Zach Condon of Beirut
|Origin||Santa Fe, New Mexico, United States|
|Labels||Ba Da Bing Records
Arts & Crafts México
|Associated acts||Alaska in Winter, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Beirutando, Kidcrash, Kocani Orkestar, Owen Pallett, The Silent League, Sharon Van Etten|
|Members||Zach Condon, Perrin Cloutier, Nick Petree, Paul Collins, Kyle Resnick, Ben Lanz|
|Past members||Jeremy Barnes, Heather Trost, Jason Poranski, Kristin Ferebee, Jon Natchez, Tracy Pratt, Greg Paulus, Jared van Fleet, Kelly Pratt|
Beirut is an American band which was originally the solo musical project of Santa Fe native Zachary Francis Condon, and later expanded into a band. The band's first performances were in New York, in May 2006, to support the release of their debut album, Gulag Orkestar. Beirut's music combines elements of indie-rock and world music.
Early years 
Zach Condon was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 13, 1986. He grew up partly in Newport News, Virginia and partly in Santa Fe. Condon played trumpet in a jazz band as a teenager and cites jazz as a major influence.
Condon attended Santa Fe High School, where he was a student until he dropped out at the age of 17. According to a 2011 interview with David Dye on NPR, growing up in Santa Fe meant that Condon was exposed to Mexican music such as mariachi. He also worked at a cinema showing international films and this piqued his interest in Fellini arias and Sicilian funeral brass as well as providing his first experience of Balkan music.
He later enrolled in community college, but only attended for a short period before traveling to Europe at the age of 17 with his older brother, Ryan. This discovery and Condon's subsequent exploration of world music proved to be instrumental in the development of Beirut's melodic sound. Zach's musical legacy has also stemmed to his younger brother Ross Condon, who plays in the Brooklyn based band Total Slacker.
Gulag Orkestar 
On his return from Europe, Condon enrolled at the University of New Mexico, where he studied Portuguese and photography. Condon recorded the bulk of the material used for Gulag Orkestar by himself in his bedroom, going into the studio to finish the album with the assistance of Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel, A Hawk and a Hacksaw) and Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw), who became early contributors to the band.
On the strength of the recordings, Condon was signed under the name of Beirut to Ba Da Bing! records, and Gulag Orkestar was given a May 2006 release. Condon recruited some friends to play the music live for the first shows in New York, and Beirut was born.
Beirut's first official music video was for the song "Elephant Gun". The second video, which was for the song "Postcards from Italy", was directed by Alma Har'el, and was released later. 2007 saw the first release of the full band with the Lon Gisland EP.
Also, their song "Scenic World" was featured in the show Weeds when Shane's potential schizophrenia is revealed.
The Flying Club Cup 
Beirut's second album, The Flying Club Cup, was recorded largely at a makeshift studio in Albuquerque and completed at Arcade Fire's studio in Quebec. The music on the album has a French influence due to Condon's interest in French chanson during its recording. Condon has cited Francophone singers Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg and Yves Montand as influences. He also expressed interest in French film and culture, claiming this was his original reason for travelling to Europe. The Flying Club Cup was officially released in October 2007. In September 2007 they did a Take-Away Show acoustic video session shot by Vincent Moon. A DVD, Cheap Magic Inside, was shot but quickly sold out; in December 2010, Beirut, BaDaBing, and Blogotheque authorized its dissemination via digital download.
March of the Zapotec 
On April 3, 2008, Beirut canceled a previously announced summer European tour. The band had already been touring and had completed the U.S. leg of the tour, but before the European leg, Condon stated that after two months of touring, he was suffering from exhaustion. Zach Condon explained the cancellations in a post on the official Beirut website, stating that he wanted to put the effort into ensuring that any shows would be "as good as humanly possible". In January 2009 the double EP March of the Zapotec/Holland EP was released, containing an official Beirut release based on Condon's recent trip to Oaxaca (March of the Zapotec), and electronic music under the "Realpeople" name (Holland). On February 6, 2009 Beirut made their debut television performance in the United States on the Late Show with David Letterman, performing "A Sunday Smile".
The Rip Tide 
In early June 2011, amidst touring the US, Beirut announced that their newest album, The Rip Tide, which had been recorded the previous winter in upstate New York, was to be released on August 30. The band simultaneously released a single from the album, "East Harlem" (which was first recorded on Live at the Music Hall of Williamsburg ), with the B-side "Goshen". The album was recorded, managed, and released under Condon's own Pompeii Records. Reviewers and fellow musicians have noted that, unlike the prior albums which drew heavily on foreign music from Mexico, France, the Balkans, etc., this one has shown Beirut with its own, more pop-oriented sound; saying, "what emerges [on The Rip Tide] is a style that belongs uniquely and distinctly to Beirut, one that has actually been there all along." One reviewer noted that "the Euro influences [of Beirut's previous albums] are still there, but the presiding spirit is old-fashioned American pop." This album also differs from Beirut's previous albums in that the music was recorded as a band playing together rather than laying down individual tracks one at a time, though the lyrics were only added by Condon after all the music had been recorded.
Condon plays a rotary valve flugelhorn and the ukulele as his main instruments. He bought the ukulele as a joke stage prop, but found he liked the sound and was able to play it despite a wrist injury that inhibited him from playing guitar. Condon also plays the trumpet, euphonium, mandolin, accordion, various keyboard instruments, and a modified conch shell that appears on The Flying Club Cup.
