won’t you be my beach baby?
We catch up with the young Londoners to talk about their beautiful melodies and escapist bliss.
Reality is a thinly veiled concept, escaped easily through daydreams and music. Four-man London-based band Beach Baby chase illusion and fantasy, singing with wistful nonchalance about moments built upon bliss. Constructing non-narrative lyrics layered over guitar riffs and melodic chord structures, tempos swim through echoing vocals, sung by twenty something lads thinking out loud with poetic articulation. The band recently performed their latest EP to a packed out Old Blue Last, while former single Limousine secured Zane Lowe's Hottest Record spot on his Beats Radio show.
Ollie, Lawrence, Shep and Ikralis are currently playing a 20-date UK tour and finishing their debut album. Much like their pastoral, romantic videos, Beach Baby represent a 60s inspired sound that celebrates both innocence and intrigue. Escape the pressure of your working day and press play on Beach Baby's Soundcloud for a sunny escape route out of the office as we chat to songwriter Ollie about his ideologies on music and life.
Do you think you've changed much since relocating to London?
I think so… some of my tastes have altered. I don't know if that's a symptom of moving to London but the city does change the people you mix with. Your peers and friends influence the way you think and talk. I've always listened to the same music but maybe I'm more open to different genres more now.
The idea that the Beach Boys music was all about freedom and yet Brian Wilson was very controlled is quite fascinating, to be so at odds with an aesthetic he pioneered. Do you ever feel disconnected from your own blissed out sound, living and working in London, a fairly un-relaxed city?
I think generally songwriting is an exercise in being an escapist, certainly for myself. I generally try to detach myself from where I am or what I am doing. I try to create a song that will reflect my mood or what's going on internally rather than reflecting external ideas. Songwriting generally is that type of pursuit.
Is there a particular song that reflects your best escapist abilities?
Yes, I think No Mind No Money contains the most abstract lyrical content. The story behind that song was that the music came first, before the words. It was an example of a song that was built from the ground up. The guitar riffs and chord structures and all those elements of the song were developed and the lyrics Laurence wrote were borrowed from a different sketch that we had created. Then we put them on top of that tune and it seemed to fit perfectly. It was a Jekyll and Hyde operation; we managed to transport lyrics from another song into a pre-existing framework, which worked really well. It's about daydreaming, rather than having a narrative aspect or a theme, it's a mood piece in an abstract way rather than a highly descriptive thing.
Your band mate Laurence studied music psychology at Goldsmiths. What were some of the more profound theories that he has imparted you?
He was at Goldsmiths doing a course called 'Music and the Brain'. He often volunteers a lot of musical psychological information. He's quite a keen, free improv jammer and that's a discipline that we've all learnt from him. It's an important part of songwriting. It's not just a guy in a room writing a song - there's a collaborative aspect to it as well. Writing songs on the fly and not being afraid to experiment and take a song into a territory that you might not have anticipated. That comes with having a looser and less disciplined attitude to song writing.
Do you find your understanding of what people enjoy about music enhanced as you perform for audiences more?
The performance aspect is really important for sure. I don't know if it is really informs the way you write a song, in the very embryonic stages of writing you really just don't have a clue how its going to turn out; loud, quiet, fast, romantic, etc. Certainly for rehearsing the set you have to think about the performance aspect. The only help for that is through playing gigs though. You just have to play loads, develop showmanship and those skills develop as you play live. We were hiding away for 18 months before we even played many gigs. We just wanted to make sure had enough songs written and recorded before we took our band to the public. We had all been in bands previously and l had been playing music with Laurence since we were teenagers. We'd played live a lot together before, but this time round we just wanted to remove ourselves from that circuit and just write lot of songs and build more of a foundation before we put ourselves online and started to try and get gigs.
You've worked with photographer and filmmaker Lily Rose Thomas previously, what about her aesthetic do you identify with the most strongly?
We've done four videos with Lily and she's done all the photography for our artwork. It's been very successful and convenient. She's actually my girlfriend. I met her two and bit years ago, which was around the same time that we had been keeping ourselves to ourselves, just writing songs, and we were ready make a video. We were looking for video makers and she was a photographer up until then but put herself forward. It was one of those things that just land in your lap and we were very fortunate.
Are there any venues or countries that you are super keen to book shows at?
Everywhere! We want to play everywhere! We've been to France and Holland, and have done a bit of Europe and Belgium… we are pretty unfussy. It's just for anyone who wants to listen.
Text Milly McMahon
Photography Lily Rose Thomas