Beacon on Covering Katy Perry: "We Came to Know Nothing of Her From the Music"
Katy Perry sings catchy songs, likes candy, wears fun outfits, and will cure your acne via mail order.
But if Katy Perry is the one thing keeping you from enjoying Katy Perry's music, Beacon's got the solution for you.
The Brooklyn-based duo's Thomas Mullarney and Jacob Gossett are picking up a lot of buzz with new For Now EP, their second collection of R&B-tinged electronic pop. But when Crossfade spoke to the Beacon bros in advance of their Saturday, September 8 show at Bardot, we had to ask about their amazing covers of Katy's "Last Friday Night" and Ginuwine's "So Anxious."
Crossfade: What's the process behind the covers? Both in terms of selecting them and actually making them?
Jacob Gossett: Coming into making some of these new songs, I was revisiting some of the things I was listening to as a teenager. That Ginuwine album in particular, I was listening to a lot. I was messing with those sounds and showed Tom what I'd done. Katy Perry was something Tom was working on originally.
Thomas Mullarney: I had the CD and just screwed it down it really sounded good. It retained the raw catchiness of the original. Singing on top of it, it happened to fit right into my range. We used it as a component to our live show as an anti-climactic finish. Because right before it goes into the chorus, it gets stripped down to nothing.
Jacob: That's where we ended it. The lights and the video would go out.
Thomas: People would think the power went out. Especially early on, we were playing more DIY shows in alternative spaces and that could have happened.
Jacob: We wanted to end it with that moment hanging, leaving everyone wanting that chorus.
So the version I've heard isn't incomplete? That's how you ended it live and chose to end the recording, as well?
Thomas: We've gotten emails saying, "I'll pay you money if you'd just finish that." But we're just constantly moving so, you know. We keep it up there as something people can listen to because it has always gotten such a strong response.
What about it happening the other way around? Is there a pop artist you'd like to hear cover Beacon?
Jacob: I've never really thought about that. But it'd definitely be interesting.
Thomas: I think I'd want it to be a female vocalist. I can't say who exactly but from the vocalist's perspective, a female vocalist covering it would have the most potential.
As someone who has spent a lot of time inside the words and music of Katy Perry, what do you know about her that we laymen do not?
Thomas: I had that record and I didn't really glean anything about her. It's really about how those songs work as songs. It's science. It's a laboratory for music creation. From her music, I came to know nothing of her as a person.
What do you think her producers like Dr. Luke and Max Martin know about music that allows them to have such a high hit rate?
Jacob: The way I've heard that some of those songs are created, it's just...those guys are just magic. With, like, Rhianna singles, that's a camp. Four or five songwriters working on a song that gets vetted by another team. With singles, if there's enough money to go around and you have 20 people to work on one song for one artist, things get successful. Obviously, you can write a hit without all that but it doesn't hurt.
What did you do Last Friday Night?
Thomas: I went and saw Krystal Klear and Jacuqes Greene at Le Bain in New York where that was happening.
Jacob: I had drinks at a bar. Nothing more special than that.
And neither of you are dating anyone who covers John Mayer songs, are you?
Beacon. With Lu. Saturday, September 8. Bardot. 3456 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Show starts at 10 p.m. Call 305-576-7750 or visit bardotmiami.com.
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