Grunge-pop trio Mini Mansions may officially be a Los Angeles-based band, but they’ve got a good dose of the Cruz in them too. Bassist/ keyboardist Zach Dawes and keyboardist/ guitarist Tyler Parkford both went to UC Santa Cruz—or that “slug school up on the hill,” as Dawes calls it. “We played a forest show once in Santa Cruz, but it started raining and it was a full moon so there was a drum circle on campus,” Dawes remembers. In true Santa Cruz fashion, the boys went with it and embraced the elements. “Tyler was building these elaborate cones in an art class and Michael [Shuman, keyboardist/ guitarist/ drums] had just built an oversized guitar from the wood of a canoe,” he explains. “Anyway, we used the cones to amplify the guitar and played with the drum circle. …Then the naked runners came.”
These days, Mini Mansions plays less eccentric venues, like their forthcoming set at The Crepe Place on Saturday, garnering fans of dreamy, twisted harmonies and playfully clunky piano. Some call it psychedelic, technicolor, pop/grunge/rock, but the band has a much simpler vision: “It’s pop music to us, but the good kind that is unfortunately not on the radio anymore,” he says. Does any of that naked drum circle culture fit into their brand of “pop”? “Yeah there’s Santa Cruz in our music,” Dawes says. “That’s a very Santa Cruz thing to say.” Mini Mansions released an EP in 2009 with nine tracks, and have recently finished “half a baker’s dozen batch” of new songs, some of which they will be perform at The Crepe Place. “The recording experience has been like trying to fingerpaint a ‘paint by numbers,’” Dawes explains, “dirty and colorful.”
| INFO: 9 p.m. Saturday, April 7. The Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. $10. 429-6994.