ABOVE: NUDE BEACH. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHAD KAMENSHINE
This week, Nude Beach released their third LP, 77, via Don Giovanni Records. An 18-song opus of rock-‘n’-roll and punk-inflected sessions, the double album builds on the Brooklyn trio’s rootsy affections, with a dash of Bowie glam, Doors psychedelics, and homespun acoustics.
In conjunction with 77‘s release, Nude Beach—made up of vocalist and guitarist Betz, bassist Jim Shelton, and drummer Ryan Naideu—is playing a CMJ showcase show at Union Pool this Friday, October 24, and will return to New York on the official 77 tour on November 5.
BENJAMIN LINDSAY: You’re a Brooklyn-based trio, but how did you three come to start playing together in the first place?
CHUCK BETZ: We’ve actually all known each other for a really long time because we all grew up in the same town. I met Ryan when I was really young—I was probably, like, 10. I met Jim in high school. Me and Ryan have been playing in bands together for over 10 years, and me and Jim also were playing in different bands together. Then, years later, we all decided to start this band-that was fall 2008. For the most part, we were doing it just to do —just to play. We’ve been doing that for so long anyway.
LINDSAY: Why the shift from just playing for fun to wanting to push out consistent records?
BETZ: I think it happened naturally where a lot of people were asking us to play shows. The second [album], we just recorded on a whim. I picked up some recording gear to see what it sounded like and it ended up being an album that we released ourselves. Relationships have been building over the years.
LINDSAY: 77 is pretty lengthy. Were you at all wary about that? Such a hefty listening experience is putting quite a bit of faith in your audience.
BETZ: I don’t think any of us were concerned about it because we like it. I had written a whole bunch of songs. I had this batch of songs that felt like they fit together in a weird way, and then when we recorded them, it was hard to edit things down. It felt like it was okay that it was what it was. We were willing for it to be whatever it was—if people don’t want to listen to it because it’s long, then whatever.
LINDSAY: The similarities to Springsteen and Petty are still there, but did you feel like the expanded track list allowed you to explore a bit more within the genre?
BETZ: You can’t really do the same thing all the time. The way that the second record came out and the way it was received was very normal. On this one, other influences have always been around for us, [but] we’re just starting to show a little more. Especially in terms of writing songs, you’re always finding new stuff and you’re always hearing new things; you can’t help that the things you experience start coming out a little more over time. [We’re] trying to construct it less and let things more naturally play their parts.
LINDSAY: Sticking to this rock-‘n’-roll rootsy sound, do you feel your lyricism is at all thematically limited?
BETZ: Songs come from so many different places. Sometimes I’ll write a song and know exactly what it is, and other times I’ll just write a song because it came about and I just follow it wherever it came from. You can’t really shake the things that have clearly influenced you over the years. Even things that we were exposed to being young and playing music in high school and before that.