This week’s album of the week comes from Seattle based duo Jordan Koplowitz & Reed Juenger, aka “Beat Connection”. Perhaps we could have generalized the sound of “Surf Noir” as ‘instrumental indie synth’, but instead of making presumptuous statements in an effort to put the sound into a category, we decided to catch up with the guys exclusively to find out a little more…
dR: Where does the name ‘Beat Connection’ originate?
Reed / Jordan: Well, its a homage (ok it sounds cool and we love the band so we used it) to the B-side of LCD Soundystem’s first single. Who puts out a song to start an amazing career about how washed up and old they are? Fuckin’ LCD does.
dR: What should people expect to hear in this EP?
Reed: We have been compared to a lot of artists, but in most cases as a combination of two or more, I think that many influences shine through, but this is kind of meant to be music that can fit a lot of different settings. Tracks like “In The Water” and “Theme From Yours Truly” are kind of just fun party music, and sometimes thats all you need.
Jordan: What we’ve said before is that our music is challenging surf-y-psychedelic-balearic-disco-dance-electro-pop infused with a healthy dose of rock and house music. Some people may say that’s just chillwave…which we don’t entirely disagree with. I just think our music is a bit “dancier” than chillwave and has a bit more substance.
Download Beat Connection • Surf Noir for FREE on Bandcamp:
What albums have you listened too lately?
Jordan: I have pretty eclectic tastes so it’s been all over the board. Here’s my list: Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind, Yeasayer – Odd Blood, Ruby Suns – Fight Softly, Cut Copy – In Ghost Coulours. Honestly I’m still really into Discovery by Daft Punk. I always make playlists and when I search through my computer and see Daft Punk I don’t see a reason to not put it on.
Reed: Too many to list, and I’m weird: Nas – Illmatic, James Blake – CMYK – EP, Saint Etienne – Foxbase Alpha, ceo – White Magic, Cut Copy’s New Single! Also, I am going to go so wild on Tuesday when the new Arcade Fire album comes out. That’s one that I will be listening to all the way through on vinyl when its actually out.
Are there any particular techniques that you use to achieve your sound?
Reed/Jordan : Well we use some of the mainstays of electronic music, i.e. side chaining, selective compression, and some of the mainstays of chillwave with reverb and echo etc. But we also do try out some weird things, like degrading audio quality of some instruments by just playing them over our PA and recording them back into Logic. We really like to use instruments in ways like they’ve never been used or are uncommonly used. For example side chaining the flute in the song “Silver Screen” pretty ingenious right? maybe uncalled for…but It’s all about experimenting and being patient.
How do you think net labels will shape / are shaping the future of electronic music?
Reed/Jordan: Basically, people don’t buy that much music any more. The end result if you buy a cd is you put it on your mp3 player and thats that, so basically may as well buy digital, from the internet. I love buying dead medium music with big art, but cd’s are essentially on par with digital music, so I might as well save some money and buy some stuff online and get it immediately.
I think that net labels are going to take over, its already become way easy for an artist to release their music, but way hard to support themselves because labels haven’t really caught up. So there are going to be more artists (which is a good an bad thing) and more net labels to release their music. And hopefully its gonna be a new paradigm where everything can co-exist. Beat Connection has toyed with the idea of starting their own digital label which will use sales money to one day release vinyl. We will just have to wait and see I guess.
What was your first record you bought? Do you shop at record shops often?
Reed: Well, this is embarrassing, and I probably bought or was given music before this, but best as I can tell… The first record I bought was a Spice Girls cd. There was this girl in my, i dunno, 2nd grade class who I had a crush on, and she loved the Spice Girls and all that shit, so I bought one of those cd’s so that I could start a conversation up with her….Problem was I definitely ended up buying another one. I try to buy as much of my music as possible, I’m pretty broke so I stream a lot of stuff, and I’m not holier than thou, I download music too. But digging through bins of old vinyl is a past time of mine.
Jordan: (Lawl at Reed) I think the first album I bought was a Space Jam soundtrack cassette tape that I would always listen to as I went to sleep. The only problem with cassettes is that they make that horrible clicking sound when the first side ends. I would stay awake because I knew that sound was going to happen and I was going to have to switch sides. In the end….probably hurt my sleeping patterns.
Reed: Oh yeah that tape sound when it reached the end of a side would freak me out every time.
Do you play out live often? What sort of set-up do you have?
Reed/Jordan: Well, soon, some of the songs on the EP were made without really considering how we were going to play it, so now, since its just the two of us, we are going through a pretty long and drawn out, but fun process of figuring everything out. A really key component to our live set-up is an MPC-1000, we also use a midi keyboard so that we can control some of synths we made in logic and then play them live. There is also a fair amount of guitar that gets played, and a lot of the drums and bass are played on a backing track through a program called torq which allows us to set loops so that we can jam on stuff instead of being super rigid.
Any advice would you give to up and coming artists?
Jordan: Basically, don’t be lazy. It’s really easy to start songs and then not have the ambition to finish them. Or to maybe finish a song but not want to master/fix it. It takes a lot of a effort, no doubt, but when you’ve put that many hours into making something, you’ll love that you did. Also, drink a lot of water. sitting and working on music for a long time can make you dehydrated!
Reed: Drink beer instead of water. No but seriously don’t get too hung up on getting a label or booking shows, focus on the music and make music that you like and that you’re proud of. Then sell out immediately.
Do you cook, what’s your favourite dish?
Jordan: I cook up some sick beats! But no really, when I’m not working on music I’m most likely preparing a lavish dish. I extremely enjoy cooking. I think my favorite dish that I’ve made recently was a green curry with some buddies. It turned out pretty much perfectly, minus the fact we didn’t make enough rice. I do still really like quesadillas though, they’re so easy but so delicious.
Reed: I AM THE GRILLMASTER.
If you had a time machine, where would you go? 😉
Jordan: Well this is difficult…does the time machine fly or do I have to stay where I am when I travel through time? I’ll assume it flies. I think I’d go back to ancient Egypt and try to live as a pharaoh or king or something. I’m very interested in cultures like theirs because science has come up with so many conclusions about it. I’d want to see if it’s actually like we thought. All this minus all the slave labor.
Reed: Dude time travel is fuckin terrifying. I would have to go to the future because if you go into the past everyone is gonna think you are looney and you are gonna die from all sorts of sub par living conditions or some shit like that. If you choose the future there is the slim chance that people will be like: oh yeah your from the past? Oh thats cool me too, what up?
“Surf Noir” is in rotation on the dirtyradio.org playlist from 2nd August 2010.