|Sun-kissed Indie Rock
Dean Van Nguyen - January 7, 2012
Looking for a change of
scenery to work on a new project, multi-instrumentalist Sam Owens left
Brooklyn for the west coast and what he describes as his “beachy
sanctuary”. Setting up in Los Angeles, the result of months of work was
California Eden, a dazzling four track set of pretty harmonies,
shimmering guitar licks and touches of experimentation that owes much
to the sun-kissed city it was recorded in. With friends filling out the
sound, Owen’s EP was released under the moniker of Celestial Shore, and
as a fully-functioning band, the group are gathering pace, playing
several shows and preparing to release their first album.
How did you end up
recording out in West Hollywood and did it influence the sound of the
Sam Owens: After spending a good deal of time in the northeast we
figured that California would offer us a sort of beachy sanctuary to
get a project together, so we made arrangements to meet out there one
way or another. I was able to get an internship with Blue microphones
and spent about 5 months working in their studio. After a couple months
I started bringing mics home more frequently, and would record either
sitting in my living room or in our practice space in South LA. It was
just Max [Almero], our friend Alec [Pombriant], myself and the taco
trucks. LA became an incredibly frustrating place to exist, but I
suppose it was hard to keep California out of the sound. It sure is a
Your vocals are
reminiscent of The Beach Boys. Is that something you picked up out
there or would you say they've always been an influence?
parents gave me Pet Sounds with my first walkman in kindergarten, so I
grew up with that sound in my ears, but Alec and I listened to a ton of
Brian Wilson when we were driving. We spent a lot of time in vehicles.
My favourite track on
California Eden is 'Lost'. Can you talk us through where that song came
SO: ‘Lost’ briefly recounts the story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke
Island, NC. Sir Walter Raleigh sent a bunch of folks over from England
and they settled in Roanoke. Realizing that the colony needed support,
Governor John White took off for England with his ships, promising to
return in a few. Turns out he got hung up in port for several years by
the Spanish Armada. When he made it back the Colony was gone. There are
many theories to the disapearance. I felt like a Colonist at the time.
Do you find self
producing an essential part of the process or would you ever consider
working under the guidance of another producer?
SO: We've spoken in favor of having someone get involved, but at the
moment we're working on our first full length by ourselves and are
tickled in doing so.
"My parents gave me Pet Sounds with my first walkman in kindergarten, so I grew up with that sound in my ears, but Alec and I listened to a ton of Brian Wilson when we were driving"
Sun-kissed Californian indie rock