Before they took to the stage for their third appearance at the Pitcfork Music Festival on Sunday night, Beach House dropped in backstage at the XRT Heineken interview tent to share their perspectives on recording their four albums with Marty Lennartz. Victoria Legrand, who layers soft vocals over Alex Scally’s echoing and emotive guitar, spoke about the evolution of her voice and her openness to change in the Beach House’s sound.
Marty Lennartz praised Beach House’s new album Bloom, citing the intimate power of the songs as well as the album’s coherence. Commenting on Bloom, Legrand found, “Each time we make a record, we’ve learned a lot. The intentions were the same; the process was the same.” Their previous three albums have gained them a great following, and their third album, Teen Dream, garnered much critical acclaim.
Beach House Backstage At Pitchfork
Scally, describing their songwriting and recording process, revealed it as intensely controlled and collaborative. “The essential process that we use for every song we’ve ever written, usually there’s some small beginning” he said, “and then we try to make it grow in way that’s not intellectual, just more natural, we just play it over and over and over and wait for the next thing to happen.” Legrand added, “It’s not a process that favors isolation. It’s very physical because of the fact that we have to be there… all the decision and choices get made 50/50.”
Victoria Legrand opened up about her voice functioning as a vocal instrument of the band. “I feel like with singing in one’s life, you start singing at some point,” she shared, “and it keeps changing for the rest of your life.” Contemplating on the addition it makes to their recordings, Legrand added, “It’s something that I can control, but it’s also something I can’t control. When melodies happen, when something erupts, it’s completely spontaneous and completely emotionally based.” Her process, just as Scally mentioned involves leaving “a lot to nature.”
Extensive touring has affected the band’s recording positively and creatively, and Scally observed that the touring is one part of what makes Beach House so enjoyable to him. “That’s the joy of being in a band and playing hundreds of shows a year: you have to find some way to be excited and believe in it every day.” Scally finds that “showmanship” is a “lost art” that requires the adaptation to “try to play into each room and change your setlist based on the sound or energy of the room.” Legrand pointed out that their shows, while not as energetic as other bands, are “an intimate experience, and also a physical experience,” because of the choice people have to engage in their music.
Beach House played the Pitchfork Music Festival Sunday night on the Red Stage. Watch the performance in the player above.