This past December, Roosevelt held a battle of the bands competition in which five bands played to win. While Butter Boy took home the prize for best band at the battle, there is another band that many Roosevelt students know and love. Bleachbear has been around since 2012, gaining quite a large Seattle fan base. The band is comprised of sisters Annabella Bird Cooley and Tigerlily Cooley, and their cousin Emiko Nakagawa Grantt. Annabella, who plays the drums in Bleachbear, is a Junior at Roosevelt.
“We like to call our genre ‘dream-pop grunge’. Our music has changed a ton though since we first started so it’s difficult to give it a label” says Annabella of the band’s unique sound. “Our first album definitely had a lot of folk influences and was very inspired by the pacific Northwest sound. Our second album was much more upbeat and had a lot of grunge and surf elements to it. Our third album that we’re working on right now is a lot more electronic and pop-y.We’re always changing it up and gathering influences from different places and different bands.”
Bleachbear has enjoyed unprecedented success in the years since 2012, receiving recognition from such acclaimed sources as Seattle Weekly and MoPOP. “One of my favorite things about being in Bleachbear is getting to be a part of the local music scene” says Annabella on her experiences since the band formed. “ I’ve met so many inspiring people and just get to be part of this amazing community that I wouldn’t have been a part of otherwise. Also, just the fact that I’ve been able to play on stages like Neumos and the Crocodile that I’d only ever seen bands I looked up to playing on
before is a super cool feeling.”
There have been both upsides and downsides to working with her family in Bleachbear, says Annabella. “It can be both a blessing and a curse at times…it’s helpful in the sense that we’re all super blunt with each other and so if we’re writing music and something sounds bad or if someone’s singing sounds off, we’ll just tell them straight up. I think the honesty makes our music better. It also makes it scheduling practices and other things super easy because well, we live together, so we literally practice all the time. On the flip side though, family is family so we fight a lot and all that just like any sisters do.”
The band’s success has led to many new and exciting opportunities for its members. “One of my favorite memories is when we played at the EMP for their “Women Who Rock” exhibit in 2013” says Annabella. “It was still pretty early on in our career, and all the sudden we were asked to open this huge event with a whole bunch of legendary women in the rock scene. We felt totally unqualified for the spot and were so nervous it’s funny. And then to top it all off, Tigerlily, the lead singer, got laryngitis right before the show and lost her voice. It was a total hot mess. Nonetheless, we went on, and we laugh about it now.”
Looking into the future, the members of Bleachbear are eager to continue making music and performing. “In terms of short term goals, we’re working on our third album right now, and we’re trying out a lot of new things with our sound which is exciting. We’re also planning a West Coast tour for this summer, which should be a super cool time.”
photo by: Alabastro Photography