This is a blog dedicated to the American band, Beirut. Enjoy.
Admin Blog: discoanddessert.tumblr.com
Beirut / The Concubine.
I can’t wait to see them next weekend. I just can’t wait for next weekend period. FYF is going to be fucking amazing on both days. Friends/Family/Weed/alcohol/Music amazing.
I have such mad love for Beirut. I think my falling point was the first time I watched A Take Away Show by them. Youtube it to define talent. I learned of them from Chipswow [Scampi]’s cover of their song “Nantes” when I was a junior in high school. I’ve been falling ever since.
Guyamas Sonora | Beirut | The Flying Club Cup
No, I was not there on the church stairs.
The wind in my hair, the flood through my tears.
(In no specific order)
- Postcards from Italy -Beirut
- Jacksonville -Sufjan Stevens
- Lorelai -Fleet Foxes
- Chicago (Adult Contemporary Easy Listening Version) -Sufjan Stevens
- Half Of You -Cat Power
- Casimir Pulaski Day -Sufjan Stevens
- Scythian Empire -Andrew Bird
- Bedouin Dress -Fleet Foxes
- Romulus -Sufjan Stevens
- Danse Carribe -Andrew Bird
- Elephant Gun -Beirut
- Tower -Bon Iver
(Anything by Sufjan Stevens and/or Fleet Foxes would fit here, but this is what I listened to today.)
This will be Beirut’s second time at Coachella — you guys were there in 2009. What was that experience like?
It was a pretty intense experience, actually. We are so used to European festivals and it was great to get something in California. We were watching Antony & The Johnsons and it was around 5 o’clock and it was so hot that I almost fainted.
The sound system had a meltdown in the middle of the set. They had this orchestra on stage so everything came to a grinding halt, and it was this really sad moment. And then suddenly the strings and everything came blaring back in and it turned into this really beautiful experience. [laughs]
Beirut creates amazing sounds with so many different instruments, including trumpet, ukulele, electric bass, trombone and tuba. Did any of the band members learn to play these instruments after already being together as a group? Or did everyone come to the table multi-talented?
Actually, most people came to the group as friends and they picked up instruments according to what was on the album at the time. In fact, when I met our now accordion player, his main instrument was cello. He picked up the accordion for the first time after playing with the group. He kind of locked himself in a room for two weeks and came out being able to play the accordion! It was pretty fantastic.
What other Coachella bands are you excited to see this year?
Everyone in the band is super excited about Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre!
How many different instruments can everybody play each?
On average, I think about four.
Wow! Is that normal for musicians?
I think that’s becoming normal. It’s starting to become something that people are interested in: being well-versed and well-rounded as musicians.
You’ve said that you dad is obsessed with music and encouraged you guys to play the guitar. What kind of music did he play for you growing up?
He wanted me to be a guitar player as well, but a couple things stopped me. He played a lot of Van Morrison, The Beatles and The Beach Boys for us. There was a very healthy bias of 60s pop music, which I’m very thankful for. The best thing for him was Doo-wop and Motown. The first tape I ever bought was a Beach Boys tape.
Some have said that your most recent album, The Rip Tide, has “the most introspective songs” of your career. Do you agree?
I would. In the process of recording this, I was really trying, for the first time in my life, to settle down in one place and focus. I guess in some ways the traveling had taken its toll.
It was strange to stay in one place for six months. I was in upstate New York during that time, and usually I go back to New Mexico where I grew up, but this time I decided to not go where I was used to.
You guys are a big group and you have had many former band mates. How do you keep so many different personalities together working well? What do you do when people want to kill each other?
It’s a work in progress. You’re not going to get it right right away. You know what’s funny? I think in the beginning, my youthful exuberance and being in the band kind of helped everyone get along. And now it’s just a well-oiled machine. We never had that phase where we were burning out in the studio and learning to hate each other.
You have been all over the world as a musician. You grew up in Santa Fe and then dropped out of high school to travel to Europe. Aside from hearing the music of different countries, how has travel shaped you as a person and as an artist? Is there a trip you will always look back on as a turning point?
I was at this point in my life, around the age of 17, when I just decided that I wanted to be out in the world. It didn’t matter where. And it’s always been that way since. So, I hate to say something as cliché as “it makes you well-rounded,” but the truth is it’s just humbling to go to Japan and have to spend an entire month just pointing and smiling a lot. I think my sign language is better than anything else [laughs].
When you headed off to Europe as a 17-year-old, you spent most of your time in Paris. What made you choose that city over others?
Film. Adolescent daydreams. There’s no higher calling than that!
You have such an amazing and distinctive voice. Is there anyone you used to listen to or listen to now whose voice really gives you goosebumps?
There’s a lot of people, actually. Growing up, it was Jeff Bengum. Bonnie “Prince” Billy and the album “I See A Darkness” can give me shivers. Some of the opening notes on that really get to me.
How do you work? Do you work alone on something for a while and then get together with the group?
When I start, I always start completely alone. I don’t know, there’s something self-conscious for me about the roots of songs, and I need to be in a place where I can introduce and present them to those closest to me. So I started off completely alone and then when I had some demos laid out, then they came and lived with me for a couple of weeks and we laid out every single instrumental on the album in that tiny little period.
Do you like being on stage?
I do. I mean it took a while. You have to imagine, I was quite inexperienced playing my first show. It’s not like I grew up playing shows — I literally hopped on stage for the first time in front of 2,000 people. Welcome to the internet era, I guess?
How do you confront writer’s block or periods of not feeling creative?
By panicking and freaking out. I know people who have great systems for working around blocks and I’ve never been one of those people. I’m either off or on and that’s that. I can’t fight it. I don’t have a system, I never did.
I’ve heard the idea tossed around a lot recently that if you put in a certain about of hours, there’s like this golden number of hours, and then suddenly you become a professional at something. I just couldn’t disagree more.
You grew up spending most of your time locked in your room making music. You dropped out of high school and then some colleges. But did you always believe that you would become a successful musician or did you just do it because music felt right to you?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t kind of expect some results in the end, you know? It comes back to that kind of gumption that you have as a teenager, where you’re convinced that whatever you’re doing is super important [laughs]. But I had this feeling. And I lied to my parents and told them I was dropping out of high school for other reasons (I said I was going to go to community college and that I wanted to travel), but music was the reason.
Waking up for school felt like a waste of my time. But more than that, it was a hunger. An insatiable hunger. I had horrible insomnia. I wasn’t an outsider by any means, but I definitely had trouble understanding the ins and outs of the social sphere. I just had this hunger to relate somehow and I think music made that possible.
How do your parents feel about your music career now? Are they proud of you?
They’re quite content [laughs]. I actually find it pretty brave of them to have let me do that. Just the fact that they let a young kid try his own fate at such a young age. I was pretty amazed that that happened.
You have a great song called Santa Fe. If you were to write a song called Los Angeles, what do you think it would it be about?
I like Los Angeles. I’ve worked with the director Alma Har’el and we’ve done videos together and I did the soundtrack to her film “Bombay Beach.” The thing about Santa Fe was trying to relive these kind of feelings from my youth. Like if I could get back in that mindset and inhabit that space. With LA, I supposed I’d try to find something that rang true with me. I’m not entirely sure what that would be until I tried to do it. Maybe I’ll give it shot!
In one of the first interviews you did years ago, you said that you hadn’t yet been to Beirut. Have you now?
No! There have been offers, there have been ideas. I think one day I’m just going to have to buy a plane ticket and go for it.
Oberhofer, The Hives, Bon Iver, Beirut, Gotye, Florence + The Machine are on today, just to name a few =D
Beirut - A Sunday Smile