Beverly killed it again on Friday, this time for a packed crowd at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. ATYPICAL SOUNDS scored some quality time before the show with vocalist/guitarist Drew Citron and guitarist Scott Rosenthal to find out why 2016 will be their most exciting year yet.
You just released the video for “Victoria,” the second single off your new album, which was co-written by Kip Berman from The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Can you talk a little bit about…
Scott sneaks over.
SR: Sorry, don’t mind me.
DC: Come talk in the recording machine.
How are you doing tonight?
SR: We’re playing a show, I play guitar. What are you doing tonight?
Interviewing you guys. Anyway, “Victoria” was co-written by Kip.
DC: It was fun because it was kind of the same way master sculptors take a block of marble and chip away and the sculpture reveals itself. Kip gave us something that was pretty much done, and then we chipped away at it, and started over and over. It was a process of elimination to make the song something that we liked. It was really fun, ’cause we never work like that. The parts that were something we could get behind as we chipped away to create something that was from us. It was a real collaboration.
How do you usually write? Do you jam together, or do each of you work alone?
DC: Noooooo we never jam! We jam a lot. We play Everly Brothers songs together and sing and mess around and do covers all the time. I think for writing, we’re very solitary and you have to develop in your incubator by yourself. I’ll write a melody and a chord progression and be really excited about it and then we’ll finish it together. It’s a solitary thing, I think.
What are your favorite songs to cover?
DC: We’re doing a special cover tonight, which you’ll find out about later.
SR: We’re using two drummers, which is something that we’ve always fantasized about.
DC: I’m really obsessed with The Concert for Bangladesh, the George Harrison performance with two drummers. It’s the best video on the internet besides Bed Intruder. And I want to make that happen tonight.
SR: The song we’re doing is like an unfinished demo, or it sounds to my ears like an unfinished demo. It kind of runs together, or maybe it’s just intended to sound that way. I’m really excited cause I’ve never played drums with another drummer before. We did it in rehearsal and I expected it to be a nightmare, but it was so easy and it sounded so good.
What can you tell me about your new album?
DC: I really like it. I’m really proud of it, I’m really proud of the new songs. It sounds great, we worked our asses off.
SR: There are certain properties of records that happen before you know how to make a record. You go in with some producer, and lay down parts to a click track. And at the end of recording, you’re like “Oh, it doesn’t sound as crazy or as serious as I hoped it would.” But after you’ve failed a couple of times, you start to pick up on these very subtle things that are absolutely crucial to preserve if you want a great record at the end.
And you gain technical skills as well.
SR: Exactly. There are certain things that you do really need to concentrate on and edit from a technical standpoint. And it’s crucial; the more you do, the better your record gets. Certain other elements, like the more you work on it and the more you edit it, the way you compress it, the worse your record gets. So I think the art of producing is figuring out what is making a record worse and what’s making it better, and when we listen to this record, we thought we preserved almost all of what made it special and none of what had been sloppy.
Does [founding member] Frankie Rose still have any input in the band?
DC: No, she and I started the project together and she left before we started touring. So she’s not involved at all, although we wrote the first album together.
After this, you’re going to SXSW and then Europe.
DC: I know, I’m so excited.
Is this your first time at SXSW?
DC: No, it’s my millionth time, but it’s my first time with Beverly so I’m really excited. Our live lineup sounds great right now and I feel really proud to show what we have going on, as you may see tonight.
What are your favorite venues in Austin?
DC: I think the new Cheer Up Charlie’s is really awesome. I went two years ago when they moved it to more in the center of town. There’s an outdoor stage that has this really beautiful backdrop, with lights that are kind of projected on this white rock. It’s a beautiful stage, and the inside sounds really good too.
And then you’re going to Manchester, Paris, and Brussels?
DC: Yeah, we’re doing a little bit of a European tour.
You’ll have to report back on what exactly is in Brussels besides waffles, chocolate, and jewelry.
DC: I’ve never done anything in Belgium besides go into a venue and sit in the green room, and then play a show. I don’t know what happens there. I walked to get a croissant, I think. It felt like France. I mean, you go on tour and you really only see the venue, and then you go to a restaurant that they recommend. So there’s not a lot of downtime, you’re just driving around and playing shows.
SR: What happens is, the van is your life. Like you’re in the van and you get deeply, emotionally involved with podcasts or a playlist. You get involved with Serial, or This American Life, or Snap Judgement and that’s it, basically.
DC: We had a good time on our last tour of London, because we kind of had a home base. We have good friends there, so it was fun.
SR: It was nice. And the one thing we did that could be useful information for other bands, is that everyone gets a tour manager when you go to Europe, or especially England because everyone drives on the left side of the road. But once you drive on the left side of the road for more than 20 minutes, it’s so easy and intuitive.
DC: We kind of bossed it on this last tour, because you usually waste so much money just getting someone who can drive you and manage the tour. I mean, I toured before there was wifi everywhere, so you needed someone who knew what they were doing, but you don’t need that anymore. You can Google Map it, and you’re fine. We drove through a serious snowstorm on the M1 outside of Glasgow in the middle of the night, and I was freaking out. And that wasn’t cool, I would’ve preferred to have a driver. Other than that, we kind of nailed it.
You’re originally from San Francisco, right? Scott, are you from here?
SR: I’m from New Jersey, in Bergen County.
Drew, did you move to New York to be a musician, or was it for school?
DC: I moved to New York for school, and I just stayed. I went to NYU and studied Experimental Theater.
What did you do for your thesis?
DC: My senior thesis was a show that I wrote about Rembrandt. It was a musical, called Rembrandt the Musical. I wrote all the music and I choreographed it, and it was a masterpiece.
…You graduated, right?
DC: Barely. I had to convince them that my show was drawing on the things I had learned and the texts we had studied. And I was like, “It’s like Charles Ludlam and the Theater of the Ridiculous.” I had to go to meetings to convince them that it was ok to do this, and have it be applicable toward me graduating. It worked, I conned my way to having the time of my life with my best friends.
Scott, what did you study?
SR: I studied music, but I bounced around between a couple of different schools. Finally, I ended up at NYU. I did a semester in London at Goldsmiths University and that was really amazing. I went there because my favorite guitarist is Graham Coxon from Blur. He’s the best. So basically I went there because I was like, “Well if he went there, then I should go there too.” Then, I met my best friend there, because he went there for the exact same reason.
Are your parents musical? Drew, I know you were taught to play guitar by your dad.
DC: My parents do actually play in a band together, they do Eagles covers and the like. I can’t wait to play in a band when I’m 65.
What can your fans expect from you in the next couple of months?
DC: I’m hoping that people will hear the new record, and love it as much as I do. I hope that it connects to at least one person.