Trace William Cowen (lead vocals, guitar, keyboard): I’ve been listening to The Beatles since the day I was conceived, thanks to my mother. Technically, I started my first band when I was 10 years old; it was my brother on a makeshift drum set and myself on a tiny red acoustic guitar with only two strings. I shoved a toy microphone into the guitar … I haven’t looked back since.
Cameron “Killa Cam” Johnson (drums, vocals): When I was a little kid, like 3 or 4, listening to southern rock and oldies with my dad. My dad was a big part in me wanting to play music.
Matt Blaskowski (guitar, vocals): I was introduced to music by my first major girlfriend’s brother. He played the drums and had a limited pressing of Jimmy Eat Worlds Bleed American CD. I thought he was cool stuff.
Caed Turner (bass, vocals): I listened to golden oldies with my family in the car and on the radio at the house. The song I remember being my first favorite song was [The Box Tops’ “The Letter”] that goes “Give me a ticket for an airplane/Ain’t got time to take a fast train.”
How would you describe your music?
Cowen: I think the band name does a really good job of capturing, in words, the sound of our band. Fun, dirty pop on the outside with an endless series of existential crises on the inside that even Woody Allen would envy.
Blaskowski: Energetic, dance-y, motivational punk rock — short and sweet.
Turner: Fun for me to play, very driven, emotionally connected to each member of the band — it’s what I love to play.
That’s some title for your first EP [Head vs. Heart vs. D***] — what are its origins?
Blaskowski: The title is something that suggests the battle that is growing up and becoming a man. You have choices to make and different ways to rationalize your thoughts. What you pick to think with describes the man you are.
Cowen: We released it for free as a way of saying “thank you” to everyone who supported us, and because people rarely pay for anything anymore (especially an eight-song EP), why not give it away and reach far more people?
Let’s talk about your upcoming EP, Bedroom Songs.
Johnson: It’s a collection of our songs, stripped down to the bare form. Sweet, sexy and nothing like we actually sound. But I personally dig it a lot.
This is an area that caters to a lot of artists in the country/folk/rock genre. Are you worried that some may see your music as too out there or radical for their tastes?
Cowen: I think our music speaks for a lot of people, who, for whatever reason, feel they have no voice. I know it was a huge relief for me as a teenager, and even now as a young adult, to finally meet other people from Alabama who weren’t so painfully typical of the region. I just want to provide that same comfort for other people.
Johnson: I’m used to people not understanding what I do, so for them not to understand my music isn’t too much of a sweat. And I know that there IS an audience out there for it, so that’s why we keep at it, even though things are a little slower here in the South.
Blaskowski: I kind of like the challenge. If you can make a genre that wouldn’t usually work in an area work, you have to be doing something right.
Why the name “Beach Party (!)”?
Cowen: From the very beginning, we wanted a name and look that accurately represented the inherently schizophrenic nature of our music. The name had to signify that anything was possible. Furthermore, we wanted a name that really pointed to the childlike fun and wonder of such limitless possibility. I feel that Beach Party (!) perfectly captures that.
Bedroom Songs will be released for free on Feb. 14. Beach Party will perform at The Crimson Tiger Feb. 18. Visit facebook.com/beachpartymusic to explore more of the band’s music.