When friend & writer/actor Drew McAnany reached out for me to produce the theme song for his dream movie he wrote & starred in I jumped right into action because, well…I love this dude! McAnany asked for something that gave off that 80’s cult classic vibe in the vein of The Breakfast Club to bring a dose of nostalgia to his film. You can hear it sprinkled throughout - and even in the trailer. Lucky to have another past side project song plugged into the film with BEL’s “Holding On”. It was an true honor to be a small part of such a big project! Best of luck to you & the cast & crew of this fun, campy movie!
The audio industry provides the opportunity to work with many unique and talented people all over the world on fun and intriguing projects - this is one of those. With a unique name like Spindrift Beck, "Spin" for short, how could one not gravitate with interest to hear what she has to say. For the past few months I've been doing post audio engineering on Spin's podcast titled "Swimcerely with Spindrift" which can be found exclusively on iTunes. Working on her podcasts have been beyond gratifying specifically because they are built around pro swimmers and olympic athletes dishing their great stories of achievement and inspiration. It's amazing to hear each individual describe the steps it took to get to the podium - and beyond! You'll hear of the many challenges, trials and tribulations that each individual had to face tied in with humorous interactions and questions from Spin. From personal fears to parental guidance, regardless of whether or not you are a swimmer, the podcasts are sure to entertain any listener. With Spin as an achieved swimmer herself, hosting comes naturally as she is always well informed, eloquent and cheerful with each guest.
So let's get our feet wet and make the interviewer an interviewee with Spindrift Beck!
Brandon: First, we have to address your name, Spindrift - Where did it come from and how does it feel to have such a cool and unique name?
Spin: So, the definition of Spindrift is, roughly: the thin sea spray that blows off of an ocean wave on a particular type of windy day. My aunt was given the name Pamela at birth, but was a total free-spirit, child of the ‘60’s and, when she was 16, read the word in a book and convinced my grandfather to take her down to the Dallas County courthouse to legally change her name to Spindrift! She’s my dad’s sister, so he and my mom named me after her (which ended up working out nicely with the water reference, since I became a swimmer). I love my name, and never get tired of explaining it to people….except in places where I’m in a hurry like Starbucks or on the phone with customer service reps, in which case I make up a fake name. :)
B: I don't blame you! What made you want to put together a podcast?
S: I listen to podcasts constantly. It’s gotten to the point where I fear I can’t be alone with my own thoughts; I’ll turn on a podcast to have something to listen to as I walk from the kitchen to the living room! One of my favorites is called "You Made it Weird" (hosted by comedian Pete Holmes), in which host Pete Holmes chats with writers, actors, and comedians about their lives. It’s not always funny, often it’s insightful and unexpected, and I just love the chance to hear some of my favorite people in the entertainment industry speaking so frankly about stuff like comedy, sex, and God. As a former swimmer, I felt there was a “hole in the market,” if you will, for this type of interview format in the sport. So, I decided to try to fill it with my own podcast, where I try to let the interviews go where they will, but am always subconsciously channeling the "You Made it Weird" format. Learning the ropes of the actual technical aspect of the process, on the other hand, has been a whole other challenge (thank God for you, Brandon!), but I’m working on it.
B: Yes! Thanks for the props! What is it like to meet and interview some of the people who have inspired you growing up?
S: It’s been incredibly thrilling! I’ve definitely had some “pinch me” moments, like when I got to sit down with my literal childhood hero Megan Jendrick (2000 Olympic gold medalist, 2008 Olympic silver medalist) for her episode. When you reach a certain level in competitive swimming, you start to lose that child-like awe of other swimmers, because suddenly you’re racing them or swimming next to them in warm-up and it becomes detrimental to your competitive edge to look at them as heroes. But, with Megan, I had a moment sitting in her living room, where I was like, “Wow. I’m having a conversation about swimming with the woman whose 4-foot poster I had on my wall as a child.” It felt so unreal, and so special. And, you know, it’s also been neat to interview more of my peers, as well, people like Alyssa Anderson and Katie Meili and Felicia Lee who I’ve been on teams with and raced against, because I’ve found that I’ve gotten to learn so much about these people that I never knew before. So all spectrums of the experience have been really fun.
B: Who has been your favorite interview so far? Why?
S: I’ve loved them all for different reasons, but two really stick out in my mind. The first was with Arianna Kukors, 2012 Olympian and former world record holder. Listening to her speak about her career is like taking a master class in the mental determination it takes to become an Olympian. I found myself hanging on her every word; more interested in listening to her stories than thinking of the next questions I was going to ask! The other is with Matt Thompson, my childhood best friend and a phenomenal swimmer in his own right. He was openly gay during his swimming years, which was a fairly rare experience in competitive swimming back in 2005 when he was breaking national records, something he discusses in depth in the episode. His interview in general seems to be a sort of “fan favorite,” I’ve had the most people reaching out with messages and comments about that episode, which is fun for both me and Matt, as we are sort of comedy-duo legends in our own minds.
B: Where did it all start for your own personal swimming career?
S: I started swimming year-round when I was 6 years old and immediately fell in love. I think where it kind of started in a real, competitive sense was when I was 15 and got my first Olympic Trials cut and placed 3rd in that race at US Nationals. That race was the first time where I kind of went, like, “Oh. Maybe this is something I can really do!”
B: What was a moment where you felt most challenged in your swimming career?
