Hey Zach Beckwith! Welcome to BuzzMusic! We are loving your release "Magic in July! What was the songwriting and production process for this like?
I started writing the song in July 2018 just after I moved to San Diego. I wanted to capture the laid-back feeling of San Diego summer nights and I ended up writing the song as somewhat of a one-night stand story about a mystical female character. I don't have much recording equipment and at the time I didn't have my own electric guitar so I borrowed one from a friend. The bass I used had to be soldered together to work, but it still sounded terrible so I blended it in with the tremolo guitars to create a sort of 60's psychedelic sound. I didn't have drums or the ability to record drums with my cheap interface, so I managed to create percussion layers with sticks and shakers coupled with interesting use of reverb. Finally, I used a Tom Drum and strange EQ settings to try to replicate the sound of a timpani. People have described the resulting sound of the tom drum to me as "thunder", and some people have even believed the track had actual drums on it. One of my best friends simply said that it was so wrong that it was right.
We heard that you've had "Magic in July" written for a long time and the crowd loves it live, how did it feel the first time you played the song live? Did you ever know that the song would be a favorite?
I wrote and recorded the song almost a year before putting it out. At first, I thought it was a great song, but after obsessing over the recording so much, and hearing it over and over, I began to lose confidence. I kept it shelved for a while until one of my close friends happened to hear it. He told me he loved it and encouraged me to put it out and we ended up making a music video out of it. It was the first song that I ever self-recorded and produced and put out on my own. The first time I played it live, I was a bit surprised at the response. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and people kept telling me "I really like that July song." Now, I am confident that people enjoy it and play it often.
What about your influences do you draw inspiration and influence from? How do your influences make their way into your music?
I am influenced by all types of music. My biggest influences are The Beatles, The Doors, Nirvana, Khruangbin, and The Talking Heads. I try to bring all of my influences together into tightly arranged songs written in a pop format. I am a big fan of good lyrics, so I typically spend my time writing several drafts. I expect my lyrics to be at the level where they would be enjoyable to read apart from the song. I aim for blending the music and the poetry together and creating a cohesive atmosphere where one complements the other. This song was heavily influenced by 60's psychedelic music coupled with the vocal freedom of a singer like David Byrne of the Talking Heads.
How have you grown as an artist from your first live show and the first song you've ever written? Do you have any goals for your future self?
I have grown tremendously. I finally realized that I have a lot of potential as a musician, and in the second half of 2019 I self-recorded and produced 4 albums, all of which are available on all streaming services and cover a range of styles. I didn't try to make every song the world's most catchy single and made sure to incorporate some songs where I took chances because to me music is an art form for expression beyond mindless entertainment. My goal for my future self is to be a well-known and respected professional musician and quit my day job. I am completely confident that with enough exposure and through playing enough shows I will get there.
Listen to Zach Beckwith's music here.