Northern Beaches frontman Zachary Sunderman always is seeking to develop the band's sound beyond the traditional conventions of rock, gravitating towards genres such as Middle Eastern folk, jazz, post punk and African and Latin music.
"I get sick of playing sledgehammer riffs," the Warren resident said. "I want there to be space in our music. I have a philosophy about how I want to play guitar, and my goal is to get closer and closer to embodying it properly," Sunderman said.
Northern Beaches - Sunderman, vocals and guitar; Dan Frankland, bass; and Brandon Mace, drums - originally started with Sunderman and vocalist Karl Steffey.
"Progression and development is something that's been important to me for some time now," Sunderman said. "I never wanted to be in a band that stayed in one place. It was always assumed that Northern Beaches would constantly evolve and grow. It happened a little faster than we thought it would, when (Steffey) passed away last year. Suddenly, we were no longer three musicians backing up a dedicated vocalist. We were just three musicians making music."
Sunderman came up with the name "Northern Beaches" recalling a time when he was 17, staying with his friends in Boston during the summer. The natural beauty of Revere Beach in the Boston area was an inspiration for both Steffey and Sunderman
"One night, I stayed with a friend who lived right on Revere Beach. Early the next morning, I went for a walk on the beach, and I'll never forget it. There was a picturesque sunrise, all gold and reflecting off the water, but it was cold outside. The sand was cold under my feet and there was a cool breeze. It looked like anything out of your typical beach scene, but the northern weather didn't fit the script. I remembered that as an example of the strange tension produced when one's conditioning or assumptions are found not to be supported by reality."
WHO: Northern Beaches, Kid Detective and Extra Medium Pony
WHEN: 10 p.m.
WHERE: Cedars Lounge, 23 N. Hazel St., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: $5
For Sunderman, the name symbolized this wonderful dichotomy.
"When the band was just me and Karl Steffey coming up with ideas, I pitched Northern Beaches as a band name and explained the meaning to him. He was immediately sold. He always had this mystical fascination with Montauk on Long Island. He wanted to go there. He said the name made him think of what it would be like at Montauk. He had the most spiritual experiences of his life on beaches and in the ocean. You can glean that from the amount of water imagery in his lyrics. He was well aware of that and played it into the band name."
In 2011 the band released its full-length debut, "Song of The Coelacanth," and a two-track single - "Civil Floor Disobedience / Shorthand" and "Madhouse Rock" - was released in October.
"The 7" is two tracks about six minutes each, both of which are examples of infusing dub/reggae riddims with punk rock insistence," Sunderman said. "The B-side, 'Madhouse Rock,' which is a tribute to Karl Steffey's house, where bassist Dan Frankland and I used to practically live, is a song we perform a lot live. Its structure is always improvised, based on a series of discrete, pre-written sections. We actually had to cut this recording down by four minutes, so that it would fit."
The band's sound veers towards the post-punk stylings of Arcwelder, Rites of Spring and Mission of Burma.
Sunderman said that Northern Beaches is not becoming a reggae-rock band, but the reggae-fusion / post-punk aspect of music is something the band wants to explore.
"I think 'The 7' is definite evidence that evolution and development are high on our agenda. My ultimate goal is always to be remembered. I look pretty far down the line, but all other planning seems unwise, as anything could change in our music. I take a Zen approach. Reality is created momentto-moment, so while shouldering responsibility for creating the band's future, I also recognize that it's important to experience the present."