Ghost Beach Dishes On D.C., First Jobs, & Secret Obsessions

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GhostBeachslidePhotographed by Kate Warren.

Ghost Beach has been touring hard this summer, and showing the DMV some serious love along the way. We first caught the NY-based duo, known for their unique "tropical grit-pop" sound, at Trillectro this summer, then at a chill DJ gig at U Street Music Hall, and finally, with an amazing set at FreeFest this past weekend.

And despite their jam-packed schedule, we were able to snag some QT with bandmates Josh Ocean and Eric Mendelsohn in their FreeFest greenroom where we discussed everything from what they hate most about the music industry to their secret obsession. Teaser: You'll never guess who it is!

So you've been in our area a lot recently — what do you think of D.C.?
Josh: "We love D.C. We think of D.C. like our second home. We've pretty much played all of the venues. We have not played 9:30 Club, but it's the next step."
Eric: "D.C. is awesome."

What do you hate most about the music industry?
Josh: "That is actually a really great question. Well, here's the thing: Obviously, our love of music trumps anything we have against the music industry, because we would not be doing it. But..."
Eric: "Things can get political. The politics."
Josh: "I feel like there's too much thinking involved in the music industry. I know it sounds cheesy, but music is about moments. About connecting with people. And when music connects with people, it works. Sometimes there's too much thought that goes into it."
Eric: "People try to put too many rules and boxes on it and break it down into a set of steps."
Josh: "It's really the business side of the music business."

What was your first job?
Josh: "I was like, 12, and I delivered food. I am from a small island and we have markets and I would deliver food to houses. I made muffins and had to pull the muffins from the tin with a knife and I was horrible at it. I used to chop the muffins up. They must have lost like half the muffins. I think I did that for four days."
Eric: "I shoveled snow. Or mowed lawns, I think. Pretty standard adolescent-boy neighborhood stuff."

Who did you listen to growing up?
Josh: "I like a lot of The Police. Sting is a huge influence. I liked a lot of punk stuff growing up, like NOFX. I also really loved Paul Simon, the Graceland album. My mom was always playing that. Those are my three big influences."
Eric: "I was kind of into more of the classic rock stuff. I was really into Steely Dan. And my dad was playing jazz. But Josh and I both were really conscious of pop music. We both inherently know and remember really specific pop moments. Like Ace of Base. Stuff like that. That was big when we were kids."
Josh: "We like the late '80s pop stuff because it was sort of just when everything came together. You had new technologies — the synthesizers at the time, new recording technologies. But also a lot of the old-school style. People were great musicians. There was no Auto-Tune. No computers. People had to be really good. And towards the late '80s there was a lot of world influences, and sort of a cool sound going on. And that was pop music. We were like, 'This is almost the gold standard.' It was such an awesome fusion."
Eric: "We were listening to Peter Gabriel. That was Top 40 pop music, on MTV, and that stuff is incredible. It's ridiculous. Everything about it."

Who would be your dream artist to collaborate to with?
Josh: "I'd like to work with Diplo, personally. I think he makes awesome beats."
Eric: "That would be pretty crazy."

What is your secret obsession?
Josh: "Shania Twain."
Eric: "Oh yeah, we are both hands-down obsessed with Shania Twain."
Josh: "I really want to fly to Vegas to see that show."
Eric: "Like, we have all her albums. I keep on forgetting to sing that at karaoke."

What makes a good party?
Josh: "The people."
Eric: "The music."

Most treasured possession?
Josh: "My Vans."

Last thing you lied about...
Josh: "Saying that my Vans were my most prized possession."

Is there a career-defining moment you've had?
Josh: "I think every time we play and people have a good time, it's a [life-affirming] moment."