As bi-coastal cousins and quirky electro-synth darlings, Javelin gets experimental with pop music in Hi Beams, the band’s second full-length album
“Someone once said to me that being cousins is like being brothers without the bull; we understand one another pretty innately”, muses Tom Van Buskirk, the Los Angeles based half of the experimental electro-pop band Javelin. His cousin and Brooklynite bandmate, George Langford, sips on a peanut butter smoothie. Seated in a booth at Kellogg’s diner in Brooklyn, the pair are eager to chat; it’s possible they may still be coming off the energy high from their previous night’s performance at New York City’s Natural History Museum.
It’s been two years since the duo’s last musical venture, a peculiar American Western themed release titled Canyon Candy, and they’ve made some significant changes to their sound in the meantime. Their latest album, Hi Beams, which dropped earlier this month, is far more structural than what listeners typically associate with the band. However, their songs are still nowhere near the traditional, where rhythms and harmonies follow a familiar pattern; the genres and influences differ. “We don’t limit ourselves”, explained Tom. “The one limit is that you have to be able to stand by it and say: this is me – even if it’s some weird part of you that you haven’t yet explored.”
We took a moment to chat with the musically inclined cousins about why they decided to turn to pop songs when making Hi Beams, and the importance of finding inspiration in the most mundane of daily rituals.
I went to your performance last night at the Natural History Museum – I think one of the strong points of your sound is the intricate percussion section. It’s especially interesting to watch live, when you’re on stage bouncing around in your socks drumming.
George: A lot of the sounds are coming from my APC sampler, that’s the main tool we use to make our music. When we first started performing we had these two samplers, Tom had one and I had one, and we were trying to figure out how to perform. A lot of people just perform using the sampler, more of a digital electronic performance, where it’s just two guys at a table, standing there. That’s cool, but we didn’t know if it was for us. We wanted more energy, and we certainly didn’t want to just DJ our tracks, but we knew we weren’t really like a band either. So we had to figure out our own way to do it, where there’s a lot of room for nuance, even though most of it is just triggering electronic sounds.