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The Spirit of The Beehive: New Spirit With Old Roots.

February 13, 2015

SpiritoftheBeehiveOnline01Text by Tim Mulhern. Images by Jessica Flynn.

Members of The Spirit of the Beehive, including guitarist/vocalist Zack Schwartz, drummer Pat Conaboy, guitarist/keyboardist Justin Fox, guitarist Tim Jordan and bassist/vocalist Rivka Ravede, are situated in a corner of the basement of the North Philadelphia home where they hold rehearsals. The space is cluttered. Low ceilings expose pipes and harsh lighting.

In less than 24 hours, they will depart on a 10-day tour of house shows, out to the Midwest and back, and this is how they’re getting ready.

“This is the preparation for the tour,” jokes Jordan, referencing the time they spend rehearsing their set before packing the van and hitting the road.

“I have directions to all the shows,” adds Schwartz.

The members of the band gravitated toward Philadelphia due, in part, to the bands they played in prior to forming The Spirit of the Beehive. Conaboy came to Philadelphia to study and stayed for the music scene. Schwartz arrived in Philadelphia while playing in Glocca Morra.

The Spirit of the Beehive formed in early 2014 as a three-piece comprised of Schwartz, Conaboy (formerly of Kite Party) and Ravede, a Florida native. Later, former Kite Party members Fox and Jordan were added to the lineup when Kite Party announced it was dissolving.

“We’re pretty much starting from the ground up,” Schwartz says. “We are trying to make it so that nobody knows that we came from other bands. I’m not trying to leave it behind. It’s just a new band that happens be members of those bands.”

Schwartz notes that a solo project that fizzled out early led to the initial lineup of the band coming together.

“I had a solo project that I was doing for awhile and it wasn’t really going anywhere because I couldn’t get anyone to play with me,” Schwartz says. “I was bored at home, so I wrote a couple songs. I asked Rivka if she wanted to play bass in the band and I asked Pat to play drums. And that was it.”

Fox mentions that he joined the band after the recording for the album was finished. The group released their self-titled debut LP in August. The record is a dense, moody mix of post-punk, shoegaze and fuzzed-out rock.

They began writing material in February and continued through June and then recorded from June to August.

“All of the songs were written pretty quickly,” says Schwartz. “Not that I rushed to write them. They just formed quicker than I thought they would. I had a lot of time at home. I smoked a lot of weed. We recorded once a week, for a couple hours every week. It wasn’t very linear at all. There was a lot of space and time between those sessions.”

The group hopes to release a physical version of the LP in early 2015. Ranch Records and Ice Age Records are teaming up for a split-label vinyl release of the record.

Schwartz does not stray far from the DIY ethics of the Philly music scene. The guitarist/vocalist booked the 10-day tour with the help of tour mate Pat Brier, of Three Man Cannon and Queen Jesus. Schwartz hopes to plan another tour in support of the release of the album on vinyl.

As the band begins to load equipment into their van, they laugh at their own jokes and pose, Starbucks coffee in hand, for pictures.

Seriousness aside, the future looks bright for The Spirit of the Beehive.

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