Not every bromance is a fist-bump at first sight. "We didn't hang out at first, he was way too weird. He had long hair down to his armpits," admits the grinning Simon Blitzer, one-half of the sensual R&B seeped duo Beach Season. "I used to throw lollipops in his hair and get them stuck," he laughs.
"Well, I was really into hair metal back then," confirms Sam Avant, Beach Season's vocalist and second half. "Eventually he learned that I was the coolest person in the entire world, anyway." The friends from Calgary, both carrying their earlier purchases from Drake's October's Very Own (OVO) store in Toronto, sit side-by-side. They ping pong answers to each other without one disagreement.
Avant, 21, and Blitzer, 22, seem to always be on the same page, and as they should be. After spending a few years pushing their now defunct hip-hop group Obey the Crooks (OTC), the guys are basically common-law in music. Though the mere mention of OTC causes equal distraught. Avant groans. "Oh no…that was like, the very start for us. We were so young back then," he says. "It did help us meet a lot of people though. We made our own beats, sang and rapped on them, which to our knowledge wasn't really happening in our community. That set us apart a bit."
They blame the transition into Beach Season on a growth in maturity. "It grew from Sam, really," says Blitzer. "It seemed more realistic to me than what we were doing with OTC, more natural." Beach Season swaps OTC's unripe rap refrains for R&B influenced ambience by Blitzer and a heavier dose of emotionally charged vocals by Avant. "We had a back catalogue of stuff that didn't fit in with OTC. Simon wasn't rapping as much; we both had finished high school and started finding more of the electronic sound," says Avant. "It fell into place, really." And yes, Beach Season is inspired by beaches, but to save us all the ambiguous genre labeling, the guys thought to establish a concise label of their own: Booty Wave.
"It's a feeling," says Blitzer. "Yeah, it's definitely a feeling. I like that. Good answer," praises Avant. "We get 'sex music' a lot, which I'm not sure how I feel about yet. I mean that's cool if you think so." They start talking about wanting to 'go deeper' than sex music and as much as that begs to be sprayed with innuendos, the depth they're referring to is songwriting and lyricism. (I swear.) Of their original releases, "Evenings" and "Midnights" are meant to be listened to in sequential order, so to tell a story—one that Avant admits comes from his own life's circumstances. "I didn't think people would ever pick up on lyrics, but they do. It's kind of crazy to think about. I've written tons of songs that are just words," says Avant, "but I've noticed that anything is more relatable when it's coming from a genuine place, something you've felt yourself."
Their debut EP, Internet Evening, released last year, really doesn't help their case against the 'sex music' label. "Say It" is made up of Avant serenading listeners with "When you get home/Imma lay you down right now on the floor," while "Good Boy" is a swirling synth symphony pleading for dimmed lights. "We've been working together for so long that we're able to sit down and lay out ideas. Sometimes we take turns. One of us will work on the beat and another is playing FIFA," says Blitzer. "We take a lot of breaks, that's for sure," says Avant.
After a recent stint at the abbreviated version of Red Bull Music Academy, known as Bass Camp in Montreal, it appears that there's far less room for FIFA breaks. Since Bass Camp, the duo have swung into tour dates with Bakermat and Humans, and closed out some NXNE shows in Toronto. "Personally, I felt like the luckiest one there. I think we somehow slipped through the cracks," says Blitzer. "Now, we know so many people from all over Canada making music like us. We hadn't met a lot of artists being in Calgary. Being a part of the Red Bull Music Academy community is beyond helpful."
They do make it clear that their Calgary origins aren't reflective of ineptness in today's flourishing Canadian music scene. Actually, for them, their hometown is quite the opposite. "It's way better in Calgary. I wouldn't want to be in Toronto trying to do what we did," says Blitzer. "We'd be just another fish in the sea." "When we come to Montreal and Toronto," Avant continues, "there's something happening every single night and it's hard to keep up. While in Calgary, you can subject yourself to the scene if you want, but you don't have to. It's there if you want it to be."
Despite a recent brief tour with Humans, Avant and Blitzer have yet to shed all of their hip-hop skin. Their recent NXNE show in Toronto included both a Drake and The Weeknd cover, sung by Avant. "In a new city, people won't know our originals, but that's the whole point of NXNE, right? To discover new music and new artists," says Avant. "We figured having a cover in our set, if it does well and your pay proper homage, there's more of a chance you'll be memorable."
What's more memorable than Drake? A trip to the OVO store in Toronto is what. "We bought OVO t-shirts for our dads," says Blitzer, fiddling with his purchase. "OVO Dads," says Avant, "it's the next big thing."
Beach Season will be occupied over at The Peak Performance Project in Vancouver soon. Find out more information and when you can see them perform, here.
Rachael wishes her dad was an OVO Dad, find her on Twitter.