Beach House Talk Texas
Published March 20, 2009
Beach House: Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. Photos by David Coggins
Beach House is Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, proud residents of Baltimore and players of atmospheric pop so intoxicating you don’t want it to end. The bookers in Austin would seem to agree, as we spoke with the band before the first of their four shows in Austin. Their set was a steamy daytime affair at the club Red 7, where they played almost entirely new songs. Legrand’s voice remains impossibly seductive, and on the new tracks Scally’s guitar is more insistent than ever.
DAVID COGGINS: You keep hearing about bands that had to drive hours to get here. Did you do that or did you fly?
ALEX SCALLY: We flew to Houston and played at an amazing place called the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, which is a giant temple/tribute to the fruit the orange built by Jefferson Davis McKissack, a Houston postal worker, over the course of 25 years.
DC: Did you have any thematic adjustments for that set? I know you like costumes.
VICTORIA LEGRAND: No, I wish we had-I just wore a striped shirt.
DC: Where are you staying while you’re here?
VL: We don’t really know. Possibly friend’s houses, or I may find a musician friend and sleep in their bed [laughs].
DC: You’ve been here once before. What was it like then and how is it different now?
VL: We were here two years ago and it feels the same.
Beach House live at Red 7.
AS: But it felt then that we were overwhelmed by it. This time we’re just not caring.
VL: We’re just trying to have as much fun as possible. We don’t have very much press stuff to do because we don’t have a record out.
AS: We’re just here to play new songs and hang out with friends.
DC: Are there other things on your list to do?
VL: We’re going to go swimming and see the band Complete. They’re from Fort Worth, Texas. They’re an older band, Alex is better at describing them.
AS: For anybody who’s reading-just look up Complete ‘Dreaming’ on Youtube and that will answer all questions.
DC: When you play in New York or Baltimore you know the audience is going to be your fans and you play for an hour and a half. Here you have less than an hour to play to people who may not know your music as well.
AS: I feel really comfortable playing to people who’ve never heard us before. We’ve always had fun opening because you get to try to impress people.
DC: It’s good to hear that. You’re always worried for bands playing when people are coming in and out and they’ve already seen five bands already.
AS: For somebody who knows all the songs on your record they’ve got all these expectations.
VL: But it’s still probably the best, to have someone choose to just see you.
DC: While you’re in Austin are you more into barbecue or Mexican?
AS: Both. It’s like a Venn Diagram of the two.
DC: Do you mind coming to a place where there are industry people-is that something you just have to tolerate?
AS: We treat it like Spring Break.
VL: You don’t have to say yes to everything. We don’t do things that we’re not willing to do. We’re willingly talking to you right now.
DC: What can we look forward to coming up from the two of you?
VL: No tentative plans. Maybe recording this summer.
DC: When people describe your music, what do you like for them to say? Or rather, is there a word you don’t like hearing?
VL: Languid. It was good once.
AS: But now it’s so boring.
VL: It’s like saying, “That water is nice,” but it’s like saying it every time you look at the water. There are other words.
AS: It makes sense though, because the album has been out for a long time. When we release a new album there will be new adjectives.
VL: Volcanic. [Both laugh.] I’m kidding.
DC: How did you meet?
VL: We were in Baltimore. We played together before we started the band.
DC: Is there some place that you’re popular that’s very surprising?
VL: Portugal. It’s incredible.
AS: The shows were sold out in advance. People kept coming up to us and, while not being weird at all, saying “I love you.” It didn’t make any sense.
DC: Do they understand the lyrics?
VL: Yes, I spoke English to people.
AS: But there is a Portuguese word called sondaggi which doesn’t exist in any other language. It’s a combination of words meaning longing, or with melancholy. I think that’s the Brazilian pronunciation.
DC: So soldaggi should be the title of your next album.
VL: Languid is good—sondaggi is better.
Beach House play twice more at SXSW: Tonight at 8:45 at Cedar Street Courtyard, and Saturday, at a very precise 5:50 PM, at Auditorium Shores Stage.