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A brief chat with Beginners


Beginners plays UMS this year so we spoke with bassist/singer Samantha Barbera.B

Yellow Scene: When did the band form and what was the mission?

Samantha Barbera: It’s kind of interesting. We really launched at the beginning of 2014. The band started as kind of a writing experiment with myself and a guy called Nick Ruth. We had been in a band together called Malbec and we had spent eight or nine years together. Our drummer went on to do Foster the People. Everyone split off into different directions, and he and I were at a Foster the People show supporting our friend, and that’s when we decided that we should try writing together again. We started writing, we didn’t really know what it was going to be for, we just wanted to experiment. It was very quick – we wrote the first record in a handful of months, and then we were wondering what to do with it. Essentially, that’s when I started Beginners. He’s still one of my main writing and producing partners, but I really took the whole project and made it a thing. Now I have a full band and we tour. We’re working on the next record now.

YS: Describe the sound…

SB: Genre-wise, we get put into the indie-pop genre. I know that term bugs some people. I think, if you consider all of the other stuff that they call indie-pop, that’s probably what we are. When I think of our sound, I think of super poppy songs but with a kind of darkness and an edge to it, whether its my vocals that are a little bit weird, and the lyrics are definitely fairly dark at times. We take well-written songs and make them a little different. We try to be more experimental with the production.

YS: Have you played UMS before?

SB: I haven’t, no. I’m very excited. I think our drummer has. Our drummer lived in Denver for a while. But we’ve never played. I’ve heard really great things. I’m from Indiana originally.

YS: What can we expect from the set?

SB: We’re still figuring it out, but the biggest thing that sets us apart is that live, we have a very raw, rock ‘n’ roll feel as opposed to a more chill, electronic vibe. It’s definitely full of energy. I play bass, and we all shred around up there. That’s probably the biggest thing that’s interesting about us live.

YS: What’s next?

SB: As soon as the festival’s over, we’re right in the middle of finishing our next record so we’ve been wrapping up a ton of shows in support of the first record, and we’ve been writing for the second record. This will be the final stages. Honestly, I feel like that festival is pretty much going to be the end of this record cycle and then we’re going to be in full prep mode for releasing the next record, getting all that ready.

Beginners plays the Underground Music Showcase; July 23-26; theums.com.


Brett Calwood
Brett Callwood is an English journalist, copy writer, editor and author, currently living and working in Los Angeles. He is the music editor with the LA Weekly. He was previously a reporter at the Longmont Times-Call and Daily Camera, the music editor at the Detroit Metro Times and editor-in-chief at Yellow Scene magazine. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brett_Callwood

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