Discovery: Beat Connection


There is not a good way to introduce Washington four-piece Beat Connection. Neither their genre of music (electronic indie-pop), nor their origins (they met in college) distinguish them from the bundle of other young indie bands out there, and if we told you that their music makes you feel slightly warm and fuzzy on the inside, you’d probably throw something sharp at us. The boys of Beat Connection are, however, worth separating from their musical peers. They manage to pull off a sort of grandiose optimism in their music, life-soundtrack music if you will, without coming off as too precious.

Recorded in a homemade studio in their university house, their first EP, Surf Noir, garnered positive reviews from The Guardian and Pitchfork. Now the band is finally releasing a full-length LP, The Palace Garden, which was recorded under slightly more professional circumstances. We caught band member Jordan Koplowitz somewhere between Washington and San Francisco (Oregon, to be precise) to talk about the Washington music scene, Clueless, and soup restaurants.

AGE: 22 (Jordan, Reed, Tom, and Jared)

HOMETOWNS: Bellingham, WA (Jordan); Vancouver, WA (Reed); Mercer Island, WA (Tom); Spokane, WA (Jared)

LOCATION AT TIME OF INTERVIEW: A van in southern Oregon.

STYLE OF MUSIC: I think that it is percussive, electronic pop with hints of psychedelic and tropical-ness.

THE WASHINGTON STATE MUSIC SCENE: Being from Bellingham, there are not really many bands there, so the music scene is pretty non-existent. In Seattle these days [the music scene] is mostly folk rock; there’s some soulful rock coming out right now, like Pickwick and Allen Stone—that kind of stuff—but as far as electronic music and dance music go, there’s not really much at all.

FRESHMAN-YEAR FRIENDS: Reed and I actually met the very first day we got to college, which is pretty funny. We were living in a dorm and he was, like, two doors down from me. I forgot how we met exactly, but we started talking about music and it was just pretty obvious we would become friends because both of us had so many shared interests. I had two [freshman-year roommates]—it was a really cramped room that should not have had three people in it. I had one roommate who I actually still live with—[he] lives in the house with [the band]—and then the other one was a pretty strange guy. He played tons of World of Warcraft and would stay up until five in the morning. Apparently he was one of the best World of Warcraft players in the country, though, so that’s kind of amazing.

FIVE YEARS AGO: I was 17. I was living in Bellingham, going to high school, making really bad music in Garage Band. By myself.

HAPPY MUSIC: I feel like our music is pretty nostalgic, [but] it’s pretend nostalgia [for] something we’ve never really had. [With] the new album, we’re trying to create a feeling of being in this magical place that you’ve never really been before, falling in love, and going through the trials and tribulations of being in a relationship like this wonderful new land. We feel like it’s… “happy” is a pretty lame word to use, but I don’t know how [else] to describe it, to be honest. Have I seen the movie Clueless? [laughs] Yes, I probably have. Did I know that the only direction the director gave the cinematographer was that she wanted it took look “happy”? I think, potentially our genre now is Clueless, post-Clueless, the movie. [laughs]

HOMEMADE RECORDING STUDIOS: Did we steal our soundproofing from the college radio station? We actually didn’t. They gave it to us for free. Reed worked at the radio station and the building it was in ended up getting torn down. They were just going to throw it all away, and they just gave it to us because we asked for it, so we got a ton of nice sound proofing for free.

EARLY MUSICAL TASTES: I remember being into really bad commercial punk music when I was younger; I listened to MxPx and Blink-182. But the first band that I really, really got into and truly loved was Metallica, which is really funny now, because I don’t listen to them at all and there is zero influence in our music from my Metallica-listening days.

BACK-UP PLAN(S): I’d really like to be a tour manager/sound guy for a while. I’m a pretty organized dude—I would more so want to do sound than tour managing, but I’d want to do both. I think it’d be cool to find a younger band that you have a lot of expectations for and you think will do really well, and start tour managing them when they’re pretty small so you can grow as they grow.

Tom and I have been talking about opening up a soup restaurant with really nice soups and a wood-fire oven to make bread. Tom is really good at making French baguettes; actually all kinds of bread. I’ve made some batches of bagels before, and they turned out really well. I haven’t spent much time making soup, but Tom is really good at making soup.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: One of the most important things for us is to make music that is timeless, and that’s obviously easier said than done. Every band wants to make music that can maintain a level of enjoyment for ages and ages to come, but it’s really difficult considering how quickly tastes change.