Immersed in the East-side indie rock scene and the Latino hipster scene of LA, Wait. Think. Fast.’s surroundings seem to describe their music to the note. Luces Del Sur, the group’s recently released second album, es una mixtura of pop music with English and Spanish vocals, and has subsequently been featured on radio stations in both Mexico and LA’s own KROQ.

Following the release of their new album, LA Music Blog recently talked to Wait. Think. Fast.’s guitarist, producer, and vocalist Matthew Beighley about how the band got its start, their upcoming plans, and the benefits of being unsigned.

Wait. Think. Fast.

How did Wait. Think. Fast. get its start?

Well, it’s kind of funny because I’m in the band with my wife, of course. We were actually not married or even engaged at the time; we were boyfriend and girlfriend and living together and we refused to do music together. We just thought of all the things to do together that that would just be insane and really complicate our relationship. So we were actually in different groups.

Inevitably just from living together, she would hear me working on stuff and kind of pop in the room and start humming, and I would begrudgingly have to accept the fact that what she was singing was actually really good. It kind of just happened naturally. We defied it and did not want to do it, but we ended up just starting to write songs together, back in 2007 and then got the band together.

Since you write songs in Spanish and English, how do you choose which songs to do in which language?

I wrote all the music on the new record. As I’m working on stuff Jacqueline comes in and listens; it’s a very natural process. She just starts almost making up something on the spot, and I think it’s kind of something from her subconscious, something that just kind of calls out to her and says, you know, “Spanish feels very natural here.”

She’s perfectly bilingual. She was raised in Argentina until she moved to the United States when she was four. Her Spanish is perfect and her English is perfect and she still dreams in both languages. Both of those languages are very natural for her, so it’s almost a mystery.

I’ll write something and assume maybe because it has a tango-ish feel and is in 3/4 that she’s going to listen to it and want to sing in Spanish. Then she’ll surprise me and English will come out and it will just kind of fit. There’s something cool about all of it, and I think it’s neat.

Where does the band draw its influences?

Jacqueline really is enamored with the Smiths and Morrissey, and she loves Patty Smyth as well. I really like film music. I listen to a lot of film music, like Ennio Morricone and stuff like that, so it’s kind of varied. I really love the Beach Boys and Wilco. Jacqueline of course, growing up in Argentina, has a whole slew of stuff that she listens to around the house like Astor Piazzolla, one of the great tango composers and someone that she grew up with. I think those kinds of melodies enter into what she does.

Wait. Think. Fast.

As one of the main songwriters, how would you describe the writing process for the band?

I just come up with stuff all the time and demo it. I’m an editor; that’s my day job. When I write songs I always imagine that they’re songs for films that just haven’t been made yet. I really like to think of music like that. Jacqueline just listens to stuff and I guess if it calls to her, then those are the ones we go forward with as a band. Tom King, our drummer, is very instrumental and a good listener as a drummer, so he’s good at giving you the feel. At that point it becomes a lot more collaborative.

So it starts with one piece of the song and just slowly builds as it goes along?

Exactly and people come into the mix. Sean Stentz, our bassist, also has a good rock and roll sensibility so sometimes he kind of pushes things and makes them drive a lot harder than they normally would. It starts with me, but as the process goes on, it just gets pushed and pushed in a better and better direction. I think we have a nice chemistry.

Luces Del Sur was just released September 10th. What differences do you see between this album and the debut EP?

I think everything got a little bolder for this album. I remember when we finished the last EP, I was really proud of it, but listening to it after months and playing it live, our confidence had grown. I said, “You know what, no matter what we do next time, let’s just go out and paint in bigger, bolder brush strokes, take more chances, and sing more in Spanish if that’s what we feel like.”

The beautiful thing about not being on a label, which we’re not right now, is that we really only do what we want to do and we only make songs that we want to hear. We don’t have to preview them for anyone in a Hollywood office or any of that crap, so I think that was the thing the second time around like, “Let’s just be more ourselves and just bigger and bolder.” I think we accomplished that and I think the next one will probably be even bigger and bolder. [LAUGHS]

Wait. Think. Fast. - Luces Del Sur

Has being based out of Echo Park helped the band grow as opposed to being based out of Hollywood or other parts of LA?

I think so. We feel pretty at home out here. There are a lot of people doing art, a lot of bands, a lot of photographers and filmmakers. It’s an inspiring place to be. I think when we started this and it occurred to us that we were going to be half in Spanish, half in English, and our songs could be pretty eclectic, we weren’t really sure how we would fit in. If we were playing the Viper Room or something in Hollywood, you don’t really see bands like that out there, but on this side of town, I think that we’ve been more embraced because people are just more open to stuff like that.

Do you feel that there are advantages to being a band based out of LA rather than other places?

To be completely honest with you, sometimes I wonder if it’s a disadvantage. I know most of my favorite bands don’t come from big cities. I was thinking about this just the other day. I think that in Los Angeles there’s so much media, so many bands just constantly vying for people’s attention, that it can be difficult.

I think maybe it takes a while and you have to almost bury your head in your work and just keep on doing it. I’ve lived in LA most of my adult life, so I don’t really know what other scenes are like, but there is a lot of stuff going on here, so it’s competitive to get shows and stuff like that.

What is your favorite LA venue?

I love La Cita. It’s on Hill Street in downtown, and I think it’s one of the oldest bars in LA. It’s has the tiniest stage that’s set up for just like a mariachi band. We’ve always just had really wonderful shows there. The crowd there loves music; they’re very warm and inspired. You can try new songs out there and people would be really great.

The problem with some of the hipster places is you get a lot of people with their arms folded: “I’m in a band, my roommate’s in a band, and everyone I know is in a band.” It’s not jaded, but maybe it’s just too like immersed in the scene and they just forget that music’s supposed to be fun and that it’s cool to just go crazy.

La Cita has this spirit about it that I think is just wonderful. The stage is ridiculously small, so you can’t really move, but there’s just something about that place. I’ve had some of my favorite experiences playing music there.

Wait. Think. Fast. La Cita

If you could choose any bands to go on tour with, what would be your dream tour?

I’d have to think about that. I love Wilco, and I think that they’re a template for success in how they’ve stuck around and done things on their own terms, gotten kicked off labels, but still managed to grow their fan base every time. Their fans really love their music, and it’s about the music. It’s not about their videos or about some shocking thing they just did. Probably to me, that’s the greatest template for success, so if we could tour with them and just be in that world with them for a little bit, I’d be thrilled. I probably would faint on a nightly basis, but someone would have to revive me.

What are your favorite local artists?

Ceci Bastida sings on our new record and just got nominated for a Latin Grammy. Her new record is amazing! The Hectors, who create these blissed out, atmospheric tunes. Carla Morrison. Summer Darling has a great new record on Origami vinyl. The Breakups, Marvelous Toy, and Nico Stai are a few others.

What does the band have planned for the rest of 2010?

We have some really good shows coming up. We’re playing the El Rey with Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney, which I think we’re all super excited about. We’re doing the Eagle Rock Music Festival on October 2nd.

I think we’ve been really pleased with how the record has been received. It exceeded what we thought was going to happen a little bit. I think we’re all just super excited. We’re definitely going to make music videos, too.

Are there any plans to look for a label or are you waiting for one to come around that feels right? Or do like the ability to be able to be independent and do as you please?

I think for right now, just being completely in control of what we’re doing is really good. A label sometimes can equal more cooks in the kitchen. We’ve managed to grow and just do all this stuff on our own.

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