Seashore Fossils could take their time between data, however they at all times appear to reach at simply the fitting time. Out this Friday, Bunny is their first studio album since 2017’s lush, revitalizing Somersault, although in 2021 the Brooklyn band launched The Different Aspect of Life: Piano Ballads, which noticed frontman Dustin Payseur reimagining tracks from throughout their catalog as jazz piano ballads. We’re a couple of weeks away from the official first day of summer season, however in lots of locations the markers of the season are already making themselves clear and considerable; Bunny has that feeling of each endlessly reaching towards and basking within the heat of a well-known solar, evoking a hazy nostalgia whereas distancing itself from the naivety of youth: “I’ll be your contender/ If we will dwell eternally/ Caught on this landslide/ Are we gonna be working until the top of our lives?” Payseur sings on ‘Dare Me’. The singer and guitarist, who recorded and produced the album himself, tackles perennial themes like longing, friendship, and despair, however his perspective feels recent as he surveys the adjustments in his life; the music, retaining parts from each Seashore Fossils document since 2011’s What a Pleasure EP, is without delay sunny and wistful, but in addition extra hook-focused and subtly psychedelic. It is perhaps the precise soundtrack you’re searching for.
We caught up with Dustin Payseur to speak about a few of the inspirations behind Bunny, together with Chet Baker, Los Angeles, parenthood, the mix of espresso and Ativan, and extra.
I do know your love of Chet Baker was a part of what impressed your final LP, The Different Aspect of Life: Piano Ballads. How did he inform your method to this album?
Chet Baker is form of a relentless for me once I’m listening to music. It’s one thing that I placed on nearly each day, at dinner or once I’m simply winding down on the finish of the evening. It’s at all times excellent, and it’s one thing that I by no means get bored with. One factor that I actually love about his singing is that, so many crooners from that period actually attempt to belt it out and showcase the voice nearly prefer it’s like an Olympic expertise, and I believe Chet Baker was at all times somebody who sang in a approach that was very understated. He wasn’t attempting to blow you away with technical potential, though he did have it. However he held again, and he hardly ever used vibrato along with his voice. I believe I do a really related method with my music. Technically, I’m able to greater than what goes on the Seashore Fossils data, however I wish to preserve it quite simple and minimal and scale it again. The phrase “understated” is one thing that I at all times bear in mind once I’m engaged on music, and I discover Chet Baker to be a relentless supply of inspiration.
Is there a stability that you simply’re aware of between attaining that understated high quality and ensuring the music is expressive?
I discover that it’s really more durable to make one thing that’s scaled down and extra understated, as a result of I believe the method to an instrument is to showcase your technical potential. You see that with plenty of musicians, they only are so desperate to to point out off what they’ll do, even once they’re not in entrance of an viewers. I’ve been within the observe area with sure individuals who simply can’t cease enjoying, and we will’t speak as a result of somebody’s at all times attempting out one thing. I’m like, “I get it. Can we pull this again slightly bit?” I believe much less is extra, and the extra you’ll be able to scale it again, the extra human it’s, the extra approachable it’s. Issues don’t must be so sophisticated. I don’t hearken to music for technical potential in any respect. That form of music that’s very noodly and shredding turns me off nearly instantly. I’d a lot quite hearken to Daniel Johnston or one thing.
Gregg Araki’s 1993 movie Completely F***ed Up
I really like Greg Araki, and I believe my preliminary introduction was The Doom Era, which I noticed a few years in the past and I’ve watched so many occasions. I believe he does unimaginable work with a really weird, form of nihilistic coming-of-age film. It’s like a wandering sense of youth in America, what which means and the place your house is as an individual who’s looking for their approach, and likewise as a queer individual, in a world the place you are feeling like an outsider. He showcases plenty of violence in his motion pictures as properly – generally in comedic methods, and generally in methods which might be very critical and actual and human. He’s been capable of do one thing along with his movies that transcends movie, in a approach, and likewise transcends eras and generations. The way in which that he makes use of music in his movies can also be so nice. The soundtrack for Completely F***ed Up is wonderful, as a result of it’s half stunning, melancholy shoegaze, and the opposite half is simply actually harsh industrial music, and people are the one two kinds of music within the film. That form of uncooked power of extremes – excessive calm and excessive ferociousness – I really like that a lot. It’s a film I’ve watched many occasions and have been impressed by once we have been engaged on the primary couple music movies [for Bunny]. He’s anyone who I’d like to work with probably in some unspecified time in the future, if any alternative ever got here up.
