Noise Pop Preview: Q&A w/ A B & The Sea

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Helena Price

Guitarists Joe Spargur and Koley O'Brien of the new indie-pop quintet A B & The Sea moved out to San Francisco from Winneconne, Wisconsin at the end of 2008. They came at the suggestion of the Morning Benders to take a serious stab at the music business. It seems to be paying off.

A B & The Sea recorded a five-song EP at San Francisco's Different Fur Studios, produced by Wallpaper.'s Eric Frederic and Morning Bender Chris Chu. The tunes are available for free download at the band's Web site, where a tiered system unlocks a new track once enough people have traded their email addresses for the previous one. The spunky act's sound is reminiscent of '60s Top 40 radio--equal parts Beatles and Beach Boys. With flawless harmonies and flashing grins, the group has powerful pop weaponry at its disposal.

A B & The Sea plays Sunday, Feb. 28th at Bimbo's Noise Pop Closing Show. They'll also play an acoustic set Friday, March 5th at the Swedish American Hall.

We chatted with Spargur and O'Brien about buddying up to the Morning Benders, recording their version of Beyonce, and choosing the best Beatle.

Why did you decide to come out to San Francisco?

Koley O'Brien: We met the band The Morning Benders when we were recording in San Diego, and they dug our stuff. We ended up doing them a favor and letting them sleep on our floor when they came to Wisconsin. They ended up showing our stuff to their record label, and said that we should really think about coming out to SF and recording.

How did you come up with the name A B & The Sea?

KO: I came up with the name when I started writing this stuff. It was kinda one-man acoustic stuff and I had been in a lot of indie bands before that. I wanted to do something different, write more simple music like the Beatles did back in the day, and the stuff that I was writing was kinda beachy. I though all lyrics come from words and all words come from the alphabet, so A B ... and we kinda have an ocean-y vibe, so A B & the S-E-A.

How long have you been playing your instrument?

KO: I've been playing since I was 9.

How long have you been writing music?

KO: I wrote my first song in 6th grade, so, like 15 years.

Is your first song going to resurface?

KO: I don't know about that. I was with a few good friends of mine from back home and we were digging through some of my old notebooks and man, some of those lyrics were just embarrassing!


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