Hey guys, thanks for finding the time to chat! What’s new in the world of Beach Season?
Simon: The world of Beach Season… Well it’s been a year of change for us. We left our label about 4 months ago and now we’re focused on rebuilding our team. We’re taking all the experience gained from two years with a label and making something on our own with it.
Big changes! Was deciding to venture on your own something you’ve both wanted to do for a long time? How does being independent differ from your experience with a label?
Simon: Not exactly, but we knew there were certain things we weren’t totally happy with and it was time to make the change.
Sam: The largest challenge so far is the lack of a budget... A label is an investor. We would love to write in a professional studio every day, but that’s clearly no longer a possibility. That being said, venturing on our own has taught us to be more resourceful and self-sufficient in ways we never thought we could be and I think that leads to the best artistry. We’ve gotten better at understanding ourselves - which I think is key to building longevity.
Even while we were signed to a label the lines often got blurred. It can get quite hard to know what exactly it is you want to do when someone else is always in your ear. As soon as we took a step back we were like “oh this is what we want to do. How do we go over here? Let’s figure it out.”
"We’ve gotten better at understanding ourselves - which I think is key to building longevity"
Now that you’ve managed to turn down some of the incoming noise does it feel like you’ve regained a stronger sense of direction?
Simon: It’s still not really a clear direction... But at least now it is our direction. We’ve taken a step back and can see what it is we really want to do. The label was great in many ways, and was also extremely valuable in showing us things we don’t necessarily want. We learned how nuanced this whole thing is and how important it is to be selective with what we’re trying to build.
I find we rarely come up with a definitive answer to what we really want. Things change and we evolve, but so long as we know we’re moving in the right direction we can relax. Speaking of landing on the right direction - how did you two discover you originally wanted to make music?
Sam: One of our friends actually moved to Malaysia when we were really young. He showed me all this music like Mount Kimbie, Shlohmo, and all these guys from America that were huge in Southeast Asia. I had never heard of any of this stuff. It was completely new to me. I was totally enamored by it and thought “How can I do this!?”
I also remember when Simon and I both discovered that it was possible to make our own music from our computers. This was right around when SoundCloud was on the come up - so around 2009 / 2010. We didn’t know anyone who was doing it, how it worked, or had ever even listened to electronic music. It was a whole new world. Slowly we met more and more people doing something similar and sort of built up our repertoire from there.
Man, that seems to be how it always goes - we often have very little clue what we're doing when we start and sort of figure things out as we go. Can you guys pinpoint what it was that helped you go from everything being brand new to developing a solid foundation in music production?
Simon: For me it was purely youtube videos. At the time I didn’t know anyone who produced music and really had nowhere else to turn… I didn’t even know what genre I was making.
Sam: Yeah it was all youtube tutorials. There’s always been certain sounds that we really wanted to create and sure enough we could find super detailed youtube tutorials showing us exactly how to make a specific sound. And we’re still learning! Youtube University man. It’s a real thing…
It’s amazing what you can learn for free once you set your gaze on something. Are there any standout times that felt significantly profound at the time, exciting, or perhaps had a dramatic impact on you?
Sam: I do have one memory that sticks out really vividly in my head where we got super lucky. After we finished our last EP our manager told us about a producer living in London who supposedly was down for us to come write with him and record in his studio. Next thing you know we got a fresh credit card, flew to London, and got thrown into this circle with world class musicians and producers. I remember one day we were in their studio recording our song “Keep You Up” and just being blown away at what was happening.
Simon: Yeah man. It felt like that was the first time we were truly out in the world and it felt like we were just getting our asses kicked by these incredibly talented people. I had every emotion under the sun. Excitement, imposter syndrome, fear, happiness. It was also bringing out something new in us and was extremely uplifting for me to realize that we could kick it with these guys.
I think it’s so important to be aware of the fact that you were there for a reason and that alone is saying something. If you didn’t deserve to be in that studio with those guys I’m sure you would never have received the invite... Have you gotten better at giving yourselves more credit in those situations or does the self-doubt always persist?
Simon: It’s definitely a struggle to find that balance. I’m always asking myself “am I good enough to be in this room? But at the same time, I am here.”
Sam: Coming home from that trip I definitely realized how many things I needed to get better at and improve on musically, but for the first time I thought of myself as a professional musician.
"It's all about doing what you can to increase the likelihood of those chance encounters and running with it"
After winging that trip to London and letting things play out do you find you’ve become more open to going with the flow and putting yourselves in situations where things can surprise you?
Simon: It’s a balance. You can’t always just go with the flow. That trip for example - we got extremely lucky. You can’t just book a trip to LA, not plan anything and simply hope everything falls together. That being said, we have made that mistake. One trip in the past we only had 1 or 2 sessions booked and as you might expect that’s all that ended up happening. No magical reach outs or life changing encounters fell into our lap.
Sam: Yeah, but we still like to keep it relatively loose. If we have a week trip we like to have 3 or 4 solid sessions in the books, but also a few nights free to see what happens. In cities like New York or LA you do run into the most amazing people at bars, coffee shops, or on the streets. And we all have heard the most incredible stories about artists running into this director, or that producer, and next thing they’re on the cover of Vogue. So I guess we do intentionally leave space for things like that to happen, but certainly don’t expect them. It’s all about doing what you can to increase the likelihood of those chance encounters and running with it - without over networking or being inauthentic in the pursuit.
Totally. I think it’s all about getting creative with it and staying optimistic, while being realistic with where you’re at and what’s to come - anything big on the horizon for you two?
Simon: Nothing in particular - it’s just been a year of change and we’re figuring out what’s next. We’re building our team back up, plan on making lots of new music, and hope to move to a larger city where we can accelerate this whole thing. We’ve both lived in Calgary our whole lives and think it’s about time to grow a little more and chase some more opportunities. Not quite sure what those opportunities are, but I’m sure something will come out of it!
Sam: They always do...
Amazing. Any parting words before we wrap this thing up?
Sam: Be smart kids, be smart.