Heavenly Beat is the side project of Beach Fossils' bassist, John Peña, whose first few releases left everyone wanting more. "Suday," "Desire," and "Faithless" are all warm, beat-driven pop tunes, with unparalleled and unquestionable emotional depth. Having developed his sound further and graduated to more produced live shows, it seems that Heavenly Beat's moment is now. With an album titled 'Talent' out on July 30th, John spoke to us about his preference for Swedish electro-pop and the Pet Shop Boys, and how driving tractors at a dirt farm is still the best job he's ever had.
Dazed Digital: What made you decide to DO THIS side project from playing bass in Beach Fossils?
Heavenly Beat: Ha, I was doing Heavenly Beat before I joined Beach Fossils. I actually found out about Beach Fossils through sending Heavenly Beat demos to Captured Tracks (our label) a few years ago. Thank god nothing came of it the first time around because those songs were/are miserable.
DD: Where does the name Heavenly Beat come from?
Heavenly Beat: I pulled it from an obituary some blog had written for Ola Brunkert back in '09. I liked the way it looked on paper.
DD: Is it true that you only like Swedish electro-pop and the Pet Shop Boys?
Heavenly Beat: Ha, no but close. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't spent a better part of the last 4 years listening to The Honeydrips, TTA and The Field pretty much non stop. I recently rediscovered the first 3 records by The Prodigy and it's kinda changing my life right now. I also recently discovered that no one wants to listen in to me talk about The Prodigy… literally NO ONE.
DD: What was it like growing up in Texas and learning to create and engineer music?
Heavenly Beat: Growing up in Texas was pretty chill. You know, deer in the front yard every morning type of life. I dropped out of high school and started driving tractors at a dirt farm which gave me a lot of time to think about the sort of music I wanted to make. Still the best job I've ever had.
DD: You've played three shows as Heavenly Beat so far, right? What are your tour plans, if any, for the future?
Heavenly Beat: Ha, the first few H.B. live shows were just me singing along with an iPod. I'm sure from an audience perspective it was a real nightmare situation but it gave me a chance to hear demos of songs that would eventually be on the album from a different perspective than just headphones in my bedroom. A full band is in the works now. It'll be nice not to look out into the audience and see looks of embarrassment and/or pity… who knows though… a full band might not change that.