We had a quick chat to Beach House vocalist Victoria Legrand about the making of Teen Dream and the passion of Baltimore.
Hi Victoria, where are you at the moment?
We’re in San Diego at the beginning of a tour with Vampire Weekend.
Tell us about the making of Teen Dream. It sounds fairly intense.
Isolation is a word that we use ourselves when describing this record. I think it’s a very normal thing, it’s what everybody does when they want to make something. It’s really not like shunning the rest of the world, you just go into your space and you write. It’s isolated because no one else is around, but for Alex and I it’s always really been the best time. It’s when we’re allowed to have privacy, have all the things that we’ve stored up travelling, the things we’ve written on the road, the little bits and pieces, come together. It’s always been like that. For Devotion, we were writing it in between tours. On Teen Dream, we had a lot more time because we completely finished touring and then we had 8 months of no shows so we were able to really focus. We’re hoping to have that again when this touring cycle is over with. What I’m trying to describe is that it’s actually been a very consistent process for us. There hasn’t really been any off time. We’re either touring, performing, or getting excited about creating something new.
How did you meet Alex?
I moved to Baltimore in 2004. I had a friend from school who I was in a music project with and I followed him to Baltimore. I was living in France at the time and I wanted to move back to the States to continue music. My friend who was in Baltimore introduced me to Alex. I was looking for a bassist at the time and that was it. We started playing music together and we’ve been playing music together ever since.
And the other project fell through?
They were never serious projects. They were either just fun or they were writing on my own. We’ve both been musical in our lives from early ages but for both of us Beach House has been the most serious project.
What were you doing in France?
I’d left university and I went to France to continue studying theatre. I was in a professional school but I knew music was one possibility and I knew acting was one possibility. I had a love of both but I grew disenchanted with theatre and more enchanted with the idea of making my own texts and having that much more immediate, exciting process. I was playing by myself and writing. One thing led to another. I realised I wanted to be a part of that world and wanted to go to Baltimore.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in France and then I moved to Baltimore, then northern Marylands, then I lived in Philadelphia. I basically lived up and down the east coast. Alex is born and raised in Baltimore. He studied in Ohio but he’s true blood.
I noticed your press release specifies that you’re not a couple. Why did you put that in?
Just for fun. We didn’t like getting asked about it because we’d always say no and it’s boring to say no. So we were like, “let’s just never get asked about it again”.
Now I’m asking you why you put it in…
Exactly! We’d get asked a lot at the beginning when the first record came out. For us it’s not that interesting.
I get the impression that people from Baltimore are pretty passionate about their local bands. Is that the case?
I think that Baltimore is a very supportive community. It’s not a big city and it’s almost like a provincial town. There’s only about 800,000 people, the actual community of artists is only a couple of hundred people. I think the community in Baltimore is extreme supportive of its artists and everyone doing it on their own. No one’s really preoccupied with making it big or what label they’re going to get on, it’s more just do it. It’s a very laid-back place to make things. It gives you the space, it’s not threatening, it’s affordable. There’s nothing to it, you just have to make it yourself.
What should we do if we’re ever in Baltimore?
There’s a band that we really love that is in Baltimore right now called Lower Dens, they’re amazing. There are a lot of dive bars that people like to go to. I like The Charles movie theatre. I try to stay out of bars but if I had to pick one it’d be Club Charles.
Thanks for talking to us, Victoria. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Laneway Festival.
We’re very much looking forward to coming. We had really wonderful time last time we were there.
Beach House are playing Laneway Festival and side shows. More on Beach House in Issue 47 on sale now.