Is anyone up for a heavy helping of desert stoner rock? Excellent! You want it from the other side of the world though? You want something a little different, while still settling into the same vein for that junky in you? No problem! Your Uncle Jerk’s got ya covered. Beaumont Livingston pay homage at the altar of Homme and his wild bunch and the stoney, metal inspired, droning sprawls that they birthed in the fiery heart of the bleak Californian landscape and have infused it with an unholy union of twisted blues and fuzzy melodic garage rock. Sprawling kosmiche riffage unfurls itself in the wind like sails, the vocals acting as wind with subdued drums pounding a heartbeat of life. In the bosom of Southern Italy the members of Beaumont Livingston have refined and on the cusp of their second album, seemingly taken another step towards the honing and perfection of their craft. The self-produced epic-level happening that was Heavens & Fantasies invades your speakers was released nearly two years ago, but was recorded almost six years ago at this point. That’s six years of distillation and refinement, six years to ruminated and write, six years to create a monstrous beast of an album and Cain’s Reign promises to be everything it’s cracked up to be. The harmonious melting of distortion and fuzz in the funnel of swirling sound and madness is anchored by precise, well aimed outbursts of vocals splitting through the deceptively simple sounding rhythms and melodies. Teetering on the verge of entering a metal-esque area with the hammering tempos and heavy emphasis on riffs, Beaumont Livingston has transfused a much needed international flavor and sensibilities into the desert rock sound, really setting them apart from the pack for me. That’s enough name dropping and jaw-flapping though, there’s a link below for music. I highly recommend you check out their stuff and come to your own conclusions while you fill yourself in on all the pertinent info regarding the birth, life and seeming future for Beaumont Livingston; hey, I said seemingly, we’re psychedelic, not psychic after all!
Listen while you read: http://beaumontlivingston.bandcamp.com/
I know you all have been around for a while but with the language barrier and me being so busy I don’t know near enough about the band. Who’s in Beaumont Livingston at this point and what do they play? Is this the original lineup or have you all gone through any lineup changes at this point?
Rocco: That’s a good starting point. Let me introduce the Beaumont family. Today Beaumont Livingston are Mario “The Cool Thing” Orefice – Lead Guitar and Backing Vocals, Ciro “Mr. Cherry” Iacoviello – Bass, Rocco “Acid Rocket” Palumbo – Lead Vocals and Guitar, and Silvio “The Lieuthenant” Cogliano – Drums. Three-quarters of us are original. Silvio joined the band after we had some trouble with the first drummer and soon became an important part of the project.
How old are you and where are you originally from?
Rocco: I’m twenty nine, Mario and Ciro are thirty four, and Silvio is thirty three; this is his last year among us, like Christ, ha-ha. We’re all from South Italy.
What do you consider to be your first real exposure to music?
Rocco: My addiction began when I was about twelve, I suppose, listening to Megadeath. I was a really big fan of Dave Mustaine at that time. Listening to his tricks, I decided just to start and it’s been the best choice of my life.
When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music? What brought that decision about for you?
Rocco: I’ve always seen the music as a means to express the deepest part of my soul. For me, it’s a way to give voice to things that I don’t even know are in my consciousness. So, I’ve always played to tell my stories, my thoughts… I’ve written my own music since the beginning.
I seriously dig your name, Beaumont Livingston is the character portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson in the Quentin Tarantino film, Jackie Brown, though I have no idea if that’s what your name is in reference to. What does the band name Beaumont Livingston mean or refer to? Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing it? Were there any close seconds or runners-up?
Mario: Actually, it wasn’t Samuel L. Jackson. It was Chris Tucker who played the role of Beaumont Livingston and that picture is exactly what inspired our band name. We were watching Jackie Brown and the characters kept repeating that name for the whole first part. Mainly, we just liked the way it sounded. We also liked the ironic and strange feelings behind the figure, both tragic and comical, in typical Tarantino style. I don't want to over-intellectualize the name thing, though. Basically, a name should just sound good… Like music. What make us so proud of the name is that that French diphthong doesn’t have an equivalent in Italian, and we like how everyone pronounces it in their own personal way.
