Interview by Tiffany Lam
We first discovered Beat Connection through Odesza back in 2013, where in fact the now-acclaimed Odesza duo first opened for the Balearic dance pop band on tour late 2012. The four Seattle-ites of Beat Connection are currently on tour again across North America supporting the release of their second full length album, Product 3, on ANTI-Records. Toronto’s very own Drake Hotel was host to the BC boys a couple weeks ago, where the electro indie-pop quartet instigated an intimate living room dance party at the Underground, performing tracks from their new record as well as popular oldies like “Saola”. Following the show, we spoke with founding member and producer, Reed Juenger about the making of Product 3 along with some memories and future endeavors.
Hey guys! Can we start with a little intro on when and how Beat Connection formed?
Reed: Seems like it was just yesterday, but Beat Connection has been floating around in one form or another since 2010. It started out as a DJ duo with a focus on production and songwriting, and has grown from there, morphing every so often. I feel like we reached our final form in 2013 when we started working on this record. Since minute one, a goal was to merge the aesthetics of electronic music with the dynamics and energy of a live band, we finally found our version of this as we got our footing for this record.
You recently released your second full length album, Product 3. How was the making of this album?
Reed: It was a long process, I won’t lie. It started at a moment when we could have easily thrown in the towel, but I think I speak for all of us when I say we are really glad we didn’t. We wrote and recorded the vast majority of the record in make-shift studios around Seattle. It was a super collaborative process between all of us that played to everyone’s strengths as well as weaknesses to create something that we were all really proud of collectively.
How would you say this album is different from your debut album, The Palace Garden? (In terms of process and content).
Reed: Truth is we put a lot more time and thought into this one. I won’t say effort though, because in both cases we put everything we had into each record, but this time around we just dedicated a longer expanse of time to the process. I think we also knew when to let go of a song, to recognize when something wasn’t working and to try and move forward on something else.
What do you think was one of the biggest challenges making this?
Reed: We made this whole thing without a label, and only found a home after we were done with the entire record. We had to self motivate and we had to hold each other accountable. It was weird cause if we didn’t show up to work on the record we had no one to answer to except for ourselves. In the end that may have been one of the most motivating things about the whole thing too. When we started this record we didn’t have a direction, we didn’t have a studio, we didn’t have any money, but we had been through that all before and come out with something we were proud of, so I guess it was just time to go in again.
Product 3 has some seriously cool branding going on with the white and blue products and stuff. Where/how did that idea come about?
Reed: A series of places, design and visual art are definitely a big part of the inspiration behind the music, and we think about that a lot. We were working toward some extreme minimalism to couple with super maximal music, to let it speak for itself. It was also on some keep it simple so its iconic and eye catching. Simple is better almost all the time for us. And finally I think the blue came from Yves Klien who is one of my favorite artists, it was a homage as well as a purely aesthetic decision. That color is just mad eye catching.
What has been one of the greatest highlights or proudest memories of Beat Connection thus far?
Reed: I mean this record as a whole statement and body of work is probably the thing that I am most proud of. We also did a huge release show in Seattle back in September that was the culmination of a ton of hard work to put together a show that brought the record into the live realm, and that thing was turnt up so I am super proud of that one as well. I dunno, we don’t spend much time looking back, we are way more focused on what’s next on the to do list, or how we can get better, you know?
What’s something on Beat Connection’s bucket list that you guys hope to scratch off soon? (Collectively or individually)
Reed: Trying to go to Australia, trying to go to Japan, trying to write with some people, trying to produce some tracks. As soon as we get something done, it’s just going to be something new replacing it. There’s always work to be done.
Any fun odd facts about each of yourselves lately that you’d like to share with us?
Reed: We have all ended up at the emergency room on this tour… I’ll leave it mysterious.
Alright, haha. If you guys weren’t doing what you’re doing today, what do you think life would look like?
Reed: Damn, I’ve had some shit jobs. I would’ve found a way out from under that shit, but like, let’s be real, I’d probably be working at Amazon or be in jail. Zero/One scale on that there.
Lastly, what do the next few months look like for Beat Connection? Anything you guys are really excited about?
Reed: Next record. Getting back to work. Getting paper. Got some cool collaborations coming out in 2016 we gotta finish up.