For many artists, 2020 has been an agonizing roadblock. No concerts to promote themselves, fewer resources available for recording, and a general difficulty towards productivity has proven to be the hardest adversity towards musicians in a long time. For some bands, though, the stars have aligned in a weird, complicated way. Many artists have experienced exponential growth since quarantine. Beach Fuzz is one of these bands, and their story is directly linked to the meteoric rise in popularity of the mobile app TikTok.
RIDING THE TIKTOK WAVE
The Philly-based group was just as shocked as I was when their fanbase exploded due to the youth-dominated app. Lead singer and guitarist Ross Aronow told me that after posting for about two weeks, the band “had a few videos gain some traction and with a parallel in numbers on some of the streaming services. We were trying to limit our post to mainly our own music. We were hoping that people would see the short clips and want to check out our full songs. It’s been surreal to see how quickly TikTok has elevated our fan base. The app is super unique because allows for all content creators, no matter their following, to reach new viewers.”
The band has amassed 16,000 followers on TikTok, with over 185,000 total likes. This shatters the totals of their other social pages, and has direct linkage to a spike in their popularity.
This band originally had plans to hit studios in March to begin recording their second album, though the pandemic would derail these ambitions. Quarantine prompted a desire to produce content, so they tried to foster growth in whatever ways they could. This came through the band’s music video of one of their older songs, “I Think I’m Falling for Her.” Soon after, Beach Fuzz was becoming widely recognized for their online presence, through live streams and TikTok interactions.
I tried to see if any other bands had followed suit in this endeavor, and I found only a couple (check out Sunday Cruise, they’re cool). But none of the bands I found garnered quite the same success as Beach Fuzz. So, let’s just say it probably has something to do with their music (crazy inference, I know). Beach Fuzz’s sound is a musical mixture of their influences. Bassist Jack Venneri told me that their sound has “clear overlap” with artists like “Tame Impala, The Beatles, and The Marias.” Drummer John Crane told me that the group’s experimental choices are directly linked to their fascination with groups like “Foster the People and the Districts” as well.
WHAT TO EXPECT NEXT FROM BEACH FUZZ
JO: Your band is a little over two years old. Tell me about coming together as a group in such a short time amidst your quick rise in popularity.
BF: Towards the end of high school, three of us (John Crane, Ross Aronow, and Jack Venneri) got together and started to write and record some songs without any long term goal in mind. After a couple of months of recording, we released a six-song self-titled EP. When we were ready to start playing shows, we brought on Jack Dratch for keys and Eric Juelke for more guitar to play in the live band. The five of us quickly started writing and recording our first full-length album. It wasn’t until quarantine started when we decided to post some videos on TikTok that our music started to reach more people who definitely wouldn’t have heard us otherwise. It’s been awesome to hear from new fans from all over the world, and hear covers of our songs online which we never thought would happen when we started.
JO: What do you think makes the Philly DIY scene unique from its counterparts?
BF: We haven’t been outside of the Philly scene too much, but what we have loved about playing in Philly is the great community of people that the scene is built on. Since playing our first show, we have met so many incredible people. Some of the venue owners and other band members have become close friends. They’ve created a scene with energy and support that is unparalleled. It’s been so cool working alongside so many great artists. We were fortunate enough to work with Hank Byerly, who booked our first show. Hank invited us into his studio, and he engineered and mastered “Talking by the River” which really brought our production quality to the next level.
JO: Is there a particular live show that stands out?
BF: A show that stands out for us is our album release show at the Lizard Lounge. It was one of the biggest crowds we’d ever played to. It was surreal to see people as excited for the release as we were. Our good friend, Santo Donia, also filmed the show and put it on YouTube. We ended up using a piece of that video for a TikTok post. That introduced a lot of new people to our music.
JO: Should fans be expecting an album soon? If so, will this be developing on your current sound or something new entirely?
BF: We’ve spent a lot of time writing and experimenting with socially distanced recording. We’re not exactly sure what the project will be. We’re definitely working on new music to release in the next few months. Limitations from the quarantine and the experience we’ve gained in writing, producing, and recording have resulted in new ideas. These branch out from our past releases but are still based around that classic Beach Fuzz sound.
The band shouted out some other great Philly artists, including Americanadian and Carly Cosgrove amongst others. To keep tabs on Beach Fuzz’s upcoming music, be sure to check out their Instagram, YouTube, and of course, their TikTok. Check out my other articles here.