Half Mile Beach Club - Hasta La Vista

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When you first listen to Half Mile Beach Club, you would be forgiven for tagging this as chillwave (hypnagogic or glo-fi, whatever you want to call it). With the vocoding, synths, drum loops, movie samples, all the familiar adjectives and concepts come into play – “psychedelic,” “blissed out,” “nostalgic,” “summer vibes,” “washed textures.” But where chillwave came from people in their bedrooms, creating personas and soundscapes to be enjoyed by hipsters in Brooklyn, Half Mile Beach Club comes from a community of real artists who actually live by the beach, and their music genuinely reflects their lifestyle, not a memory nor a dream of it.

Based in Zushi, Half Mile Beach Club literally is just that – an association of artists by the beach who run an outdoor cinema, a band, and various other events. In addition to the musicians in the band, among them they have two DJs, a VJ, a bartender and a photographer. A typical Half Mile Beach Club event might consist of a movie screening, some live performances (by guests and HMBC themselves), DJ sessions and a pop-up shop. It’s all very intimate and community focused, it’s not scattered across the internet.

The elements that make up the music aren’t just there randomly or to create some image. When they splice in movie quotes from Taxi Driver or Pulp Fiction, I think it’s less to do with pop culture references for the sake of it and more to do with actual fit within the songs. In this context, on “Bee line”, when you have the iconic “are you talking to me” set to a downtempo groove and slide guitar, it becomes more reflective and lonely. Less texture and more meaning. The epic “Monica” features the Lester Bangs rant from Almost Famous suggesting “these people are not your friends” and the reverb guitar, flute loops and bongos make you honestly question who are your true friends in life. Even the album’s title “Hasta la vista,” well of course that’s a Terminator 2 thing but remember it simply means “See you later.” 

You have to understand that beach life in Zushi isn’t exactly the same as L.A or Sydney even. It’s much more tourist oriented/transient and business is seasonal. During winter it’s pretty quiet, all those teahouses and bars on the shore cease to exist –they only operate during the summers. People will come and go, and commute to Tokyo because that’s where the jobs are. Meanwhile, the beach itself is hardly the cleanest. “You should clean up this city here” says Travis Bickle, but he could also be talking about the water in the general Shonan area. 

So what you’re listening to on this EP are genuine members of the community honestly expressing feelings of disconnect, ups and downs, friendship, confusion, relaxation, worries, hopes and dreams. Trying to create something whole that brings people together in real life. And that’s what gives Half Beach Music Club the one thing all hipsters seek so desperately – credibility.


1. Olives
2. Blue Moon
3. Bee Line
4. Piccolo (feat. Maco Marets)
5. Monica
6. Green House
7. Blue Moon (in the blue shirt Remix)

Royce Leong