For the better part of ten years, Brooklyn's Beach Fossils have crafted ethereal dream pop that's best paired with long windows-down car rides on balmy evenings. The group formed in 2009 as an outlet for guitarist/vocalist Dustin Payseur's solo recordings but soon evolved into a multimember undertaking.
Reflecting on the past decade of Beach Fossils, Payseur says, "I was actually just thinking about [the milestone] and writing about it the other night. It's been something that feels like it has been a long time and like it hasn't been a long time; it almost feels like it's still just getting started.
"I don't get precious about it; I don't stop and sit and think about it. I just kind of keep my blinders on and keep moving forward. My whole thing is just about keeping the momentum and not looking back, and I think that's the most important thing."
Payseur took the plunge many North American creatives have taken and moved from North Carolina to New York City in 2008. Without knowing a single soul in his new home, he concentrated on making music and playing shows. After Beach Fossils morphed into full-fledged band, it began making its way around the local circuit and played as many as four shows per week.
"It picked up really quickly from the beginning, which I feel very grateful for and [feel] very lucky about," Payseur reminisces. "Maybe it's an asshole thing to think about, but when we first started and we were opening for bands, I was like, I want to be the most memorable band on that bill. We were just giving it our all every time we played a show."
Ten years onward, it seems safe to say they pulled it off. From their early days in obscurity until today, Payseur has made it a priority to remain true to the DIY ethos he practiced while playing in various bands during his formative years. Shortly after Beach Fossils' inception, he quit his day job at a clothing store ahead of the band's stint at South by Southwest in 2010 for the sake of pursuing music full-time.
Payseur's passion for music hasn't waned in the decade since the band's formation. "There's just an inspiration that's there and that's always been there," he gushes. "It's been there my whole life. I don't know what it's like to not wanna just write a song or play a show. It's just something that nags me. Every single morning, I wake up and literally all I think about is music all day long."
Payseur and his wife, Katie Garcia, own and operate Bayonet Records, whose roster includes indie acts such as Frankie Cosmos and Kevin Krauter, as well as Beach Fossils. Payseur says the label is gearing up to release his band's next record, but it remains a work in progress and doesn't have a release date yet. Asked to elaborate on a recent Beach Fossils tweet that compared the band's upcoming album to a "90s coming of age/rom-com soundtrack," he lets out a laugh.
"It's funny 'cause it's sort of true," Payseur says. "We're always writing in different directions. It's funny — I'm always like, This is what the record is going to sound like. And then we get really obsessed with it and we write a few songs in a certain way. And then I get obsessed with a different idea and then I'm like, This is what the album is going to be now, and then we write a bunch of songs in that idea."
According to Payseur, the band usually writes about 75 songs per record. The process behind the new album has seen them inch toward 100.
Payseur shares that it was actually a buddy of his, hip-hop singer-songwriter Post Malone, who drew the comparison between Beach Fossils' heretofore unheard sounds and feel-good films of decades past.
"When Post Malone was here visiting, I played him a handful of songs, and he said it was very '90s rom-com,'" Payseur recalls. "I was like, That's actually sick. I'm gonna kinda roll with that vibe, and so we started writing more songs that sounded like that."
The hypnotic indie-rock four-piece is set to play Gramps in Wynwood for a January 25 show that will also include performances by supporting acts Negative Gemini and Surf Curse. The concert will be Beach Fossils' first time headlining a show in Miami. Though it's been more than six years since the band last performed in South Florida, Payseur is no stranger to these sunny climes. As a child, he traveled frequently to the Magic City to visit his large Cuban family. These days, he escapes brutal New York winters by traveling south to see his wife's family, which also hails from the 305.
"Miami is like my second home, so coming down there is very exciting," he says.
Payseur attributes Beach Fossils' longevity in part to their disregard for the traditional barometers for "making it" as a touring and recording band.
"I think what makes a lot of bands fail is maybe an obsession with success," he says. "For me, I was like, I'm making the kind of music that's not going to appeal to everyone, this isn't for the masses, I'm never I going to be on the radio, I'm not going to get a Grammy. I don't make the kind of music that gets those kinds of things. So when you're not concerned with getting those things, you can just make whatever you want... and so I think that's what's special. I'm not pandering to a certain audience; I can just play whatever I want, and it's very free, it makes me happy, and I think people can feel that when they listen to it."