DIY musician Jonny Purdue has been in the music-making business for a while and through it all, he has gained all the knowledge and focus for this latest project, Lost Beach. Concocted on the beaches of Southern California, Lost Beach is an ode to Purdue’s last name (French for ‘lost’) and the coast he now calls home. Born in Texas, Jonny Purdue now lives in Venice and has been playing locally in every venue he can. With fellow musician and collaborator, Steve Stout, Purdue has enlisted drummer Davey Latter, bassist Zacc West and Davey Allen (keys) to fill out the folk/rock sounds that is at times difficult to classify. They combine elements of Purdue’s southern roots with relaxed beachy harmonies and straight rock riffs that some have called ‘cosmic indie rock’.
Lost Beach goes far and beyond in their attempt to re-define rock music, without even trying. The music is effortless and with a constant need to produce, Lost Beach is always producing new music and looking to collect every fan they can along the way. No doubt they will accomplish exceed this goal in the very near future. We caught up with Jonny Purdue to chat about his love of Otis Redding, the hardships that sometimes come with self-producing and their excitement for their upcoming show at KAABOO.
Can you tell us about the origins of the Lost Beach? Where did the musical adventure begin?
Well, I started playing as a kid. I grew up in Dallas, Texas, so there is a bit of southern influence in the band. I grew up on blues music and country music, so I’m not quite doing that kind of music, but that’s kind of the foundation things have been built on. My family all play. So I kind of start there and then moved down to California, and I’ve been in a few bands here and there. When I started Lost Beach, I linked up with my guitar player, Steve Stout, who also co-produced the music as well. We actually met being hired guys for another band, so it was a bit serendipitous how we came together. It’s been really great. A lot of the other guys are all from the west side. They’ve been playing the bands throughout the years and it’s finally all came to a place where we were able to meet and get some stuff off the ground, so it’s been fun.
Who are some of the bands that inspired your sound?
I always loved Townes Van Zandt, and obviously Tom Petty and Bob Dylan were big influences. But also, my dad was a really big into Motown, so I really loved Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, and those guys were my heroes in music, the R&B/Motown stuff. I don’t know how it all came out in the wash in terms of how we sound, but I think there’s definitely a little bit of a soul thing to it in parts, or at least some kind of southern vibe to it. Bands like Alabama Shakes and Kings of Leon and bands like that, kind of in line with that kind of stuff in a way. It’s been good, man.
I recently read that there’re making a bio-pic on Otis Redding. He was an incredible short-lived musician.
Yeah, it’s crazy. This guy’s music is so ingrained in our culture, and he died when he was 26. I think music I really drew on to growing up, you could really feel it, you know? You could really feel the soul in it, as cliché or as cheesy as it sounds. There was definitely a feel to it, like you felt the emotion in it.
Is the writing process collaborative or do write alone?
It actually starts with me. I’ll bring in ideas and a lot of times Steve Stout and I will collaborate. And then those guys also go in, but a lot of it is between Steve and I. We do all the production ourselves as well, and it’s just me and him in a room usually. So it starts with us. Those guys play on the records a lot, but we kind of kick it off, and get it going. It’s hard to get people in a room, and we just work better that way.
What comes first, the composition of the song or the lyrics?
For me, it starts with something on guitar. Then I phonetically work through a melody on it, and kind of not really saying any words, trying to find a place that has a melody, then I just go off of that, and out of those things, maybe I find some words that are taking me to a place or a phrase that takes me to a different place that I can latch onto, then build a story out of it.
Nightbreak was your last EP, right? Is there new music in the works?
We’re always working, but Nightbreak was the last EP and we just released our latest single on Friday. That’s kind of where we are at the latest. Our last EP was the Nightbreak EP, but we’ve got a bunch of songs in the chamber. We’re always writing. We’ll be releasing stuff, almost every month throughout the year.
Will you be releasing the EP’s as an album or work on something brand new?
No, I try to make those moments be all one project so that there is some kind of cohesiveness in the songs. When it comes to us to do another EP or another album, I’ll want it to be what I’m feeling at that time, whatever that vibe is that I’m going through at that moment, because the seasons change, and it can actually adjust the kind of music that you’re writing, so I always want it to be its own thing in that time.
What was the hardest thing or any challenges with making the latest EP, Nightbreak?
I think it’s just been such a learning process doing it all independently. On the business side, it’s been tough. The music is always hard work, but I love it, so it doesn’t really feel hard, but it is hard work. But as far as the business stuff, it’s learning how to navigate the waters and how do we get this out in front of people when there’s so much noise right now? There’s so many bands, there’s so much music. How do we differentiate ourselves for people to hear this music and do it on a tiny budget that we have? Those kind of things, like do we need a publicist or do we spend money on radio promo? What does that really do for us? It really just comes to trying to send your music to people that can put it in places that can reach people, and sometimes you miss, and sometimes you get people that get behind it, and you can build off of that. It’s just tough, man. It’s tough trying to push a record in this climate right now.
Yeah, there’s so many bands in L.A. alone. I bet it must be tough with the digital world.
Yeah, and with the way technology is, this isn’t any kind of new theory, but the way technology is, it’s like everybody can release music. Everybody can put music out there, so it really clouds everything and makes it harder for you to find your way. You really just have to try your best to go back to the basics and start to write good music and hopefully that will rise to the top.
Have you toured across the world yet?
With Lost Beach or just personally?
Yeah, I’ve toured a lot in other bands and I’ve toured as a tour manager before as well, so I’ve been throughout a bunch of the U.S. and I’ve been to Canada, and last I’ve been to Hong Kong, and Mexico. Yeah, Paris and London, I’ve been around a bit.
Have you had any horror stories while on the road?
Like just personal stuff that’s happened? I don’t know if we’ve actually had any kind of major drama yet. I think at this stage, we’ve all played in so many outfits that we all have an understanding what this is and what needs to be done, and where people’s heads are on everything. Everybody’s pretty well-versed on the good and the bad of the business, and everybody’s been dropped and let down. So it’s more of a fun thing for us in that way. We have the right expectations on things. We’re obviously going to push for this to be successful, and we all hope for that. But we know how hard that is to do. It feels like a very mature thing right now, than in my early days when we think you’re just going to make it.
What has been your greatest rock star moment, so far?
That’s funny, I’ll probably think of a bunch after I get off the phone. I think it was probably when I was touring with this band called Freedom Fry, and opening up for this guy named Stromae. We played all these theaters in the U.S. and playing in front of 3500 people every night, and its like, “Man, I could really get used to this.” And then you come back and you’re shot back to reality pretty fast.
Yeah, “What’s your name again?”
Yeah, exactly. Exactly, man. I don’t know, man. I hope that we can get to a place where everybody’s comfortable and we can have those memories and have those moments. Day to day, I just want a good group of guys to make memories with and make good music with and travel the world, as cheesy as all that sounds, it’s really all I want.
Is there any advice you have for new bands just starting out?
I think my main advice would be to go listen to old records, and learn some instruments, and really devote some time to your craft. By the time you get to a certain place, you’ll be good at it. These things take time, and there’s so much that everybody wants to learn everything so quick now, and they may be sacrificing artistry to do it, in terms of, “Let me just play this laptop.” Go put on some old records and try to learn by ear, and learn some instruments, because once you have that, then you can build off of that.
What is next for Lost Beach?
For us, we’re pushing the single right now. We’ve got some shows in September, obviously, KAABOO Festival. I think the next big thing we want is we just want to keep writing good songs and putting them out there, and hope that we can find some kind of representation on some capacity where somebody can get behind it and believe in it, and we can show the world what we can do. Just a way for us to get our music out there.