Check out the original interview on the Block Magazine website, available here. Rad photo by Evaan Kheraj
“Sadness, heartbreak, longing, all those things are in the music, of course. That’s what pop music is all about.”
“You look familiar,” she says. “I know you from somewhere, right? We’ve met before.” Lead singer and organist Victoria Legrand might sound seductive and gruff when she sings her dreamy, lovelorn tunes, but in the green room she’s relaxed and humble, walking towards me wearing retro blue denim and a smile that could melt butter. For Baltimore-based duo Beach House, it’s broken hearts and soulful crooning on the album, warm fleece and kindness for a stranger. “Actually, I’d love to see you down some of this tequila,” she says, pointing at a full bottle on the table.
Guitarist Alex Scally sits down, brushing back his thick black locks to reveal he’s shaved his beard, but left a rather dapper-looking mustache behind. “Get tanked!” With only a couple of hours to settle in before blazing the stage at Vancouver’s Rickshaw, Legrand and Scally are relieved to be heading home soon after a tour that sold out at nearly every show in the country. Their third full-length, Teen Dream, released by legendary Sub Pop Records, has garnered much critical acclaim despite the pressures of their successes with 2008’s Devotion.
Sitting pretty on a rather tired leather couch, Legrand and Scally are something adorable together. Instantly becoming friends when they met back in 2004, they finish each other’s sentences, poke fun and make the other shriek with laughter. “I have to play off my own stupidity sometimes,” Scally says, while Legrand scrunches up her face at him. It’s easy to mistake a faint trace of love lingering between the lines, but their musical synergy is actually more platonic than that. By listening to songs like “Zebra,” “Turtle Island” and “Gila,” it’s pretty clear that their brains are made of the same blood and wires. They’ve also got the same penchant for thrift store shopping and retro instruments.
While Devotion and their debut set in motion their classic dream-inspired pop sound, full of whimsy and often sprawling instrumental truths, their latest album drifts into more melancholic realms. “This record, more than anything, has been the product of time,” says Legrand, leaning in. “We feel things more clearly now. When we were writing those songs, we became a lot better at creating more physical spaces out of our sound.”
As thoughtful and shy as they may sound on their albums, Legrand and Scally are both visibly disciplined, yet bubbling with extroversion. Abstaining from the tequila and beer they so graciously offer, they perk up and explain the joys of late-night Macgyver reruns. “We don’t get a chance to watch television on tour, but we’ve watched Macgyver. What an idiot,” Legrand says. “No way, Macgyver was killing it,” Scally defends. Unable to decipher a joke from a truth between these two, Legrand admitted to practicing levitation to prepare for a show, while Scally frequently entreats himself to tantric sex with strangers. “It just helps to reset my mind,” he says with an inscrutable smirk.
At the core of it, Beach House is all reverb-soaked, hauntingly beautiful soundscapes, not unlike a striking dream you can’t recollect even though the feelings still move through you. “Sadness, heartbreak, longing, all those things are in the music, of course. That’s what pop music is all about,” Legrand says.