Getting Salted with Echo Beach

Russ, Mac, Emilio, Mark of Echo Beach

As part of my 922 Sessions I recently spoke to the members of the band Echo Beach. They are Mackenzie Lefebvre, vocals, rhythm guitar, Emilio Pagnotta, lead guitar, organ, backing vocals, Russell Walton bass guitar, backing vocals, kazoo and Mark Fagg, drums, percussion, backing vocals.

JD: So tell us about Echo Beach?

EB: We are a group of four friends. We met because we all play music. We got together to play one event at a winery, many years ago. We love playing together. We love the music we were making and kept making it. Mark has joined us in the last year and a half and is an awesome addition to the band.

JD: How did you come up with the name. Fans of Martha & the Muffins, or what?

EB That’s the first thing people ask. That song (Echo Beach) is really cool. But, by the time we came up with the name, I hadn’t even heard of Martha and the Muffins. When we first got together some of our first songs were songs or poetry that Mac had written while on Echo Beach in Southeast Asia, so that’s really kind of where the name came from in the first place. It’s where the songs were kind of born, if you will.

Echo Beach at the Blue Grotto Kamloops BC

JD: You have a new album coming out called Salted. What is the significance of the title, if any?

EB: How do you even explain the feeling, like, feeling salty. It is a feeling in itself. It’s not anger or bitter, but it is something like that. I think a lot of the songs on the album in particular are about frustrations with either the way the world is or the way people are or that kind of thing, too. For us it was that feeling of being salty about something or these songs have been salted. They have a bit of that salt sprinkled on it.

JD: So, composing, Mac, do you write the lyrics first and then all work on the music? How does it work?

EB: I usually start with really basic chord structures. Enough so I can be at home and sing along. Soon as I have something that I’m confident in, we sort of drop those guitar chords and build the music up to accompany the vocal melody for the most part. We kind of build. Mac’s really good working of a bridge or transitioning to a chorus. Kind of like playing with the structure or the songs or turning one initial part into something else that kind of fits into a transition or something. No matter what, even if we change the structure, like in small way. It’s always focused around what that melody is and how that beat feels [claps] and what came with it at the beginning. Because, that is really the important thing for us the vocal melody and cutting that through, but then also something that you can groove to, which is something that we all work together as lead and rhythm section to really make it so you can dance along to it and sing along to it. For sure, and I think that is really important to us is you get that emotion when you’re listening to it.

JD: Off the previous album, Sunday Love, was an audience favourite. In my mind, it should have been a hit somewhere. That’s a great song. Any predictions as to which one might be a fan favourite on Salted?

EB: I was surprised to hear the feedback on Freakshow. And it’s funny going through this whole process. You just have no idea what people will like. I was certain that Healthy Crutches was our strongest song, so we opened the album with it. But, like, what do I know? You really do get a connection for all the songs. Especially when you are working on an album of new songs. They live with us for a full year, often times, before the whole album is mixed, mastered and produced. You are so close to them, maybe you lose a little bit of your perspective.

JD: The song you were just talking about, Freak Show. I put a note on that to the effect that it has more of a new wave feel and reminds me of a David Bowie song.

EB: Nice. I would honestly think that David Bowie is a huge influence. David Bowie is like New Wave but also he inspired Talking Heads. I agree one hundred per cent. Even if it is subconsciously, We have been listening to a lot of New Wave music in the last year. David Bowie is so many things. If his earlier rock stuff and all that. All of his music is an inspiration. He wrote really good songs that are really interesting and have interesting melody lines. He actually had something to say in a lot of those songs. Definitely, being compared to David Bowie, even like a whiff of Bowie, yes, it’s the bomb!

JD: Echo Beach’s new album Salted is now available on Divine Bovine Records, Bandcamp and where else guys?

EB: Also, Spotify, Apple Music iTunes. All the streaming services and we have some videos on YouTube. Once we get back on the road we will probably produce vinyl records

JD: Thanks for coming over and keep putting the tunes out. I’m enjoying them.

EB: Thanks Jim.