DADDY'S BEEMER planted their roots in Charleston just a few months ago, after meeting at Clemson University and then spending some time in Charlotte. They were students with similar musical backgrounds, and got together to try and make a go at being in a band. Their first two releases were for student projects, and those projects helped them realize that they wanted to hit the road.
The band, who’s currently finishing up a full-length album, is set to play El Rocko Lounge on Fri., August 23. Ahead of the gig, we spoke to band members Brady Sklar and Wesley Heaton.
You guys formed at Clemson—tell me about how you ended up getting together.
Heaton: We were all going to Clemson and met through their radio station, WSBF. There wasn’t much music going on at Clemson at the time, so we just kind of found each other and started making music in a basement. We did our first two EPs as school projects, and now we’re pursuing it more seriously.
So you were studying recording?
Sklar: The first one was Wesley’s senior project for the audio program, and the second one was mine.
Is that how it started, or were you intending on being a band anyway?
Heaton: We were already a band, but we saw the opportunity. We used it to our advantage.
Every band has a moment where they realize that something clicks. Do you think those projects were those moments for y’all in terms of realizing that you worked well together?
Heaton: Yeah. It was kind of weird because usually when you make an album you don’t have a deadline, but for the school projects we had a hard deadline. We couldn’t get a grade in the class or couldn’t even use the studio unless we had it scheduled. There was some discipline there in order to get it done, and that gave us the timeline to actually make [the records] happen.
Did having that deadline help the creative process?
Sklar: Yeah! Because we had to make more decisions in the moment, rather than going back over what you did for months. We had to make hard decisions and stick with it.
Do you feel like Charleston has been a good home base for you guys? From experience, Charleston has always felt like a good place for growing a band.
Sklar: Yeah, it’s been great. We’ve got a lot of musicians that live really close to us, and we’re playing in town every now and then. The people here are really cool and the community is so tight knit. The new bands will hang around with the bands that have been around forever and have had success. There’s no snobbery—it’s just a community where we’re all doing the same thing.
Tell me about the writing process. Do you have references for what kind of song or concept you want to bring to the table, or is it a matter of bringing in little riffs or ideas and letting them formulate stylistically?
Sklar: There’s definitely times when I’ve listened to songs and there’s maybe one little cool thing that I’ll hear. That usually happens when we get into production. When we wrote a song called “Joan,” we heard almost like a sonar sound but it was a woodblock pitched down. We took it from a Marvin Gaye song.
But in songwriting, a lot of times I’ll write something on an acoustic guitar and just have a melody, and then we’ll all get together and refine it. And sometimes we’ll just be jamming and hit on something that works.
How long do you let that process happen? Do songs shape and evolve throughout the recording?
Sklar: I feel like we don’t rehearse the songs very much before we go into a studio, which is not good practice! [laughs]
Heaton: Well, for the first EP we did play the songs a lot before the studio. But we’re recording an album right now and because we live in downtown Charleston, it’s hard to make a lot of noise before getting in trouble. We’re doing it very quietly before we go into the studio and work stuff out.
Sometimes the best stuff happens when you don’t have much rehearsed and then just let things happen in the studio! Where are you guys at with the record at the moment?
Sklar: We’ve been working on it for about a year. Wesley’s family has this cabin in the middle of nowhere in South Carolina.
Heaton: It’s a little more secluded than where we worked previously, but I think it’s more conducive to fleshing out ideas. We’re kind of out of the way with no distractions. This one’s definitely less pressure, with no deadline. We’re living there while we record, and we bring and engineer and it works out really well. It doesn’t feel like going into a studio and every hour is $100. Since we don’t practice the songs very much, we take our time to go through each song and perfect them.