S: While I really loved getting to represent the University of Texas as a Longhorn swimmer and I adored my teammates even more, I struggled through much of my collegiate career due to injuries and a mid-season coaching change. It was tough, because I’d gone from really never struggling in my career, always winning, etc., to having to really combat a lot of tough stuff that was coming at me and my teammates at once. It definitely made us stronger, and it made me appreciate all aspects of the sport a little bit more, including other athletes with injuries and not-so-smooth careers. When winning comes easily to you, it’s hard to understand that other, slower athletes might be just as driven or work just as hard as you. If you stop winning, I think you start to realize that that’s not always the case; I learned to have empathy for the other side of the athletic experience, for sure.
B: What kept you motivated to keep going through every hardship?
S: I think my teammates were a big help to me – swimming is technically an individual sport, but you train every day alongside other people who know exactly what you’re going through, how painful it is, all of that. It’s a very bonding experience, and that was a huge help.
B: What do you wish someone would have told you when you first got into swimming?
S: I know this is probably the cheesiest answer, but I really feel that there is such importance in enjoying the journey. In competitive sports, there’s an obvious emphasis placed on goal-setting. In swimming especially, it’s basically all about the time on the clock. For me, I find that since retiring from, I really don’t remember a lot of the times or rankings I achieved; my fondest memories involve stupid inside jokes with my teammates, the smell of chlorine on my skin after a long swim meet, the satisfaction in completing a tough set in practice. I don’t think that I took as much time to really soak in some of those moments as I could have, and I wish I had!
B: Some of the questions that you ask in your interviews at the end are hilarious! Can you give a couple examples of the questions and some of your favorite answers?
S: Thank you! I love any moment when the guest kind of loses him or herself in a moment of candid-ness, which tends to happen toward the end of the episodes when we do sort of a fast-paced question and answer segment at the end. In it, I always ask the swimmers things like whether or not they pee in the pool (spoiler alert: most of them say yes), if their suit has ever ripped during a meet (spoiler alert: also yes), and stuff like that. One of my favorite moments in an interview was when Olympic gold medalist Alyssa Anderson talked with me about a bad race she swam at Olympic Trials (which is a meet that’s extremely frenetic in its energy: 15,000 fans screaming, a temporary pool sitting in the center of a basketball arena, fireworks, everything) in which she was far from finishing and could hear the crowd roaring for the 1st place girl, could feel the heat from fireworks exploding over her head, and just couldn’t figure out whether to laugh or cry at the situation. I loved hearing about that.
B: What's in the near future for "Swimcerely with Spindrift"?
S: Just more conversations with interesting, fast, funny swimmers! Leading into the Olympics this summer, hopefully there remains an appetite for an inside look into the minds of these athletes!
To keep up with Swimcerely and Spindrift please follow her on the following social sites:
"Swimcerely with Spindrift" Cover artwork by Alex Leigh Franklin
Last September I had the opportunity to work with recording artist Chelsea Perkins co-producing a song on her new EP released late 2015. Little did I know that not only would that song not only become the title track on the EP "You're Busy", but would also be the first song from the EP to be released into the wild as a music video. The video, a nostalgic visual throwback to the 90's pop/grunge fashion culture, features scantally clad schoolgirls running rampant in an empty schoolyard, blowing bubblegum bubbles all the while flirtatiously twirling their hair. Musically, the song blends fresh synthetic chord voicing, pop-oriented melodies, hip-hop tribal beats and tantalizing orchestrated parts. Chelsea's vocals ring through the recording with originality, pristine melody and shows that she is more than capable of competing with top-charting artists like Sia and FKA Twigs. Let's take a look and listen to Chelsea Perkins' debut music video "You're Busy":
After the release of the music video Chelsea and I had a chat about all things Chelsea and the making of the video:
B: At what point in your life did you realize that you wanted to be a recording artist/performer?
C: I knew I wanted to perform at age 5, but I made the concious decision to pursue music at 19. I was going to acting school at the time in NYC and I found myself writing tons of songs on my guitar. I started to collaborate with different types of people to learn as much as possible from songwriting to beat making. I really wanted to figure out how to create art from within me without having to depend on others. I’ve been grinding ever since. Pursuing your passion isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it especially when people can connect and have fun with your creation.
B: What was your creative process behind writing and producing "You're Busy”?
C: Last year during Christmas I took my studio setup to my moms house for a week and wrote it in her office. I wanted the music and melody to be the opposite of the story. I naturally was going to make the chords sound depressing as fuck, but I’m told I have too much sad shit so I switched it up to make it sound almost kid like. The music is happy and childish yet the story is about a friendship slowly starting to fade, because one doesn’t have time for the relationship. After I created the sound I began with the lyrics and it just flowed.
B: Is this your first music video?
C: This is my second music video, although, it seems like my first. I didn’t know what my sound was back then nor did I know how to brand myself as an artist. I feel like "You’re Busy" totally shows my personality. I wanted the video to be simple. My girlfriends and I having a fun day together playing dress up reminding you to not forget who the fuck we are.
B: What was it like seeing this song start off as an idea and turn into a music video?
C: Empowering. It all started with an emotion from inside of myself. It’s incredible what us human beings can create.
B: How long did it take from start to finish to create the music video for "You're Busy"?
C: The whole process took a little less than a month. We shot it all in one day and it took about 3 edits. Vicente Cordero did a great job directing and editing.
B: What does the future hold for Chelsea Perkins?
C: I’m currently working on my next project. It’s going to be fully themed album. My favorite albums are those that connect extremely well with unique theme and story. Maybe people will get to know me on a deeper level.