My first introduction to LA was being on tour. Beginning in New York, by the point we bought to LA, I used to be at all times in a really existential, form of nihilistic way of thinking, the place we have been midway via the tour and I used to be often fairly burnt out and exhausted. We’d come to LA, play the present, go away the following day, and I by no means actually bought a lot time there. Just a few years in the past, there was a mass exodus from New York to LA, the place most of my pals left New York and went to LA. I used to be like, “Why the fuck are folks going on the market?” After we labored on Somersault, we went out to LA for a few month to work with Jonathan Rado at his house studio, and whereas we have been spending time on the market, all of it clicked. I used to be like, I get why everybody got here out right here, it’s wonderful. You may go climbing throughout the metropolis limits, the climate is ideal on a regular basis, you’ll be able to go to the seashore. There’s a lot about it that that I instantly discovered beautiful that I’d by no means seen earlier than, and I form of fell in love with LA.
For years, I used to be pondering critically if I ought to transfer on the market, as a result of I felt worn down and exhausted by New York and wanted a change of surroundings. I believe I used to be feeling the identical issues that every one my pals have been feeling once they went on the market. However fortunately, it’s a spot that I’ve gone lots, engaged on music and music movies and enjoying reveals. We discover ourselves on the market lots as a band, and I really feel prefer it’s my second house. I’ve already been on the market like six occasions this 12 months, spending period of time as a result of our drummer Anton [Hochheim] lives on the market. At any time when I get within the automotive from the airport and begin going via the town, I instantly really feel relaxed. Even when it’s a piece journey, it finally ends up feeling like a trip. Now that I’ve so many pals on the market, it’s stunning as a result of I simply get to see all these those that I really like. It’s a spot that has been very inspiring for us as a band and as people, and I believe plenty of that has come via within the music. We spend plenty of time jamming or developing with concepts on the market, and I combined the album on the market. I really feel like once I’m in LA, I can’t assist however to be impressed in a serious approach, and in a approach that beforehand New York had solely impressed me. I used to be visualizing plenty of LA whereas I used to be engaged on the music and the lyrics for this album.
Espresso and Ativan
This ties into ‘Something is Something’, which begins with the road, “Espresso and ativan/ My thrills are getting low cost.”
Some time again, I bought a prescription for Adderall as a result of I’ve ADHD, and it’s very arduous for me to focus, which is probably a part of the explanation it takes me six years to place out a brand new document. I get distracted very simply, and I discover it arduous to decide to work or commit to truly ending something. I took it a couple of occasions and utterly completed songs, and I used to be like, “That’s insane. This have to be how folks usually really feel once they can sit down and work.” However I used to be like, “This isn’t one thing that I wish to do usually, as a result of it looks like it could possibly be harmful or unhealthy.” So I’d solely use it sparingly. And I discovered that at any time when I used to be taking it, I used to be getting the worst complications that couldn’t go away quickly after taking it. So I used to be like, “I really like the way in which this makes me focus, however I can’t take care of these complications.”
I’ve by no means drank espresso earlier than, as a result of it at all times gave me anxiousness. However once I was writing the lyrics – I spent like 4 weeks writing the lyrics for this document after all of the music was performed – I used to be on this loopy schedule the place I’d choose my daughter up from daycare, put her to mattress, after which round 9:00pm, I’d begin chugging chilly brew and writing lyrics, and I’d try this till about 8:30am. After which I’d go to mattress and the cycle would repeat itself. I discovered that espresso was really among the finest substances for creativity. I used to be like, “I can’t imagine I by no means tapped into this earlier than.” It’s one thing that everybody takes without any consideration. Everybody drinks it each day, and I’d simply performed it for the primary time.
On the similar time I bought the Adderall prescription, I additionally bought a prescription for Ativan, which is for anxiousness. I used to be having frequent panic assaults and horrible disassociation, out-of-body experiences due to anxiousness and it made me actually uncomfortable, so I used to be given Ativan to assist calm these panics. And even having it on me once I would go round would stop a panic assault, as a result of I felt like I had an eject button at any time the place I used to be secure. The subsequent factor I most likely don’t advocate to folks – it’s most likely not wholesome – however I discovered that the mix of ingesting espresso and taking Ativan collectively was unimaginable for engaged on lyrics. I’d get centered, however it might take the sting off of any anxiousness so I might keep centered and I might really feel very pure whereas I used to be writing. It form of grew to become routine for me whereas I used to be engaged on the lyrics for this document. In order that’s why the lyrics begin off the way in which they do, as a result of that’s what I used to be doing once I wrote it.
Did that result in you taking a unique angle with the lyrics, too?
I discovered that it might assist me break via sure partitions the place possibly I’d be guarded. I do imagine that on the core each single residing human being is an artist if they’ll simply faucet into it, and having the ability to faucet into it’s one thing that’s not straightforward to do. I imagine everybody might get there in the event that they actually needed to, however it takes lots to be sincere and to say one thing that you simply’re embarrassed of, or to be extraordinarily susceptible and speak about your fears and your flaws and your errors overtly in entrance of an infinite quantity of individuals. That’s one thing that’s form of at all times come pure to me, however I did discover that whereas I used to be engaged on the lyrics for this document, it helped pull down these boundaries much more.
