How a surprise viral hit during the pandemic helped Beach Weather come back together
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When Beach Weather made their decision to return from an indefinite hiatus early last year, the trio returned to a world that was very different from the one it left behind in 2017. Formed in 2015 by members Nick Santino, Sean Silverman and Reeve Powers, the band are known for their 2016 EPs What a Drag and Chit Chat. While on hiatus, the group watched Chit Chat’s “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” go viral on social media, amassing over 300 million streams on Spotify as well as topping the alternative music charts. That viral success reinvigorated the band's passion for making music together.
Since the world has opened up again, the band haven't missed a beat. They’ve gone right back to playing shows with their ongoing fall tour and have released the single “Unlovable,” which explores a similar place of anxiety as “Sex, Drugs, Etc.,” emphasizing the group’s desire to both stick to their roots and evolve. Their new single, “Trouble With This Bed,” blends the group’s signature indie-rock influence with a smooth R&B sound, and serves as another exciting example of what’s to come.
In an interview over Zoom, lead singer Santino spoke to AP about the band’s origins, their growth and the exciting new projects that lie on the horizon for the band.
Let’s go back to the beginning. What were the early days of the band like?
It really began with me and my good friend Sean [Silverman]. We were touring separately, but he and I always talked about setting some time aside to get together and record. When we finally did, we didn’t set out with any expectations. We were really just having fun. We funneled out a couple of tracks, and we realized maybe people might really dig what we were making. We shopped this project around to other bands like “Hey, if you wanna take us on the road, feel free!” The Maine was heading on tour at the time, and they told us, “If you guys wanna make something out of this, that would be pretty awesome!” So I reached out to another good friend of mine named Reeve Powers, who I also always wanted to play in bands with. I showed him these really early demos, before the band even had a name, and he was very down to be involved. From there, we got right to work. We played places like shopping malls. We went across the country with some of my best friends in the world and played a whole new project. It felt like a really badass rock ‘n’ roll way of starting a band.
What ultimately led you to the decision to go on hiatus?
In the beginning, we just toured really hard. Eventually, we found ourselves engaged in a little too much of it and started to not really like who we were becoming. We were leaning into bad habits, and that led to a place where we wanted to take a break. It was the first time where I felt like I needed to focus on myself because I had avoided that for so long. I had to realize I’m not just the guy on tour playing shows and moving around the country. I think we all hit that point after a couple of years of touring. At that time, I got married and had two children. I pursued graphic design, which had always been another passion of mine. I really found happiness in being a husband and a father, and I’m incredibly happy to have that aspect of my life.
What prompted the band’s return?
For a while, I think we were all content with closing that chapter. But when the pandemic happened, I found myself thinking about music again, and Sean, who had stayed very busy in the industry with writing a lot of great music, happened to get in touch with me and tell me about some things he was working on. But he was in LA and I was in Boston, so we started off just sending each other notes and ideas. Eventually, that turned into us FaceTiming a few times a week to write. There were some days we’d get through two whole songs over one jam session, and I fell in love with it all over again. I remembered the joy of making music without any of the pressure I had put on myself for so long. I was just writing things I was excited about with my great friends. The guys from the Maine, they have a recording space they allowed us to use. We went over with an original plan of only recording maybe four songs over a couple of days. Before we knew it, we’d recorded eight and just kept going. It all fell into place very effortlessly, and it was very encouraging for us. It reaffirmed this idea that we had a lot more to give to this project.
You’re in the midst of your first run of shows in about five years. How has it felt to be back in front of crowds after such a long hiatus?
I used to get so nervous every single time we performed on stage. We would get through two or three songs and I’d literally have to take a break because I felt so nauseous. I had no idea why it would happen, but now I think that it came from a place of self-consciousness, feeling like I didn’t belong up there on stage. I would feel isolated because I’d get so caught up in my own negative thoughts and feelings, and it was just this cycle that ultimately only served a negative purpose. It led to me needing to spend time away from making music. But now when we perform, I can look at Sean or at Reeve, and I can look at the crowd of people who came to hear us play and who are singing along to songs that we wrote, and I realize that I’m a part of something bigger than myself.
What was your initial reaction to seeing “Sex Drugs Etc.” go viral in the huge way that it did?
It’s funny, looking back on it now. That song was the last one on our EP Chit Chat, and we almost left it off that project because it isn’t a very happy song. Ultimately it’s about the anxiety of feeling like you don’t belong, and the many ways that we deal with that anxiety. And while we all knew how great the song is, we were worried that people wouldn’t resonate, and they’d just think of it like “Oh look at these guys being sadboys.” But years later, it started blowing up on TikTok, and I’m not really on TikTok so I found out through people emailing and texting me. That really was amazing to see. Now at live shows, we get people singing it back to us all the time and the song really feels like it has a whole new meaning. At the end of the day, there are a lot of people who first heard of Beach Weather because of that song and have since become fans.
What’s something you’d like people to know about your most recent single, “Unlovable?”
I remember writing the title of that track, way back in 2017. I was in the airport, and I think I just heard the word and jotted it down. I started thinking, and it eventually became this chorus of “How’d I get so damn unlovable?” You might be the most confident person in the world, but we all have moments where we sink into that self-consciousness of feeling unworthy of love. In a way, I think that song is a spiritual successor to “Sex, Drugs, Etc.” because they both come from very similar places. It was interesting for us to write from that place again, and it allowed me to do a lot of introspection and realize how we’ve changed as people in the years since we started.
From your perspective, how has the band’s sound evolved since the hiatus?
I think as much as it's changed, it's also stayed the same. There are some bands where they’ll take a few years off and sound completely new, and it might take a little while to get used to. I don’t think that’s been the case for us. We’ve never confined ourselves to one genre, we’ve always been very flexible. With this new record, people will listen to it and be able to say, “Yes, that’s Beach Weather. This is what I’ve missed from this band.” Of course, we’re not going to sound exactly the same, and some songs may be a bigger departure from our usual stuff. For us, it’s always been about making the music that we want to make without feeling the need to fit into a specified category.
For now, what does the near future have in store for Beach Weather?
We’re going to be doing lots of touring for now. We have the second half of our fall tour coming up on the West Coast. We’ll be playing festivals with some amazing acts. We have a new single called “Trouble With This Bed.” That song is probably the smoothest song we’ve written so far. It has this almost R&B feeling to it. Our new record will be coming out in the very near future, and we’re really looking forward to people hearing that.