West Coast indie rockers and surfers Clean Spill just released their debut EP and are already working on their debut LP. With the band so busy making music, it’s amazing that they find time to surf. But for the Santa Barbara rockers, surfing and music are tightly linked.
Music and surfing are just about the only two activities they enjoy. Playing gritty rock ‘n’ roll and surfing is how they stick it to the man—their music is a rebellion against the upper class and surfing is their escape.
“It’s like a yoga class in the ocean [with] all your buddies,” frontman Pat Curren says about the importance of surf culture and how it’s helped influence their sound. “It’s more the people we hang out with because of surfing [that influences us],” guitarist Cameron Crabtree adds.
When we reached Clean Spill, they were headed to the studio before hitting the beach to catch some waves—a typical Santa Barbara day for Clean Spill. Their hometown of Santa Barbara is full of expensive neighborhoods with mansions and high-end shops. The music scene that’s cropped up doesn’t reflect the wealth of town, though.
“There is a scene of young people who aren’t really trying to be bougie or fancy,” Crabtree says about the DIY music scene in their hometown. “[There are] a lot of house parties, garage shows—we’re kind of like the surf idiots that just play rock music.”
Clean Spill’s seven-track EP Nothing’s On My Mind bursts with early Strokes-era influences and catchy choruses, with vocals reminiscent of Alex Turner from Arctic Monkeys. Crabtree tells BTRtoday that many of the tracks were written years ago and The Strokes were a direct influence on the creative process—that, and surfing.
Clean Spill, “Rolling”
Though they intend to stay true to their riotous surf and garage rock roots, the music they’re working on now dabbles in new genres for Clean spill.
“It’s definitely a little different, but it’s still surfy garage rock,” Crabtree says. “I would say we have a little bit more classic rock influence and almost some country stuff going on.”
Clean Spill is staying off the road as they ready their debut LP for next year, but they won’t turn down any local house shows if they come up. Hear the Nothing’s On My Mind in its entirety and the whole interview with Curren and Crabtree on this week’s The Music Meetup.