Playing punk with a groove and soul with an edge, Santa Barbara’s Easter Teeth likes to rebel with rhythm. Composed chiefly of brothers Tim and Joshua Eymann, the band blends hardcore compositions with Motown motifs, with lyrical wit and wisdom to boot. They are anticipating a soon-to-be released 7” split with Moral Monsters on Veritas Vinyl. I talked with keyboardist-bassister-singer Tim about their sound, their new video, “Watch Me Get My Worship On,” the craziest show they’ve played, and why the band is scaling back on Santa Barbara shows.
How would you guys describe your sound and how you came to create it? Who are your influences? Our favorite terms we’ve heard are soul punk or soul core. Really we’re just some variation of post-punk or noise rock. We sort of grit our teeth whenever someone throws out “funk rock.” That sounds dangerously close to the Chili Peppers or like The Spindoctors or something. We came up with our sound just out of our love of soul music. And we thought it might be something that could sound cool without a guitar player. We figured out how to sprinkle in the dirty Casio tones to offset the low end, and badda bing! Also, we always dreamed of getting to have horns, and thought this sound would lend itself nicely to that. We were fortunate enough to have a horn section for a while, but it was tricky keeping them all committed. Maybe we’ll have horns again down the road, but for now it’s just me and Josh. Influences? We’ve tried to model the sound somewhere between post punk and noise rock bands like Gang of Four, Shellac, and Young Widows, all with the kind of break beats James Brown perfected. Oh and Death From Above 1979 – should be obvious that they’re an influence.
Where do you guys fit amongst local punk and punk-influenced bands? How do you stand out? Does S.B. welcome or reject punk/hardcore music? We’ve never really felt like we fit in. But admittedly, we do it to ourselves to a degree. We’ve picked a sound that isn’t hardcore enough for hardcore kids or hip enough for hipsters. So we end up on a lot of eclectic bills. There have been a few bands we’ve connected with locally though like Blasting Concept, Mouth (who’s up in Oakland now), Fell to Low, Petmez, a few others. We’re excited about these young guys The Avocado Commissioners who are joining us next week. It’s great to see young people starting good, weird bands. But we do feel like we’re better received out of town, honestly. This year we purposefully limited ourselves to only six local shows, I think, and we played more in the L.A. area, inland, O.C., the Bay… As for S.B., it’s got a pretty small punk/hardcore scene compared even to Ventura. I think some good bands come out of our town, but there’s not a huge demand for the more aggressive stuff here. So bands end up playing in front of other bands a lot. It’s not outright rejected, but there’s not a whole lot of hunger for it here.
I love the video to “Watch Me Get My Worship On,” especially the crowd. What was it like making the video? This is your first one, right – how was that? How’d you come up with the concept? Thanks! Glad you like it. It was so fun to film, and we’re so grateful to our old friend Ty Hegner for doing it. It was our first, and we had no idea how to do it. But we figured if we barbecued and had ping-pong and pool, how could it go wrong? We knew we wanted it to be live so people who haven’t seen us play could see how we pull off our sound with just the two of us. The concept came about just kinda as a joke. We just thought it would be funny if we were rocking hard and no one seemed to care, which is how some shows really are! Anyway, all our friends really got into it, making up different ways of acting totally disinterested in us playing. It really takes a number of times watching it to see all the hilarious things going on, like Cate cleaning her ears out with a q tip or Brad playing flip-cup on my keyboard. I think my favorite is Caleb reading a book. The hardest part was trying not to bust up laughing while we were filming. I think there’s a second where you see Josh starting to laugh.
Tell me the story behind the split. Is that a label arrangement, or do you know the band? How do the songs pair together, in your mind? Ya, it was arranged by Veritas Vinyl. We’ve gotten to know Moral Monsters through the process a little just online. We were hoping to get to Texas to play with them, but it’s not going to happen on our winter tour. They’re cool dudes. They’re a duo like us. But other than that, I don’t think we’re too similar in terms of our sound. That’s our fault though. Not too many other soul punk bands are out there. But I think the whole 7″ is solid. In general a record lends itself more to some disparity because it has sides. People know, or at least subconsciously accept, that side B may be different than side A.
Craziest show you’ve played? As Easter Teeth? A very memorable one was when we were supposed to play an all ages DIY place in La Puente, I think, but no one with keys showed up to unlock the place! So the booker moved it to his parents’ garage in a really freakin’ nice neighborhood in Monrovia. We thought for sure it would get copped on within 15 minutes, but no! There were probably 40 kids packed in this two car garage all sweaty and dancing it up. It was a disaster turned into a dang good party. We’ve gotta give a shout out to Monrovia. Every time we play there it’s outstanding. As for in town, it was pretty memorable to open for Retox during the New Noise Fest this year.
What’s 2016 hold for the band? Well, we’re starting it off on the road. New Year’s Eve we’ll be in Phoenix. We’re also hitting Albuquerque, Vegas, Murrieta, maybe 1 more stop. We’ll have the dates up soon at facebook.com/easterteeth. And I know our next local show is Feb 5 at Whiskey Richards with our good friends Choirs from Bakersfield. We’re going to try to to keep up with the trend we started this year of playing less locally, and spending more time out of town. We’d like to do a longer tour too, maybe the northwest for a couple weeks in the spring, but we’ll have to see. Besides shows, we also have 10 new tracks almost done that we’ll figure out how to release through 2016. We’re pretty excited about some of the new songs we have yet to play out.
What’s up with the Hard to Find these days? We’ve hosted only a few shows this year. We are open to doing more there, but only if it’s something we’re really excited about. We want to support what Spencer is doing at Funzone. If there’s a band we like coming through that won’t fit in there, the Hard to Find is still an option.
Anything else you might want to say? Ya! We want to say thanks to you, Richie, for paying some attention to bands like ours in town, the DIY/punk scene. And I guess we should put in a plug for the new record – go to veritasvinyl.net to buy the 7″. It’s also available to download through Bandcamp now and soon through all the online stores