The long-awaited release and follow-up to 2012's "Strange Heaven" is finally here - and it seems as though Mrs. Magician is all grown up.
The local band, whose new album "Bermuda" dropped May 20, never anticipated huge money or wild success, but it seems to be the wave that this SoCal "surf rock" band is riding. The group is playing to larger, more loyal crowds and finding their own voice, even if that means getting a bit lost in the process.
DiscoverSD recently sat down with frontman Jacob Turnbloom at Societe Brewing Co. to hear about the band's new album, their relationship with fellow San Diego band Drive Like Jehu's John Reis and why they might be eating Taco Bell for years to come.
How did Mrs. Magician get started?
I'd been playing music with Jordan, our bass player, since high school. We have been touring with everyone in the band for years and years. We have all been in a lot of bands within San Diego. We all grew up here.
Do you feel that the San Diego music community is supportive of your band?
San Diego has been really responsive to our band, but I don't think there's anything wrong with moving to say New York or Los Angeles. Bands go wherever I think they feel they will flourish. The label we're on, Swamis, is a very, very San Diego label. All the bands on there, I grew up listening to, so for me, to be on Swamis and be from somewhere else wouldn't make sense. San Diego is comfortable for us.
What was the songwriting process like for this album?
Compared to the first one, this album was more of just me writing the songs. The songs are more observational, about everyone else but me. It was a lot of demo-ing by myself and figuring it out, and then giving it to everyone else at the end and having them put their stamp on it, creatively.
What was it like having John Reis produce another album of yours? Was it different than "Strange Heaven?"
Working with him on this one was different. We went to an amazing studio called Big Fish on the first one. For this one, we went to a place by my house off El Cajon Blvd. called Audio Design. It's small, but you can get a lot of cool tones in that space. With John, it was a lot more of him helping us shape the songs for this. It's like the songs were there for "Bermuda," but he wanted to help me and the band make it a different experience than the first record. With punk music, for me, if you go really straight forward with it and you focus on tones and melody, then you can have something special. John had a lot to do with that, melody-wise and structure-wise to help us have that natural growth with a fresh sound.
Why did you name the record "Bermuda?"
Calling the album "Bermuda" was very intentional. It was meant to talk about the themes of being lost, you know, and modern day conspiracy theories. It was also because of what people perceive us to be, kind of making fun of our band.
Because of your label as a surf-rock San Diego band?
Yeah, I mean. That label is kind of a tongue-and-cheek thing. Neither Tommy nor I, who started this band, surf at all. It's like how The Pixies had surf stuff, but they weren't ever called a surf rock band. I think it's because of the San Diego thing.
So what would genre do you identify with?
I'd just call us rock-n-roll.
What's your favorite song on the new album?
There's a song on there called "Phantoms," and it's my favorite for sure. It's punch-y and kind of like, vague or cryptic. It seems as if it's a simple song but it's complicated at the same time.
You guys have gained so much success kind of quickly. I'm sure that's helped to mold your band's view on performing, too.
Yeah. We don't wanna go there and disappoint people because if I was excited to see a band who was coming through San Diego, I'd want a performance. I wouldn't want them to be like, "Oh you're so lucky we're playing this show for you." We need to offer people something to go see. In hindsight, we should have had that view all along. We just need to be a good band, and we don't need to worry about anything else. Play songs well live. Put out the best records. Those very basic things, as we are getting older, we have realized. We don't have any illusion of making tons of money. We just want to be a good band and play well.
What are your favorite San Diego bands?
Every one of John Reis' bands have inspired everyone in our band. Justin Pearson's bands too. The Locust, Swing Kids. There was a band called Short Wave Channel I was obsessed with. Right now, there's a band called The Keepers that we really love. My favorite all-time favorite San Diego band is Drive Like Jehu. They are the best band to come out of San Diego. I truly believe should be everyone's number one San Diego-based band.
What food do you survive on, on the road?
For food, we try to be as responsible as possible on the road, but recently we got a $500 gift card from Taco Bell from something called Feed The Beat. The whole menu is like 20-cents for a burrito and stuff. It's like very, very cheap. I feel like it's infinite, and it will last us 500 years.
Last question. Why are you wearing a Frankenstein mask?
I'm wearing this mask because it's a reflection on the society that has shunned away punk rock music for so long. This is my way of showing what we're about now. It's about green, gelatinous, plastic facial covers. Green is not punk rock, green is very neutral. As much as I'm trying to push punk down people's throats, I also want to show much we care about the environment. laughs
Mrs. Magician is currently touring the United States. Their new album "Bermuda" is now available for purchase on iTunes. For more information on Mrs. Magician, vist their website at mrsmagicianband.wordpress.com or their Facebook page.
About the brew:
Societe Brewing Co. is located in Kearny Mesa, featuring a brewery and tasting room in one facility. The brewery first opened it's doors on June 30, 2012 and has since been pumping out award-winning beers, like The Coachman which won gold at the Great American Beer Festival for the session IPA category in 2015.
8262 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Kearny Mesa. societebrewing.com