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Q&A: After a six-year hiatus, Beach Fossils is back with a new record

The latest album by Beach Fossils, "Bunny," was released on June 2. It's the band's first record since 2017.
Christopher Petrus
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The latest album by Beach Fossils, "Bunny," was released on June 2. It's the band's first record since 2017.

The Brooklyn-based band Beach Fossils is back after a six-year hiatus. The project started as a solo outlet for lead songwriter and singer Dustin Payseur before expanding to a four-piece band.

The new record is called Bunny and combines the lush sounds of their 2017 album Somersault with the dream-pop influences from their earlier releases. The lyrics cover depression, love, adventure, mistakes and starting over.

Payseur talked with WUNC about the new album, its songs, new starts and the past.

This is an excerpt of an edited transcript of that conversation. You can hear the full interview by clicking the LISTEN button at the top of this post.

There can always be pressure to put out another record and keep the process moving. How did you resist that and why?

"I think the most important thing is just taking time with the album. I run my own record label, so, I don't have a lot of external pressure to make something in a certain amount of time. Back in the day, people that were on major labels had to put out a record like every other year or two records a year. So, you know, I think we're lucky enough — you know, we're not beholden to an album cycle. Traditionally, we just kind of always keep touring and keep writing and just have fun with it."

Sleeping On My Own opens the record with what sounds like a regretful lyric as you note a shared feeling of paranoia. But then you sing, "Leave me all alone, I'm okay." Is there some defiance there?

"I think so. I think it's a bit of trying to assert some kind of truth to yourself, trying to comfort yourself a bit in hard times."

I love the way you use that subtle slide guitar in Run To The Moon. Is this one about a new start?

"Yeah, Run To The Moon is a song about the freedom that I've previously had in my life and (then) bringing a child into the world, and the fear of losing that freedom. And then ultimately — once I had my daughter — realizing that, you know, all the fears that I had of that freedom being lost, that all just kind of melted away, because I realized this is bringing me so much more joy than I had anticipated."

I hate to sound like a cliche, but it is such a life changing moment, isn't it?

"Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I didn't want to write a song about being a parent. I was actually really opposed to it, because I thought it was kind of corny and I didn't think there was a way to do it that sounded natural or new or anything. But it was such an overwhelming, transformative experience that I couldn't help but to end up writing about it."

Don't Fade Away is so cheery sounding, but there's a line in there about riding a bike in the morning, still hungover and wondering if this is a meaningful moment. And this after a pledge to stay sober for the previous evening. How do you recognize those moments of real importance when your head is feeling a little fuzzy?

"I kind of feel like recognizing those mistakes and flaws are some of the most important moments of our lives because that's when you can kind of start to change who you are as a person and see yourself from an outside perspective. ... To me, that's what it's all about. And that's what my music is about; it's like, a chance for me to see myself from an outside perspective. If I'm writing about hard times, when I'm inside of it, maybe I can't see it. But if I step away from it, and listen to it as if I'm an outsider, then I can kind of learn something from it."

On Waterfall, it sounds like you're recommending a look ahead without the baggage of the past. Is that something you do?

"I think so. You know, I think it is important to recognize the baggage of the past, but you don't have to carry it with you everywhere. It's okay to kind of shed that skin and keep moving forward."

Dustin Payseur is the singer and songwriter behind the band Beach Fossils. The new record is called Bunny and is available wherever you buy or stream music.

Eric Hodge hosts WUNC’s broadcast of Morning Edition, and files reports for the North Carolina news segments of the broadcast. He started at the station in 2004 doing fill-in work on weekends and All Things Considered.
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