You’ve talked about how the beginning of your daughter impressed ‘Run to the Moon’, however it’s not completely direct or express within the lyrics. How did turning into a mum or dad have an effect on that potential to faucet into your self?
I discovered that turning into a mum or dad impacted me a lot greater than I anticipated. Once I considered having a child, folks I do know which have youngsters have been like, “It adjustments you, it adjustments your perspective, it makes you worth sure issues extra, and it makes you chop out plenty of the surplus fats in your life that you simply don’t want.” And I used to be like, “Nicely, I already form of dwell that approach. I don’t suppose it’s actually going to vary me that a lot.” And I believe the primary few months and even 12 months of my daughter being born, I didn’t really feel prefer it modified me that a lot. After which, once I sat and mirrored on it and considered it, I believe it actually did even have a serious influence on who I’m as an individual and as an artist.
It’s made me be a lot extra intentional with my life and the way in which I’m going via life, taking higher care of myself. It’s additionally made me empathetic in a brand new approach that I didn’t think about it might. And it helped me faucet into my creativity in a approach that was a lot faster than earlier than. Generally I’d sit down with a guitar or bass, or sit down to write down lyrics, and it might take some time for one thing to return to me. It’s like my power had shifted one way or the other, the place now these items are coming to me simpler and faster, and I’m not worrying about them. I’m feeling much less guarded and extra open. I believe it’s it’s total made me a greater individual, actually.
Did you are feeling hesitant or protecting about bringing that into your songwriting?
Earlier than my daughter was born, once we have been anticipating her, I used to be like, I’m not going to write down about being a mum or dad in any respect, as a result of that’s not one thing that pursuits me. I’ve by no means heard somebody’s music the place they’ve talked about being a mum or dad and felt moved by it or cared in any respect. It simply appears low cost and cliche and admittedly boring. And it’s like, my music is autobiographical, it’s primarily a journal, and this can be a factor that has modified me a lot as an individual. It’s modified my perspective and it’s modified my every day life that I discovered it unimaginable to not write about. I simply needed to, so ‘Run to the Moon’ got here very naturally. I most likely wrote these lyrics faster than any track on the album.
The Verve and Spiritualized
Why did you gravitate to those two bands specifically across the making of this album?
The Verve album A Storm in Heaven and Spiritualized’s Lazer Guided Melodies, these have been possibly the 2 largest inspirations on this new document. It was on fixed rotation for me. These are albums that I can by no means get bored with. I discover myself obsessing with sure albums at a time, and actually all the period of penning this new album, these have been like on the forefront, and once I talked to my bandmates was citing these references. They could come out instantly or not directly in components of the album, however I discover that these are two of the best albums of all time, and likewise criminally underrated. The Verve, clearly their extra mainstream radio music has overshadowed that album, and Spiritualized by no means actually broke via to a mainstream viewers in the way in which that I believe they need to. However these albums are excellent via and thru for me. I believe anyone who listens to these albums will see that there’s undoubtedly some inspiration on Bunny.
I recorded the primary Seashore Fossils album and What a Pleasure and at house. After which I began seeing my pals, like DIIV and Wild Nothing and different folks like that, going into studios to make albums, and I used to be like, “Possibly I ought to go right into a studio.” Conflict of Reality I recorded at house, however then I re-recorded it within the studio, which is the one which bought launched, after which we later launched the demos as a result of I preferred the sound of recording it at house. Then with Somersault, I recorded it completely at house, after which we went to California and re-recorded it, after which I got here again and form of merged my favourite components of the classes. I believe it took me a very long time to reconnect with this confidence that I had that I can do it myself and I don’t want anyone else to work on this with me. I’m very controlling with my imaginative and prescient, I do know precisely what I would like and I do know precisely find out how to get there, and including another person to the combo is barely going to complicate issues and make it more durable to work.
I needed to improve my studio and get higher tools so I had what I wanted to make this document sound the way in which that it need to sound, however with out going overboard and getting an excessive amount of gear, as a result of I’m actually not a gearhead. There’s an enormous world for that, and it’s not likely one thing I wish to be part of. I simply needed to have the ability to get beat that I wanted and belief it as soon as and simply have the ability to use it eternally. Once I was constructing my new rack for my studio, I used to be speaking to Mac DeMarco lots, and he form of advised all the gear that I ended up getting. He advised the mic that I bought, he advised the the preamp and the compressor and different issues like that, and even sure kinds of recording methods. He was a really helpful pal to have throughout that point, and it instilled this confidence in me that I might do it myself.
