Broke-Ass Band Interview: AB & the Sea

Updated: Apr 27, 2011 03:06
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AB & the Sea are playing this Friday, April 29, at the Rickshaw Stop with the Soft White Sixties. A full night of dreamy beachy surf pop, complete with fifteen year old girl band sensations, the She’s! Check out the Facebook invite here.

Caught up with AB & the Sea frontman Koley O’Brien to ask him a lot of silly questions about what (not) to spend money on, the best things about San Francisco, and, of course, what’s in his sock drawer. Don’t worry, nothing weird. It’s just full of toothbrushes. Oh wait, that’s totally weird. Oh and ladies! He’s looking for a couch to crash on, if you’re in need of some…dental hygiene.

FYI, he’s a good dude to hang out with around closing time. Now, I don’t drink and I don’t eat animal products. But last time I fraternized with Koley O’Brien, he (and a certain Mr. Brown of Different Fur Studios, where AB & the Sea recorded) managed to trick me into tasting an alcoholic beverage that had egg whites in it. It was super gross but I must admit I was impressed. Less by their trickery than by my own gullibility. Ok let’s do this.

Describe your sound in five words (or less).

Sunshine pop.

Tell us about your band name.

I wanted to write songs that to the listener are very simple. Lyrics are made up of words. Words are made up of letters (or “the ABCs”). But within our simple songs and our simple name, I like to throw in subtle intricacies that if we do our jobs well, the listener won’t even be able to notice. And that is the “Sea.”

Favorite thing about San Francisco?

The babes 😉

Thanks, we do what we can. Probably better than Wisconsin. BURN. Ok, favorite SF restaurant?

All Star Donuts.

Favorite SF bar?


How do you prepare for a big show? What will you be doing the night before?

Listening to records in our kitchen and having a glass or four of wine.

What can people expect at your shows?

Lots of high fives, good vibes, beach balls, and dancing.

What do you do during downtime on tour?

We like to all check out a music store, record store, and locally recommended dive bar in every town we pass through to really get a good feel of the place. I also am obsessed with the ocean, so if that thing is anywhere near me, I don’t care how cold it is or if I don’t have a swimsuit, I’m going in it!

What’s next for the band (i.e. plug your next show!)?

Rickshaw Stop this Friday!!! We just got done with tour and haven’t played a show in SF for a while, so I’m pumped to come back and play for the hometown.

Three things you’d take to a desert island?

An airplane. A pilot. And extra fuel.

So practical! What movie can you watch over and over and never get sick of?

3 Ninjas.

Ok, less practical. But charmingly so! Favorite season or time of year?

The beginning of fall in Wisconsin. Vivid colors. Crunchy leaves. Perfect for hiking and camping.

Awww, that’s so classy. Three things that are in your fridge right now?

No fridge at the moment. But I think we have some PBR in our cooler.

Less classy. Anything in your sock drawer besides socks?

An endless supply of toothbrushes. My mom’s a dental hygienist.

Weird! Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty, i.e. money. Have any tips for aspiring musicians trying to make it on their craft?

Stay sharp in all aspects of life. Step outside of your boundaries. The more experiences you have as a human being, the more you’ll grow as an artist.

Best money saving tip in general?

Cut your credit card in half and throw it away. Those things are evil.

Where do you live now?

We were living in SOMA. We moved out before we left for tour close to tour months ago. Just kinda been sleeping in the van or crashing on couches.

So, in other words, nowhere. Got it. So besides rent, what do you refuse to spend money on?

Television. Film on the other hand, I will spend a lot.

What is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought and how did that feel?

Our van. Felt like gold.

What’s the best deal you’ve ever gotten?

Ticket to see Paul Simon for 10 bucks.

Jealous. What is your favorite free thing to do?

Sneak into Coachella.

Jealous again! If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?

A jetpack.

Naturally. So, despite not having money, do you still love your life?


Any last words?

Anybody have a couch I can crash on? 😉

*Photos via Facebook, first one by Tom Stone, second one by Amber Gregory

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Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe - Pennywise Reporter

Chloe's youth was split between California and Kauai, frolicking on a macadamia nut farm in the tropics and landing finally in the Bay Area. Raised by super-Jew hippies, and the youngest of three sisters, Chloe learned early the virtues of thrift, economy, and green living. To the chagrin of her parents (who hoped, of course, for a Jewish doctor or lawyer), Chloe has put her degree from UC Berkeley to great use by becoming a folk singer. As "Chloe Makes Music" she plays shows throughout SF and beyond, donning vintage frocks, selling handmade merch, and pinching pennies as she sings for her supper. Calling Berkeley home for the last six years, you can think of Chloe as the website's East Bay Correspondent, opening your eyes to the hippie-filled, tree-hugging, organic-loving, vegan-eating, but way-overlooked and awesome assets of Berkeley, Oakland, and beyond.

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