Unlike many other genres and music communities, the indie/alt culture appreciates new and rising artists that create diversity and new insights within the genre.
We constantly feature notable rising indie and alternative artists on the verge of success. Meet this week’s artist, the Miami indie-rockers that make up the group Long Shore Drift:
Read on to find out more about how this amazing quintet formed, their influences and creative process, and of course their take on all things alternative culture.
Another would honestly be Sainthood by Tegan and Sara. We learned to play so many songs off that album like, even before we had a bassist we'd just be like, "Okay Caitlin play the bass part on keyboard...but what's gonna happen to the glockenspiel part...Oh we should have a glockenspiel in the band. And a piano! And this! And that!" and stuff just added up like influencing our sound. We were totally infatuated with that band at the time and obsessed with their live shows and everything about them. It was laughable like we'd always be watching their dumb little YouTube videos (if anyone who was ever obsessed with them would know).
And our third pick was funny enough, The Scott Pilgrim vs. The World soundtrack. The movie itself and it's whole deal surrounding being in a band was so charming yet funny and the soundtrack was beyond the perfect compliment to it. And not to mention we beat Black Sheep by Metric like a dead horse considering how much we covered it (sensing a theme here). We are Long Shore Drift and we're here to make you think about death and get sad and stuff! We wish we were that hard. We've even covered those songs, the "Sex Bob-omb" songs that Beck wrote.
What are your fondest musical memories?
Our fondest musical memories are probably the fact that we (Nikki, Carli, Caitlin) have pretty much always wanted to be in a band together before we even knew how a guitar worked. We had guitars we didn't know how to play, tried to play them once with a quarter. Popped a string. We wrote a ridiculous little song and even recorded it over some karaoke Britney Spears track. And we had like, planned out, "Oh Carli will play guitar and Caitlin can play keyboard because she's taking piano lessons...and Nikki can play bass..." because we thought it was some useless instrument! Thank god for our bassist Ammar right. And Michael was like, this little tiny kid playing GameCube in the room over like, a drum set was not a thought or a thing that he knew existed in his toddler mind at the moment.
Lately what musical periods or styles do you find yourself most drawn to as a listener?
Musical periods we're thinking '80s and early '90s. '80s pop though, haha! Growing up listening to that on the radio was a big thing for us. We love Blondie and New Order and some weirder stuff, Remain In Light by Talking Heads which is like total alien music, and grungy things like Siamese Dream by The Smashing Pumpkins. But styles, we all mutually agree that like lo-fi stuff, we totally love it. And ambient as well. Like Broken Social Scene's debut album, Carli listened to that once and was like "...I get it." And now she hears softer bridges or writes stuff like that and we'll be like, "Love that ambient sound, man," like joking but not really probably.
What is your dream collaboration and why?
We felt it'd be such a mission to mutually agree on one collab because we're musically similar enough to be in a band together but everyone's got their one true love they wish they could make music with. In saying that here goes:
Carli: St. Vincent's Annie Clark. She's incredible and seeing her live was like a fever dream I didn't wanna wake up from. Her music is so all over the place and you just can't put one label on it. I wanna make something crazy experimental that you can still bop to if I worked with her.
Nikki: Grouplove is one of my favorite bands and their sound is so fun and weird and gives off like a positive vibe. The members themselves seem so fun and easy to get along with. I think our sound together would be this big intricate collective that's music sounds a little bit like blasting off into space.
Caitlin: Haim. I couldn't remember the last time I had heard an album and loved it all the way through until I heard Haim's debut. Their sound is so fresh and I've never had more fun listening to a band than with them. I feel like we'd make a really interesting fusion of music. You don't always see groups of women collaborate because women are so often pitted against each other in the music industry.
Ammar: Muse. Their riffs are godlike.
Michael: Vampire Weekend. I feel like we'd get along well and they're like my favorite band. Ever.
I’m a firm believer that the environment that artists are based in helps craft their sound. How would you describe the Miami and Florida music scene? How has it influenced you in crafting your sound?
The Miami music scene is rich in so much more than people know. All people think is going on down here is EDM and rap but the indie rock scene is just so full of bands and artists that we can't wait for the world to hear. We've made great friends in this scene. Among it all, there's drama, and there's bad venues, and there's greedy people, and there's lies about really cool people, but when you sort through all that stuff (which really doesn't matter when you get down to it) Miami is a cultural hub at its roots. The visual art that takes place is Miami is awesome too. Venues and galleries like LMNT and Lucid Art Gallery and even the community college gallery showcase bands alongside great visual art and straight up really pretty venues. The ambiance and the setting we were born into is the awesomest thing. It could be worse, to all y'all who complain about Miami!
What is your creative process like? How do you approach the writing process?
Our creative process usually involves one idea, a chord or a riff or a skeleton of a song written by one member and we just feel it out till it's got flesh on it's bones during practices. Then we usually play it live until it's gotten roughed up enough in that good way a song needs to be to survive on an album.
4 out of the 5 of you are related. You talked a bit about how you’ve always wanted to be in a band together, but what was the moment that started the actual project, and adding Michael and then Ammar into your group? How did you all decide to collaborate and start making music together?
