Californians Beatbeat Whisper very kindly let me interview them. I am a fan of the band so it was especially nice to have them answer my questions.
Can you introduce yourselves and the kind of music you make?
Beatbeat Whisper is Ayla Nereo and Davyd Nereo, we are two siblings who grew up in the hills of Northern California. We each write our own music, and Beatbeat Whisper is the crossover of our creations, plus the influence of sounds we grew up with (Cat Stevens, Neil Young, Green Day, Bob Dylan, Beethoven, etc). We also have individual projects on our own — Ayla Nereo has a slew of solo songs, and Davyd has a dancy-rock band called That Blasted Hound. The music we make together is a combination of our individual musicmaking styles, mapped onto our favorite instruments and woven with vocal harmonies.
You’ve toured across the States quite a lot, how has that been? Tour highlights? Favourite place to play?
Touring is a joyful thing, not just for the music we get to share, but also for the people we get to meet — so many friendly folks have opened their homes and lives to us. Visiting the ferris wheels of Coney Island in NY, walking through Baltimore when the leaves were turning colors, or through the green mountains of Washington… playing music from traincar stages to livingroom podcasts to outdoor candlelit gatherings… it feels really incredible to be able to connect with other artists, places, and communities around the world. We’re hoping to connect up with labels in England and beyond, so we can bring our music over the sea and play for you all there!
Wonder Continental was released this year. I was really excited to receive my copy in the mail, it was clearly lovingly put together and came with a nice thank you note. How long does it take for you to assemble each album? Is it something you enjoy, or does it get tedious?
We’ve really enjoyed making these albums. We actually had an album-making party, inviting friends to eat dinner, dance, and assemble albums with us! And writing notes is fun, it connects us a little to those who order the music. However, we are starting to work with a company to help us make more albums — we’re getting too busy to make them all. We’ll still have handmade ones at our shows, though, and we’ll continue to offer handmade ones to order online.
Do you think that a nicely packaged album offers a greater incentive to actually buy the physical album?
I think it shows care that reflects the care put into the music. For us, it’s a chance to put even more creativity into the album, to convey the messages in each song even further through artwork and imagery. Plus it’s fun.
Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for Wonder Continental? Where did you record it? How long did it take?
We recorded this album all over the place! It was about three months of work spread out over a year and many locations… most of it was recorded in Ayla’s home in Oakland, and a few songs were recorded in an Oakland studio with our sound-engineer friend Jason. One song was recorded in a studio in Santa Cruz with a friend who had access to the space… and “Suddenly Apart Was Shared” was recorded in our family-home livingroom over a weekend (you can hear the clock in the background!). We aren’t as concerned with a perfect-studio sound (though when the opportunity presents itself, it turns out very nicely). It feels more important to record each song as clearly as possible, and capture the essence of how the song first came to us.
I see you have a few radio shows lined up, what other plans do you have in the works?
We are currently planning a Western US tour for early Spring, and are in the process of filming two music videos (coming in January). Our main focus right now is seeking out like-minded independent labels and promoters, US and international, to help us share our music more widely than we can currently do on our own. We hope to find and collaborate with these kinds of folks in Europe (especially England!) so we can come tour over there very soon.
Thanks to Beatbeat Whisper for being so kind as to answer my questions! They are a fantastic band, I am excited to hopefully see them play over here sometime soon. Their 2008 release Wonder Continental is really lovely, you can buy a hand made copy at their website here, you can here more songs on their LastFm page or visit their myspace. They also have a 2007 self titled album which is also great, make sure you give it a listen.