[EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW] Ghost Beach Talks Surf, Sounds & Flamingos

[EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW] Ghost Beach Talks Surf, Sounds & Flamingos

[EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW] Ghost Beach Talks Surf, Sounds & Flamingos


ghost beach performing at TomorrowWorld 2013Ghost Beach performing at TomorrowWorld 2013

It wasn’t until I began writing this piece that I realized I’ve seen tropical grit-pop band Ghost Beach perform no less than four times this summer – each time bringing a bit more joy to my soul, a smile to my face and a little closer to understanding the NY duo’s musical personality. A personality which embodies anthemic summertime melodies, layers of swirling electronic elements, and an indelible knack for grabbing you by the arms and lifting you into the atmosphere on the backs of their soaring vocals.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put their music on for friends only to be asked by everyone in the room, “This is really good, who is this band?” And that’s what sets Ghost Beach apart from a lot of other groups – they make memorable, upbeat, consistently GOOD music. So when the duo stopped by Lincoln Hall in Chicago the other week, I knew I had to pick their brains a little more to see just what made Ghost Beach tick. So read on, readers, as I chat with them about surfing, their uplifting sounds, and weird flocks of trippy flamingos.

Reading music:

The Sights and Sounds: We’re hanging with Josh from Ghost Beach after their phenomenal set at Lincoln Hall in Chicago. What’s up man, how’s it going?

Ghost Beach: Very good, how about you?

The Sights and Sounds: I’m doing fantastic, thanks for asking. So you guys are on tour with Robert Delong, headed back to New York after this show. How’s the tour been? What do you guys have planned for the rest of the tour?

Ghost Beach: This is our fourth show, we’re just doing seven days with Robert Delong. It’s been really fun so far and tonight was definitely a highlight. We got to play Chicago twice in one week and it’s definitely earning a special place in our hearts for sure. And we’re excited because we get to hit D.C. and New York. We consider D.C. like part of our hometown because we just go there so much and it’s super fun to party there. So, we have lots to look forward to.

The Sights and Sounds: So you guys played North Coast Music Fest in Chicago last week, and have actually been on the road quite a bit this summer.

Ghost Beach: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We basically just finished our debut album which is going to come out early next year. So we’ve been doing some fly dates – we were in Denver, San Fransisco, L.A., we’re getting ready to do Free Fest in Maryland with Vampire Weekend and MGMT, so that should be fun. Then we’re also getting ready to do a DJ set at TomorrowWorld (Editor’s note: They killed their set at TomorrowWorld) on the Kitsuné Stage. It should be rad.

The Sights and Sounds: So your music is officially labeled as tropical grit-pop from New York, but I catch a lot of West coast vibes. Where does that sound come from?

Ghost Beach: Well I grew up on the coast of an island in New York, not Long Island, but basically a barrier beach in New York. So I come from a beach town. I had like six kids in my grade and every day after school we’d go into the ocean and surf and stuff. I also went to school in Hawaii for a little bit, so I’ve definitely had a lot of time at the beach. My middle name is Ocean, so, I don’t know, it just feels right, natural. You know?

The Sights and Sounds: So what size board do you ride?

Ghost Beach: Oh man. I have a 5’10” but I prefer something like my 8’0”, it’s a nice custom board that I got made in Hawaii. I don’t know, I’ve had so many nice boards. I had a really nice 6’4” when I was out in Hawaii, that used to be my go-to. I’m actually thinking about getting a new custom fish (board) when I get back to New York. I might get another 5’10” stubnose fish, you know, just so I can get in there quick and do something. Especially on the East coast you need something a little smaller. I was actually driving past Lake Michigan and saw the wind swells and started thinking…

The Sights and Sounds: Twice a year the waves actually get big enough to surf around here. Now, if time weren’t a factor and you could choose anyone from history, who would you want to collaborate with?

Ghost Beach: Oh man, that’s a tough question. We really draw heavily from The Police and Tears For Fears, Talking Heads. Man, that’s just like, how do you answer that? You know, I also really like stuff that Diplo does. I don’t know, that’s just such a tough question, there’s so many.

The Sights and Sounds: Ok, fair enough. How about top three?

Ghost Beach: I think Peter Tosh would be cool. Peter Gabriel, maybe? That’d be pretty crazy. Man, it’s just so tough.

The Sights and Sounds: If you could have a stage anywhere in the world or built of of anything in the world, where or what would that stage be?

Ghost Beach: Well, it would definitely be on the beach. It would definitely be on a tropical island, but I feel like I need to go to more places to know exactly where that would be. But it would be made of something very eco-friendly, you know, like a cool bamboo stage. We had the pleasure of playing a beach party in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, and we were like, “Oh yeah, we could definitely play tropical beach parties all the time.”

The Sights and Sounds: So I swear we didn’t base this next question off your band name, but if you had the option to reincarnate or come back as a ghost when you die, what would you be?

Ghost Beach: Reincarnate as something else, no question. I don’t know what I’d be. A dolphin is the cliché answer because they swim in the ocean. I like – I don’t want to say cows ‘cause I’d (they) probably get killed pretty quickly – but I do like cows, yeah. So maybe a cow in India, that’d be pretty cool.

(After a pause) Or… maybe a flamingo actually. I had a dream about flamingos the other night, so I’m going to say flamingo.

The Sights and Sounds: Can you tell me what that dream was about?

Ghost Beach: It was crazy man. I was in a helicopter flying over this bluff in the ocean, checking out the waves. And then there was just this next of crazy flamingoes. It was trippy.

The Sights and Sounds: Crazy dreams. Crazy times. We appreciate you hanging out with us in the creepy back alley of Lincoln Hall, it’s been a pleasure. Time to go jump back inside and catch some more music.

Ghost Beach: Thanks man, it’s been great. Let’s do it.


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Kris Hi there! Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Sights and Sounds. Been doing this music writing thing for most my life in one way or another and loving every opportunity it's brought along. Shoot me an email if you have any suggestions for the website, comments, or if you just want to chat. Cheers!