Live, Beirut's roster generally consists of:
- Zach Сondon – trumpet/flugelhorn/ukulele
- Perrin Cloutier – accordion/cello
- Nick Petree – drums/percussion/melodica
- Paul Collins – electric bass/upright bass
- Kyle Resnick - trumpet
- Ben Lanz – trombone/tuba/glockenspiel
Past members include:
- Kristin Ferebee – violin
- Jason Poranski – guitar/mandolin/ukulele
- Heather Trost – violin/viola
- Jon Natchez – baritone sax/mandolin/glockenspiel/keyboards
- Tracy Pratt – trumpet/euphonium/flugelhorn
- Greg Paulus – trumpet
- Kelly Pratt – trumpet/french horn/glockenspiel/keyboards
- Jared van Fleet – piano
The majority of the members of Beirut have performed live as well as appeared on recorded material.
Side projects 
Realpeople is Zach Condon's electronic side-project. It was under this name that Condon made his first (unreleased) album, The Joys of Losing Weight, and the name to which the Holland EP is credited. The Joys of Losing Weight, which was made when Condon was fifteen, has never been released officially, but has been leaked on the internet.
Condon has also released an EP, Small-Time American Bats, under the name 1971. This was recorded with his friend, Alex Gaziano on guitar and vocals, when they were both around 16 years old (2002). Gaziano is a founding member of Kidcrash, another band originating from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Soft Landing 
Soft Landing was a project started by Beirut members Paul Collins (bass) and Perrin Cloutier (accordion) and Mike Lawless. Their eponymous debut album was released on October 12, 2010 on Ba Da Bing records, and has been described as "a pop version of Beirut" and freak-folk, with a heavy emphasis on dance beats and sheer energy.
Pompeii Records 
Pompeii Records is the record label founded in 2011 by Zach Condon in order to give the band and himself full control over their music. The first recordings released on the label were the band's third album, The Rip Tide, and the preceding single, "East Harlem."
Guest appearances 
Condon plays mandolin, trumpet and ukulele on A Hawk and a Hacksaw's album A Hawk and a Hacksaw and the Hun Hangár Ensemble and trumpet and ukulele on Alaska in Winter's album Dance Party in the Balkans. He appears on Get Him Eat Him's album Arms Down, on the song "2×2".
- Gulag Orkestar (May 9, 2006)
- The Flying Club Cup (October 9, 2007) UK No. 69
- The Rip Tide (August 2, 2011) UK No. 49, CAN No. 48 US No. 80
- The Guns of Brixton / Interior of a Dutch House (November 13, 2006) – Calexico/Beirut 7″ split single
- Lon Gisland (January 30, 2007)
- Pompeii EP (February 28, 2007)
- Elephant Gun EP (June 25, 2007)
- March of the Zapotec/Holland EP (February 16, 2009 – Unofficially released onto iTunes on January 27) US No. 87 UK No. 101
- Dark Was the Night Beirut contributed the song Mimizan to the charity compilation benefiting the Red Hot Organization
Again in 2011, they contributed a cover of Caetano Veloso's song, "O Leãozinho," to the Red Hot Organization's most recent charitable album "Red Hot+Rio 2." The album is a follow-up to the 1996 "Red Hot+Rio." Proceeds from the sales will be donated to raise awareness and money to fight AIDS/HIV and related health and social issues.
- Cheap Magic Inside (2007)
- Beirut: Live at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (2009)
- "Beirut Interview", Pitchfork, retrieved December 11, 2009
- "Beirut, the band", New York Magazine, August 6, 2006, retrieved December 11, 2009
- "Zach Condon returns home to the land of red and green", Albuquerque Tribune, October 19, 2006, retrieved December 11, 2009
- Roberts, Kathaleen (May 30, 2008). "Musical Maven – Zach Condon Follows His Muse to E. Europe And France of the '40s". Albuquerque Journal.
- "Beirut: Zach Condon’s Brass Band Blowout", ShockHound, February 24, 2009, retrieved December 14, 2009
- "An interview with Beirut", Brooklyn Vegan, retrieved December 11, 2009
- FREEwilliamsburg » Summerscreen TONIGHT: Point Break with Total Slacker and Red Romans
- Total Slacker : pop hallucinogène pour fins de soirées enfumées – Rolling Stone
- TUCKER ROUNTREE, THE lanky lead singer and guitarist of Brooklyn trio Total Slacker
- Pitchfork: Forkcast: Total Slacker: "Crystal Necklace"
- "Beirut's Zach Condon: young success 'fucked with a lot of things'", All Shook Down: SF weekly, October 8, 2007, archived from the original on 26 December 2009, retrieved December 11, 2009
- "Beirut", Myspace, archived from the original on 10 December 2009, retrieved December 11, 2009
- "Exclusive interview with Beirut", The Miscellany News, January 26, 2009, retrieved December 11, 2009
- "Beirut cancel all European tour plans", Gigwise, April 3, 2008, retrieved December 11, 2009
- Beirut's Zach Condon: Young Success 'Fucked With a Lot of Things' – Interview – San Francisco Music – All Shook Down
- Beirut's official website, archived from the original on 16 December 2009, retrieved December 11, 2009
- Beirut's Zach Condon discusses new EPs, time off, retrieved December 11, 2009
- "Montreal International Jazz Festival: Beirut in conversation", The Gazette, July 10, 2009, retrieved December 14, 2009
- Beirut op Myspace Music – Gratis gestreamde MP3’s, foto’s en Videoclips
- YouTube – Zach Condon Interview
- The New Pornographers reveal album details | stereokill.net
- Tobias Zywietz (2011-05-07). "Chart Log UK". Zobbel. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- Beirut: Live at the Music Hall of Williamsburg < PopMatters
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