Ghost Beach – The Interview
Josh Ocean and Eric ‘Doc’ Mendelsohn from Ghost Beach gave me sandwich. Not the edible kind. A physical one with me squished in the middle as the filling. We were sitting backstage at the rather busy Indie Shuffle // All Things Go afternoon at SxSW after their 8th and final show of the festival. They were nameless for 5 months until their producer’s 5 year old daughter heard their music and proclaimed with an innocent squeak, ‘Ghost Beach!’. Last year they were DJs at SxSW. This year they came as an in-demand, hotly tipped act. And they totally lived up to the hype!
(Photo credit: WorldRedeye.com)
The boys swigged at beers, celebrating the end of their crazy SxSW experience as countless people heckled us, congratulating and thanking them. I was pretty shocked that Doc was on Newcastle Brown Ale, a not so cool English brew. I politely told him that no one drinks that shit at home (I’m a Brit). Which sparked The Great Beer Debate. According to Josh, American beer is shit, and by dissing ‘Newcastle’ I had in fact spoiled his dreams of drinking in the UK.
Doc on the other hand had a confession to make. ‘I’m ready to admit this… I think I like Coors Light,’ he said, hanging his head in shame. I couldn’t help but laugh. The way he said it was like he’d just confessed to some heinous crime, or being a boy band fan.
But they are massive fans of the 80s. The Police is Josh’s favourite ever band. And they both went through ‘hardcore’ Bob Marley phases. Which may contribute to summer vibes of their sounds. Because let’s face it, the streets of Brooklyn however cool they may be, hardly provide inspiration in terms of weather or counteracting SAD.
So why does this city-duo’s music sound so dang happy? ‘I guess it’s really an expression of our personalities,’ says Josh. As I sat between the two them listening to them (pleasurably) ramble about their lives and loves, I can see this is true. They are free spirirts. Relaxed and going with the flow of whatever life throws at them.
This morning for example, life threw a hard decision their way: which juice bar to hit for the best smoothie in Austin. Jeez, when did musicians get so damn healthy? Rock ‘n roll is dead. But Rock ‘n’ (vegan spring) Roll lives! ‘I wish I could be a vegan, but I can’t’, said Doc. Thank God not everyone from Brooklyn is that clean living.
They’re both loved up with their lady-friends. I was genuinely touched when Josh told me that after 4 long years of singleness, he was in a 3 year, very fulfilling relationship. It’s as rare as it is encouraging to hear a man talk about emotions so frankly. There is hope for us single women yet.
‘Like a miracle, I’m in love again’ one of their lyrics, shouldn’t be taken so literally. It isn’t necessarily about a person, it’s about life. Which is kinda nice. Doc says, ‘it’s like I’m in love with myself again, I’ve found happiness. It’s easy to disassociate in life and it’s good when you come back to earth.’ If you ever need your spirits lifting, give Miracle a spin.
So life is pretty sweet for the boys right now. Plus they live in a kind of muso bubble in Brooklyn. They have lots of ‘band mates’. St Lucia and French Horn Rebellion came up a lot. I asked them if there’s any rivalry between bands – us mere mortals don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. But there isn’t. Instead there’s a kind of musical community built from playing shows together. There’s an encouraging, but not competitive atmosphere. ‘We are part of a cool group of people in New York. They only reason for this is because of the type of music we make.’
Josh believes that in life there are no rules. ‘Fuck it, I’m dying my hair pink.’ as he reminisces about hitting the bottle. He manages to pull off this shade rather nicely. Not many men could. ‘Doc actually lives by that motto too, whether he releases it or not. Sometimes it gives him parking tickets,’ he laughs. It’s true, there are no rules, only limitations you create yourself. As someone that meditates everyday, he has a firm grasp of his destiny and what he wants from life.
In the spirit of rule breaking, the boys refused to leave the stage at one of their earlier shows. Security told them mid-set they’d have to finish early. Josh was having none of it. Obviously. ‘Fuck it, if you wanna jump the barricade to make us stop, do it.’ There were no brawls or arguments though. The security were probably won over their signature seventh heaven synths and beats.
They have an exciting April lined up and have just released a new single, Close Enough (Feat. Noosa).
They’re on tour with the awesome Chad Valley. If you happen to be on the East coast, I highly recommend you snap up some tickets. ‘We’re gonna keep making music. We just love to write. We have some new songs and a video due out soon.’ Which as you can see below, makes me very happy. Watch this space, and ghostbeachmusic.com for news. Cheers GB boys, RB loves you!