ABOVE: BEACH DAY. IMAGE COURTESY OF CHRISTINA MENDENHALL
If you haven’t had a beach day yet, not to worry. Kimmy Drake, Natalie Smallish, and Skyler Black will give you the one you’ve been waiting for, with their ’50s and ’60s inspired surf rock. The bands’ songs are the result of the Florida natives’ bond—it’s one that has allowed them to make music that has an old soul, with hints of The Shangri-La’s and Cults shining through.
Beach Day released their debut album Trip Trip Attack yesterday, which features the group’s fresh vocal spin on the classic girl-group sound. The trio is currently touring the U.S., sharing their happy-go-lucky music with fans and newbies alike.
We spoke with frontwoman Kimmy Drake about surf rock, growing up near the ocean, and poutine.
ILANA KAPLAN: Are you in New York yet?
KIMMY DRAKE: I am. I’m in Brooklyn! We’re from Hollywood, Florida, though.
KAPLAN: I feel like you guys must get it all the time that you sound like you’re from the ’60s.
DRAKE: Definitely. We get that all the time. ’50s, ’60s, and a little bit of ’70s punk, that’s for sure.
KAPLAN: So, how did Beach Day start? How did you guys meet?
DRAKE: Well, the three of us were all in different bands. We were all playing together and met on the same night.
KAPLAN: How is Beach Day different from your individual bands?
DRAKE: For us more than anything, we just liked the same kind of stuff. We really clicked musically. We didn’t have a plan. We just wanted to play. We didn’t plan on making a band or anything like that. Everything just happened really quickly.
KAPLAN: How does the beach play into your music? Is it the feeling or growing up in Florida? How did that play into the band?
DRAKE: [laughs] I think for us, growing up in south Florida, we live literally two minutes from the beach. It’s a big part of our lives. It’s ingrained in us. It’s pre-dating everything around us down there. There’s a tourist-trap shop on every corner where we live. The beach is so close! It’s definitely influenced us, for sure in the fact that we love surf music. I love surf guitar. That’s how it started.
KAPLAN: Your debut record was just released. How long was it in the making?
DRAKE: This is our first record! We started making it sometime last year, maybe in the summer. It just took us a little while to finish everything up. Then we were completely finished by January this year. I think we’re definitely most proud of the songwriting. All around, everything. There was a lot of hard work put in. More than anything, we’re just really excited that everyone can hear our songs.
KAPLAN: Definitely. What sets you apart from artists that have a beachy feel like Best Coast or Dum Dum Girls?
DRAKE: I think we’re completely different. I feel like most of the time because we have girls leading the band, that we get lumped in with Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls just because we have girls in the band. I don’t feel like we sound like them—all three of our bands sound very different from each other. It’s surf-ish with Best Coast and ’60sish with Dum Dum Girls, so that we would get put in the same category because we’re girls.
KAPLAN: Will you guys be making the festival circuit this summer?
DRAKE: Yeah, for sure. We just finished playing NXNE in Toronto. It was a blast! We played Urban Outfitters. I love that city! There’s so much to do there.
KAPLAN: What did you do in your spare time up there?
DRAKE: We ate! We actually found this amazing vegan place called Fresh. There are two of them there, and it’s fantastic vegan food.
KAPLAN: Yum! I was going to ask if you had poutine…
DRAKE: We did! It was awesome. There’s a late night place there that everyone goes to called Poutini’s House of Poutine. We went there at 1:30 in the morning. They actually make vegan poutine. They have a bunch of different varieties. All kinds of stuff. It was awesome.
KAPLAN: So, you said you were really proud of the songwriting. What was the process like for you?
DRAKE: Well, when we first started recording, we found a studio with an echo chamber, similar to what they used to do in the ’60s. We did this so that the reverb on the record would be natural and not digital. We have this on all of our guitar vocal tracks. We wanted to play live, and we recorded live in the studio. I thought that was really important, because that’s how I wanted us to do everything for the record. Then we had the record mixed by Jim Diamond in Detroit from Ghetto Recorders. He did the first two White Stripes records.
KAPLAN: Sounds like you’re in good company. Your record release show is tomorrow night. Have you played a lot of shows in Brooklyn?
DRAKE: We’ve been playing up here a lot over the past year. Our label, Kanine Records is located up here. We first came up here last June. We’ve been up here every month since then. We’re up here quite a lot.
KAPLAN: Who have you guys been influenced by the most?
DRAKE: Definitely something I’ve been influenced by is ’60s garage music like The Sonics. I love The Yardbirds. I really love surf guitar stuff. I love The Ventures. I like what they do with guitar and drums. I love Buzzcocks and The Ramones. They are big influences for us as well.
KAPLAN: Does everyone in the band have the same influences?
DRAKE: Yeah, definitely. That’s why we bonded so well and has this good chemistry. We all like the same stuff.
BEACH DAY WILL BE PLAYING AT SHEA STADIUM IN BROOKLYN TONIGHT. BEACH DAY’S DEBUT ALBUM TRIP TRIP ATTACK IS OUT NOW.