Santa Monica based band Native June kicks things into gear


Under a pale, gauzed, twisted, hanging mannequin in a crowded black rehearsal space, the band Native June prepares for their first shows outside of California.

Lead guitarist Martial Chaput, bassist Tristan Hendy, and drummer Jake DeSouza set up their instruments as they awaited lead singer Gabe Watson. In the middle of an impromptu tuning and jam session, he arrives and they charge into their single "Saturday Night."

While influences within the band range from 60's rock ‘n' roll, Queens of the Stone Age, punk, Weezer, The Police, and Tom Petty, the band gears its sound towards early Kings of Leon, Bloc Party, and The Clash.

"We often refer to our music as grit rock music, its kind of a new thing," said Watson, "so if you like inventions and new music, you will like Native June."

Their songs are gritty, energetic, and upbeat. "Saturday Night" from their first, independently released album Whiskey and Walnuts is catchy enough to remember for days.

The band just signed to Planet L.A. Records in October, has existed for five years with the two senior members, added drummer DeSouza in recent months, and the French native and resident Santa Monica College philosophy major, Chaput, just over one year ago.

"When the band name started, none of us were from Los Angeles, and the irony now is half the band is from L.A," said Hendy. "And ingeniously the band was formed in June, hence the name Native June. That's right, that's one of a thousand different reasons this band is named that way, you just learned one of them."

Each band member goes on to improvise their own fictional band name origin. Watson's involves a Native American named June while Chaput says his in French and throws in an elephant noise for confusion, a nod to their logo which is an elephant wielding a guitar in its trunk.

Native June joined the Abolitionist Tour with label mates Djinn and Evolove on the road to South by Southwest (SXSW). The band is excited about going out of state for shows and gaining more followers.

Their tour is partnered with Not For Sale, "which is to stop the human trafficking and sex trafficking, specifically of children, so come out, support all the shows, help us stop this horrible industry," said Hendy.

Going to one of Native June's shows, one can expect mostly, all original music. "We've been working on a Rolling Stones tune," said Watson, "'Can't Always Get What You Want.' So true; but we're gonna get it."

Native June releases their second album, Ocean to Sunset in June.