Q&A: Beach Girl (Marcy Adams formerly of Athens)

By Lane Moore, Reviews Editor

Former Athens-based EDM producer Beach Girl, AKA Marcy Adams, is set to drop three singles in June, starting with their reimagining of Alice Deejay’s “Better off Alone” on June 2. “Let U Down” drops June 17, followed by “i can’t stop myself” on June 30. The singles follow two tracks Adams released in March, “I Do It Like That… You Love It?” and “SADNALONE” in addition to their recent move from Athens to Atlanta. ACRN spoke with Adams to inquire about the move, the new songs, the new place and how Krewella’s “Alive” fits into all of that:

So, you’re now in Atlanta, Georgia! Are you excited to delve into the local scene as COVID-safe live music feels closer than ever?

Beach Girl: Yeah! I think a little bit of what this project needed was a change of pace and a change of scenery because––breaking the fourth wall here––when I talk about this project, I try to act like all the characters are real people. It’s a project that works better when every character in it can exist in a vacuum. I think I have a really beautiful history with Athens, and I can’t wait to return, but now that I’ve moved and I don’t know anyone or anything around this area, I feel like I’m in a vacuum. I feel like the characters that are part of this musical project are able to flourish and be themselves without being held back by a personal history or geographical location. They’re not Athens, Ohio characters; they’re not anywhere characters anymore. I’m much more of a small fish, and that’s kind of what I needed––so did every “member” of Beach Girl.

How do you think your style of EDM and indie music will be received in Atlanta? 

Beach Girl: Well, I think there is definitely a more wide-reaching indie and EDM scene here. There’s a more wide-reaching hip-hop scene here––I mean, that goes without saying. It was really weird only knowing like two or three people who rap or three or four DJs who play electronic music in Athens. It’s honestly a lot of pressure now, and it’s really cool to be able to draw from people in your community and be inspired by those people. I got a lot of that from Athens, but mostly what I got from Athens, when it comes to musical inspiration, is in my guitar work and production skills. I was among a bunch of other producers who were making this beautiful indie rock music or this fantastic folk-punk music, and that was really amazing. It’s different and much more vast here, and with electronic and hip-hop music it’s wider-reaching when you go to any city, really, especially with Atlanta’s own history with those genres. 

The really unique combination of electronic music and hip-hop here, trap, is a really fascinating combination of programmed drums on DAWs and really beautiful, ethereal auto-tuned vocals over sub-y, bass-y drums and processed hi-hats. I think it’s a really cool history, and that kind of music, that combination, sits really well with Beach Girl.

Considering your new beginning in Atlanta, are you listening to any artists who you feel are indicative of where you are, how you feel?

Beach Girl: Way too much Yeezus. A good bit of … Sleeping with Sirens.

*Laughter*

Beach Girl: Their first album because of how emotional that music was for me when I was younger and how full the sound is. These next few Beach Girl singles are definitely in the hyperpop vein entirely, but some of the ones slated for even later this year have emo influence, screamo influence and nu-metal influence––if you will. I’ve been dabbling in early Sleeping with Sirens, even some pop punk. I finally forced myself to listen to a full Death Grips album, which is cool because I just kind of knew their hits or what they’re famous for, but of course, there’s even more artistic merit when you listen to the projects in their entirety. It’s all strange and heavy and industrial, and with Beach Girl, we’ve got the clean stuff down. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to make the right kind of dirty, you know?

Since we’re on the topic of Sleeping with Sirens, that sort of 2010s metalcore, emo and pop music, I have to know what the first EDM song you can remember hearing is.

Beach Girl: Oh, geez, the first EDM song I can remember hearing that I can pinpoint is “Alive” by Krewella.

Oh, my God!

*Laughter*

Beach Girl: It was at Costco; they had Bose headphones on display, and the song they used to test the quality of the headphones was “Alive” by Krewella. I remember putting those headphones on and not only being blown away by high-quality sound, which Bose is not the peak of music-production-type headphones but. . .

But Krewella is!

Beach Girl: *Laughter* 

Krewella is; you’re totally right! That song is really beautifully mixed for how corny and silly it is, and that song is kind of shamelessly about not caring about anything that matters and just wanting to dance, just wanting to lose yourself in the music. Not only is it an EDM song, but the lyrics are about dancing to EDM. 

Another one that’s really early for me is “Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay. That is one of the earliest EDM songs I’m familiar with, and the first Beach Girl single coming out is a cover of that song. It’s a totally different vibe than the original. It’s a lot more drawn back, chill and relatively experimental. I’m really excited to reimagine a piece that was an integral part of me understanding what dance music is, what it sounds like, what it needs, what it doesn’t need.

I can’t believe the first EDM song you can remember hearing is “Alive”. I remember listening to Krewella in middle school and thinking it was like forbidden music or something, stuff I was definitely confused and intrigued by. 

Beach Girl: *Laughter* Right? Oh, and another really big deal for me when I was younger, and something I’m bumping now, is Porter Robinson. I was really affected by his 2014 album, Worlds. That whole album, the way that he uses auto tune and pitch correction to create these really wonderful feminine and vulnerable vocals is really beautiful. I found out on just his last album, where he had way less featured vocalists than on Worlds. Nurture, his 2021 album, has very few featured artists or none. It was really cool for me to realize. I didn’t realize it was him doing the vocals, singing and pitching his vocals up an octave to make himself sound vastly more feminine. 

