Both Elad Marish and Jeremy Black have seen many a day (and night) in the studio, working long hours as producers. Now they’re focusing on their own music as they’ve teamed up to bring Beatific to life. The San Francisco-based duo’s debut EP, Sunshine, drops December 6 and we’ve got not only a little on what that will entail, but some inside on blurring genre lines, and what’s to come in 2020.
Kendra: Perhaps it’s my middle child nature, but being in the spotlight causes me to panic, which is why I’ve always been drawn to more behind the scenes aspects of life. For Jeremy, you went from being an artist in the limelight to a producer back to an artist for this project, and Elad you’ve sort of done the opposite with Beatific. Has either of you found you approach things differently depending on what hat you’re wearing at the moment?
Elad Marish: I tend to be more concerned about my fashion choices when I have my artist hat on! Seriously, I find that as an artist my penchant for perfectionism comes out. Every element has to feel like it’s approaching perfection for me to be satisfied. Which is why collaborating with Jeremy as co-producer and having Tony (Hoffer) as our mixer elevated the music to a place where I can be happy with the results.
Jeremy Black: I’ve always enjoyed both. I get a lot of joy from being in the studio producing, but there is rush that comes from playing live that is like no other. I think my approach to both is similar. It instinctual and I just try to serve the project or artist however I can to bring out their best.
Kendra: Like with a full 23-episode season of a TV show, a full-length LP can have some songs that feel like filler. That’s why I think EPs are in many cases stronger because each song has to be able to carry its fair share. What do you think? Do you think there’s more pressure to put out a handful of songs on a record where each has to be as strong as the last?
Elad: I think the magic of where we’re at musically at the present time is that there are literally no “B-sides.” Every song on an EP needs to be super-strong. On older records you can hear where they stopped spending the time on mixes and production – it’s like they gave the assistant the wheel for those B-sides. We’re releasing another EP in early 2020 and there are no B-sides. Every song is crafted with attention and care, and holds its own musically.
Jeremy: I think we live in the age of the single. The way people consume music now, every song should be a statement.
Kendra: Your single, “Smile Dangerous,” is definitely carrying its weight and doing so as it presents this tale of mankind’s most favorite things; sex and lust. In a world where both are at our fingertips thanks to a myriad of dating apps, do you feel we’re living in a more sexual era than say the free-loving days of the ‘60s?
Elad: For me, “Smile Dangerous” is about just the opposite of dating apps, nudes and “dick pic” culture. It’s about having the person in front of you, with no pretext, no technology, and just soaking them in. Time stops, you bow in reverence to the glory of the human form, and consummate the passion of our physical nature. There’s no cultural reference, no internet porn you’re subconsciously emulating, just the pure, perfect communion of our human bodies.
So to answer your question, I think it depends what we consider sexuality to embody. Is it a sexy “girl or guy next door” Snapchat pic? An attractive profile on a dating app and the subsequent hook up? For me it’s the opposite. It’s about a genuine human interaction and the loss of self and ‘frontal lobe thought’ through the devotion of sensual attraction.
Kendra: From your first single to your current, you present a variety of styles and it made me think of bands like Imagine Dragons and Twenty One Pilots. Do you feel like we’re in a time where more and more artists are straying away from a singular genre?
Elad: I don’t feel that way. I feel like artists tend to keep a pretty unifying theme in their music, from Mild High Club to Justice to Toro y Moi to the EDEM / DJ scene to artists like Kevin Morby, Cass McCombs, and Connan Mockasin, their styles are pretty consistent, at least across one album. For me, I like so many styles of music that the lines blur between an acoustic guitar-based track and a heavy electro tune. They’re all different colors of emotion. The anchoring element ends up being the vocal, locking the music into a specific musical world. Without that vocal we’d truly be all over the place (laughs)
Jeremy: I think it’s less about what genres your mixing and more about the sonic palette you create for yourself. All of the above mentioned bands are very recognizable in their sound yet they pull from a lot of styles. I think ultimately if you want to be successful in music you have to develop your palate so people know that it’s you from the first few seconds of any of your songs.
Kendra: Does that, in turn, keep an artist more interested in creating? When they can say, screw the expected – I want this song to be in this style and this to be in another?
Elad: It certainly excites me creatively to know that we have complete flexibility when we produce a track. That’s why we self-released the EP, so we can have total creative freedom. Whatever serves the song is what goes. “Smile Dangerous” started as a Sublime-style dancehall piece! Then we thought, what if we flipped this on its head and made it electro. And that’s where the magic was.
Jeremy: I’ve never been able to fully commit to one type of music, nor do I ever feel the need to limit myself genre wise. Actually quite the opposite. I’m constantly trying to come up with new combinations. I have another project coming out soon with a country artist called LA Boix. It brings country, mangled electronic beats and sounds scapes together. Also, I’m excited about what Elad and I are cooking up for the second EP.
Kendra: With one of you being self-taught and the other having gone to Berklee, do you find your educational backgrounds bring more balance to the studio?
Elad: I do! Jeremy’s knowledge of rhythmic styles and musical forms brings a sophistication to the tracks. My brain in contrast is completely melodic phrase-driven. I’m obsessed with the “melody is king” approach. When I’ve accomplished that, I can turn my attention to the other elements of production.
Jeremy: Being at Berklee gave me an opportunity to follow through and experiment with a lot of things musically at a young age. I have good perspective now on how it all works.
Kendra: What’s going on with Beatific come 2020? Touring? Working on even more music?
Elad: Yes! We’ll be dropping our next EP early next year, and will be looking to tour it, hopefully supporting an artist that we love.
Jeremy: More music always.