IT has been interesting speaking with Zach of Bay Ledges...
about the band’s latest track, I Wonder, and whether there will be a follow-up to that song at all. I was curious regarding the band’s origins and what it is like taking to the road; the albums that mean the most to Zach and whether there will be tour dates.
He discusses what it is like being based in Los Angeles and whether the band all share musical tastes; the artist he’d support if he could choose anyone and what he does when he gets some free time – Zach selects a top song to end the interview with.
Hi, Zach. How are you? How has your week been?
It’s been a good week so far. Been working on some new music, which always feels good.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Zach Hurd and I have a band called Bay Ledges.
I Wonder is out now. What is the story behind the song?
I went in and worked with writer/producer Christian Medice on this song. We’d never worked together before and we’re drawn to different production styles so it was cool to talk about where I wanted the song to go, sonically. When you’re making music on your own, you don’t really stop to think about why you’re making certain choices.
I wanted the song to feel like tape from a cassette, kind of wobbly; so we messed around with some synth sounds to find those textures. Lyrically, I had recently gone through a breakup so those feelings just ended up becoming the theme.
Might there be more material coming down the line?
Yes. There’s definitely more material coming...I’m not totally sure about a release date yet but it’s on the way!
How did Bay Ledges come together and what were the early sessions like?
I started Bay Ledges about four years ago when I moved to Los Angeles from New York City. I got a job at a restaurant and started recording songs in my bedroom. At the time, I was feeling pretty lost and working on this music became something I could really throw myself into, even though I didn’t really know where it was going. Working on B.L. reopened a creative freedom I hadn’t really felt since I was a kid. I was just having a lot of fun with it.
The sessions consisted of me sitting at my desk for hours. I’d record my acoustic guitar and chop it up to see if I could make it sound different. I’d record my sister singing and then play around with her vocals too. It was basically me coming up with a song idea, recording it and then seeing how I could mess it all up in a way that sounded more interesting to me.
Do you all share the same music tastes in the band?
We don’t all listen to the same stuff - but there’s always some overlap which is good for long van rides (smiles).
Being based in L.A., how important is the scene and people there regarding your sound?
L.A. feels like a great place to be for making music right now. I lived on the West Side of town for my first couple years, right next to the beach (which was amazing). I think that drastic contrast of environment, coming from NYC, was really helpful for me at the time and I’m sure it seeped into the music. Now, I live on the East Side which is closer to a lot of venues and other musicians I collaborate with. I feel a little more accessible to what’s going on, musically.
I’m not sure if Bay Ledges would’ve happened if I hadn’t moved to Los Angeles. There were so many things that clicked for me when I got here. Both of my sisters were living here too - having that support really helped me feel a sense of ease and confidence.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
A big one was going on tour this past fall and getting to meet fans. We live in a time where it’s easier than ever to release your music into the world but actually connecting with the people who are listening seems a bit rarer...especially for smaller artists like me. I was so humbled by how honest some people were about certain songs helping them through some really dark times. That kind of honesty inspires me to do the same in my life and in my music.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Ugh. There are so many but, if I have to narrow it down:
Odelay by Beck
This album got me thinking about songwriting in a new way. Realizing you don’t always have to write a specific story with your lyrics; that you can create a musical/lyrical collage that’s equally as meaningful. The Dust Brothers worked on this one too and all the different sampling going on is so amazing.
Thriller by Michael Jackson
It’s hard to think about MJ’s music the same way after everything that’s come out recently. That being said, Thriller was the first album I ever got...my aunt gave it to me for my fifth birthday. I was obsessed with it: the songs, his dancing…all of it. That album had a big impact on me.
The Last Waltz by The Band
This used to play in our house all the time growing up. My dad loved The Band. He was a teacher and used to have his classes come over to our house every year to watch the film by Martin Scorsese.
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco
Jeff Tweedy writes beautiful songs and Jay Bennett’s instrumental contributions gave the album so much more depth. I was a little late to this album but listened to it nonstop when I got it. It sounds like they gave themselves freedom to try anything in the studio but were also able to stay true to the songs. It’s got Pop elements, Rock and Americana...it’s so many things blended together.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I’d love to open for Kendrick Lamar - that guy is incredible. For a rider, I would just want a tour of how his show is put together; it’s such a huge undertaking. I’d love to see what goes into putting on a show like that.
Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?
We’re working on some tour dates for May/June. Still in the works but we’ll have the dates up on bayledges.com soon.
Might we see you in the U.K. in 2019?
I really hope so!
How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio?
Performing is really important to me. It allows me to connect with an audience in a different way. In my experience, music has so much more of an impact when it’s happening right in front of you. Having the opportunity to express yourself on stage is a chance to show part of who you are as an artist. I love performing and working in the studio...both things satisfy different parts of me.
What is life like on the road with the band and touring? Are there lots of highs regarding touring?
I really love touring. It’s a funny existence. You spend most of your time in a van just waiting to get to the next town but the high from a great show makes you want to keep doing it. As a band, you become a little family because you’re spending so much time together.
Last tour, we got stuck in a four-hour traffic jam and decided to make up a ghost story together...it was a terrible story and so hilarious. You end up going home with all these little jokes and realize they don’t really make sense to anyone else.
IN THIS PHOTO: Still Woozy/PHOTO CREDIT: Palmer Morse
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
When your work is something you love it’s easy to never step away from it, so I’m trying to get better about taking breaks. I love meeting up with friends, hitting up a good coffee shop; going surfing or just being at the beach. I also really like taking trips out to the desert.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Thanks for having me! Can you play Goodie Bag by Still Woozy. That song makes you feel good
Follow Bay Ledges