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Beirut At Coachella 2012: Zach Condon Talks His First Beach Boys Tape & How Traveling Had 'Taken Its Toll'

Posted: 04/15/2012 1:34 pm Updated: 04/15/2012 2:06 pm

This is part 4 of 4 of our "My Coachella" Series. Click here for profiles on our favorite Coachella bands.

To most, Beirut is the capital and largest city in Lebanon. But if you Google it, the indie-rock-world-music group by the same name pops up first. Lead by Santa Fe native Zach Condon, Beirut is one of the most interesting-sounding bands out there. Listening to an album is like taking a trip around the world, but it's the kind of trip where you duck into alleyway cafes and eat street food under umbrellas.

Condon, who has an unforgettable voice and rocks hard on the trumpet, dropped out of high school as a teenager and traveled to Europe with music on his mind. After dropping out of four colleges, Condon gave it up for good and pursued a musical calling that has now turned into Beirut.

He found a blast of success very young, after recording an album in his bedroom called Gulag Orkestar. The powers that be in the music world took notice, and between the influence of the Internet and word of mouth, Condon was all of a sudden the hottest new thing. His first show was packed with more people than he could imagine --and frankly, he botched it. He told New York Magazine, "We were just so unprepared, with so many people there expecting the Second Coming."

But that was years ago, and the difference between hype and heart is apparent.

The Huffington Post spoke with Condon about how far his "youthful exuberance" got him, how not traveling helped his last album and how writing music makes him self-conscious.


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This will be Beirut's second time at Coachella -- you guys were there in 2009. What was that experience like?

It was a pretty intense experience, actually. We are so used to European festivals and it was great to get something in California. We were watching Antony & The Johnsons and it was around 5 o'clock and it was so hot that I almost fainted.

The sound system had a meltdown in the middle of the set. They had this orchestra on stage so everything came to a grinding halt, and it was this really sad moment. And then suddenly the strings and everything came blaring back in and it turned into this really beautiful experience. [laughs]

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