New Year, New Sound

event The ShesThe She’s embrace change, explore new sonic territory with latest EP

The last six months or so have been quite the ride for The She’s. The all-girl quartet was part of a concert series at Slim’s in San Francisco, and partnered with Converse on an ad campaign this past summer. Converse was so enamored with The She’s that the shoe company invited the band to contribute a cover of a classic holiday tune to its just-released holiday compilation, Noise to the World. But even the best rides can be bumpy at times.

“We had wanted to do ‘Little Saint Nick’ by The Beach Boys because we thought that would be a very She’s-worthy Christmas song, but it turned out [Converse] didn’t have the rights to that song,” says vocalist Hannah Valente. “So about two days before we were going to go in to record, they asked us to write our own Christmas song, and ‘December Tide’ was born.”

“December Tide” simultaneously reflects The She’s past and future. A jangly pop-rock track in the vein of The Beach Boys, it has a similar warm sonic quality to the band’s 2011 album, Then it Starts to Feel Like Summer. The theme of the song, however, is much darker than anything found on Summer—Valente laments for her lonely heart, which is as cold as the weather outside—and hints at what fans can expect from the band’s next project.

“We’ve just recorded a six-song EP of all new material,” says drummer Sinclair Riley. “We hope to put it out early next year, maybe in January or February.”

“It’s going to be a little bit edgier,” bassist Sami Perez chimes in. “It’s still very pop-oriented like our last album, but it will be a bit darker too.”

Over the course of their six years as a band, The She’s—which is rounded out by guitarist Eva Treadway—has evolved a great deal. The band started off emulating rock bands like The Donnas, but as they have matured as artists, their gradual movement to a more pop-centric sound has come naturally. In fact, throughout Summer, the band’s songwriting development can be heard from start to finish.

“The songs on [Summer] feature roughly two years of The She’s songwriting,” says Valente. “You can see our songwriting evolving and becoming more of our own brand of pop music instead of trying to mimic other bands.”

The She’s are always learning something new, be it about themselves, music or their creative processes, and their ability to go with the flow has served them well. Their experience making “December Tide” was atypical, but rewarding.

Normally we take a long time with our songwriting,” Riley says. “We’ll write a song and then won’t come back to it for a month before even trying to finalize it, so having to write a song in a few days, to be recorded in a day, to then be released to the public, was interesting.”

The band has a great do-it-yourself attitude—the girls self-released Summer and had to write, record and mix one of the songs on their upcoming EP by themselves because they could not access the studio they usually record in—but is also able to laugh at its mistakes.

“We tried to make our own video for ‘Running’ before [going with the official version, which was directed by Andrew Callaway] which was kind of dumb,” Riley laughs. “We decided to run to the beach, but then realized one of us has to be holding the camera the whole time because we couldn’t get anyone else to help us with it. So that didn’t work out.” 

The She’s will perform at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8 at The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Tickets are $8. For more information, call 429-6994.

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