an interview with beach house
    • MONDAY, FEBRUARY 08, 2010

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    When first confronted with Teen Dream, the surprisingly fleshed out new record from notoriously lo-fi Beach House, I was pleasantly surprised at the young bands growth. The best example of their development came in the form of "Used To Be", a single which noticeably morphed from simplicity (on the single) to the complex world of the new record (on Teen Dream). When I asked singer/keyboardist Victoria Legrand about the change, her answer made sense. "The song didn't fit. It wasn't good enough."

    Teen Dream is a well thought out, meticulously crafted aesthetic. Although the name, like the name of the band, was blurted out at an inspired moment, according to Alex Scally (guitarist and vocalist), it seemed to fit perfectly with a lot of the feelings the band was having. "Intensely passionate, unrealistically obsessed, free, innocent"... Teen Dream is the closest approximation to the abstraction of sounds and ideas permeating through the record. "Used To Be", while lyrically in tact, has evolved to include a broader range of dreamy instrumentation and harmonies, and as a result fits in with its counterparts like "Silver Soul" and "Norway". Thus the complexity is established.

    "We've taken everything one step at a time" - Scally

    The band discussed the very personal process of making music, and we were although eager to hear their thoughts, they frequently dismissed them as boring. Playing the same songs over and over night after night, according to Legrand, the duo have no interest in listening to their work anymore. Rather, they use the experience as a divining rod, pointing them towards sounds and experiences they'd like to continue... as well as sounds the band has grown tired of producing. "Because it's just not how [we] feel anymore" said Legrand, while discussing the swap from instantaneous lo-fi to a more panoramic, big sound. "but we retained a lot, same instruments... we just pushed sounds farther."

    Visually the band continues to grow, using an understated but energetic selection of colored set pieces (glowing different colors for different moods). "We're constantly trying to think of new ways to visually do it, with our limited means." said Scally, joking that the future would hold more spectacular things. Pyrotechnics, balloon drops, and even something called "ant-technics". Legrand wanted dolphins jumping in sync, and honestly, the visual isn't so far off from the music and the images it conjures.

    More than anything, the band is excited to have the music released to the genral public. Having worked "longer and more insanely" on Teen Dream than other records, the duo was eager to get some feedback. More than critical acclaim or ratings, the pair seemed more interested in reaching regular people in an emotionally charged sort of experience. "We hope that people have a real reaction, that they feel something, that it reaches them somewhere," Scally said. "I don't care how, just that its real." Legrand had stated her theories of songwriting previously; a deeply personal process that is ultimetely not about the songwriter. The songs are made to be "shot out", to connect, perhaps being the "soundtrack to some devastating moment." The phrase in itself, so simple and true, solidifies in my mind the genuine talent of the band and their music.

    The pair talked a lot about energies, the same energies uniting the records, a built-up energy being released with Teen Dream, etc. Certainly there was an outpour of energy when the band took the stage last week at The Bell House, and we were incredibly honored to capture it on film. Stay tuned for the full video interview, as well as the entire album release concert only on Baeble.

    As for the band, they plan to tour endlessly. "We'll tour and tour, and then we'll know what needs to happen next" said Scally, and if their theories of self-discovery are true, by next winter we'll have a new sounding Beach House... fresh, affecting, and always true to their will. We're all looking forward to more of their soundtracks... whether devastating, full of joy or something completely different. As Legrand says in "Walk In The Park", "only time can know me." The rest of us will be waiting to see what is next. -joe puglisi

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