Discovery: Beach Baby

Published June 22, 2015

Beach Baby’s short set list hasn’t stopped the band from playing stages and festivals around the world, alongside the likes of Caribou, Patti Smith, Ride, and DIIV. Based in London, the quartet has only released four songs—”U R,” “No Mind No Money,” “Bruise,” and “Ladybird”—which blend together hazy lo-fi elements of shoegaze and post-punk interspersed with subtle electronics.

Frontmen Lawrence and Ollie (who give only their first names) met five years ago, while standing outside of a bar near their university in Bristol. The two played in various bands until they started their post-graduate studies at Goldsmiths, where they posted an ad for musicians in hopes of forming their own band. Following a series of auditions, Iraklis was invited to play bass, and Shep to play drums, but it wasn’t until March this year (and a series of name changes later) that Beach Baby began releasing music.

“Previously, we kind of haphazardly released songs, played some gigs, and then had nothing,” Ollie says. “This time, we decided, ‘This is it. When we release our first single we’ve actually got some great tunes to back it up with.’ We only decided to start playing live once everything else was in place.”

Now, the band is spending the summer recording and touring the U.K., and today marks the internet debut of their fourth song “U R,” as well as the official U.S. release of the single “No Mind No Money” on iTunes. We caught up with Ollie to learn more about his childhood and the band’s influences.

BASED: Southeast London

NAMES: Ollie (25), Lawrence (24), Iraklis (28), Shep (27)

INFLUENCES: [Lawrence and I] both enjoyed listening to classic things, like Bob Dylan. I think there’s a pool of artists or singers or bands that everybody kind of takes influence from—Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, all those people. When you’re young and 18 and impressionable, you’re like, “God, I want to do that.” [laughs] I suppose there were other British things as well. We were both quite into Nick Drake at that moment in time, because it suited the sound of the band that we were playing in. On a personal note, it’s difficult. There’s so much music I listen to. At the moment I’ve been listening to a lot of Ariel Pink. The three of us went to see Savages at Field Day. I think that would be a band that’s shared around.

GROWING UP: My parents are musical. My dad’s quite musical—he plays the piano and I think my first memories of music were just listening to the Beatles, actually. I bought a record player with my brother from our village fete. It’s this very British thing where in the summer in villages, it’s like a car-boot sale, but a bit posher. It’s all second-hand stuff; you can buy bric-a-brac stuff, little trinkets, I suppose, but there’s games and activities, there’s tea, ice cream. It’s this very pastoral event. I bought a second-hand record player. It must’ve cost about five pounds. Me and my brother set it up in our room—I shared a room with my brother—I was only about 6, I think, primary school age.

We had a box of 45 records and we just used to listen to those. They were my dad’s records from his childhood. The band that really stuck out, that I was totally obsessed with was The Beatles. That stayed with me my whole life; I still listen to them all the time, they’re still a massive influence on my music making. The Beatles For Sale EP was a more concise version of the full-length album—it only had four or five songs on it—and I remember there was a cover of “Rock and Roll Music” by Chuck Berry. That’s a strong memory.

HAVE FAITH: It’s a really hard environment, especially now. There isn’t as much money around, so you have to do more yourself. That doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing [because] you get more control. [laughs] But just keep on doing what you believe in and don’t feel it has to happen immediately. Writing a song takes practice. You write songs, and write songs, and the next song might not be so good, but gradually you develop and get better at it and form your own identity. Just keep the faith—I think that’s the hardest thing to do. If you’ve got the faith, if you believe in it and want to do it, then it’s easy to do. That motivation inside is really important.

FIRST SONG: I used to write a lot of riffs before I started to write songs, because I never thought about the words; I didn’t have enough confidence. I didn’t used to think that that would be something I’d do—”I’ll probably just be an instrumentalist.” But as I developed other interests in writing and reading, then I started to think, “Actually, maybe this is something I am interested in.” When I was about 17, I started trying to put lyrics down and writing songs in their entirety. I wrote a song about a hot air balloon.

 FOR MORE ON BEACH BABY, VISIT THE BAND’S FACEBOOK.