He has a beautiful voice, and what he’s doing is totally in line with Beach Girl because one of our “members” is this robot named Harpy who has an entire range––we can just pitch her vocals all the way up, pitch her vocals all the way down. Wherever we need to go, she kind of fills in the gaps with heavily auto-tuned, pitch corrected, formented vocals that have these really inhuman tones. It was really neat to see the way Porter Robinson creates those effects in his music, and that’s influenced me a lot and the way I listen to EDM. The inhuman or ethereal vibe––the escapism––that surrounds EDM I think works really well with these vocals that sound like they’re from a completely different world.

What DAW (digital audio workstation) do you use to produce EDM and edit vocals?

Beach Girl: I use at least two different software. My main DAW is FL Studio, I’ve been using it––well, me and the Beach Girl crew––have used it for about 8 years.

I hear a lot of different things, good and bad, about FL Studio from various producers. How would you describe it in one word?

Beach Girl: Hmmm… malleable? It’s very malleable. You can do a lot with how loosely organized everything is in it. You can make your own workflow, and there’s huge pros and cons with that freedom. I also use Logic for the native synthesizer program, Alchemy, and I sometimes use Audacity for really simple vocal edits, like fades. I really want to get into Reaper.

I’ve heard artists refer to Reaper as one of the most challenging but rewarding DAWs out there, especially for producers of experimental or electronic music. Does it have that same kind of loosely structured format?

Beach Girl: That one is the most malleable of them all. You can do absolutely anything on there, even 360-degree audio, and I don’t know of any other DAW that can do that. Pretty incredible!

Anything else you want to mention about the upcoming singles or the characters of Beach Girl?

Beach Girl: The only track we’ve had MC Raymond on so far is the “Bleed It Out” cover. He’s the fuckboy of the group.

*Laughter*

Beach Girl: He’ll be singing on the “Better off Alone” cover. Harpy is the staple of Beach Girl so far; she’s been on the most songs that we’ve put out. She was on “SADNALONE”, “I Do It Like That. . . You Love It?” was her, and she does all the vocals on the two tracks coming after “Better off Alone”. If you are a pop music fan and you like hearing your pop music twisted into an unrecognizable monster, then I think the second single, “Let U Down”, is gonna be really fun. 

Honestly, we were really heavily influenced by a Post Malone track, “Better Now”, to the extent that we’re using a similar melody from the chorus and reimagining it as a hyperpop song. It’s different lyrically, it says something different, and it sounds entirely different, but I’m really excited for pop fans to hear what our reimagining of a Post Malone song sounds like. I love Post Malone, but he has this extremely clean style, and his style of auto tune sounds very natural. He sings with a natural vibrato that sounds really beautiful and shaky when he hits high notes, especially with the good-old-fashioned, classic auto tune he uses. On “Let U Down”, Harpy is using much more dramatic tonal shifts and forment shifts to the extent that it does sound like a robot is singing it. It doesn’t sound like Post Malone, like clean, human vocals. There’s also some heavy breakdowns that you won’t find in your average pop song.

The next song, “i can’t stop myself”, is super exciting because it’s four years in the making. We started the first half of the song as its own beast. It used to be something completely different; it used to be a piano-based, dark, eerie piece that was gonna have a very dramatic switch-up. The dramatic switch-up and some of the piano and the darkness of the piece are all still a part of it, but it’s a completely different song now. It’s a lot more experimental. It’s a lot more electronically ethereal instead of the previous classical etherealism that it had. Then, there’s an entire second half of the song that’s completely different than the first half––and longer––that we knocked out in a day. We worked on the first half of the song for like four years on and off, and then the second half, which is my personal favorite part, we knocked out in no more than two days. It just came; it just fit together perfectly and kind of happened naturally.

We’re releasing the track as a single, but then in the same single package, we’re releasing the two halves as separate tracks. So if you’re into the more dark, experimental first half, you can add that to your playlist. If you’re into the dancier, more chill and fun side, then you can add that to your dance playlist or whatever! The second half is a lot more of a party vibe, so you can just add the second half to your party playlist so that your entire party doesn’t have to get through two-and-a-half minutes of weird, experimental, ethereal electronic music in order to get to the dance part.

That makes sense! So, a very important question that I love to ask: if your music embodied a cartoon character, who would it be? I know this project in particular has plenty of its own characters already!

Beach Girl: I have a soft spot in my heart for the characters of Invader Zim, and I think that GIR from Invader Zim––not only is he a robot with a pitched-up voice––but he’s also kind of a bombastic character who doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks. That’s a way too mature way to describe a randomlolXD character like Gir, but it’s less of the randomlolXD part that I relate to and more of the unabashed shamelessness. And the robot vocals.

If you think about it, GIR is exactly like “Alive” by Krewella! He just wants to fuck around!

Beach Girl: *Laughter* GIR is exactly like “Alive” by Krewella.

Last question. I think it’s an easy one. Do you miss us?

Beach Girl: I miss y’all so freakin’ much! I miss Athens already so much! I miss living near a street that has every spot you want to hit, Court Street. I miss the Union. I miss playing at the Union. I miss working and playing at Casa Nueva. I miss going to all the house shows and the lively DIY community there. That’s why I’m so excited to come back and play music in Athens. It’s gonna happen soon, and I miss everyone more than I can express.

We miss you too, and we can’t wait to have you back!

Beach Girl: There will be plenty of Beach Girl shows in Athens in the near future, and I’m unbelievably excited for them!

Listen to Beach Girl’s “Better off Alone” here:

Follow their Spotify page here:

Listen to “Alive” by Krewella (if you dare) here:

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