Live from West Sacramento!

Spencer Seim of Hella (center) debuted his first short film, <i>Gray Expectations</i>, at the Nevada City Film Festival Saturday night. He participated in a Q-and-A session with filmmaker Dennis Hauck (right) and moderator Ryan Cassano.

Spencer Seim of Hella (center) debuted his first short film, Gray Expectations, at the Nevada City Film Festival Saturday night. He participated in a Q-and-A session with filmmaker Dennis Hauck (right) and moderator Ryan Cassano.

Photo By SHOKA

Playing favorites:
Critics are allowed to have an opinion, so I’m taking this week’s Sound Advice section to highlight my favorite group and album of the past 12 months: the epic chamber-indie full-length Doom Bird by Doom Bird. Conveniently, the duo of singer Kris Anaya and virtuoso Joe Davancens will have an album-release party this Sunday, August 29, 9 p.m., with Aaron Ross and Bart Davenport at Harlow’s, 2708 J Street; only $5. I met up with the songwriters in the back of a truck on the west side of the Sacramento River for a strange chat.

So, the recession has impacted artists and musicians, but you guys already were severely impacted anyway.

Davancens: Yes, I’m still eating Top Ramen every day.

Is that true?

Davancens: No.

What do you eat?

Anaya: He eats the tortillas from Trader Joe’s.

Davancens: I pretty much just drink coffee and eat bagels and quesadillas.

So why the hell are we in West Sac now?

Anaya: Our rehearsal space is here.

Who picked out the beer tonight?

Anaya: Joe.

What was your decision-making process?

Davancens: It’s just a good bargain and is one of my favorite beers.

Anaya: Joe’s a cowboy, but he wants to be elegant at the same time. And this kind of offers both. It’s a beer, but it’s also the “Champagne of Beers.”

Is it hard being in a band?

Anaya: I think the only hard part about being in a band is that idea of maybe we’ll make it, so we have to act serious. We have to take it serious. Instead of like, “Hey, we’re just a couple guys making music at this practice space drinking beers. Let’s make some tunes. Let’s just enjoy it.”

Davancens: For [Kris and I], we generated all the music. But now we have a minimum of at least three other people helping us create this music. The CD release show will be—

Anaya: Ten.

Davancens: Ten. Ten musicians. Who do it for little or no money. … They’re donating their time and energy, so there’s some tension there, because we have such strong ideas about what the music should be and it’s hard to be constructively critical of them and work with them to get the sound good.

Is this an all-Sacarmento collaboration?

Davancens: Yeah, I think so.

How’d you come up with the name Doom Bird?

Anaya: It goes back to Rusty [Miller]. It basically comes down to … if somebody’s, like, really drunk and acting like an a-hole, you can say, like, “Doom bird.” Or when you go to a gig and there’s nobody there: “Doom bird.”

Who are your desert-island artists?

Anaya: Leonard Cohen, [Bob] Dylan, [Randy] Newman, Van Dyke Parks, Brian Wilson and John Lennon. Those are the top dudes.

Davancens: Uh, shit. … I think I’m a Paul McCartney guy.

Was McCartney more so the composer?

Davancens: Yeah. He had a good sense of color, if you want to use that word.

Anaya: He definitely knew more theory than Lennon, for sure.

Davancens: The story that I heard is that George Martin taught those guys all the theory that they knew, or at least got them started. But [McCartney] has this record called Ram, it’s like pre-Wings, post-Beatles. And it’s not a great album all the way through, but some of that stuff is mind-blowing.

Anaya: Joe showed it to me. We’d been watching The Thing.

Ha, David Cronenberg.

Davancens: No, it’s John Carpenter.

Anaya: We were watching The Thing, and Joe was like, “Hey, you got to hear this song ‘Ram On’ by Paul McCartney.”

Davancens: We were all drunk; “That’s so amazing, dude.”

Anaya: That was a very inspirational night.

Davancens: That’s when we began writing songs. (Nick Miller)