Catching Up With Sinclair Riley of The She’s

By Lindsey Anderson
Banner photo by Julie Juarez

In 2011, The She’s released their debut EP ‘Then It Starts To Feel Like Summer’ which indeed felt like summer. The buzzy guitar riffs, dreamy vocals & breezy percussion managed to exude the feeling of excessive runs to the ice cream truck and lazy summer nights with good company. Fast forward to 2017 and The She’s are now working on their sophomore album “All Female Rock and Roll Quartet.” There are a lot things that make this upcoming record special; it’s the bands’ 1st self-produced record, everyone involved in the record production & artwork creation are women & the band received special counsel from Merrill Garbus of tUne-Yards while working on this record. With all this in mind, it made so much sense for Tom Tom to check in on one our favorite bands to see how things have progressed from 2011 to the present.  We got the chance to chat with the drummer of The She’s, Sinclair Riley on the new record, the Bay Area and tacos!

TT: The last time we chatted was 2012, what has changed about the band &/or yourselves between 2012 & 2017?

SR: Wow so much!! 2012 was 17 and 18, now we’re 22 and 23; so it has been a really formative five years. There’s been love, loss, lots of personal growth, exploration into different genres of music and new music scenes, playing music with new people, playing music in new places, new educational and work experiences; two of us even went vegetarian! Haha, so yeah, a lot has changed. I think these changes are definitely represented in our new album. It’s much more personal – we know ourselves a little better now. Fortunately, being best friends and playing music together has definitely not changed.

TT: You all reside in the Bay-Area, what are your favorite Bay-Area venues & why?

SR: Of course I will always love Bottom of the Hill (SF). I am so comfortable there and the staff is amazing. And they have great soyrizo tacos. Eli’s Mile High Club (Oakland) is awesome and they have a really cool layout. The outback area has a ton of seating, games, and again, really good soyrizo tacos. Definitely a place I want to get to early so I can hang outside with friends before the show.

We are so, so stoked to be having our record release later this month (november 21st pls come! ) at the Chapel (SF). Such a beautiful room with great sound. Good drinks 😉

So many of my favorite shows we’ve played have been at Rickshaw Stop (SF). Big but cozy room, again amazing staff, and the sound and lighting is top notch. The Fillmore (SF) is a classic. I don’t know who has been booking for them this year but they are on top of it!! I feel like every other show I go to lately is there. No help to my savings account but definitely worth it.

The She’s 2014 By Molly DeCoudreaux

TT: You worked with Merrill Garbus(aka tUnE-yArDs) on this album(who in my opinion is a fantastic music maker)what was it like working with her?

SR: Working with Merrill was such an honor. Just talking about the way she approaches recording was so helpful for us. Techniques we employed per her recommendation really effected the overall fullness of the record. And of course it was just very reassuring to go over our songs with someone so experienced and who’s taste we value so much.


TT: The title of this album is fantastic, was there a certain experience you recalled or a thought that lead you all to decide on that title?

SR: Actually, about midway through the week of recording Eva and I were taking a break for some fresh air and someone came by and was like “here take one, you’re in it!” And handed us a newspaper. Our little write up started with something along the lines of “local favorite all-female band” which we laughed at and then complained about because so many of our write-ups start with something like this. As if it’s so hard to just call us a “band,” there always has to be some implication of our gender and usually age in there. But why? So Eva and I went back inside with ‘Local Favorite All Female Garage Rock Quartet’ as a joke title and we all laughed about it. But as the week continued, we kept saying it. And then we were like “can we actually just call it that?”

We worked it down to ‘All Female Rock and Roll Quartet’ for the album title but we do still have an instrumental song under the name ‘Local Favorite All Female Garage Rock Quartet.’ It’s definitely satirical but it has this story behind it; and it’s meant to make people reflect on how they think about and what they call music made by people who are marginalized in this industry. What do those label do for you? How do they enhance your understanding? Do you need them? Why are they still here?

TT: What are your favorite songs from the album and why?

SR: The songs on this album vary greatly. They all remind me of a time and place so I love them all for different reasons. Okay, I’ll pick three though: ‘Holly’, ‘Sick’, and ‘Local Favorite Garage Rock Quartet.’ ‘Holly’ and ‘Sick’ are both so sad and so beautiful. They’re definitely a much more mellow turn for The She’s but in the best way possible. ‘Local Favorite…’ is this awesome groovy instrumental track that’s just super fun and weird. I’m excited for people to hear us do something new.


TT: You all played Outside Lands this year! How was that festival experience? What were some of your favorite performances?

SR: Outside Lands was such a dream! We went to this festival together for a few years when we were younger but as it’s gotten so expensive I haven’t been able to go in several years so it was really nice to experience again. I certainly had not been thinking that we had any chance playing OL when we got the call. I don’t know how to describe it; it just felt so special to be part of something that had a big affect on me when I was younger. It was definitely enhanced by being VIP – the really nice porta-potties, less crowded viewing areas and free snacks; now that I know what that’s like I don’t know if I could go back! But music festivals are a little too overwhelming for me now anyways. My favorite sets have to be between Solange and Tove Lo; but everything was amazing!

TT: What are your band goals for 2018?

SR: Go to new places & get some new experiences under our collective belt. It has been a long time since we released an album, it’s really exciting, but it kind of feels like a new experience because we’re at such different places in our lives now. And this one is really special. It also comes with a booklet of the lyrics accompanied by a piece of art by one of our friends or family members for each song. I really want to share this with a lot of people. We’re figuring out tour stuff right now (we’re all either in school or have too many jobs) but hopefully we’ll be going big. We’ve only ever toured along the west coast so there’s a lot out there for us.

TT: If there was one food item that encompassed the vibe/feel/energy of your album, what would it be and why?

SR: I feel compelled to say something super creative but now all I can think about is soyrizo tacos. Maybe I’ll go with a burrito because it’s a bunch of different things mixed together in a nice package and in the end it all goes good together. Plus we recorded at Different Fur Studios which is in the mission so we ate a lot of burritos.

Also sandwiches; which would also work with this metaphor. But burritos and sandwiches are nice normal foods for me and while this album has an air of warmth and comfort, we were definitely pushing our boundaries more…so maybe I’ll add like…some hot sauce cause I have a terribly low tolerance for spicy so that’d be pretty exciting for me haha. I hope that comes somewhat close to conveying what I mean!

The She’s 2017 by Jeff Hao

“All Female Rock and Roll Quartet” is available for preorder here & will be released via Empty Cellar Records on November 17th 2017

Get tickets to their All Ages November 21st record release show at The Chapel here

Follow The She’s: Facebook//Bandcamp//Twitter//Instagram


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