|Celestial Shore’s Gear: Peavey Amp|
Looking for a change of scenery to work on a new project, multi-instrumentalist Sam Owens left Brooklyn for the west coast and what he describes as his “beachy sanctuary”. Setting up in Los Angeles, the result of months of work was California Eden, a dazzling four track set of pretty harmonies, shimmering guitar licks and touches of experimentation that owes much to the sun-kissed city it was recorded in. With friends filling out the sound, Owen’s EP was released under the moniker of Celestial Shore, and as a fully-functioning band, the group are gathering pace, playing several shows and preparing to release their first album.
How did you end up recording out in West Hollywood and did it influence the sound of the music?
Sam Owens: After spending a good deal of time in the northeast we figured that California would offer us a sort of beachy sanctuary to get a project together, so we made arrangements to meet out there one way or another. I was able to get an internship with Blue microphones and spent about 5 months working in their studio. After a couple months I started bringing mics home more frequently, and would record either sitting in my living room or in our practice space in South LA. It was just Max [Almero], our friend Alec [Pombriant], myself and the taco trucks. LA became an incredibly frustrating place to exist, but I suppose it was hard to keep California out of the sound. It sure is a beautiful country.
Your vocals are reminiscent of The Beach Boys. Is that something you picked up out there or would you say they’ve always been an influence?
SO: My parents gave me Pet Sounds with my first walkman in kindergarten, so I grew up with that sound in my ears, but Alec and I listened to a ton of Brian Wilson when we were driving. We spent a lot of time in vehicles.
Do you find self producing an essential part of the process or would you ever consider working under the guidance of another producer?
SO: We’ve spoken in favor of having someone get involved, but at the moment we’re working on our first full length by ourselves and are tickled in doing so.
How much of your recording is done at home versus in the studio?
We’re transitioning. We don’t have nice mics anymore, so we snuck into a friend’s studio to record drums for the full length. The rest will be done in apartments, hallways, attics, stairwells, etc.
Do you have a particular recording style that you aim for? What techniques do you employ to recreate it?
I suppose we try to avoid doing the same thing twice in the while attempting to get the most sound from the performance as we can.
Is there a piece of equipment that you find particularly useful on stage?
I guess I like the Peavey amp because it’s really loud and dumb, and it works if you kick it real hard.
With bands doing more of everything themselves these days and the evermore multimedia nature of the world, how much effort do you put into the visual component of your band ?
We pretty much rely on the bandcamp page for web presence, but I think we’ll have more going on in 2012.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspects of the recording process? On the flipside, what aspects are the most rewarding?
Mixing. We obsess over it and without the proper equipment and environment its challenging to say the least. The ability to put our sound and love into a brain is the best feeling. I can’t wait to put out this full length.