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Beach House: Digging to the roots

Music that stays with you isn’t always the most complex in structure or elaborate in sound, but rather the most emotionally connective and thought provoking. The really good stuff can implant a new idea in your mind, feeding and watering it as it germinates and blooms.

Beach House are a band that makes this type of music; soundtracks to your daydreams, glittering soundscapes filled with things you never thought possible – poking and prodding at your inner psyche with mysterious yet direct intention.

The dream pop duo consisting of Baltimore’s Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand don’t try to create magic but somehow it happens.

We caught up with Alex to try and dig deep – right to the roots – of Beach House’s dazzling fourth album Bloom before their impending tour to Australia.

“We still really value simplicity, we write with just the two of us and a drum machine. We try to make our instruments play all of the parts we want to hear and the stuff that we aren’t playing is just background sound,” says Scally, apologising for rambling. I push him further, valuing his insight into the way he composes.

“It’s so hard to describe how we write. We go away and tour and then come back and write and somehow every album is different. It’s not intentional. We have this under bearing attraction to simplicity and yet we can create so much with it…”

There really aren’t words to describe the types of sounds on a Beach House album – especially Bloom. Every song is a little world, an atmosphere filled with intoxicating gases that knock you out and play with your mind. Yet when everything is boiled right down, Beach House are often given the label of dream pop.

“Most musical labels don’t make sense to me. They’re quiet vague but I think we all use them naturally. When you first get into something, you want to understand it and be a part of it and labels allow for this. Once you really get into music though, it all becomes irrelevant.”

“It becomes about what the music does to you. No labels are perfect and no labels are wrong but I never think about genre. It can only get in the way of listening to music. Maybe it’s Victoria’s voice? Maybe it’s our melodies? I don’t know what it is, but it’s very very instinctual to us. We try to generate everything from inside of us and just let it become what it becomes.”

“It’s all based on feeling.” Scally seems to linger on the statement – it’s possibly the only conceivable explanation for what Beach House really do.

“If something feels right we pursue it. If something isn’t right we cut it. We can edit it or just go back to the beginning. It’s hard because you might really love something but if it has the wrong feeling it has to be thrown out. We’re harsh in that way sometimes.”

The word bloom can simply be defined as a flourishing, which is quiet indicative of the album as a whole. Beach House are in their prime – glowing, healthy and beautiful with an unmatched sense of artistry.

“We liked the sound of the word and the way the word looked. The bit we really like though was that the word isn’t definite. It seems big enough to handle all the songs without closing them in.”

“The first thing you think of when you hear the word bloom is something really beautiful but when you really think more about it you know that the bloom will end. Everything that is a bloom is something that comes and goes and comes again. Giant, epic motions.”

Beach House hit Australian shores in January. Check out where they will be playing and when.

About the author

Cormack is a Melbourne based freelance writer and photographer. He loves to travel, drink red wine, and spin records. On the weekends you’ll most likely find him eating pork buns or shaking up cocktails for his friends.

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