The West Palm dream-pop weavers of the Band in Heaven might have just finished up their first album, filled with perfectly fuzzy shoegaze tunes lamenting the loss of innocence, but for a relatively young group of musicians, it looks like they've managed to skip the whole awkward adolescent phase and taken the leap into grownup territory with impressive finesse.
The psychedelic, Ray Bradbury-inspired video for the first single, "Dandelion Wine," off the new album, Caught in a Summer Swell (out September 17 via Decades Records), made its debut on Spin a few weeks back, and this weekend, the Band in Heaven tops the bill with Cold Cave and Jacuzzi Boys at Respectable Street's massive 26th Anniversary Block Party.
In between shooting videos, working on new projects, and twerking, the group's Ates Isildak filled us in on exactly what's been going down in the celestial world of Band in Heaven over the last few months, and what's coming up next.
New Times: Tell us about the new music video. How did you link up with Jacques de Beaufort. What was the inspiration behind the single and the video?
Jacques sent us clips of his feature film, Sanctum and Sacrum, and mentioned that we should work together sometime. I said we'd love to, but we had no idea he lived in South Florida. When we found that out, we met, showed him some of the music from the new album, got to talking about making a video. For "Dandelion Wine," he put together a list of found photos that reminded him of the song. I did the same. We worked in a very synesthetic way. Then we did the best we could to work with a minuscule budget, but because of his vision and all our friends' contributions, we were able to pull off a video that felt like it captured summer. Some sort of summer at least.
I know that we'll all at the very least remember making this video. Between the two shoots we probably have like 30 friends from around here come out and fight with mosquitoes, paint sweating into eyes, running and dancing in circles, crosses burning, all for a few PBRs.
What are your latest projects? Can you tell us a bit about how the new album came together and the main ideas behind it?
The album took close to a year to write and record. We did it all ourselves, in our kitchens and bedrooms. This is our first album, the first set of songs all written together, so there are certain themes running through all the songs. Really, the songs are about being forced to grow up and let go, but not wanting to. That's why we took the title track from Bradbury's Dandelion Wine and the album closer, Farewell Summer -- those books are about a spiritual war between youth and aging. It's the way children see adults as enemies, and adults see children as these foolish little things. This is a late 20s album. I think the best lyric that can sum it up is from "Farewell Summer": "All my friends have been married/buried/or carried away."
We have another music video by Jacques for our song "Fairweather Friends," but this one was less about imagery and story and more about fun and live intensity. It was very different for both of us to work on, because we actually tried to drop the artistic aspects, and go with something fast and visceral. We're excited for that one too. It was filmed black and white.
Are you guys working on any other side projects?
Lauren is in Symbols, currently working on a video with a partner of Jacques. We actually started the record label Decades, along with Rodney Mayo, and we're going to be working with some great bands both in Florida and outside. Decades has already partnered with the NYC label French Kiss. We all want to work on some sort of electronic/trap music project, but maybe that's something we just joke about.
Are you currently touring? Or have you recently toured? Who with?
We took so long to record that we haven't toured recently, but we are doing little stints here and there. We just played a few shows in NYC, we may be doing a few shows in L.A., we have some CMJ shows booked, we'll do SXSW again.
What's next for the band? The next single? Another video?
Yep, the next video will be for "Fairweather Friends," and then after that we are going to work on another stop-motion, cardboard-cutout kind of video. We're going to play some showcases. We're going to spend a good deal of time focusing on the label and growing some great Florida bands.
What can we expect from your show coming up at the Respectable Street Anniversary Block Party? Who, if any, of the other bands on the lineup are you looking forward to most?
We're experimenting with an Icona Pop cover that merges into Velvet Underground's "Sunday Morning," but we'll see if that's ready by that show.
Lots of great bands playing, always love to see the Dewars, Jacuzzi Boys, Beach Day. Never seen Cold Cave before, definitely want to.
The Band in Heaven with Cold Cave, Jacuzzi Boys, and more, at Respectable Street's 26th Anniversary Block Party, 518 Clematis Steet, West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-9999, or visit respectablestreet.com.