Musical Rooms

November 25, 2008

Musical Rooms Part 49: Beach House

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 12:02 pm
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beachhouse

“We don’t have a favorite space as such, but we have a room in a house and it is as lovely as it needs to be. The room is in my house in Baltimore city and it’s our default favourite. The room is all blue, smells like a carpeted basement (which it is) and is completely packed with organs and keyboards. Concrete and flourecent light kill energy…

The most important thing for us to have in here is a four-track recorder, by far. Otherwise nothing would be remembered. It’s also crucial that no one else is around and that there is no noise! When we’re home, we are there all the time. Working as a group and working alone are both important. If too much of one occurs, you yearn for the other – you know ying and yang…

In terms of the creative process, every song that Victoria and I make comes about differently… it works by making changes based on feeling – everything has to feel right and no intellectualising is allowed.

Equipment-wise, we use old synths, old organs, 80’s keyboards, 70’s keyboards, 90’s keyboards, children’s drums, guitars we can afford, various four tracks and our voices. We always feel like golden oldies are endlessly shooting through our practice space, like the jet stream. So we just hold onto them like dolphins and ride them until we are on the surface, you know?”

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Beach House are Baltimore boy-girl duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. Sharing certain sensibilities with the classic baroque pop sounds of yesterday, they also exhibit a classic 60s pop feel, and a soulfulness which can be attributed to their shared love of Motown. With the release of their self-titled debut album, Beach House became one of the biggest underground buzz bands of 2006 as well as one of the blogger’s favourites. Their stunning follow up album Devotion was released on Bella Union to great acclaim earlier this year. Beach House play Whelan’s with support from Jana Hunter, on Thursday November 27th. Tickets €15 from WAV, City Discs, Road, Ticketmaster, Tickets.ie

For more information visit www.myspace.com/beachhousemusic or www.beachhousemusic.net

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November 19, 2008

Musical Rooms Part 48: Les Gars

Filed under: Interviews,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 1:37 pm
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lesgars

“The space we created most (if not all) of our music is in a filthy, pseudo-industrial part of Toronto. It’s an old warehouse that’s been converted into hundreds of rehearsal spaces. Most bands we’ve met in Toronto practice there. Each room is about 15ft x 15ft and is covered, floor to ceiling, with the dullest public school gray carpeting. Add the smell of month-old beer and sweat, along with the constant sound of substandard metal and synth bends and you’ve got it.

We share the room with a couple other bands, so it’s pretty complicated. As far as we’re concerned, what you see on stage, is what we use. Most of the time, Jon (our drummer) has his computer set up for recording as well, but it’s pretty simple: a computer, a sound card and a couple of microphones.

Hmmm… what things are important, or necessary? Obviously, our instruments are necessary elements, but practice just isn’t the same without a bottle of Canadian whiskey. The time we spend in our little room depends on what we’re doing at that time. When we’re in Toronto, we’re in there five hours a day, five days a week – we have a pretty solid schedule. We have Fridays off to party, and Sundays off to sleep, that’s it, no question.

Personally, I find isolation an important aspect of the creative process. When you’re alone, you’re not afraid of trying new things, there’s no one to tell you otherwise. It’s quite often that when you mess something up, you discover something new. The time between having the idea, and presenting that idea, is generally spent alone. At least in my case. For us, no two songs are written the same way. Some are finished before the others hear it, some are a group effort. There have been times when we’ve written songs as a group, from suggestions we received.

Equipment-wise, Jon plays a drum kit made up of many different components, Marc uses a Fender Bass through a 1960’s Traynor amp and I play a Les Paul through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe.

What I like the most about our space is the accessibility. You could show up any time, any day of the week, and play, with your amp up to 11, for as long as you like, and no one would give a shit. That and there’s a liquor store ‘round the corner.”

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Les Gars are a brash trio, hailing from Toronto, Canada who formed in February 2008. They write about what they know best – girls, booze, cigarettes, lust and desire, minimum wage and rock ‘n’ roll days. Consisting of Vello Verder (vocals), Marc Delparte (Bass) and Jon Hawkes (Drums), they have been described by the NME as “gritty weaned-on-whisky vocals and eye-juddering basslines that make the Vines early stuff sound like it was made by a bunch of mummy’s boys”. They are about to start a tour of the UK, for gig dates and more information visit www.myspace.com/lesgars.

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