Music News

Baked on the Beach

Singer/guitarist Nathan "Naybob" Shineywater and singer/Rhodes pianist Rachael "Raybob" Hughes form the core of anodyne groovers Brightblack Morning Light, whose new, self-titled Matador Records debut fuses the spaced-out shoegazer-gospel of Spiritualized, the mellow country-rock of Acetone, and the heavenly vocal harmonies of Mojave 3 together to create a stunningly hypnotic effect. Happy hippies to the nth degree, the affable Alabama natives have long eschewed city dwelling for the wilderness. And as we found out after reaching their cell phone (after numerous attempts), national touring means tent camping and copious amounts of pot smoking.

NT: Sounds pretty windy where you are. Where are you?

Hughes: We're on the beach in Pensacola, Florida. This place got pretty beat up by Hurricane Katrina, and most of the state parks here are closed, so we've been camping on the beach.

NT: I heard you've been asking fans to bring crystals to your shows, like some kind of unity thing?

Hughes: Yeah! It's funny because people bring them up to the merch table and are like, "Okay, I brought my crystal . . . umm, what am I supposed to do with it?" and I'm like, "Do whatever you want with it — play with it, hold it, whatever!" In this culture, everyone's kinda told how to react to things; people need to be guided so much. So it's funny [that] I'm like, "Do what you want with the crystal!"

NT: Do you think people focus too much on your lifestyle, and the drugs and stuff?

Hughes: No, man, we're happy to talk about that because we feel it's hand in hand with the music. One thing cannot be without the other. And you know, we're just tryin' to maintain sanity in a real Babylon kinda world, and all those things help! Hold on one second, I'm gonna pass you to Naybob.

[A good minute of wind noises, muffled voices, and fumbling sounds follows.]

Shineywater: Hello?

NT: Hey, how's it goin'?

Shineywater: I'm doin' goooood, man! I'm standing in the water right now; the waves are breaking. This is for Phoenix, right?

NT: Yeah.

Shineywater: Cool, man, it's been fun playing music in all these places, but I can't wait to get back to the desert.

NT: So is it best to get completely baked before coming to see you guys play?

Shineywater: Nobody has to do that, but there's something to be said about a roomful of stoners and what kind of things can be exchanged there on an unspoken level — oh, man, I just found a beautiful shell. I'm sorry, but I'm a little baked on the beach right now! Man, this is beautiful; this one's rose colored and pearl colored.

NT: Right on. Okay, I'm gonna let you get goin'.

Shineywater: All right, man. I'm gonna go dip in the water, get one last hit, and then get in the van with sandy feet.

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Michael Alan Goldberg