"There are cellos. Without apology" - hmv.com talks to Beach Slang
As their debut album The Things We Do To Find People Who Like Us hits shelves (you can preview and purchase it on the right-hand side of the page), we chatted to James Alex Snyder, frontman in heartswelling slacker punks Beach Slang, to find out all about making the album and using unapologetic cellos...
Your debut album finally arrives today, are you excited or nervous about releasing it?
"I suppose a good bit of both. I think, when you really, really care about a thing, those two feelings are meant to marry."
When did you start work on it? Do some songs date back a few years?
"I started writing these songs right after I finished writing our second EP, Cheap Thrills On A Dead End Street. I like to, for the most part, keep things in an as-they-happen order. The idea of documenting a framed period of being alive—something about that feels more honest to me. Of course, to immediately contradict myself, I did have "Young & Alive" and "Porno Love" written prior to writing for this record, but had no place to go with them. I think maybe they were waiting for Beach Slang."
What’s the song on the record you’re proudest of?
"This is a ten-way tie. Really, I mean that. I have this obsessive meticulousness to the things I make. Once they sit right in my guts, to me, they are perfect. And that's how each song on this record feels to me. I don't know another way to do the thing. Look, I can say I'm proud I had the guts to be as quiet and confessional as I am on "Too Late To Die Young". When you live guarded up, when you're used to not mattering, things like that feel kind of brave. And, there are cellos. Without apology."
Which song took the most work to get right?
"'Hard Luck Kid'. I mean, it came together rather quickly when I wrote and demoed it at home, but we definitely banged into some weirdo walls once the full band was added. But, yeah, sometimes having to push harder makes things better. I think that's kind of the deal here. I hope so, you know?"
Can you sum up the record lyrically?
"We are here. And we matter. Life is happening. Your life. Do that thing all the way. And when you get really alive, stitch that feeling on your favorite sleeve. And never let go."
Who are some of your favourite lyricists?
"Charles Bukowski, Blake Schwarzenbach and Stephin Merritt."
When did you settle on the title?
"It was in September 2014 at a broken-down pub in Montreal, Quebec."
Where there any other titles in contention?
"Not even one. As soon as the right one strikes, my head sort of stops the hunt, you know? I just know I've already found it."
You’ll be over here for a UK tour in early 2016, is that the start of a year of non-stop touring?
"It will, you know, as long as people want us around. I hope they do."
Beach House's debut album The Things We Do To Find People Who Like Us is out now.