Someone needs to make summertime jams for the indie kids… Fortunately, Pageants’ upcoming sophomore LP, Sun and Settled Days, is full of them. The second full-length from the Long Beach duo, comprised of partners Rebecca Coleman and Devin O’Brien, is a collection of sun-soaked, surf-friendly garage rock gems… which kind of almost never happened. The band’s debut, Forever, dropped in 2018 to critical acclaim from the likes of NYLON and TIDAL, but with O’Brien’s gig as Cherry Glazerr’s bassist since 2016, keeping him constantly on the road, it seemed as if a follow-up may never come. However, after much heartache and existential turmoil, O’Brien decided to leave Cherry Glazerr and focus on Coleman and their own beautiful music. Sun and Settled Days drops on July 30th and Pageants will be playing a free Hometown Release Show that night at Vine in Long Beach. I recently got a chance to chat with Rebecca Coleman about Pageants’ new album, hometown, and pandemic.
Izzy Cihak: How is Long Beach these days and what is it like having an indie pop band there? I must admit that, as a child who grew up in the ‘90s (I’m 36 now), I still generally associate it with that golden era of rap.
Rebecca Coleman: We were both born and raised in Long Beach and it’s been cool to watch it grow over the years. I feel like it’s better than it’s ever been! There are cool new spots popping up all the time these days and the weather is always the best. Snoop Dogg and Warren G are definitely our claim to fame, which fills me with the utmost sense of pride, but there’s so much diversity here in the music scene and otherwise. We grew up in the suburbs of Long Beach, but you can drive fifteen minutes and enter an entirely different vibe. I love that about this city.
Izzy: On a related note, how did you spend your days during the pandemic, or was it mostly dedicated to your new album?
Rebecca: We definitely spent most of our time finishing up this record, but aside from that we got really into taking long walks. We’d walk over to Bixby Knolls, a bougie neighborhood in Long Beach, and walk down this street that has all of these mansions, including the Donnie Darko houses (Donnie’s house and Patrick Swayze’s character’s house) and the Ferris Bueller house. There are owls in the trees, so bonus points for spotting them. Devin is pretty good at hoo-ing to get their attention, lol. There’s also a rancho house in that area called Rancho Los Cerritos with really beautiful gardens. They stayed open all during the lockdown and no one was ever there. I was going at least once a week to recharge and get out of the damn house!
Izzy: You’re about to release your sophomore LP, Sun and Settled Days. How do you think the album compares to Forever? What can fans expect of your latest sounds?
Rebecca: I think that over the past few years we’ve grown a lot as artists and we’ve become more adept at capturing the vibe we’re trying to achieve, whether that be in the songwriting or in the sonics of the recording itself. With Sun and Settled Days, our style feels more direct and more vulnerable than we’ve ever been in the past, which translates into vocals that aren’t so drenched in reverb, a heightened attention to detail all around, and the confidence to embrace emotion and drama within the dynamics of our songs.
Izzy: I really dig your recent video for “Where Did The Time Go,” which I know you directed yourselves. How did your ideas for that come about? Or, for that matter, what tends to inspire your visuals in general? You’ve put a lot of videos out recently.
Rebecca: Thank you!! Honestly, in a lot of ways, the idea came from running out of ideas. We’ve been coming up with so many concepts and we were kind of running out of time with this one, so one night I just came up with the idea to make a video that encapsulated what summer in Long Beach feels like through our lens. Devin and I are both really visual (Devin has a BFA in Drawing and Painting and I’ve always been into art.) so that aspect is really important to us. I’m inspired by nature and my surroundings here in California, ‘70s and ‘90s (with a hint of early ‘00s) nostalgia, fashion (usually by way of thrifting), and the beauty of love and crushes.
Izzy: This is a really hokey question, but I often find myself asking it. Considering that sophomore LPs tend to be a bit notorious, do you have any particular favorite of music history? I think my go-to are Meat is Murder by The Smiths and If You’re Feeling Sinister by Belle & Sebastian.
Rebecca: I definitely had to dig in to come up with my answer for this one since I don’t necessarily think about music chronologically, but I’m going to have to say New Order’s sophomore album, Power, Corruption & Lies (1983), is a favorite of mine. I was lucky enough to see them play at Music Tastes Good here in Long Beach back in 2018. It was like my high school dream come true.
Izzy: Is there anything you think is especially important for fans and potential fans to know about you as a band, whether your aim as artists, or your process of making music? I would assume that being a couple has some impact on all of that.
Rebecca: I think that having a shared history going all the way back to our high school days has really helped to solidify our musical taste and identity as a band. In a lot of ways, it has helped us to make music that feels like us in lieu of all the shifting tides and trends in music.
Izzy: Finally, you’re playing an upcoming free hometown release show at the end of the month. What can be expected of the live show? And can we maybe expect to see that show, or a similar show, in other parts of the country in the near future?
Rebecca: We are so excited to play a show! The last gig we played was in February 2020, so it’s going to be really interesting getting back on stage. We just wanted to have a fun, free show with a party aesthetic to celebrate this release and felt like it was best to do it in our hometown with all of our friends. There aren’t any immediate plans to tour at the moment, but we’d love to take the show out on the road someday!