The Bad Barnacles

  • Genres
  • Psychedelic
  • Rock
  • surf
  • Awards and Nominations
    • SAMMIES 2020 Winner★ Indie ★1st Place
    • SAMMIES 2020 Winner★ Live Performer ★1st Place
    • SAMMIES 2020 Nominee★ Indie ★
    • SAMMIES 2020 Nominee★ Live Performer ★
    • SAMMIES 2020 Nominee★ New Artist ★
  • Musicians
    • Adam Martinek — drums, vocals
    • Drew Barclay — bass, vocals
    • Matt Spanne — lead vocals, rhythm guitar
    • Tyler Mehlhaff — lead guitar, vocals
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Q & A

Describe your show visually and musically.


The Bad Barnacles are an experience. A feast for the senses. An energetic convulsion of rock and rhythm that is designed to be interactive. We drown you in sound and then the hook pulls you back into the boat with us. You’ll have to join us to know what we mean.

Do you have regular gigs around town?


Oh yeah, we play all over. Our home base has become Old Ironsides. It’s the oldest bar in Sacramento and has become music central for a group of amazing artists and supporters. Everyone involved in the Old I scene is good people. We seem to play there often, too, and it’s always memorable.

How did it first start?


The Bad Barnacles started with two guys living together in an apartment in the Bay Area. We found ourselves with extra time on our hands and the music kept us from getting into too much trouble. Everyone in the band is slightly obsessive, so finding a constructive outlet for that obsession was life changing. Writing and recording quickly became an addiction for us and it hasn’t slowed down at all in the nearly six years that we’ve been at it.

How do you describe your music to people?


This is the question that tends to make us a little squirrely. Can a band really describe their own music, objectively speaking? I think we tend to lean on our influences too much to paint an accurate picture. We could tell you what we listen to, but that defeats the purpose a bit. I think there are always new genres emerging from the old ones. Everything blurs and evolves. And besides, describing music is for the people who write about music, not the musicians themselves.

How do you feel about musical award competitions?


Well, I guarantee that there are a dozen incredible musicians within a mile of here that receive no recognition, but deserve much more than us. But exposure is part of the industry. We know we have to maintain a presence and the awards are partly a response to our presence, not just our music. Plus, competition is good for us in many ways. We want to create and share what we make, but at the same time we are just as happy to see our friends get recognition for their creations as well, because they work hard too. We want the Sacramento music community to get recognized as a whole. Not just us. Let’s bring some much deserved attention to what’s happening in this city right now.

If your band was a movie, what movie would it be?


Something written by Tarantino.

Is there a central theme to your band's music?


Absolutely. The interesting part is that these themes grow organically. We don’t sit down and say, “Let’s write about political angst” or “let’s write about heartbreak” but these things trend at times through the course of an album. The album we are currently working on centers around free will, I would say. There are songs about being shaped by media, about being wrapped up in new obsession, and about trying to escape these influences. Sometimes the escape route is pretty dark so it’s good to have a danceable groove to deliver some of the heavier thoughts.

Name a pet peeve.


Ego. It’s impossible to make music with too many egos in the room. You can tell who has the biggest ego because they refuse to turn down their amp, usually.

Tell us about how you first started gigging.


We started off playing house parties, as every band should. That’s still a favorite for us, because we love to party. We started throwing Halloween parties in garages and backyards and now we just throw a much bigger version of that called Barnacle Bash. Last year’s bash was a major hit and we can’t wait for it to get bigger this year. We love to dress up and get wild.

Tell us about this creative project. What is it?


The Bad Barnacles has become a lifestyle. We do everything in house and everyone plays an important role. Outside of the music we’ve found each member’s talents and focused on using those talents to turn this project into a machine. We make the art, do all of the recording and engineering, film videos, manage and promote. It’s like a small community and we all feel like family. We set goals and dream big. But in order to reach any semblance of success, we have to make a lot of personal sacrifices. We live and breathe Barnacles around the clock it seems, but it’s paying off.

What do you sing in the shower? (Be honest.)


Mostly The Beatles if we can all fit in the same shower, but if alone, typically anything that reverberates into that sweet spot in the corner.

What drives you to keep interviewing even though the music industry can be so harsh?


We want to make a living off of this. This industry is not designed for the artists to make money, though, and it’s not getting any easier. So we are forced to be creative and resourceful and set some fairly idealistic goals. It’s very important for us to see the music community here in Sacramento grow, and that means that we need to find a way to make money. Entertainers have it rough and are taught that art should not be monetized by the creator—as if it’s blasphemous that an artist should be able to make a living off of creating beautiful things. The same people telling us that are the ones who are lining their pockets with our dreams and creativity. The industry needs to change and if that is going to happen, it’s going to take a community of artists to say “no” to labels, or to venues who want us to pay to play. We need to stand up for ourselves.

What message do you hope to give with your music?


The beauty of music is that it can be interpreted in any number of ways. We want people to come out and have a good time. We want to dance to sing and drink and grow together. Enjoy your life. That’s the message.

What's next for the band?


We are talking about a tour. Maybe a baby tour. We will also be releasing our third album before summer and we are so excited. We feel like we finally have the right parts to do something big. A tour wasn’t possible before and the past few years felt like a real struggle for everyone, but we made some changes and now we feel like the sky is the limit. We want to make something big in this community though. Right now, that’s our focus. But we can’t give too many details away. It’s bad luck to talk too much about something before it comes to fruition.

What's the best part of this experience?


All the love and support. The music community is so loving. We’ve met so many amazing people out here. It’s crazy to share a stage with some of these other musicians that we meet. We just love the whole thing though, from writing and recording to losing our minds on stage.

What’s your favorite song to perform live right now?


Our favorite song to perform live is currently “Strong River,” which will also be our next single. It has a great lead guitar hook that gets stuck in our heads.

Words to live by?


“Be like water.”

You're given a magic wand. What do you do with it?


Give it to our dog, Bear Bear the Barnacle Boy. He digs wands.

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