Five Ways Beachwood Sparks Have Changed Over the Last Ten Years

Beachwood Sparks photo by Jim Goodwin

Hive Five: Our Daily Listicle of Musical Musings

After a 10 year absence, California country-rock band Beachwood Sparks return this week with The Tarnished Gold but they don’t sound like a band that’s been dozing for a decade. The album retains the same Laurel Canyon, laid-back country-esque vibes as the band’s previous work, but colored in with shades of things that have happened musically in the ten years the band took off — a hint of Bon Iver here, a touch of Fleet Foxes there, which compliments their Gram Parsons vibe quite nice. But that’s just our own opinion. Hive rang up singer/songwriter Christopher Gunst, who told us five things that make this incarnation of Beachwood Sparks different from the one that disbanded in 2002.

1. They’re not all living on top of each other anymore

When we were first together, we all lived really close to each other. Some of us lived right next door to each other. It was almost like a little gang — it was really easy to have a collective mind going. Now, it’s a little bit different. We’re in different places in our lives. That collective mind comes together when we see each other, but other than that, we live more separately.

2. The summer camp mentality

After doing the Sub Pop 20th anniversary show, and having a lot of fun, we decided it would be a lot of fun to see what happened if we got together and jammed, and if we tried to make new music together, wouldn’t that be fun? It took a couple of years to get it together after that, and I think the impetus was just talking to Sub Pop, and learning that there was some money for it. The time just came together really nicely – no one was traveling with other groups, or had job stuff, so it just coalesced last summer.

When we got together, it was kind of like summer camp. It was fun! There wasn’t the pressure of, ‘make a record, then tour all year, then make a record, then tour all year, then make a record’ – we did that probably like three times. I think by the end of that we were just kind of like, do you get on that carousel again, or try something different? I think that’s what happened.

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