Only two weeks into their existence, San Francisco-based psych-electronic trio Lemonade coalesced remarkably fast and performed their first show in 2005. The group- comprised of childhood friends Callan Clendenin (vocals), Alex Pasternak (percussion) and Ben Steidel on bass-did not have grand expectations for the project outside of exploring their shared vision of a place that they have never been: a fantasy landscape that is at once gritty and pristine, tropical and foreboding.
Inspired initially by their interest in drone music, dancehall, and Pasternak's training in Arab and Latin music, they allowed spontaneity, improvisation and intuition to be their fulcrum, allowing them to experience the energy of music-making without having to adapt to the expectations of a rock band. They have since incorporated influences from the spectrum of electronic music, taking cues from the burgeoning UK grime and dubstep scenes, as well as acid house, minimal techno, and the early 'ardkore anthems of Suburban Bass and XL Recordings. While rooted in DIY/hardcore pathos, Lemonade has come to embrace elements of rave culture historically unpopular in the punk community.
Though they've created their own niche in San Francisco's underground-where they are as likely to play an all-night rave, DIY warehouse, or a world music night-they are also a part of an entire community of punk-rooted outsider dance music in the Bay Area, from kindred spirits Tussle to longtime friends C.L.A.W.S., Oro11 of Bersa Discos, and Kid606, progenitor of San Francisco's weird dance aesthetic. Lemonade's sweaty, frenzied live performances have become the talk of the town, always lugging their own soundsystem wherever they go to ensure high fidelity and chest-rattling bass. The result often stuns audiences with their deep, explosive beats, blissed-out samples, and a relentless danceable pulse. They have supported touring acts as diverse as Diplo, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Maga Bo, White Williams, Modeselektor, Crystal Castles, Les Georges Leningrad, and Holy Fuck.
The group's self-titled debut-recorded by Chris Coady (TV On The Radio, Blonde Redhead) for True Panther Sounds-is full of the big beats and heavy psychedelic noises that are central to Lemonade's sound, while touching on elements of North African rai, dub, breakbeat, and samba. The music continues to be defined by the fantasy of where they are going rather than where they have been, a journey to a mysterious, ecstatic place that is the origin of their desire.