishing out his hazy, swaying rock, soaked in shadows and sunshine.
Artbound caught up with Caddick to talk about San Diego's influence on his music and making music under the influence. Listen to Artbound's exclusive stream of Jeans Wilder's new album "Totally" at the bottom of the page.
Your music has an aura of the California dream in it. What are the elements to create that sound, and what landscapes/situations do you imagine your music to accompany?
California Burritos. Secret Beaches. Lots of good weed. And a strong military and police presence. Music for apple picking with your grandmother, bonfires after high school graduations, cruising for chicks in a rental car, you know, wherever good times are had.
In what way has California influenced the music that you make?
Well, I was born and raised in San Diego, Ca, which is pretty much sunny 358 days out of the year. I lived by the beach, saw the ocean every day. It just sort of seeped into my psyche, whether I liked it or not. I lived in San Francisco for a while when I was 19, and needless to say, that place is a world all its own. California ranges so drastically from the South to the North. I love it all. I find it fascinating.
San Diego seems seriously diverse when it comes to music. You have a long tradition of serious art-hardcore, commercial pop punk, and then music spilling across the border from Mexico. If you had to dissect your sound, what parts of the San Diego scene made it into your music, or how have you positioned your sound against what is happening in San Diego?
It's pretty funny. I thought about this question probably the most, and how to answer it in an interesting way. But, ultimately, I would say, the "indie" scene. One band in particular, Optiganally Yours, which was Rob Crow from Pinback and this guy Pea Hix who made songs on this old optical organ that Mattel made in the 70's called an "Optigan", and live they would dress in costumes and generally be silly. It was great.
Have you played any shows down in Tijuana? Their music scene seems to be taking off like crazy. What is TJ's relationship to the music and art scene of San Diego?
I am completely in love with the idea of Tijuana. Especially coming from San Diego, it's like this "anything goes, seedier than Vegas, who knows what's going to happen?" kind of place, and it's only 15 miles from my house. Yet, I have not yet played in TJ. When I was 19 (I'm 28 now), I went with some friends from high school to a wonderful little establishment called "Tilly's" for a relaxing night of insanely cheap cigarettes and beer, a little beans & rice, and some easy listening from a tiny San Diego band called The Locust. Long story short, we were almost taken to jail by corrupt police who were trying to rob us because my friend was passed out in the gutter. After convincing them we had no money to steal, they gave us the choice to enter their police car for a fun night, or to seek out a taxi and immediately leave, because we were no longer welcome. After an almost as fun run-in with border guards coming back, I guess you could say I haven't been in a hurry to come back. But, on the other hand, I was very young, and at the time, not "internationally experienced" by any means, and I can't deny that there is definitely some other level those kids are on. The art & music culture down there is insane, and I would feel like a fool if i didn't go now (having traveled a lot more haha).
There's a heavy dose of warped "Wall of Sound" production on your new record. What albums, bands, and sounds were you listening to, while concocting the sound of this album?
It's not so much that I was listening to anything like that while I was making the album, as it is that is the kind of music I was raised with. Beach Boys, Sandals, Ronettes, Ben E. King, Chantels, the list goes on. I feel like this was the record I always wanted to make but just couldn't, or didn't until now.
You used to play with Nathan from Wavves, who went on to make music with Bethany from Best Coast. Best Coast is now a Target-sponsored sensation. Are you interested in that kind of commercial appeal? Is it better to have a wide audience or a small but loyal fanbase?
Nathan is my best friend. We used to play music, yes. Beth is his girlfriend. We did a split together, yes. They did a song for Target, yes. Honestly, I think it's cool. Maybe just because I know them personally but I think it's cool. I would be lying if I said I didn't want my music to be heard by that large of an audience. On the other hand, it still blows my mind every time i think about ANYONE having heard my music at all. I've only known the underground, loyal fanbase, and I wouldn't change the way I've come to this point in my career at all. It's much more meaningful as a drawn out journey than just some flash in the pan shit.
There's a psychedelic quality to some of your music. There is an undeniable connection to rock music and drug use. So many musicians have crafted music that was created while using drugs, or that is specifically written to be listened to while on drugs. It seems that you're pretty open your own connection to pot, you even have a song called "Gravity Bong." What is your relationship to drugs and the creative process?
I smoke pot every day. I have no qualms about it. I also work two jobs, and travel the world playing music, so this whole "stoner/slacker" thing is kind of bullshit. Don't get me wrong, sitting on the couch and eating a whole pizza to yourself is great too, but for me, weed just calms me down. Helps me relax and sort out a lot of the junkyard that is my brain sometimes. I used to indulge in a lot harder drugs, and I think in a lot of my older music, that comes across. Now everything is a lot more focused and bigger sounding, and I feel it's because i don't party as hard anymore. Pot just makes it easier to be me. And that's why I don't understand why everyone makes such a big deal about pot when you have shit like "bath salts" absolutely wreaking havoc. I would be very interested to hear a band that made music on that stuff though.
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