Big ups to Long Beach trio Thy Squid for sounds that elude pithy descriptions. These three scruffy-haired scholars—guitarist/vocalist Matthew Hill, bassist Daniel Chavez and drummer Kai Kaner—met while attending Long Beach State and specialize in spectrum-bending, high-energy prog rock that calls to mind Led Zeppelin, Mother's Milk-era Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Mars Volta. Not a bad start for a trio of fresh-faced ingenues.
OC Weekly: In three words or less, categorize your sound.
Daniel Chavez: I was actually talking with my friend about this earlier—jazz thrash.
Matthew Hill: Daniel has also used the term “gypsy thrash” to describe us. I always thought that was the best.
Kai Kaner: I've always said hard rock or experimental rock because it's centered on Zeppelin and the Mars Volta. Those are two prime influences.
Speaking of influences, who are some individual musicians who've influenced you?
Kaner: Thomas Pridgen was the last drummer for the Mars Volta, and I feel like I reflect on everything he plays. I also really enjoy listening to John Bonham and Stuart Copeland from the Police.
Hill: Guitar-wise, I'd say Omar Rodriguez-López, Wes Montgomery and Jack White. As far as vocally, definitely Cedric from the Mars Volta. When I go into my mellower stuff, Neil Young and Frank Zappa are big influences of mine.
Chavez: Flea by far; Les Claypool from Primus, though I wouldn't say I reflect his style, and Entwistle from the Who.
So what's the focus right now? Gigging, touring, recording?
Hill: We just finished recording a three-song EP, with Ikey Owens from the Mars Volta producing it. . . . We haven't confirmed on a record label to release it, but we're looking to do so in the fall. And we're going to tour this summer to promote it—probably around all of California.
Talk a little about working with Ikey.
Hill: It was really cool. He came to four rehearsals of ours and really got to know our songs, kind of how we do things and us a lot. It's like working with a friend—he's very casual about things, and he tries to get the best out of you. There was a slight disagreement about a few things, but we were able to work them through. I felt like I learned a lot and definitely grew in the process.
Who are some of the Long Beach bands you're grooving on right now?
Hill: I like Wild Pack of Canaries. And the Littlest Viking—I think they're amazing. I love those guys. Ruben [Cortez] is the man.
Chavez: Locally, the Vespertines. I really think they're pretty cool. Their EP is really great.
Kaner: I've known their drummer since high school. Me and Chris Walker were in drum line together.
This column appeared in print as “Squid Rock City!”