Beach Fossils Are Ready to Embrace the Madness

Beach Fossils play Crescent Ballroom on Wednesday July 19.
Beach Fossils play Crescent Ballroom on Wednesday July 19. Evan Tetreault
Beach Fossils are masters of reinvention. After years of lineup changes and continued musical experimentation, they have to be. The Brooklyn band’s latest album, Somersault, ushers in a yet another new chapter. It’s their third LP and the first record released on frontman Dustin Payseur’s label, Bayonet Records. He founded the label with his wife, Katie Garcia, former label manager at their previous home, Captured Tracks. (The two met when Garcia was an intern.)

The two are so dedicated to the new label that they asked friends and family to donate toward this new endeavor in lieu of wedding gifts. Bayonet’s roster has built up quickly, signing Frankie Cosmos, Lionlamb, Red Sea, and more.

While Payseur took control of some of the business side of Beach Fossils, he gave more control to bandmates Jack Doyle Smith and Tommy Davidson after years of Payseur handling the majority of the songwriting. The minimalist course set in their 2010 self-titled debut has given way to lush, tight melodies and spectacular instrumentation, all without losing the spirit of their shoegaze roots.

New Times talked with Payseur about the freedom and challenges of starting his own label and keeping the right headspace on tour. Beach Fossils will spend July on the West Coast, making a stop at Crescent Ballroom on Wednesday, July 19, with She-Devils and Ablebody.

New Times: What was the most exciting part of starting your own label?
Dustin Payseur: Being able to put out music by artists that I love and that I believe in. That, and the freedom to do whatever I want on my own terms. Not that I haven’t been able to before, but with my own albums, I love being completely hands-on and being a part of the process every step of the way. 

What was the most challenging aspect?
Being in a creative headspace while working on music, then having to break out of that to sit down for hours to do emails about tedious, technical label things. It’s a completely opposite vibe. I’ve never had an office job and I didn’t go to college, so it’s new for me to be on that end of things.

Did you have any particular goals as you prepared to record the new album?
Yeah, basically just letting these songs and ideas grow and bloom. Spending time with these songs and letting them tell me what they need. 

How do you prepare for such an extensive worldwide tour?
I guess by just ignoring the fact that we’ll be out so long. I try to take every day on tour one at a time, because if you’re in the middle of it and look at all the dates you’ve done and all the ones that are coming up, sometimes it feels overwhelming. So just putting on blinders and going forward every day is a good way to go about it. Also, keeping a good relationship with everybody you’re touring with is huge. You need to take it light and just relax and have fun with each other; if morale is high, the shows will be sick.

What else can we expect in 2017?
Basically just touring through the rest of the year, so we won’t really have time to be writing or working on anything else. Ready to embrace the madness.

Beach Fossils play in Phoenix at Crescent Ballroom on Wednesday, July 19. Tickets are available for $16 through the Ticketfly.
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Ashley Harris is a longtime professional fangirl. You can usually find her out at concerts, movies, and live theatre, or glued to the latest Netflix revival.
Contact: Ashley Harris