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Cutting Loose

event scmfScissors For Lefty looks forward to a pants-off dance-off at the SCMF

Bryan Garza has some wonderful memories of South By Southwest in Austin, Texas. He has similar feelings for San Francisco's annual Noise Pop and the CMJ Music Marathon, held every year in New York City.

All three festivals—which take place over a number of days at various venues scattered all over their respective locales—offer fans and bands alike the opportunity to really explore a city's landscape and culture through live music.

"When I went to CMJ with all my friends from college, it was great!" recalls Garza, who sings and plays guitar with San Francisco indie outfit Scissors For Lefty. "It helped me discover a new city. It was awesome."

Garza, who grew up making frequent weekend trips from his native San Jose to the beaches of New Brighton in Capitola and Seacliff in Aptos—and who has performed all over town—says he is "stoked" to be a part of the inaugural Santa Cruz Music Festival on July 20, and has high hopes for the event's future.

"I love these festivals when the focus is not just on two or three bands," Garza says, explaining that he feels festivals are more about discovery and camaraderie and building relationships. He feels that Santa Cruz has a character similar to Austin, which makes it ideal for a music festival. "Santa Cruz is somewhat similar and weird in a good way."

Garza is also pretty pumped about his band's forthcoming full-length record, Drugstore Perfume, which he anticipates will be officially released by the end of the summer, although he says fans who come to the Santa Cruz show will hear new songs and be able to purchase a special flash drive containing just about every SFL song ever recorded, including the new album.

Garza says the new LP combines the D.I.Y. feel of the band's 2005 debut, Bruno, with the heavily produced feel of their 2007 sophomore effort, Underhanded Romance. While it certainly feels like a "homemade product," he says, the band has also picked up a lot of production know-how and made a lot of sound engineer friends over the years. On Drugstore the band pulled out their bag of tricks, called on anyone who was willing to lend a hand, and perhaps most importantly, they took their time.

They cobbled the record together over the course of countless late-night sessions, according to Garza. "Our day jobs are crazy," the singer says, explaining how he got into a pattern of coming home from work around 7 p.m., taking a nap, getting up and working on music until 2 a.m. the next day, before catching a few more winks and rising once more at 6 a.m. to return to the office.

It may sound less than ideal, but Garza seems as if he is genuinely nostalgic about the process. "There is something magical that happens when you take a nap," he says, noting that he never felt like he was forcing himself to write. In fact, he described the making of the record as "leisurely."

It also was undoubtedly helpful that they didn't have a record company breathing down their neck. Though Scissors For Lefty are still associated with their previous labels, Eenie Meenie and Rough Trade records, they basically made Drugstore on their own terms and their own time.

Garza expects they will reach out to Eenie Meenie and Rough Trade soon to see about helping with distribution, promotion and the like, but for right now, he says he is just excited about getting out and playing shows.

"Hopefully the weather's warm," he says of the Santa Cruz Music Festival. "Because we've been having a lot of fun taking off our pants." 


The Santa Cruz Music Festival takes place from 10 a.m.-midnight, Saturday, July 20 at various locations in Downtown Santa Cruz. For more information, visit santacruzmusicfestival.com. Tickets are $30-40. 16+.

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