Interview: Beat Connection

15:36:00 Wayne 0 Comments

Seattle's Beat Connection initially caught our attention way back in the summer months of 2010 (you know, when the sun is supposed to be shining?), which was quite fitting as the duo of Reed Juenger & Jordan Koplowitz make music that is supposed to be played while basking in glorious weather. As the duo themselves state, they make some "Tropical Psychedelic Pop", which is just about bang on the money.

And now, seeing as though summer 2011 has already started, (despite it only being early April, shout to global warming) the duo released their perfectly timed debut album, Surf Noir, via Moshi Moshi Records' little bro 'Tender Age'.

Expect lots of warming synths, harmonious vocals (via Tom Eddy) and a general track progression that lands somewhere between you nodding your head and losing it all together.

We got in touch to find out a little more about live shows, UK love and parasailing. Check it out...

(One For The People) Guys, you've previously stated you've music is "Balearic-dance-indie-pop" & also been put in the 'chillwave' bracket of late. As you continuously move forward in the music biz, where do you stand currently on the sound of your music? 

Reed: Well, pretty much we are just gonna make music and let people figure out what they want to call it afterwards. I like 'Surf Noir', its what we were going for, and I am super proud of it. It would be unreasonable for me to deny the influence of chillwave in our music, but there is also a ton of straight pop and dance music that we are influenced by and that we want to make. What comes next is to some extent a mystery, all I can say is flute solos, female vocals, and strings are as likely as guest rappers and reverbed out scratching. In fact I think all of those things will be on our new stuff.

(1FTP) Being an electronic act of sorts, what equipment are you guys rocking?

Reed: I would say that in the live context we are totally an electronic act.  I rock an MPC and few other electronic tools, and then DJ loops for our backing track in torq. We use Logic and various other DAW's and computer tools to record and compose.

Jordan: Hopefully will be upgrading soon, but currently I have a Telecaster with a shitty old Line 6 amp, as well as a midi keyboard hooked up to my computer and an SP-404 and an old Yamaha Drum pad. The Yamaha has essentially the cheesiest worst sounding drums I have ever heard, but we make it work.

(1FTP) How have you had to re-think things to get the live element so that your totally happy with it?

Jordan:  We need more lights! That's what we are working on now. When we finished the EP, the next step was to learn how to play live. We had to kind of improvise with what we had on hand as well as go out and buy some new equipment to translate to the stage.  For a little while we had a full band, and that was awesome, we will definitely return to that someday.

"We try to make our music evoke some kind of weird sensation, maybe one that you haven't ever felt before, but know exactly what it should feel like. For example, parasailing" 
- Jordan Kopolwitz, Beat Connection

(1FTP) Seeing as though your coming to the UK, are there any UK artists that your particularly fond of?

Reed: Saint Etienne is a really big one for me.  And I grew up with a pretty big infatuation with the British Invasion sound.  Everyone in the Moshi Moshi family are great too, most of them are from the UK. Other current acts that I am really digging on out of the UK include TEETH, their record is gonna be amazing, I can't really describe their sound, but its kind of like punk house or something, it has a ton of energy and I can't wait to go wild at one of their performances. And then I am super into the stuff that Hessle Audio and Hemlock are doing right now, I might sound a bit behind the curve but that stuff hasn't quite broken out here in the US but the stuff those labels put out is consistently next level and super intriguing.

Jordan: I find myself listening to more UK artists than US artists recently. Recently got into Mount KimbieStar SlingerHoly OtherJamie Woon just to name a few. SXSW really helped me appreciate some artists that I had only heard like one song of before, and most bass-music live shows were just incredible. Hopefully I'll be able to find some more of that when I'm over there.

(1FTP) Besides the Surf Noir release, how much material do you guys actually have at the moment? And with that said, how does LP shaping up in your view?

Reed: Uhh we have like 8 or 9 new songs, but none of them are done yet, and its hard to tell which of them are album worthy at this moment, because we feel like we have quite a bit of time to put together new songs.  It's very important to us that we put out a consistent album, its kind of hard because albums can become unfocused if too many styles or sounds are experimented with, but it can also get boring if you focus on one stylistic sound. There was stuff that wasn't done in time for the ep that we are revisiting. It's all good fun, but we haven't had too much time because we are focusing on this release and our live show right now.  

(1FTP) Your tracks give off a really positive feel, kind of inspirational if you will. BUT.... is there a darker side to Beat Connection?

Reed: Beat Connection is a positive breeze of good vibes and opulence. Beat Connection is a look from a cute girl across a bar.  But yeah, for sure, expect to see it in some mix tapes we will be putting out soon.  Also we did a few remixes that were decidedly "not our style" but those are locked in some vaults somewhere, its weird how that happens.

Jordan: Definitely agree with Reed. We try to make our music evoke some kind of weird sensation, maybe one that you haven't ever felt before, but know exactly what it should feel like. For example, parasailing. Not many people have been parasailing before but it's pretty easy to guess how awesome it would be. Our music should sound like parasailing. Although I've never been parasailing.

Give us any new bands / artists from Seattle we should be aware of...

Jordan: SPORTSUSFConcours d'Elegance. Those are our homiez, they are family. There is a ton of cool stuff that will be bubbling up out of Seattle very very soon.

(1FTP) And finally. Fill in the gaps for us...

Beat Connection are  Elegantly Drunk Beach Parties  mixed with  ultimate grooves  with a little  late night seduction  thrown in.

You can catch Beat Connection playing in the UK on the following dates throughout May:

13 / Brighton / Great Escape Festival (buy tickets)
18 / Leeds / Nation of Shopkeepers (Supporting Niki & The Dove)
19 / London / Stag & Dagger Festival (buy tickets)
20 / Bristol / Start The Bus
21/ Liverpool Sound City
22 / Manchester, Deaf Institute (supporting Toro Y Moi) (buy tickets)
23 / London / Old Blue Last / "In The Water" (see below) single launch
24 / London / White Heat
26 / Portsmouth / The Kraken Wakes
27 / Bournemouth / 60 Million Postcards
28 / Glasgow / Glasgow School of Art

The FULL album is streaming over at the Beat Connection Myspace. And, if you approve, (which we're guessing you will) Surf Noir is available to buy here.

Beat Connection - Space Vacation

Beat Connection - In the Water