Comprised of Pat Curren (vocals, guitar), Charlie Fawcett (drums), Cameron Crabtree (guitar) and Geoff Shea (bass), the Santa Monica, CA-based indie rock quintet Clean Spill can take their origins to when Curren met Fawcett when they were ten year olds participating in a local surfing competition. Curren met Crabree while in high school and Shea, was a local barber, who was into the same music as the rest of the band’s members. As Crabtree recalls, “I decided to get a haircut from him and talk to him over the haircut about [playing with us]. If he would have farmed the haircut, we wouldn’t have given him the position. But it was a great haircut, so it worked out.”
Back in 2014 Fawcett leveraged some connections at surf company Hurley to assist the members of the band with studio time to record an album worth of demos that they dubbed Dear, Anger — and interestingly enough, what was initially meant to be a jam session quickly became their first professionally engineered and mixed EP, 2015’s XO, an effort that found the band’s sound and aesthetic centered around surfing and boogie boarding culture; however, as they played more shows, including playing with Kitten and touring France with Betty the Shark, which featured Curren’s half sister, the up-and-coming band discovered themselves, while realizing a desire to push their sound and approach towards the garage rock-inspired sounds of early period The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys, as well as The Growlers and The Allah Las. Simultaneously, the band was picking up lessons and advice from their tour mates abut the gear they needed to make the sound they wanted, as well as the hustle they needed to make a name for themselves. “All these artists were so hard working, knew exactly what it took for sound,” Crabtree explains in press notes. “We didn’t really know much about music gear in general. We’ve played with such a wide variety of bands, we gained such a unique perspective on fans of music, too, in that it was very rewarding to see that people still liked rock music in general.”
After collaborating with a series of different producers, their manager hooked them up with producer Hanni El Khatib. And as the story goes, back in 2016, the members of the band entered Jonny Bell’s Jazzcats Studio with the intention of recording a new single, and were instantly taken by the amount and variety of vintage gear in the studio. Experimenting with gear they never dreamt of using, and guided by El Khatib and Bell. the band began refining and honing the sound that they felt they were mean tot have. “Hanni’s style has a lot of radical, outrageous noise,” Pat Curren says in press notes. “We went a little bit down that way.” Throughout the recording sessions, the band wanted their recorded sound to hew close to their live sound, so they recorded the material live to tape, which gives the material a “you-are-there-in-the-room” immediacy. The end result became their soon-to-be-released EP Nothing’s on My Mind, an effort that features “Rolling,” a song that Curren and Crabtree wrote several years before — with a slightly different, more upbeat arrangement centered around shimmering guitar chords and a propulsive backbeat; but ironically, the song’s emotional center is the heartbreak over the confusing and bitter ending of a romantic relationship. Sonically, the song manages to be anachronistic — it’s indebted to the 60s, the 00s and this decade simultaneously, and in a way that brings Raccoon Fighter and others to mind.
Once they finished the EP, the band began to tour to support it until Shea broke his arm, which slowed down the momentum they had built up and without a record and a tour, they were in a hiatus; however, they decided to take control of their own destiny and they will be self-releasing the EP two years after its completion. “I think this will actually be the start of us hustling,” Crabtree says, noting the band has written multiple albums worth of music in the downtime. “Because we went through all that, we learned so much. Once this comes out we’re going to be on fire. Recording, shows — everything.”
The recently released video follows a young, extremely Californian couple that features the band’s frontman in a series of flashbacks — first when they’re adorable and through a series of bitter fighting, with footage of the band performing the song in a prototypical Californian background split the band brooding and goofing off throughout, creating a fitting balance between the heartache and breezy vibes within the song.