Well, first of all our guitarist Carli met Ammar in middle school and we were in this little cover band together where Carli played trumpet in place of a lead singer. It was really cool (not really at all) and we were so dumb, we wanted to call ourselves Wavvves. Like the surf band Wavves but with three V's instead of two...very original of us. But yeah, basically the four of us family members all got lessons for our instruments one summer and had an epiphany like, "Oh my god we can actually play instruments now...Let's make a real band!" And it was so unreal. We did covers and butchered songs without Ammar for probably our first six months as a band, but maybe every band has that phase. So then Ammar got added to the mix when I remembered he played bass in middle school after not talking to him forever and it was just like, a conversation through Instagram comments like "lol come jam with my band bro" and he was like "Mkay"
You guys are incredibly musically literate with alternative music, citing Arcade Fire, HAIM, Grouplove, The Pixies, and my personal favorites the Talking Heads and St. Vincent, as influences. Many of the artists you speak about are highly conscious of the visual elements of their performance and releases. I’m wondering if you all are focused on that visual aspect of your own group. You mention being obsessed with Tegan & Sara’s live shows. What does a Long Shore Drift live show look like, or what do you potentially want it to look like? How do you incorporate your musical vision in the visual formats?
Lately, we've focused a lot more on "the look" of the band. We've sorta got a color scheme goin' on in our pictures and stuff. It's very much in the infancy of what we want it to be. We can't afford lights and we tried to make a handpainted banner that got thrown away...If we could afford lights our shows would be raves. Just kidding. Probably. And clothes are a super cool way to express yourself on stage too. You can see bands at festivals that you don't know and they'll have this all-black thing going on or leather jackets or just this like super uniform look and it can be either really boring or dorky or they just look like they belong in the audience. You have to dress like yourself, but almost multiplied to be the snazziest looking you that you can be. Hannah Hooper from Grouplove said something like that I think. She dresses so great, Grouplove always looks so colorful and fun and we sorta go for that too.
You recently went through a band transition from being “The Coax” to now being Long Shore Drift. What motivated this change? How is the group different and how would you describe your sound aesthetic and performance personality with this new brand? What can fans expect in this new phase and in your upcoming release?
With Long Shore Drift coming into existence and getting rid of The Coax (rip in peace) we got a much more mature sound for sure. We know where we're going, where ever that may be, with our sound. It's definitely coastal indie rock, and the unreleased stuff is more experimental and intricate in different ways than we're used to. What motivated it honestly, was just dislike for our name. We felt like we were starting to possibly get somewhere and it was with this name we made up on a whim with no meaning to it. It was painful being on stage playing and being like, "We're...The Coax," because the name was just so empty and dumb. Longshore drift is a scientific term about how sediment travels down a shoreline. Michael suggested it. We thought it was cool, because we've definitely traveled through names and soundscapes and maturity in the time we've been a band. We have a double single we wanna release with two new songs that definitely reflect this, and one of the songs is about the name change itself.
As an indie artist in the digital age, social media and streaming are essential tools for marketing and promotion. What do you think about online music sharing, both as a music fan and as a musician? How do you think social media/music streaming services impacts the rising musician?
Well, social media is totally a gauge of how successful a band is nowadays and so many people will argue whether or not that's detrimental...But you're directly interacting with fans like an audience at all times and we see it as a good thing. Understood, however, that streaming sites can be detrimental to up and coming bands. You know, with no one really paying for music anymore and being able to download it free of charge (which we are guilty of) it sucks, but in a way it pushes you to your limit to produce good content. Weird way to put it because it still hurts playing free shows sometimes and money makes the world go 'round and all, but we're just trying to look at it in a positive light. You can, though, make something you love, content that other people love, and you'll still need to tour for like two years straight, selling tickets and merchandise like crazy to make money like a small business (I read Grizzly Bear saying this, like how being in an indie band is like running a small business). Stay on that grind! No days off, just do it, dalé, all that jazz.
You’ve entered for a chance to play Firefly Music Festival. We’re coming up on festival season. Are you attending any as a fan, or even playing any local fests? What would your ideal festival lineup be?
Yeah, we're hoping to attend plenty of fests this year. Playing would be beyond awesome. There's a "local Woodstock" we're playing May 30th called Mandala Music Festival. Other stuff that's being planned that we're booked for is awesome, to just be considered and the realization that our name is out there and people know it and want us to play ya know. It's so dumb the way I'm putting it but, yeah! It's awesome people dig us! A big hurdle is our ages honestly. Some people can't look past it and don't take us seriously or don't wanna book us. Sucksssss. But local fests are always going on, yup. We're booked for some this summer. I would love to get in on III Points in Wynwood but it seems like an older crowd, just different vibes. But that won't stop us from trying. And ideal line up...Wow that's difficult. But probably just our favorite bands you know, and like legends that we might not ever see. Recently, we saw The Strokes in Tampa at Big Guava Festival which we thought would never happen but it was so awesome, really a dream.
What are you currently working on? Any new projects?
We are currently working on finishing our first EP! Who knew how long 3 songs could take when you don't know the first thing about recording. But that's gonna be done before you know it.
Finally, a question we ask all of artists: which songs are you currently obsessed with? What new acts do you recommend to our listeners? What bands do you believe are your best kept secret in the indie community?
Songs we're currently obsessed with...hmm. Adult Diversion by Alvvays; scratch that actually their whole debut album. Oh my god we love them. The dreamiest surf band out there right now. Reach Out To You by Adventures our guitarist Carli really loves. We totally recommend them. Local love coming at you right now: Our BOYS Purple Sun, Cannibal Kids, and SunGhosts. They're some of the best and most talented friends we have in this scene, playing shows with them is always a riot. Some more of our amazing buds down here include Satori Kings, AstroMaps, Salas, Sigh Kicks, Verali, Thanks. It'd be impossible to list them all! We really mean it when we say the Miami scene is just teeming with kickin' indie rock waiting for discovery. We feel really privileged to know these peeps in all honesty. Sharing a stage with them is just too much fun and its such a close knit group we have whether we realize it or not. I could go on and get even mushier but I'll leave it at that.
Thanks once again to Long Shore Drift for talking with us. You can stay up to date with them via their Twitter and Facebook. You're going to want to, because they're dropping an album soon, so stay tuned! For now, enjoy their demos streamed below.