Five things

Beach Fossils’ Dustin Payseur on five pieces of art he can’t go without
Music | 12 June 2023

Photography by Sinna Nasseri

Much-loved NYC band Beach Fossils return with their first new music since 2017’s acclaimed record, Somersault. Titled Bunny, this new work sees frontman Dustin Payseur revisit and elevate the sonic tropes that weaved their synonymous dream-pop sound. Thirteen years on from the band’s self-titled debut, they’ve evolved from being Payseur’s DIY solo project to a widely acclaimed and accomplished four-piece (Tommy Davidson, guitar, Jack Doyle Smith, bass, and Anton Hochheim, drums), who, despite their growth, have maintained their independence: self-produced, self-managed and self-released. Always and forever.

Listening to the band’s new record Bunny is like catching up with old mates, recounting stories of past endeavours while discovering how their life has changed. With this, Payseur’s lyrical outlook has matured, but certainly not dulled. Alongside classic tales of love, lust and longing, musings on fatherhood, friendship, mistakes, self-medicating and anxiety create a work that is at once both highly personal and totally relatable; all set to those cosmic Beach Fossils arrangements we all recognise and love.

Marking the album release, Payseur sat down and wrote about his favourite artwork. From Nick Drake to Jean Cocteau through Groucho Marx, these are the references that the Beach Fossils frontman has on steady rotation. 

Jean Cocteau, Le Sang d’un Poete
“Jean Cocteau is one of my favorite artists. He worked with so many different mediums, but I personally love his poetry, paintings and movies. Most people can’t jump from different types of art in a way that’s meaningful, but he did it all in a way that seemed so effortless and well rounded. He was truly a rare human and artist. This film is incredibly beautiful and surreal and in my opinion, ahead of its time. To me, it’s a poem disguised as a film. It breaks down boundaries. I always think about this film when working on a music video. I’ve never made anything directly inspired by it, because you can’t, it’s too specific, but it always sets a bar for me.”

Miltos Sachtouris, Poems (1945 – 1971)
“Completely underrated book of poetry. I bought this book when I was a teenager and it inspired me ever since. Every poem is incredibly dark, violent, morbid and nightmarish. It’s essentially Hieronymus Bosch in the form of poetry.”

Nick Drake, Pink Moon
“In my opinion, this is the most perfect album ever made. It’s gorgeous, vulnerable, melancholy and timeless. Every time I move into a new apartment or house, I feel the need to christen it with music. This is always what I go to.”

Marx Brothers, A Night At The Opera
“A timeless work of comedy that transcends eras. I love Curb Your Enthusiasm and Stella Shorts. This is the origin of that style of comedy and it’s still relevant and funny. Quick one-liners and a lot of absurdism, but still retains a great story.”

Gilbert and George, Sperm Eaters
“Gilbert and George are my favourite visual artists. Basically, Sperm Eaters is just a crude line drawing of two figures jerking each other off and cumming into each others mouths. This could basically be an ancient cave painting or some random etching on a subway seat. It’s primitive and simple. Is it their best work? Probably not. But it’s straight to the point and I love it.”

Beach Fossils’ new record Bunny is out now.
Follow the band on Instagram.

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