The Southeast isn’t the first place you’d look for up-and-coming bands. Cities like Nashville and Austin are destinations for live music fans, but the spots in between don’t always get the same amount of attention. From Asheville to Charlottesville, there are plenty of places in the South for music makers and lovers alike. Bands who make it out of the Southeast do so because of the allies they build across the scene.
Daddy’s Beemer is a trio of Southern natives who are committed to the communities that built them. Wesley Heaton, Brady Sklar and Dan Fetterolf have grown because of the scenes they immersed in and nurtured. These lessons have helped the band adapt the anticipation for their debut full-length to our new reality. Daddy’s Beemer is driven by their setting, and their journey captures the sensibilities of the communities that made them.
Wesley, Brady, and Dan met while at Clemson University. The group lived in a house that they called Pablo, and started hosting shows for touring bands who made their way through Clemson. While the band welcomed bands on the road, there were no local bands to fill in the bills. Thus, Daddy’s Beemer came together to fill that gap.
The band and their house was the backbone of special scene at Clemson that called itself the Pablo Generation. Pablo represented a Clemson scene of musicians and fans who benefited from what Daddy’s Beemer helped create. Sklar said that Pablo helped the band build the scene they created while connecting with other communities across the South.
“Wesley was booking bands through Pablo coming through Clemson to play shows, [helping us meet] bands touring the Southeast,” he said. “Clemson doesn’t really have an established culture like that, so you have to see what you have and make your own.”
After releasing two EPs while students, Daddy’s Beemer committed to making music full-time after graduating from Clemson and moving on from Pablo. The band hiked up to North Carolina, moving to Charlotte, the city where they said they had the most monthly Spotify listeners. The band moved into a townhouse with their girlfriends at the time, making the most of the tight quarters they found themselves in.
“We’d practice in the laundry room of that place,” Heaton said. “It was just a mess altogether.”
While touring around Charlotte and the Southeast, Daddy’s Beemer continued to commit creatively to South Carolina. Work on the band’s debut record began soon after their move to Charlotte. However, efforts homed in on Denmark, South Carolina, a small town that would become the namesake of the record.
Daddy’s Beemer recorded Denmark in a family cabin in Denmark, travelling on weekends to focus on writing and recording. The band wanted to take their time in creating their first full-length. Heaton said the cabin was the ideal setting to make that happen.
“Denmark is a place where my family has a lake house with a grand piano in the living room where we could spend as much time as we wanted,” Heaton said. “We had the opportunity and went for it.”
The band worked with their Clemson friend Preston Dunnavant to produce the record. Dunnavant said that this unique recording setting inspired both him and the rest of the band.
“It’s my preferred way of working,” he said. “You’re not on a time crunch, you’re not on a financial crunch…It’s just a good time.”
The band continued to tour and grow more popular as they made new music in Denmark. However, the band says that they struggled to gain a footing within the community they had committed to making music in.
“We got there and it was really challenging getting an audience,” Heaton said. “It was challenging to get people to consistently come to shows, and it wasn’t the same community we had in Clemson.”
Time spent searching for a new home led the band to consider a move back to South Carolina. The band played the Charleston scene when they were students at Clemson, and had built friendships with bands across the tight-knit scene in the state. While the band saw a high ceiling for growth in Charlotte, Heaton recognized the value that could come with joining a community of familiar faces in Charleston.
“We didn’t want to go to Charleston and first because we knew a lot of people there and we didn’t think we had that much more to grow there”, he said. “We decided that it was a good thing we had so many connections there.”
The band says they’ve moved six times since graduating in 2017, but Denmark‘s creation never stopped in that time. Heaton said that he valued the time and space that Denmark gave for the band to reflect with intention.
“Preston would work on mixes and we’d work on other ideas, maybe throw in a guitar track or vocal harmony. Whenever we had a lot of work to do, we’d head over to the cabin,” he said. “We didn’t have [a] time constraint, so we could decide which parts went in which song and what we wanted it to sound like.”
Calling Charleston home put the band a bit closer to where their debut record continued coming together. The band’s connection to Charleston played a role in Denmark coming together. Living in the city allowed the band to collaborate with friends who encouraged their initial move.
One song from the record, “Amethyst”, features Jamie Gray from Cry Baby, a local Charleston band. The band says that these connections are special to the band and the scene they have called home.
“The song is a direct product of us moving to Charleston,” the band said in an email. “[This gave] us the chance to collaborate with one of our favorite local artists.”
Denmark marks a new step for the band that grown through strong communities. Touring has brought the band all over the Southeast. Shows have helped the band build connections with fans and bands that have propelled their online popularity. Sklar is fully aware of the leap that Denmark represents for a band who built their foundation as college students.
“There’s a big difference between being in college and just having fun with your friends, but for this one we knew at least some people will be listening to it,” he said. “When you spend three years working on something, you want some sort of return on your hard work.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified the band’s desire to build a community beyond physical proximity. Instead of touring, the band has posted music videos every Wednesday leading up to the record’s release. Heaton says that focusing on visuals and social media instead of live shows is an adventure that has always excited him.
“I’ve always loved doing social media stuff for bands, ever since seventh grade when I started my first band,” he said. “I’ve loved making videos, and Preston’s been doing it for years.”
The band delayed Denmark‘s release from June 5 to July 24 due to this year’s Black Lives Matters protests. The decision to push the record’s release came from the same place of solidarity that has driven the band throughout their career.
“We feel that it is important at this time to be paying attention to black voices,” the band wrote in an email announcing the album’s postponement. “We will be standing with them this week and in the future and will release our album when we feel it is ready.”
Whether its online or across the Southeast, Daddy’s Beemer knows how important community is in growing as musicians. The two years the band spent recording their debut full-length relied on the setting they created it in. This setting interacted directly with the places the band lived in along the way. Denmark is the result of a band able to balance change and consistency, and Daddy’s Beemer would be the first to admit it.
“Daddy’s Beemer ain’t scared of nothin,” Sklar said. “You can quote me on that.”