Ahead of Next Week's Show at the Agora, Beach House Guitarist Talks About the Dream-Pop Band's Sound

Alex Scally, half of the dream-pop duo, Beach House, could not be more excited to play the Agora on Tuesday, Aug. 6.

“It’s really hard to find new places to play when you’ve been doing it for so long,” says Scally via phone. “We’ve played the House of Blues like a million times.”

The soft rock indie band formed in Scally’s hometown of Baltimore in 2004.

“We were so lucky not to start in 2010 or 2011,” says Scally. “I’m glad that we were just before the big social media time because we got to grow in this natural way, without being under scrutiny. We got to have lots of bad shows that nobody recorded and put up on YouTube saying ‘This band sucks.’”

Over the past 13 years, Beach House has released seven full-length albums, each one picking up a bit more traction than the last. The duo’s newest work is simply titled 7.

Scally and his musical partner, singer Victoria Legrand, don’t say more than what needs to be said. Beach House’s philosophy of letting the music speak for itself extends to its interaction with fans.

“We believe pretty strongly that who we are as individuals has nothing to do with our art,” says Scally. “So we don’t go around and show our personalities on our social media pages. Our physical bodies, or faces, our actions throughout the day, that sort of bending of reality that a lot of people show on social media…we don’t believe that has anything to do with our art.”

The band has never done meet and greets and doesn’t plan on changing that.

“These people are fans of our music not us, and we don’t believe in blending the two,” says Scally, “It’s not out of disrespect for our fans. We have a huge amount of love and respect for the people who have made our career exist.”

Beach House is famous for its visual-heavy live shows that elevate its trippy sound to a new level, and Scally believes that playing live music is the best way to connect with fans.

The band’s innovation in tour décor began with light boxes with disco balls in them that Scally and Legrand made for their first tour. Now, Beach House’s show is full of higher-budget lights, but it’s still on brand.

“I believe that our show now, visually and musically, is the best it’s ever been. It evolved over a long period of time and it’s a vison now. At first it was just an idea, but now it’s an experience,” says Scally. “We want to make people leave themselves. Any good artistic experience is like that. You’re looking at a painting or you’re reading a book, or you go to a movie, and you get lost. Everyone has some form of an intense experience. We created our show to do that as much as we can control that.”

After 15 years with Legrand, Scally says neither one of them could have made it this far alone. The duo met in Baltimore through a mutual friend, and right away, they knew that a musical collaboration was in the cards for them.

“We met and there was just instant chemistry. The kind of stuff we liked was really similar. When we started making music there was this very natural way that we fit into each other’s shape. Where I don’t have a lot of musical sensibility, she has plenty and vice versa,” says Scally. “I have friends who are really good musicians, but they’ve never been able to make it work. I think, often times, it’s because they haven’t found the right partner. A lot of us just have components of [creativity], and it’s through interacting with other people that we are able to create a unified, beautiful thing.”

There’s plenty of those “unified, beautiful things” on 7. “Girl of the Year,” Scally’s favorite track on 7 began as a simple chord progression then evolved into the electro-meets-indie lullaby of a melody that is now is.

The band’s history of playing up the melancholy and staying in its lane of mellow dream-pop has caused some listeners to complain that each record sounds the same. But Scally doesn’t concern himself with the expectations of others, while creating.

“It doesn’t feel conducive to creativity. Trying to think about what someone might want or not want or think or not think is the opposite of creativity. Creativity should just happen,” he says. “Everyone’s ears are different. There’s no right way to hear things.”

Beach House, Hellp, 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 6, Agora Theatre, 5000 Euclid Ave., 216-881-2221. Tickets: $29.50-$45 ADV, $35-$45 DOS, agoracleveland.com.

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