[Interview] Scates and Beach Weather. What Could Be Better?
Before Pat, John, and rest of The Maine took the stage at Masquerade, the opening band, Beach Weather (whom we mentioned in our 13 Underground Artists article in December), put on a hell of a show. Comprised of singer, guitarist, and frontman Nick Santino, drummer Austin Scates, and bassist Reeve Powers. Beach Weather are a transcontinental band, with members coming from Massachusetts, Arizona, and Tennessee respectively. As fans swarmed the members of both bands in Kenny’s Alley, we were lucky enough to get to Beach Weather’s drummer, Austin Scates, after the show, and he happily agreed to sit down with us for an interview. We sequestered ourselves away in a stairwell that had a great view of his friends and bandmates being mobbed by the Atlanta faithful and began our friendly chat.
How’s the tour been going?
Good! I think we’re about half way done so we have maybe 12 or 13 more shows. Started in Denver and I think we end in Minnesota. [He checks his tour card] Yea, started in Denver end in Minneapolis, and we have Tupac on our little thing here.
Oh, that’s Tupac with a bowl cut! Sidney, get a picture of this!
I’m not taking credit for that design, but it’s on there.
So you guys have toured with the Maine before. How do you like touring with them?
Yea, this is our second time with them. It’s great. I’m from Arizona and they’re from Arizona so we kind of grew up in the same local music scene and all kind of were going in and out of different bands throughout middle school to high school to early college years. Which, I don’t think that any of us did full college but throughout those years of our lives.
So we’ve all been somewhat mutually connected in a way, and then Nick has obviously toured with them a few times doing solo stuff and then back with Rocket. They’re phenomenal humans, and I love their music. It’s humbling, and we’re thankful that they wanna bring us out on the road to play some shows for people all over the states. It’s been a good time.
Your first tour with them was the “Free for All” tour, right?
Yea, it was.
They told us earlier that they took you on that tour like two weeks after you became a band, so how did that process of forming and immediately hitting the road help get the band off the ground and get y’all started?
I feel like it just got things moving rapidly. We had this idea, and it was just barely an idea. Some pretty cool songs that were crafted over the summer, and then it was like a snap of the finger like, “Hey, do you want to go on the road in like two weeks?”
So, to me, it helped in the sense of just building momentum really quickly. We didn’t really have to overthink things. We just got things in motion. Cause I feel like that’s when you learn a lot; when you’re in the midst of doing all of it.
ou’re from Arizona, Reeve is from Nashville, and where’s Nick from?
It’s like, north of Boston in Braintree.
With being from such different areas, how did Beach Weather really come together? Was it from kind of knowing The Maine growing up that you met Nick? Or just some set of coincidences?
Umm, kind of coincidence, but I remember running into Pat, who is the drummer for The Maine, at some show in Phoenix, and I hadn’t seen him in quite some time. So we got to catch up on life and music and whatnot. Shortly after that, maybe a month or two, I was interested in pursuing something a little more than just filling in and stuff. So then he got me connected with Brennan (Smiley) from The Technicolors, and we had started communicating and dabbling in some things.
Then right after that with Nick, and so then we started talking and doing group chats and they (Nick and Reeve) came out to Arizona and we just jammed for a little bit and went over some solo tunes Nick had written and vibed out playing together. Then that kind of progressed into, “Hey, maybe this could be something a little bit different.”
How much of those early jam sessions turned into Beach Weather songs vs. How much was stuff Nick had pretty much already written that you guys added your own flavors onto?
The first EP is definitely a long branch out from what Nick was doing with his solo stuff, which I think is a great thing. He had solidified a thing with that and was ready to kinda try a new idea. He had an open mind with other members coming in, so we worked with some friends back in Arizona who are great recording engineers that helped us get somewhat of a cohesive sound.
How does a Beach Weather song come together now?
We’re definitely in a transition in how we go about writing. Like after this we’re gonna be at an Airbnb in physical presence, more so jamming over some ideas that each of us have. Whereas beforehand everything was kind of roughly sculpted and just feeling it out. A lot had to do with Sean and Alex, our buddies back in Arizona, who were just phenomenal at piecing together, “Ok, this is his vibe on drums, this is his vibe on bass, this is where he could go vocally and with guitar that come together.”
They kind of viewed us each as individuals and pieced it together. Which was really helpful. But in the future, I don’t know. We’re exploring different ways of writing, and living in different places we all write separately so it’s just kind of tossing ideas back and forth. And then you just work through that.
When we were talking earlier, you mentioned that you guys had plans to record your next project live in-studio as opposed to recording separately and piecing it together. Does that have any effect on how the album is written? Will it be more live jams in the studio to see what pops up, or will it still be preplanned and prewritten but y’all are just recording it together?
It could be both or a balance of both. Because obviously you want to have good songs, and you don’t want it sounding like a complete mess, unless that’s your intention, of course. There are some jam bands that are very respectable just based off of going crazy and nuts and seeing what happens and cutting an album that way.
For us, I could see finding a balance between the two and having rough ideas that are built between communicating across the states. And then coming together and jamming them in real life and seeing how they interact with ourselves in a real setting. So, somewhere in between. Definitely tracking things at the same time is a beneficial thing as far as the connection. Whatever is going to be the best thing for the song, ultimately.
I noticed you guys have a new touring band member.
Yea, Joey (Joseph Pantaleo). Joey Pants.
That’s had a definite impact on your stage sound. It seems like you guys are able to open up and jam out more than you did the last time I saw you guys as just the trio. Do you envision that making its way into the way you record/write and your style in general? Do you see yourselves eventually adding a fourth member full-time?
Yea, at some point I feel like it’s something we’re considering. It’s been great having Joey out on this tour because I think it has opened up our minds and sonically it broadens the sound. So yeah, we’re open to that for sure. And in recording as well, that’s definitely a direction we wanna go.
There’s a lot of stuff that’s really super clean cut on the radio and clean cut all over the place because nowadays you can make shit sound perfect with a few clicks of the mouse and align everything and tune vocals and shape everything into this perfect world.
And there’s a part of it where the song can transcend that a little and capture people, but that’s when it’s on the radio for a few months and then it dies. I think we’re looking a little further than that. Just some real genuine shit.
Speaking of the radio, how much of what’s on the radio effects your own style? Like, right now everyone is obsessed with the '80s comeback and that disco sound. How much of your own creative process is geared toward, “What do I like?” vs “What will my fans enjoy?”
It’s definitely a balance, and we’re in the middle of figuring all of that out, being two years old or younger as a band. I think where we would like to head would be more genuine and true to our own inspirations and bringing those together, as opposed to “this is what’s cool.” You know, like, gated toms and a gated snare is like super fucking cool right now so “let’s do that on the record.”
Which, I’m not downplaying any sort of electronic elements or production techniques, I just feel like if it’s used tastefully and I what feels like an original way, which, can’t really say that there’s anything original cause, you know, it’s hard to say that. But I would just hope for us to not say, “Hey this is what’s really cool right now, let’s do something like that.” Cause that’s a bad hole to go down.
Photos by Sidney Spear for Bullet Music