To say Beach Slang have experienced a busy recent period is an understatement. A debut album still fresh in the minds (and ears) of listeners, and then lots of subsequent touring. This July, the Pennsylvanian band comes Down Under for Splendour In the Grass, and to perform on their own sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney. Killyourstereo.com recently chatted with the band to discuss the significant past 12 months.
How has 2016 treated you so far? I see you’ve recently played the Pacific North-West and Northern Californian dates (all beautiful cities of the US each) on your US tour. How’s everything in the Beach Slang camp?
2016 has kind of been everything a rock & roll year should be, right? Glorious and messy, sweaty and charging, clumsy and triumphant. What I mean is, it’s been pretty perfect. Yeah, the Pacific Northwest is unfairly beautiful. I feel wildly at home there. With Slang, things are really, really right-on right now. There’s been a dumb, sweet glow hanging around us lately. I dig it.
You played SXSW this year. As an outsider looking in, the annual event looks like it opens itself up to plenty of entertaining and memorable occasions. What was your experience like?
It was ferocious, soft-hearted, humid and wild. I loved every bit of the thing. We played like 12 shows in five days or something. It was a gigantic blur, but in the best way something can get blurry. I also got to meet Bob Mould and Matt Pinfield, which still knocks me out, you know?
With a debut album, some previous EPs, plus plenty of local and international touring, inevitably comes a busier schedule. How are you finding balancing the life of a professional musician versus outside commitments when at home?
Yeah, that’s the trickiest bit about this whole deal. I don’t know, I mean, I try to walk the line. I try to serve both things fully. It’s easier than you think. I think.
‘The Things We Do…’ has been out for more than half a year now. How do you tend to view your music when in retrospect? I know some authors, in particular, tend to find it hard to look back on their work because they’re always analysing ways in which they could’ve made the finished product even better. Where does your opinion sit in regards to past music?
I’m definitely a not-look-backer. I suppose I really push myself to push forward. Sometimes, I’ll have an accidental listen and, yeah, those have felt alright. It feels good to think you didn’t completely mess a thing up or that your work is fighting to hold up. But, mostly, I try not to take those chances. Keep charging, you know?
All bands seem to encounter sliding doors moments in their career, usually early on, where they have to decide whether to continue pursuing their art or, perhaps, start to consider other endeavours. What, if any, was a key moment in the infancy of Beach Slang where you had to make a significant decision?
For us, well, for me, that all-in thing happened in February of 2015. I was working as a graphic artist at this really right-on design house in Philadelphia when Cursive rang about taking Slang on the “Ugly Organ” tour. Jumping into that was us removing the safety net. It was us saying, “this is what we’re doing and we are going to do it all the way.” Sometimes, I don’t know that I know another way. I’m unapologetically romantic. I’ve always had a wild-dreamer head. I suppose I always will.
You’re coming down to Australia for SITG, and for some sideshows. What’s on the Aussie itinerary? What would you like to do, outside of the shows, when here?
Ah, man, we are flipped out to get there. I mean, purring. I don’t know, we’re kind of terrible planners so we keep itineraries pretty loose. 75% of the band surfs so, yeah, we definitely want to make that happen. We also want to (or at least try to) hug and/or high five a koala and a kangaroo. Look, man, I just want to dive, full on, into the culture. I want to get dumbly touristy. I want to drink really great beer and meet even greater people. I want to fly back home feeling sweetly destroyed.
What were some influential albums that got the ball rolling in terms of making you want to pick up an instrument and start a band?
The first records I ever heard that made me want to play rock & roll were “Tommy” by The Who and “Singles Going Steady” by The Buzzcocks. The first one that made me think I could was “Ramones” by The Ramones. Once I shoved my way in and started figuring some things out, these made me think that maybe I was meant to hang a guitar around my neck: Dear You” by Jawbreaker, “Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash” by The Replacements, “Louder Than Bombs” by The Smiths, “London Calling” by The Clash, “Talk, Talk, Talk” by The Psychedelic Furs and “Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys.
Catch Beach Slang performing at Splendour In the Grass, and on their sideshows.