South Florida is an odd place. With its long stretches of beach and endless sunshine, the lower half of the peninsula fancies itself a bastion of youth culture – of spring breaking and surfing and general fun in the sun – and yet the warmth and pancake flat terrain has been attracting an older, more sedentary population since the dawn of the retirement community. And thus youth and senior culture come to interact uneasily, side-by-side, the latter doing everything possible to temper the former and keep things rooted in the 1950s as much as possible. It’s voluntarily, however, that Beach Day, a group of youngsters from Hollywood, Florida – a sleepy town with an old school boardwalk – have chosen to make music like the 1960s never ended.
But unlike, say, the Pipettes, Beach Day doesn’t come wed to ’60s culture writ large. In fact, it was through more modern means of communication that the band came to be on Brooklyn’s Kanine records. “We just sent a cold e-mail,” singer Kimmy Drake told BYT in a conversation a few weeks ago. “Not a cold e-mail – it was, you know, like a cold call… We had no connection with the label or any of their bands whatsoever. And we got an e-mail back from [label head] Leo [Cerezo] probably within an hour.”
The band has toured relentlessly over the past year, but tonight it gets to celebrate: Yesterday saw the release of its debut LP, Trip Trap Attack, and Beach Day will play Brooklyn’s Shea Stadium tonight in honor of that milestone. On Friday, it visits Arlington’s Iota.
What came first: Beach Day the band or “Beach Day” the song?
The song came first. That was the first song that we wrote and from there we decided to call the band [whispers]: Beach Day. [Laughs]
How did the three of you come to join forces?
We were all in three separate bands when we met. We all met on the same night, because all of our bands were playing at the same show. We kind of just left all of our to start a new band. [Laughs]
What sort of music were those other bands making?
Skyar’s old back was mainstream-ish. My old band was a garage-y, grunge band. And then Nat’s old bands was a punk band. [Laughs].
How did you come to bond over 60s girls pop?
I loved this stuff. I grew up listening to that kind of stuff. Then we got into a discussion about it, and I found out that Natalie really loves that stuff too. And then I found out that Skylar grew up on, like, completely ’60s stuff as well. I really haven’t met that many people that have grown up on that stuff. Most people that I knew grew up on 90s stuff. I mean, I love 90s stuff too, of course.
Who were some of the bands that you shared a common appreciation for?
Definitely the Sonics. That’s one of my favorite bands. The Yardbirds. All three of us collectively love the Shangri-La’s so much, because they’re such badasses.
Is that music you had always kept on your radar, or something that you rediscovered later in life?
I definitely never lost track of that. It’s always been my favorite thing. I just hadn’t met anyone who was so obsessed like I was. It was just really cool to have other people to play with.
Are there contemporary bands with a similarly nostalgic disposition that you’ve looked to, either creatively or in terms of how they present themselves?
I love the Vivian Girls. They’re one of my favorite bands. Obviously there’s Dum Dum Girls, and, like, those obvious bands. Cults. The Like. I love all of those bands. One of the new bands that I’m into right now is Foxygen. I love them. I really like Thee Oh Sees.
How do you see Beach Day distinguishing itself in that landscape?
I think we’re right alongside all of those bands, probably.
What’s the story behind the record’s cover art? Is that your nod towards South Florida?
Yeah, 100% it’s a nod towards South Florida. We wanted to represented how strange and weird Florida is in general, and Hollywood too. Hollywood is super weird. We wanted to capture the vibe of Florida. To me that’s a gator, and we have flamingos and stuff on there too. Those are just so Florida.
You’ve honed in on some indigenous wildlife, but how would you describe Hollywood and South Florida more broadly?
To me, Hollywood is full of very strange people. [Laughs] Florida, in general, I would say this: Any time you see something really weird or some really weird person on the news, 90% of the time, they’re from Florida. That’s something I’ve noticed over the years. You can always find weird people from Florida. Also, one of the things that I think is the coolest thing ever is the abandoned amusement parks and all of the abandoned attractions they have in Florida from the ’30s,’ 40s, and ’50s. I find that so interesting.
As a young person, what’s the music scene like to come up in?
Hollywood doesn’t have a music scene. It’s mostly retirees here. We usually end up playing in Miami or Fort Lauderdale. We’re smack dab in the middle of those two cities. And we play West Palm [Beach] a lot too.
What has the past year of touring been like? Had your other bands toured to this extent?
None of our three past bands really toured. We’d play shows out of town sometimes, but we never toured this extensively. I look at touring as an adventure. I love going on adventures. It’s one of my favorite things to do, whether it’s, like, going to the Everglades or something like that. I just like adventurous things. There are definitely downsides. I don’t enjoy being in hotels every single night, but it’s part of the deal and you definitely learn to live like that. I’ve learned to make a hotel my home. We’ve learned how to live in hotels, pretty much.
You’ve mentioned online that Beach Day is already practicing new songs.
I’m always, always, always writing. We’re just starting to plan our next record already. There are probably already eight songs written. They’re pretty much finished. We just finally have time at home to practice them a little bit.
Are they in a fairly similar vein to what’s on Trip Trap Attack or are you entering your death metal stage?
[Laughs] It’s definitely not going to be the death metal or the nu metal period. [Laughs] It’s definitely in the same vein. There’s a lot of chorus – like, super upbeat, fun songs. But, also, I feel like the second record might be a little darker. A few of the songs definitely have a darker feel, for sure.
How did the LensCrafter commercial come to fruition?
LensCrafters contacted out management company, Park the Van, and wanted us to do a cover of the Drifters song. We were already planning on recording in Detroit with Jim Diamond when we were passing through town, because we had a day off the day after the Detroit show, so we went there and did the demo of it and they love it. That pretty much sums it up. [Laughs]
Is that something you’ll be able to release?
I don’t think so. LensCrafters pretty much owns our recording of the song. They obviously don’t own the song, because Carol King wrote it, but they do own our recording of it.