Rocco: Beaumont Livingston is a side character in Jackie Brown; he only appears for about ten minutes. You can tell he’s the kind of guy that’s always in troubles, a stupid guy that tries to act like a gangsta. We thought he would be a good image of ourselves, ugly, stupid, and always in troubles, ha-ha… And most of all, we loved the sound of the name and the b-movie atmosphere it evokes.
You guys have a seriously far out sound, man! I really dig a lot of the stuff I can hear kicking around in your music but I can’t quite put my finger on a lot of it. There’s some stuff that pops right out, but I feel like there’s some stuff that’s a bit more obscure and discrete. Who are some of your major musical influences? What about influences on the band as a whole rather than just individually?
Rocco: We really listen to a lot of stuff, lots of different kinds of music. We don’t have any preconceptions. You can easily find various traces of stuff in our music, there are a lot of influences. The most important role is played by the desert rock scene for sure, Homme and the wild bunch, but we’ve been musicians for almost fifteen years and listeners even before that. This leaves traces. I listen to a lot of stoner rock, but also some electrical bands like Unkle, Massive Attack, and Amon Tobin… Some more psychedelic stuff like Singapore Sling and Black Angels and so on…
How would you describe Beaumont Livingston’s sound to our readers who might not have heard of before?
Rocco: A compact sound, digging in the deep frequencies… Fuzzy… A vintage taste with a modern vision.
What’s the songwriting process with Beaumont Livingston like? Is there someone who usually comes in to the band with a riff or more finished idea for a song to work out from there with the rest of your, or do you all kind of just get together and kick ideas back and forth until you all kind of distill an idea for a song from the exchange between members?
Mario: Rocco and I have classically been the musical directors in the band. ¬¬Most of the ideas will start with us and most of them will end with us, but that's not true across the board, of course. Most of the times I write the music and Rocco the lyrics, there are songs that Rocco has written totally on his own, there are songs that'll start with a bass riff that I'll try to fit notes around. We try not to be married to having a specific writing process for every song. Each song ends up coming about in different ways, which I like, because I think that's one of several tools we use to not have every song sounding the same.
Rocco: Usually, the process starts with a concrete idea… You know? Sometimes I’ve got a riff with a few words and we try to understand, all together, where the thing can go. Other times, Mario brings an entire riff in and we try to add some vocals while finding the whole image together. It’s a milestone process, day-by-day we search for the right path ‘til it goes in the right direction, or we leave it in the dark. We’ve got a lot of unfinished stuff.
Do you all prefer to take a more DIY approach to recording where you handle the technical aspects of things yourselves on your own time and turf, or do you all head into the studio and let someone else handle that part of stuff so you all can just concentrate on getting the best performances possible?
Rocco: Yeah, we’ve got a DIY approach to recording, for the most part… I mean, I appreciate advice from the studio’s sound engineers, but if I’m really sure of my idea, it’s really difficult to move me from it.
Mario: The downside of the DIY approach is that you lack objectivity and you tend to over-think things. I know I over-think things, but the positive is that no one else is going to know what my band should sound like better than I do, and no one else is going to care about what my band sounds like more than I do. No one is going to put as much work into it as I will; I think if I was a good enough sound engineer I would go for the DIY approach. But as always, you need effort, time and money to invest in yourself and we can’t be doing other jobs during our second life in this world.
You all self-released your debut album Heavens & Fantasies in 2012. Can you tell us about the recording of Heavens & Fantasies? When and where was it recorded? Who recorded that material? What kind of equipment was used? I know you all released that on CD yourself, was it limited to a certain number of copies or anything?
Rocco: Heavens & Fantasies is our first complete work… It took a lot of time to complete. It was recorded in 2006 at what’s now called Chaos Conspiracy Records, a record studio not so far from the place in which we live. Our first album was like all first albums, I suppose. We waited so long, working on single songs and trying to give them a vision that fit a single project. It means a lot to us. It’s our starting point, but it’s also a long journey through the first years and the first sensations together as a band.
When I was talking with you not long ago you all mentioned that you were commencing work on your second full-length album before too long. Do you all have any title in mind for it yet? Have you started recording for that yet? Is there any kind of release date in mind at this point?
