Hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, the synthwave producer known as Skeleton Beach released his first album, Being There, in January of this year featuring his own unique blend of ambient darkwave. He has since followed it up with the Last Night Alive EP, which was released earlier this month, itself a sort of self-described “bridge” between his first album and the next which is currently in production. Although relatively new to the synth scene, Skeleton Beach has been making music since his early teens starting with the drums before moving on to guitar and eventually piano; all self-taught by just playing what “felt right.” Therefore it comes as little surprise that he’s been able to take to the synth genre so quickly, notably after being introduced to electronic music through Radiohead, Squarepusher, and Burial. Though what truly inspires the sounds of Skeleton Beach are the horror movie soundtracks of yesteryear, especially those by John Carpenter, and the heaviness of black metal, doom metal, and stoner metal with bands such as Sleep and Sunn O))) constantly in his listening rotation.
Owing much to his background as a drummer, Skeleton Beach tends to put an emphasis on drum tracks and sampling in his music. “I love to splice and cut as much as I enjoy recording loops and processing them” he told me when explaining his recording process. The opening track to Being There, entitled “The Start of Something” is, much like it’s namesake, but a taste of things to come with rhythmic beats accompanied by otherworldly sounds. Those sounds in question come from a Prophet synthesizer, along with a Juno-60, which are always apart of Skeleton Beach’s musical artillery. Their influence can certainly be felt throughout the album, especially on such tracks as “Scratch the Surface,” giving it and others that feel of an old school horror movie score.
This is not to say that Skeleton Beach doesn’t have a “softer side,” as the Last Night Alive EP is certainly much more lighter-fare in comparison to Being There despite it’s much more sinister moniker. As mentioned on the Bandcamp page for the EP, “the four tracks were written in between the recording of Being There and the recent start of the next album. They didn’t really fit the last album, and the new album is already taking shape, but I didn’t want to discard all four tracks so I decided to release them together.” A great example out of the four songs on the album, although they’re all amazing in their own right, is the track “The Party’s Over” which has a very funky fresh feel. The sort of song that you might’ve heard if a slasher flick took place in a 1970’s discotheque.
Indeed, when asked about this difference in tone and if this is the direction that his next album will be going in as a result, Skeleton Beach remarked that “as a drummer I need more disco drum vibes. I actually got an electric drum kit just so I could play the drums on the next record instead of sequencing. The next album is going to blend it with the dark ambience I stuck to in the first record.” While Skeleton Beach continues work on the next album there are currently no immediate plans to start playing live shows, but it is something that he is working on doing someday as he has done so before both as a solo act and in bands for other projects. Additionally, when he’s not working on Skeleton Beach, he can be heard hosting his own podcast called Sharing Needles with Friends where he’s joined by a friend and together they interview other artists, talk about pop culture, the music industry, recent releases, and expound upon their massive vinyl collection. Go and give him a listen all around.