Beach House's Victoria Legrand on Bloom, New Songs, and Practicing Musical Magic
"I saw that thing, and it kinda freaked me out," admits singer-keyboardist Victoria Legrand, on the phone from her home.
Indeed, as Bloom's release date approaches and Beach House's tour begins, the pressure is on. And in Miami, the 2500-seat Fillmore Miami Beach awaits.
It is a beautiful venue with its balconies and chandeliers. It is steeped in history, having famously served as a stage for Jackie Gleason and so many other television legends. But it can also be unforgiving.
A month after Legrand and guitarist Alex Scally's last local show, opening for Vampire Weekend at the Fillmore in 2010, their Sub Pop labelmates Wolf Parade took the stage as headliners. And that band was lucky if there were 250 people at the theater that night.
Several months later, Iron and Wine also played the Fillmore. And looking out into the depths, frontman Sam Beam, a well-known Miami native before he signed to Sub Pop, noticed that the back part of the theater's main floor (not to mention the entire balcony) had been hidden behind heavy velvet drapes. He jokingly referred to them as the "you suck" curtains.
Nevertheless, Beach House's Legrand says the band made a conscious choice, selecting this difficult-to-fill SoBe venue for atmospheric reasons. "It's about a certain level of [live] production that we want to work on," she explains. "[The Fillmore just] seemed like the one that was the most appropriate for the show we want to put on." Of course, though, packing the seats could be a challenge. "It's a pretty big venue," Legrand agrees. "I'm not expecting anything. I generally try not to have any expectations."
When asked about Beach House's envisioned "level of [live] production," Legrand, who actually helps Scally design and build the stage sets, refuses to provide details. She just prefers to keep it a surprise. "I don't want to jinx anything," she laughs. "But we are building it right now. It will be something! You'll see. I don't want to give anything away."
For their last tour, she and Scally lugged around giant pyramids that contained an ever-varying light source that would smoothly shift and pulsate through a dizzying spectrum of colors. Behind them, a curtain of light bulbs flickered, streamed and shifted, depending on the songs. It offered a wonderful visual counterpoint to Beach House's dreamy pop.
"We definitely want to create a world for people when they come to see us, whether it's a small venue or a large venue," Legrand says. "I think that, with our music, it doesn't feel right to just get up on stage and play it and not try to make it something really magical."