We recently had the opportunity to chat with Bay Ledges, the latest creative project of Zach Hurd. Last November, they dropped their latest EP, In Waves, featuring the single “I Wonder.” We caught up with Hurd and talked about all things music—including their songwriting process, musical inspirations and dream collaborations. Check out the interview below.
What was the first song you wrote for the EP and the inspiration behind it?
Technically, I think it was “Wherever You Sleep.” I wrote a version of it in 2017 with Joni Fatora and then put it away as I wasn’t quite sure if it worked for me. About a year later, I was working with writer and producer Miro Mackie and I showed it to him. He really liked the chord progression and the “Gotta get you out of my head” section. We decided to make that the chorus, and then I went home and rewrote some verses that felt a little more connected to me at that point. From there, Miro and I sent the track back and forth, between his studio and mine—my apartment—and finished it that way.
“I Wonder” was the lead single for the EP. How did you come to that decision?
That’s typically a label thing. I’ll send in some songs I feel good about, and then we’ll talk about one they’ve honed in on. In this case, it was “I Wonder.”
How did the single come about? Can you walk us through the process behind the song?
I worked with writer and producer Christian Medice on “I Wonder.” I learned a lot working with him. He’s such a wizard in the studio and can get ideas out so quickly. I think his sound is a bit more refined than what I go for. Sonically, I think we ended up meeting somewhere in the middle. After that, it was amazing to have Mark Needham, who’s worked with The Killers, Red House Painters and Fleetwood Mac, mix the track.
What feelings do you hope to invoke when people hear “I Wonder?”
I hope it feels relatable in some way, whether it’s through the lyrics or through the music. I try not to think too much about wanting people to feel something specific because I know different songs hit people in different ways.
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What is one festival you haven’t played that you would love to?
It would be great to play any of the big ones—Coachella, Bonnaroo. I know they’re supposed to be total madness but it’s so fun to play for a huge crowd. We played one in Quebec last summer that I’d never heard of and it was so much fun, so there’s gotta be a bunch of great ones I don’t know about.
What does it mean to you to have a fan base that really supports your music?
It means everything. It’s why we get to go on tour and it’s what got me here. Two years ago, I was at my desk watching the listening numbers climb on the BL Spotify page. It was amazing to tour the US this past February and in the fall and to meet so many people who said the music means a lot to them. When something you’ve made connects with others in a meaningful way and makes them feel comforted or less alone, that’s when I feel like I’m doing what I was meant to do.
How does it feel to be featured on Spotify’s “The New Alternative” playlist?
It’s been amazing to have Spotify’s support. It’s gotten the music out there to so many new fans. I’m super grateful. We met a lot of fans on the last tour who came out because they heard us on Spotify, so it’s been a big help.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be? Will we see any collaborations in 2019?
I’d love to work with Austin Jenkins and Joshua Block of White Denim. I love the old 60s sound they created on Leon Bridges’ Coming Home album. I’d love a combine that old sound with some weird modern flourishes.
I’ve been collaborating with some different people lately, but I’m not totally sure what’s going to make the final release. Stay tuned!
What is your songwriting process? Do you focus on the production or lyrics first?
Over the last couple of years, it’s been a little different each time. Sometimes I’ll work something out on the acoustic guitar and then play around with different arrangements while recording. If I’m collaborating with another writer or producer, we’ll usually start by producing the track first and then go back and figure out a vocal melody and lyrics. Each song is a different puzzle to figure out. Sometimes an idea needs to sit for a few months or a year.
Should we expect any new music coming this year?
Yes! I’m not totally sure when, but there’ll be new songs out this year.
We’re excited to see where this California-based duo will go next. Maybe we can expect a debut full-length album in the near future? Until then, have a listen to In Waves below.