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Beach Fossils Frontman Talks Norman Music Festival, Tour, and Mortality

Kohei Kawashima
Beach Fossils

As Beach Fossils prepares for another U.S. tour, frontman Dustin Payseur sat down to talk with our music intern Kyra Bruce bout the upcoming tour and much more. Payseur said the band feels "really lucky to be doing (Norman Music Festival)" but also talked about the darker sides of touring, and even his own mortality.

Hear the conversation above and read below for interview highlights, and be sure to catch Beach Fossils at Norman Music Festival on Saturday, April 27th at the Fowler Automotive Main Stage at 10 p.m.

On performing mellow songs live

It's really nice to feel this sort of intimate engagement with everyone where it feels like there’s this silence, you know this little wave coming over everybody. Everyone’s just having this moment ... I don’t know how to explain it, it's really calm and peaceful.

On playing concerts in smaller cities

I feel like the shows that we play when they’re not in the main major cities, a lot of the time those can be even more fun because shows don’t happen as frequently, so people let loose a little bit more and it’s always this really cool connection.

On the ups and downs of touring

Tour can get to you and tour can still wear you down when you're out on the road for a really long time and you haven’t seen people you love for a while and you don’t have a place to call home. It starts to get to you, but ... there's something about walking on stage - like that moment just melts everything away and you’re like, ‘This is why I do it - this is amazing.’

On not losing the feelings behind songs

I never want to be someone who plays on auto-pilot. I feel like you can go to a show and see a band and just tell they’re just going through the motions and doing this because they have to, and they don’t really want to be here tonight. And I never want that to be the case. Whenever we play, I just really think about the lyrics every single time I sing them and I’m like, ‘What was I talking about when I wrote this? What did I mean when I wrote this?’ and sometimes it can get really emotional and I'll be holding back tears on stage and it’s like this song that I’ve played every single night.

On writing songs that reflect real life

I was writing these really happy pop songs and then after a while I was like, ‘You know I don’t feel great all the time and I want to write about that, I want to be able to write about how I’m feeling when I don’t feel good.’ And those somehow happened to be our biggest songs and the ones that people liked the most. I was like, ‘This is great I don’t have to write these like shiny pop songs, I can write stuff that’s about real life and about being sad and people are super into it.’

On the band being more collaborative through the years

We sort of play the opposite instruments when we're recording like… on Somersault for example I played bass for that whole record. Then, I shared guitar duties with Jack and Tommy and then Tommy did all the keyboards and stuff. So when we were going to play live, we were all teaching each other our parts. I was showing Jack the bass lines and he was showing me the guitar lines and then like he was showing Tommy like the other guitar lines, and so we’re all showing each other things. Yeah, it was really cool 'cause then you get the other side of how that feels.

On his favorite thing from being in a band

Sometimes I obsess too much about my own mortality and sometimes I want to create something that can continue living once I’m not here anymore, so I can sort of leave my mark on the world. ‘I was here and this is who I was and this is the kind of stuff I thought about and this is the way that I felt.’ It’s like I can leave a little gift to future generations when I’m not around anymore and, to me, that’s really special.

Beach Fossils plays the Fowler Automotive Main Stage at Norman Music Festival on Saturday, April 27 at 10 p.m.

Kyra Bruce was KOSU/ The Spy's music intern in the spring of 2019, as she finished her degree at Oklahoma State University in Multi-Media Journalism Production, with a minor in Philosophy.
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