Bear Attack is a five-piece indie pop rock band from Los Angeles. Their music has strong piano and drums with some softer vocals, and they claim to be inspired by bands ranging “from Radiohead to Beethoven, and anything in between.” Their EP Shapes—which was funded as a Kickstarter project and released in April of last year—is currently for sale on iTunes. Three of their songs have been featured on ABC Family’s Pretty Little Liars (PLL). They played on Pomona’s campus at Art After Hours last week, and TSL got a chance to ask them some questions about college, music, and life.
TSL: How did you feel about performing at Pomona? Where do you normally perform?
Bear Attack: We loved performing at Pomona! We all met and go to school at USC, so we’re pretty accustomed to playing there—it’s our home base…. We really like playing on college campuses; students genuinely seem to be interested in having a good time at shows (the Pomona crowd danced … a lot … it was great), and usually like to spread the word around if they like what they hear.
TSL: How did you meet up and form a band?
BA: We all met while attending USC’s Thornton School of Music. Four of us are part of the popular music performance major and naturally gravitated to each other because of that. Brandon, our guitar player, graduated last year in the Studio Jazz Guitar program. As of May, we’ll all be out of school and will be living in [Los Angeles] making music!
TSL: Do you have any advice for college students involved in music?
BA: Enjoy your time! Have fun and do your homework. And practice. But not too much.
TSL: What’s the story behind the name “Bear Attack”?
BA: This is one of those questions where we wish we had a brilliant story about how the name came about. In reality, we were trying really hard to figure out a name … and had gotten so desperate that at one point, we even resorted to using one of those random online band name generator websites. Eventually, we decided we want[ed] to include something about bears in the name. Bear Attack got thrown in initially as a half-joke, but for some reason it just stuck. It’s probably not at all descriptive of our sound—people probably expect us to sound like a death metal band or something, which could not be farther from reality. We like that about it, though, because then our music is kind of like a fun surprise!
TSL: Can you tell me a little bit about your experience with Kickstarter to record your first EP?
BA: Kickstarter is one of those things that make[s] you feel like you’re sticking your neck out—you have all these ideas in your head, but you never really know who will actually help out when the time comes. We were really surprised to see who poured their love into supporting us. They put a lot of trust into us by volunteering to help fund our record, so it really fueled our fire and made us want to create something awesome to show them their support was worthwhile. Having lots of people being excited about your art is one of the most encouraging things in the world, and we’re extremely thankful to have so much support.
TSL: How did your songs get on Pretty Little Liars?
BA: Marlene King, the creator of Pretty Little Liars, heard our music and fortunately really connected with it. Her favorite was “The Backpack Song,” and she told us that she would try to work it into a show somehow. Not only did PLL use “The Backpack Song” on the season three finale, but they also used “August” and “Shine” in a couple other episodes. It was surreal watching each of those shows. … We’re really lucky that we got to have our music in a show with such a dedicated fan base that actually takes the time to look up what music has been played. Because the viewership of the show is international, it has really given us an invaluable opportunity for our music to reach ears it may never have reached otherwise.
TSL: What do you hope people will get out of your music?
BA: At the end of the day, we just want to create music that makes people feel something. If we can connect with listeners, we’re happy. Knowing that your song can brighten someone’s bad day or bring them back to a specific moment in their life is really awesome. We’re such fans of music that if our songs can do even a fraction of what some of our favorites do for us, we can rest easy.
Bear Attack plays good, indie pop rock with sincere lyrics about being with someone, thinking about someone, being in love with someone, wishing to be in love with someone, and more. On one hand, it is upbeat, pretty, rhythmic music. On the other, if you listen to the lyrics and you are pining over someone, it might get a little sad. Still, I’m pretty in love with the fact that they use the sound of rainfall as a background for an entire song. Take a listen for yourself at omgbearattack.bandcamp.com.