As soon as I began recording with this new gear, I used to be re-recording previous songs that have been within the works as a result of it simply sounded so significantly better. I’ve the area that I can work in the place I can really feel comfy, and I don’t really feel rushed. I will be utterly alone – as a result of if you go right into a studio, there are folks I don’t know round, in order that’s arduous for me to work. There’s time constraints, and for probably the most half, I’m simply sitting there excited about how costly that is. It’s like, you possibly can pay to go to a studio and make an album with somebody each time you make an album, or you’ll be able to simply pay that quantity as soon as and have the gear your self. I’m so glad working on this approach, and I believe there’s no approach that this album could possibly be what it’s with out that.
My bandmates are my greatest pals on the planet. I really like them a lot. I’ve a relationship with them that I worth as a lot as the connection I’ve with my spouse. It’s so shut and private and essential to me. We work rather well collectively, all of us have the identical humorousness, which is essential – holding the morale up whilst you’re working and whilst you’re touring is invaluable. They create out the very best model of myself. They’re not directly inspiring me and motivating me on a regular basis. I’m continually simply throwing out concepts once I consider them very spontaneously, I simply say the whole lot out loud. And since I’m ADHD, I often neglect these concepts after I’ve mentioned them, they usually’re good at remembering them. They’re good at bringing it again up in a vital time once we’re engaged on one thing, and it pushes me to work more durable and to not be lazy. They’re continually placing a fireplace underneath my ass to be the hardest-working model of myself I will be.
It’s humorous as a result of Jack [Doyle Smith] performs bass within the dwell band, however on the recordings, I write and play all of the bass strains and he really does plenty of the guitar work. He’s among the finest guitarists I do know, he comes up with such stunning, wonderful concepts, and the way in which that he performs is so completely different than the way in which that I play. And Tommy [Davidson] is such a fucking freak. I imply, he’s such a weirdo and such a tremendous individual. He’s the form of individual that once we’re within the studio, he’s throwing out concepts continuous as properly, however his concepts are a lot weirder and extra avant-garde than something I’d ever consider. For each 100 concepts he throws out, 99 of them I often say no, and that by no means makes him really feel like he must cease throwing it concepts. As a result of when he throws out the one concept that works and is genius, it’s such a serious breakthrough, and it utterly adjustments the way in which that we’re working. And Anton is such a talented drummer. I often program the drums in MIDI first, after which he is available in and I present him the components, and he’s capable of nail it so shortly and put his personal aptitude to it.
When he got here to New York to document the drums, I believe he recorded like 10 songs the primary day, and I had booked 4 days. So the following day, we knocked out the ultimate songs, and we’re like, “What can we do with the remainder of our time?” So we had some artistic concepts there, the place, on ‘Waterfall’, Jack was enjoying piano to it within the subsequent room, and I used to be like, “Let’s observe that.” After which we referred to as a string trio, we put them on like three or 4 songs, very low within the combine. But it surely’s these form of concepts that my bandmates actually assist form that in any other case wouldn’t be there. I owe plenty of it to them.
It’s certainly one of my favourite motion pictures. It’s additionally a film that I can watch again and again and never get sick of it, which you most likely see is a theme with sure issues on my checklist that I can take pleasure in form of endlessly. It’s a film, to me, concerning the flaws of human beings and shedding your attachment to your ego and genuinely turning into a greater individual. Within the film, he goes via all these completely different adjustments, the place he’s an asshole, and he begins utilizing the repetition of the day to be simply utterly self-indulgent and nihilistic and self-destructive. At a sure level, he breaks via and begins utilizing it to higher himself, and at first a few of the methods he’s bettering himself is barely as a result of he needs to be seen as spectacular or wonderful by different folks. After which, at a sure level, he turns into so nice at so many alternative issues that he finally ends up simply doing it to genuinely assist different folks and genuinely develop into individual and utterly selfless.
I really like these concepts as a result of there’s at all times ego hooked up to what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what. It’s like an innate survival intuition. However in case you can break via that and simply develop into individual only for your self, that’s an important factor. I’ve at all times been impressed by the idea of anarchy, and I’m undecided if it’s doable as a result of I believe human beings are probably too grasping. I hate the thought of being ruled. I hate the thought of energy telling you what to do. I’ve at all times had struggles with authority figures and the thought of authority, and I really feel like probably the most empowering factor is to be the authority over your self. If folks might discover it in themselves to wish to be a genuinely good individual, only for the sake of being a greater individual and never for any egotistical causes, then I believe the world can be a significantly better place.
This interview has been edited and condensed for readability and size.
Seashore Fossils’ Bunny is out June 2 through Bayonet.