Rocco: Yep, we’re working on our second album, recording’s complete and we’re just waiting for the mixing and mastering to get done. The title is Cain’s Reign and we hope to release it in September or October.
Did you all trying anything radically new or different when it came to the songwriting for this album? Are you all going to be releasing this album yourselves? What can our readers expect from the new album?
Mario: I think it's a logical progression for Beaumont Livingston. It still sounds like Beaumont Livingston, we're still using the same vocabulary that we used on the first record and it's still the same writing team, so it's not totally out of left field, but we did push ourselves towards doing something different. One thing that we tried to do with Cain’s Reign was make sure that each song has its own personality, because a lot of bands that are our contemporaries tend to write songs that are all in the same key with riffs and parts that might be interchangeable from song to song, so we really try to make sure each song is it’s own entity. This record is really just a bunch of self-contained songs. It's like a collection of singles, a set of strong Beaumont Livingston songs, each of which is different than the previous one.
Rocco: It’s not completely new, but it’s different for sure. We’ve worked hard on the songwriting. I think that the songs on Cain’s Reign are more articulated, both on the instrumental and vocal sides. It’s a nine song album and when listening to the entire album, we want that it can be like a walking a sort of wild path. The nine songs are different from each other and if you listen just listen to one song and after a few days you listen to another, you know, they may seem taken from different albums. As you can see simply watching TV, this is not a good time for our world, there’s war everywhere and social networks are making people more antisocial. Cain’s Reign is the song that we took the album title from ‘cause it explains the motive of the all nine songs. We’re living in the Reign of Cain and Cain wins again. What can our readers expect from the new album? They can expect nine bomb tracks. We expect a lot from this album, it’s as important for us as the first one. I’ve tried to talk about important issues to me and I hope that this will be appreciated and understood.
With the completely insane international postage rates increases that just seem to keep going up and up, where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up copies of your stuff?
Rocco: The easiest way is to contact us directly on our Bandcamp page but this album, like the first one, will probably be distributed by Ozium Records.
And where’s the best place for our interested readers to keep up with the latest news like upcoming shows and album releases from Beaumont Livingston at?
Rocco: Our Facebook page.
Are there any major plans or goals that you all are looking to accomplish in the rest of 2014 or in 2015?
Rocco: We’re still looking for someone that can help us to manage our shows booking dates, a real manager that can help us to concentrate on creating music and who will manage all the other aspects. If you know someone let us know their name.
In your dreams, who are you on tour with?
Rocco: Easy to answer, Queens Of The Stone Age!
As much as I love my collection of albums and stuff there’s no denying that digital music is here, and in a big way. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though, when you combine it with the internet that’s when things get really interesting. Together they’ve exposed people to the literal world of music that they’re surrounded by and allowed unparalleled communication between bands and their fans for the first time, all but eliminating a lot of the problems that arose from geographic location and tons of other stuff. It’s never black and white though, and while people may be being exposed to more music than ever they’re not necessarily interested in paying for it and a lot of people are starting to treat music as this kind of disposable commodity to be used and then forgotten about. As a musician during the reign of the digital era, what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?
Rocco: Yeah, digital distribution is very important today, maybe unavoidable. But I agree with you, there’s some risk to considering music a disposable thing. I want to believe that there’s still someone that pays attention to the entirety of a band, the concept. So not only the tracks on an album, but the entire way the product is introduced to the market and masses. The production of an album must be seen as a way to send a message. You have to consider it important for you to see the whole thing. I want to believe that there’ still someone who cares about this. Music will save us… She helps us to stay human.
I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can but there’s just not enough time in the world to keep up with one percent of the amazing stuff that’s out there right now. Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I should be listening to I might not have heard of before?
Rocco: If I had to name just one name it would be Veracrash, a super band. You have to hear them. I also like the Whirlings a lot.
(2012) Beaumont Livingston – Heavens & Fantasies – digital, CD – Self-Released (Limited to 400 copies)
(2014) Beaumont Livingston – Cain’s Reign – digital, CD – Self-Released (Limited to 1000 copies)
Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
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