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 Beaches

Written by Michael Jago on February 20, 2009

Super groups are more often than not terrible. Some, however, are not made up of self-declared superstars engineered by greedy accountants, but are collaborations between amazing artists who come together through a shared love of music. It is with the later that Melbourne psychedelic surf rockers Beaches stand.

Having recently played as part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties line up in Sydney and Mt Buller, we caught up with Antonia Sellbach, guitarist and vocalist for the all girl six-piece, for a quick chat.

“We met each other through the Melbourne band scene, just regularly going out to see different bands and it sort of evolved. We were all friends beforehand, and we decided to just start jamming and see what happened” Antonia tells me of the band’s formation.

Signing with Mistletone and releasing a debut album to wide spread praise across the country, the girls are demonstrating that crazy psychedelic mind fuck surf rock jams well and truly have a place in todays world.

Their music is borrn out of collaboration, which Sellbach describes as “always being a very democratic and communal process. It usually starts off with a riff or a bass line, then through the jamming process everyone builds something around it, in a very freeform way. They evolve, we tape all of our jams and then listen back to them, decide what ideas work, and refine them.”

Listening to their self-titled debut, Beaches’ desire for experimentation stands out like a Kenny G fan at a N.W.A concert.

They’ve taken the opening track ‘Two Days Passed By’, slowed it down and used it in the final track Field of Dreams, creating an impressive display of symmetry and structure within the album itself.

Overall the album keeps its shape through the discipline the band took into the recording studio, using the 4 days they had to churn out 13 tracks, 12 of which made it to the album.

But this wasn’t the way they’d have preferred to do it Antonia explains, “next time we record for the next album we want it to be more like a jam, and be able to play around”.

Lyrically the band tends to focus on natural imagery. There’s none of that, ‘fuck the government or I cut myself’ malarky here, just beaches, forests and oceans, but Antonia assures me it’s not intentional.

“It’s more kind of subliminal thing. The lyrics always come up after the music, it’s not predetermined, closer to a stream of consciousness sort of thing”.

Having now completed a major tour with the likes of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Antonia recounts how different All Tomorrows Parties really was.

“All the bands were wandering around the festival, it wasn’t like, this is the VIP area where the bands stay. It was a great vibe and the scenery was breathtaking”.

From here the band plans to downshift a grade though.

“We’ve been really busy preparing for the festivals, we’re wanting to play just a small show with our friends’ bands really soon. We just wanna start writing and jamming again”.

Be sure to catch these Beaches at Summer Tones at The Oxford Art Factory on February 27, and their self-titled album is out now on Mistletone Records.

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