Replace Hitler with Beechwood
Beechwood is the shit. Okay, glad I got that off my chest. Don’t get me wrong, if you’ve met them out or asked to bum a cigarette off them, you may not have been met with the friendliest people in town, but if ever given the opportunity for a more intimate setting where you can just talk, you’re met with some intelligent minds, super talented musicians, very reminiscent of the scene that I love and gravitate towards: New York artists who have singlehandedly paved the way for the art that follows. That’s what Beechwood is doing (whether you fucking like it or not).
I got the chance to chat with them in a dark basement in Ridgewood. It was as good as it sounds.
So how did you guys meet?
Gordon: Me and Isa met through skateboarding growing up when we were like 15 or 16, through mutual friends …
So how did you guys meet [sid]?
Gordon: Our old bass player moved to California recently and we played a couple shows as a two piece and Sid was at a show we played and the next day I ran into him on the train and said what’s up … we recognized each other from the show and he’s like are you looking for a bass player and I was like yeah .. and I just knew that it was gonna work out. I wasn’t even like come audition, I was like yeah you’re in … come rehearse.
wait you didnt even console isa on this?
Gordon: Well we have like the same mind …
Isa: It’s all the same, like kind of how I met Gordon.
Gordon: If it went the other way around too and he was like ‘yeah I have a new bass player’ and I would be like alright. We just trust each other’s instincts.
that’s awesome, So is that the same way as when you guys are writing music too?
Gordon: Yeah, I mean basically. We each come up with songs and we work on each others songs, and perfect them. It’s very open. If I have a song and maybe I don’t know where its going, he makes a suggestion … it’s a pretty collaborative process; we both have very good feels for how each other play and how each other think so when we come up with a song we both are kind of on the same wavelength … its almost like we could write each others songs. So it works out.
So what did you guys individually grow up listening to?
Isa: My dad is in the music business that’s as far as I’ll go with that, and I had a very broad, open, very diverse …
Gordon: … his dad’s got a great record collection
Isa: yeah and my Dad would travel the world and he’s also very open-minded when it comes to music so I was lucky to grow up and be brought up with that. There was no one type of music always being played in my house, on the contrary it was every single different type of music possible you could think of. And my Dad’s also the kind of guy where it was only good music.
So is there anything that you gravitated more to?
Isa: No just good music … It didn’t matter who made it why they made it, I never really cared until I got a little older and I got more interested in people.
Gordon: For me the first band that I really connected with was The Ramones. It was kind of how I learned how to play guitar. I also have a dad who has very good taste in music and introduced me to a lot of cool stuff, and when I got a guitar when I was 10, on the same day we stopped in Tower Records where I grew up and my dad got me Rocket to Russia, and I learned how to play guitar just playing along to that.
Through the Ramones I found out about New York Dolls, Mc5, The Stooges and that’s like early on how I developed my style. That kind of music was what I became very obsessed with.
Do you guys feel like you would fit into that Downtown Scene if you were playing back then? Or do you feel like you’re trying to make a comeback of it in a way?
Gordon: We don’t really think in terms of that kind of stuff.
Isa: Danny Fields told me that … I was talking to him on his couch and I was like ‘Danny I wish I was around with the Ramones, I wish Beechwood was around, we’d be fucking famous man’ and he said ‘Well just be Beechwood now.’
Gordon: Yeah I feel like what we’re doing is more important for the world now cuz those bands did what they did back then …
Isa: But they couldnt do what they did now …
Gordon: Yeah they were around and they did their thing, and we’re here now. So we don’t really think in terms of hypothetical stuff we just exist now, and that’s what we are doing.
So Sid what did you grow up listening to?
Sid: My first band that I got really into was The White Stripes. I was like 4. And that taught me on to old blues players like Son House.
So what are you guys listening to now?
Isa: Our music …
… Other than your music?
Isa: Link Wray, Rowland S Howard, Johnny Thunders, Nico, and also The Only Ones
I love discovering music like this- talking to bands that i dig, and hearing what music they dig. i also don’t have a job so lots of time to discover music … so What is success to you guys?
Gordon: We just want to be able to live comfortably and not worry about anything except playing music … not worry about paying rent, buying food, or paying bills … our only concern should be playing our music and that would be success to me. If everything else would go away so we could just be left alone to play music.
so what if that never happens?
Isa: We just keep doing this, do this til we die … we’ll probably die an early death in that case.
when you’re 27?
Gordon: If we’re comfortable we could last longer, cuz right now we’re struggling.
Especially here [in nyc] …
Isa: Anywhere for us … cuz wherever we go, we’re who we are
So if you guys weren’t playing music anymore, what would you be doing?
Isa: Rotting in the ground
Do you guys feel like theres a brooklyn scene of music, and if so do you feel youre at the forefront of it? don’t even care if it exists? what is your take?
Gordon: We think we’re the best; we know we’re the best.
Isa: … So fuck a scene
Gordon: We feel like we are above any one particular scene but that being said, there are a lot of really great music venues in New York and Brooklyn thats come up in the past years. For us we are our own scene, we’re ourselves and we don’t really care or pay much attention to the scene in general cuz we have our own thing going on but if I was just some kid that just moved to the city then yeah, there’s lots of cool stuff going on.
Is there a venue in particular you really like to play?
Gordon: I really like playing Baby’s All Right … the sound system is great there and they treat you well.
Isa: I like anywhere my drum set doesn’t move and my cymbals stay in place …
are there any new york bands you’re friends with?
Gordon: I like Victor Longo, he’s the best in New York in my opinion. And this band called DJUNA is great.
so if you guys could play anywhere in the world where would it be?
Gordon: Have you ever seen the movie Triumph of the Will? Basically my ideal show would be like the Nuremberg Rallies, it was just insane …. I’d like to stage that kind of rally but as a Beechwood concert.
Without swastika’s right?
Gordon: No no I’m not … I’m just saying that kind of fanaticism … It has nothing to do with Nazi’s I’m just saying replace Hitler with Beechwood. That would be the ideal concert.
Sid: And Madison Square Garden
Gordon: Fuck that, its too small
what about your personal style? do you guys just sit in a room and decide who wears what … you guys have such a similar kind of aesthetic
ISA: We look together cuz we look good individually …
Gordon: We all do share each other’s clothes, we have the same style in general … but we don’t like discuss it.
And finally what’s the point. I’ll just leave it open ended: the point of life? the point of music? the point of living in brooklyn? the point of talking to me … whats the point?
Gordon: It’s fun. We’re just having fun, this is what we love to do and we don’t have anything else that we’d like to do or want to do. This is what makes us happy. That’s really the point of anything, people should just do what makes them happy. This is what happens to make us happy so this is what we do.
Beechwood is playing Good Room tomorrow (Wednesday, the 19th) so head over there after the debate and join us for a good time.