ANDY editor Tomi Milos caught up with Canadian artist Samuel Avant, best known by his stage name Beach Season.
Q: Your mother had a hand in the making of Beach Season, from when she forced you into piano lessons as a kid. Are you thankful that she pushed you down that path? I understand you were a bit resentful of the piano at first and switched to drums, figuring they were cooler.
A: I’m just glad to have been fortunate enough to be able to take lessons for an instrument in general. My mother always thought that learning an instrument would be good for my general learning, focus and coordination. I'm happy now that I did the lessons because it set the foundation for a future I want to pursue.
Q: How long after taking those lessons did it take you to shift towards making music on your laptop, and what was the goal when you did?
A: I started piano when I was 8 and switch to drums at 13, and Simon and I started the whole producing thing when we were 16 or 17. There was no goal back then, it was just a fun hobby that no one we knew was doing.
Q: Simon Blitzer has been a part of Beach Season for a while now. What is his role in the duo now, and is it any different from the one he played when he was rapping over your more hip-hop inspired tracks?
A: Simon and I had Obey The Crooks together and Beach Season has always been my solo project. Right now he also has his own solo project called Sadd Ghost. Recently we dissolved Obey The Crooks and are just working together under our separate monikers. He's always been my right hand dude and we've always done shows together and helped each other write and produce. On stage he handles the effects, live instrumentation and some mixing.
Q: What is the scene like in Calgary? Is there a wide appetite for the music you’re making?
A: From my personal experience the scene here is pretty much just a big friend group of people that like to party, if you're a regular to shows around town you're most likely going to run into the same friends you met at the last shindig. It's nice in that sense, because you really make a connection through music and art with lots of like-minded people. From the people I know as well, everyone is hungry for more, which is cool. As soon as a cool artist comes through for a show it blows up almost instantly because it's a rare thing for us. People are really excited for shows, and that in turn helps us out a lot as emerging artists, because people are stoked that you're working hard to raise the bar.
Q: I’m ignorant about Calgary’s cultural attractions so I’ll be devil’s advocate and operate under the notion that there aren’t many. Does having few things to do for fun help you focus on your craft?
A: Recently we've been getting a lot more cool events, but still not as many as other larger cities in Canada. It makes it easy to focus though, so we can really hone in on creating and developing our sound. Which in turn makes traveling to other cities so much better because we get to play a show or two, party our asses off, then we get to come back home and chill out again.
Q: How has dropping out of school changed your life?
Dropping out of school was scary and it still is, just because of the fact that where we come from it's the normal thing to do and there's no one really to guide us into life without school. I'm not opposed to education at all and I think it's a wonderful thing but it really didn't do a lot for me. Dropping out definitely changed my perspective on what's really important to me, and gave me a good vision of "the bigger picture". I feel we've grown up a lot now that we're just doing our own thing and on our own path. It's taught us to be that much more independent, and we've learned a bit of what real life is like. It's enlightening in a way as well because all we do is explore art and creativity within one another and internally. Overall, dropping out taught me that the meaning of life is to experience, and so far that's what we've been doing. I’ve experienced school, that was great, but now it's time to move on to bigger things.
Q: Your EP, Internet Evening, has been well-received by the music press and you’re currently working on another release that will feature some of your friends and is projected to come out in early 2015. Is there anything from the latter going to be featured during the tour you’re about to embark upon?
A: Everything we're playing is new and improved. Lots of the tracks we're playing are brand new and have been up for debate to be on the project so maybe they will be featured on it and maybe they won't. At the end of the day the project will consist of what feels right.
Q: Are there any Canadian artists you see yourself collaborating with in the future?
A: Locally we want to get stuff going with Shaani Cage, SKVTR, Orthicon, Sanctums, Kline and Mayland. We've always dreamed of being able to one day collaborate with the OVO crew as well, who knows if it will ever happen. Also Grimes, Blue Hawaii/Braids, Lowell and Toro Y Moi are personal dream collaborations of mine.
Q: I wouldn’t peg Hamilton’s Homegrown coffee shop as the typical place to see an act like you, but it sounds like it’ll be cool. What’s your favourite venue you’ve ever played in?
A: We had a flood here in 2013 while Sled Island was going on. Long story short, our show got cancelled so we decided to go check out this cool house show going on. We ended up playing on this guy’s balcony overlooking a street filled with people. To this day the coolest show experience I've ever had. So in my opinion houses are the coolest venues.