Haunted Summer’s bittersweet EP is potent, medicinal,and a taste of what’s to come
It’s hard not to get swept up in John and Bridgette Seasons’ chemistry. The married couple at the helm of Haunted Summer is simply too cute for words.
But it’s that same chemistry that makes their musical collaboration irresistible to the ears.
After almost a decade of being friends and admirers of each other’s music, John and Bridgette played a Halloween gig together in 2012, as part of an Animal Collective cover band.
Since then, the pair fell in love, put out an EP of original and elegant experimental pop music, went on tour, wed, and had a romantic honeymoon in Paris.
Reflecting back on their whirlwind relationship, John says he and Bridgette “changed at the right time together, and it was meant to be.”
Together, they create often-eerie anthems that are expertly lingering and driving in nature. This is the sound of perseverance—something John (guitar/keys) admires and appreciates about The Flaming Lips’ 1999 album, The Soft Bulletin, which he has listened to countless times over the years.
“That album’s about [guitarist Steven Drozd] almost dying and going through so much, and the band going through so much … It’s a beautiful interpretation of pain, and it’s definitely something I went back to [regularly] and I think I even personally try to bring to this project,” explains John. “There’s dark aspects [of Haunted Summer] but it’s projected through light, trying to just help people understand.”
Though just an EP, Haunted Summer’s
Ωfirst album—Something in The Water (2013)—is a mighty and moving existential effort, full of hair-raising moments and stirring subjects like fate and maintaining a love that others may
When asked which of the five tracks on the EP is most significant to them, Bridgette (vocals/synth) said, “After much personal deliberation on this, I think we’ve both kind of come to a consensus that if we were to die right now and one song had to carry out, we’d probably pick ‘All Around.’”
According to Bridgette, this shimmering album opener “seems to encompass the beauty of how we were feeling.” On it, she sweetly sings: “Something tells me all was meant for good / And the universe will hold me as it should.”
This is essentially a catchy version of the Seasons’ general maxim: “Our motto with our relationship and our band is that we trust the universe,” says John. “The universe talks to you in many different ways. I’m not saying I’m psychic; I’m just saying that when it’s talking to me, I’m gonna listen.”
Motivated to finish its debut full-length, the band is currently recording at Jim Henson Company Studios in Hollywood with French producer Nicolas Essig, who helped engineer Paul McCartney’s latest record. The LP, which will most likely be called Spirit Guides, is expected to be released at the end of the year, or in early 2015.
But according to John and Bridgette, their recordings don’t quite compare to the band’s live show.
“I think the live performance is definitely more all-encompassing and just more powerful,” admits Bridgette.
Local fans will get a chance to see the couple in action on Jan. 30 at The Catalyst Atrium, where they will be joined by Augustus Green (bass/loops) and Avi Buffalo’s Sheridan Riley (drums). Many effects will be featured, such as live looping and Bridgette’s vocal processor, the latter used only sparingly on the record.
John’s explanation for the effects is simple—“It’s a droney, heartfelt interpretation of the EP”—but undeniably suspenseful, both for longtime fans and those on the lookout for a new band crush.
Haunted Summer opens for Islands at 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30 at The Catalyst Atrium, 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $12/adv, $15/door. For more information, call 423-1338. Photo: Sarah Sitkin