The effortlessly cool Beachwood have two singles Marbles and God Only Knows out now. Their compelling, hypnotic brand of electro pop shines bright on both tracks; completely mastering an unexpected cover in God Only Knows, and documenting a gradual lapse of sanity in Marbles.
Beachwood (otherwise known as Jarrad Rogers and Angeline Armstrong) are the new kids on the block – only these multi medium artists already know exactly who they are, and are already making waves across the globe. After working with massive international artists such as Charli XCX, 5 Seconds of Summer, Lana Del Rey and Lauryn Hill, and much loved Australian artists Montaigne, Daniel Johns and Luke Steele (Empire of the Sun), it’s finally time for Jarrad and Ange of Beachwood to step to the front. Both Jarrad and Angeline answer a few questions for Hi Fi Way.
How has the build-up been leading up to the release of Marbles and God Only Knows?
We took a unique approach with this one – releasing dual singles, rather than just the one – so we had our label on board as we built the story around the release and why we’d decided to release two in one go.
We wanted to do something a little different – there’s a big focus on releasing one single at a time these days, but we felt that there was a bit of a story here in releasing both together. For me (Ange), these two songs are kind of like two different windows looking out at the same thing – they’re both differing angles on the brokenness of human relationships, imbued with this underlying hope in that desperate longing for something to last.
Our next single, Marbles, is about those moments where you find yourself caught up in the heat of the moment, saying things you regret, breaking the very thing you’re wanting to treasure and protect. The Beachboys cover seemed such an interesting pair to our new track. God Only Knows is such a sweet, romantic sounding song – but when you dig deeper and pay attention to the lyrics, it’s quite bittersweet and dark – there’s a real desperation and longing in it. That same longing and bittersweet feeling exists in both tracks: hidden beneath pulsating pop beats and big progressive sounds, there’s the raw voice of a desperate longing for a relationship that won’t spoil or break. I think that taps into something very personal for all of us, no matter how buried deep.
Was the process of making your single as challenging as you thought?
I wouldn’t say more challenging necessarily – every song has a challenge of its own! But it was definitely unexpected. My band mate Jarrad was the genius behind the origins of this song! There was a really interesting writing process on this one – with the organic way it played out, it actually passed through multiple hands at different times, with Jaz being the constant glue. Though we were all coming at the track from different experiences, circumstances, emotional states – somehow as every new writing voice emerged, the central theme only became clearer and more pronounced and anchored. I think that’s largely the reason we ended up with a song that felt so relatable and universal – it was a song written by a bunch of people from all over the world, who just happened to be struggling through the same thing at the same time – whether we knew it or not, I guess our collective subconscious did the talking!
The process started with Jaz and Joni Fitora one afternoon in LA. It was to a totally different beat, and for a totally different artist. (Jarrad) “I remember when she first wrote the bare bones for the top-line. It had an honesty to it and a feeling that I always look for in a song. Something that speaks to a deeper part of you. From there, it sat on a shelf. Waiting for the right time. I then loaded it up one day and sent it to my publishers (Beachwood hadn’t even been formed yet). I wanted an MC on it. Just felt like it could be cool.
After some major re-imagining of the production, they sent it to a friend of a friend who sent it to a friend who knew Tray Haggerty. He dropped some bars in the second verse. It was fire!!! I loved it. It then sat on a shelf for another bunch of time. During that time Beachwood formed. I played the song in its current state to Ange. She loved what we had. It wasn’t finished, as a song or production but we both felt it had a Beachwood vibe to it! I then had a light bulb moment late one night. What if the MC part becomes the chorus!? That would be different? Something I haven’t heard before. I made the change and sent it to Ange. She got it straight away. We then jumped in the studio and wrote all the other parts that were needed. The end result is something that could have only come from a process as random as this! We’re super happy with it and love the surprises it constantly throws your way!”
Sonically, how would describe your music?
Smart-pop, Future-fresh & Progressive
Who would you consider to be the biggest influence on your music and why?
Prince and Quincy Jones – Jarrad
Oooh I can’t pick one! Would definitely have to be all those alt indie bands who made me feel things when I was a teenager – Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, Death Cab For Cutie, Cat Power, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Joanna Newsom, Sigur Ros – alongside the classics – Bob Dylan, Fleetwood Mac, Johnny Cash, Jeff Buckley – can remember so many long train trips and late nights with the headphones up real loud. Those Artists took me to other worlds – that’s a huge part of what music is for me. – Ange
Best piece of advice you have been given?
Do the best with what you’ve been given, and do it not for yourself.
How did the band get together?
A friend of my wife put us in touch with this ‘chick’ from Australia just before Christmas. I was currently living in LA. Had been for a bit over a year, and she (Angeline) was coming over to LA for a year to further her film endeavours and engage with that community in LA. We invited her over for Christmas dinner. We used to always have someone new at our Christmas dinners when we lived in London. It really does help make the day special. We all got along great. Started to hang out. I knew she did music, but didn’t want to throw the friendship by trying something together.
Then there was a chance for her to feature on a record I was putting out through my solo artist project on Ultra Records called MSTR Rogers. She crushed the vocal. The next step was to try and write a song together. We smashed something out in about an hour and a half. She took it away to work on lyric. A day later she called and read out what she had written. We then just kept doing more and more together. Kinda grew super organically! – Jarrad
Are you looking to tour more broadly?
Always keen to spread the music far and wide – we’re chasing opportunities for further shows as we speak!
What’s next for Beachwood?
We’ve got our debut EP coming out early next year, keep your eyes peeled for that!
Interview By Rob Lyon
Check out Beachwood on Spotify…