Summer has unofficially arrived. Sure, the first real day comes at the end of June, but everyone knows Memorial Day is short for the first day of summer.
Now, the call of the beach has reached a near fever pitch. Listen to it. It wants you to break free from the confines of your office, classroom, and nest. Be one with nature, the moon, and tides. It's summer, after all—aka the perfect time to embrace your freedom and love affair with suntan lotion. Of course, if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right. So, we asked a slew of musicians kicking it at Hangout Fest this year what their dos and don'ts of the beach are. What do they listen to and read? What do they avoid? Who do they crush on? Perhaps they'll inspire you to unplug a little and get some sand between your feet. Beach responsibly!
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Best beach read? [Laughs] If you’re looking to stay on the beach all summer, read Infinite Jest. That’ll give you a, um, lobster tan. It’s a very large book.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? BØRNS: This is my ultimate summer crush. Hi, what’s your name? Z: Hi, I’m Z [Berg] from PHASES. B: Damn, Z!
What song of yours best fits the beach? “Emerald Pools.” It has an aquatic theme. Also “Past Lives,” since there’s a line comparing my love to the ocean’s depth.
Strangers You Know
What is the best beach read? Grady Lee: I’m in the middle of a book called Dune right now. It’s a series from the sixties. It’s funny reading sci-fi from before there were computers. Their rendering is hilarious. They can ride in spaceships but they still write on chalkboards.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? Adam Haagen: Living or dead? GL: Kristen Wiig. I love Kristen Wiig. Or Hannibal Buress, Lil Dicky. They make my heart soar. AH: Candice Swanepoel.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? AH: We got stung by jellyfish out here. So if you’re swimming on the Gulf Coast, watch out. GL: Clothes. Bad vibes.
What song of yours fits the beach? AH: “Queen of Venice Beach.” It has “beach” in the name. Or “Believe In Me.” We’re more somber in our songs, so whenever we have a major key song, it’s kind of happy.
Best beach read? The best book to read at the beach is probably no book. I can’t focus on the beach.
What song of yours fits the beach? The best song I’ve written for the beach is a song from my newest record called “Cassidy,” because it’s about feeling beach vibes, but also feeling torn and wanting to be somewhere else. It’s kind of reggae.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? This woman who happens to be a professional surfer-slash-vegan chef-slash-clothing designer who rescues puppies. She also likes to go camping.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? Washed-up animals that look like they’re about to die. They might be full of disease. Be careful.
Best beach read? I’m reading this book right now called Wonderland Avenue. It’s about this kid who growing up had a troubled family life. His baseball coach told him that if he hits a home run at the game, he’ll take him to a Doors concert. He hits a home run miraculously and goes to The Doors’ concert. The kid, who’s 11 or 12 years old, becomes friends with Jim Morrison. It’s based on a true story. It’s so juicy. I can’t put it down.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? I’m not crushing on anyone, I don’t have time! How about a delicious red, white, and blue snow cone?
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? Bad vibes and people that don’t allow you to go topless.
What song of yours fits the beach? Of all the music I have out, I just put out a Tori Kelly remix of her song “Hollow.” It’s chill but also dancey, good beach vibes.
Best beach read? I never read on the beach! I hate the beach. I get sunburnt, so I tend to read in the shade.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? It would probably be ice cream. Does that count as a crush?
What song of yours best fits the beach? There aren’t many of them you could listen to on the beach. Maybe “Never Be,” because you can sing along.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? Bluebottle jellyfish.
Jokull Juliusson of Kaleo
Best beach read? What I’m reading right now is called Bury My Heart and Wounded Knee. It’s about the Trail of Tears and Native Americans. For the beach, though, maybe something a little happier, like Lord of the Rings.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? The beach! I love going to the beach when I can, in the summer when I have time off. I used to go to Spain a lot—since I come from Iceland. I think my summer crush would be the beach.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? I’d say a sunburn. Make sure you’re hydrated and have sunscreen. I feel for the people who burn.
What song of yours best fits the beach? Something rock and roll. I’ll say “No Good.”
Best beach read? A History Of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell. It’s great. Everyone should go read it.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? It’s that chick from The O.C.—what’s her name?—the blonde one. She’s not a basic girl. She’s weird.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? Shirtless men. You know, guys who are all testosterone-filled and are all “look at me.” I’m not into that at the beach. The beach is about nature.
What song of yours best fits the beach? It’s called “Waves.” I sampled the sea when I wrote it, and it’s about falling in love.
Best beach read? Alex Pall: Anything by Tom Clancy for me. I love Tom Clancy. Andrew Taggart: I can’t read. [Both laugh]
Who is your ultimate summer crush? AP: Taylor Hill, the Victoria’s Secret model. AT: That’s a year-round crush. You’ve got great taste. Think of someone that doesn’t wow you year round, but when they put on a bikini you’re like, “Damn!” AP: Oh, Bryana Holly. AT: You owe us, Bryana!
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? AP: The guys who sell the jewelry and come up to you. And at the beach in Miami at dusk, there are guys who will come up to you and steal your cell phone. AT: Remember that time you thought they stole your shit and you just left it along the beach?
What song of yours best fits the beach? AT: “Roses” is our most beach-vibe song. Or our remix of “Sway” by Anna of the North. AP: I’d say “Overload,” too. AT: We’ve got a lot of great beach songs. Go check them out.
Best beach read? Michael Runion:TheSavage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. Alex Greenwald:Human Comedy by William Saroyan. Jason Boesel:Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. Z Berg: Right now, I’m rereading The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It’s lovely beach reading.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? MR: Michelle Pfeiffer in Grease 2! AG: Uh, the Na’vi from Avatar. [All laugh] JB: Angelina [Jolie] in Hackers. ZB: Keira Knightley, all year round.
What song of yours best fits the beach? ZB: "I’m In Love With My Life" is a pretty heavy beach jam, if we’re being realistic about it, but it’s all a really good beach record. JB: "Betty Blue" talks about hanging out on the beach, and it feels very wavy. AG: "Cooler" could also work for the beach, like a good end-of-summer song, when the romance has come to a conclusion, and it’s heartbreaking like Grease.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? MR: Crabs! AG: Poops! JB: Sand. ZB: [Laughing] Oh my god. Sunburn is a nice PG answer. You don’t want sand in your suit, though. Don’t do it on the beach.
What is the best beach read? Crista Ru: That’s a nice dream I have one day, to just sit down and have time to read on the beach! Something chill with intelligence. Maybe Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Mike Del Rio: Mine would be Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis. I’m a Chili Peppers fan—I went to get the book signed by him.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? CR: My dog Biscuit. MR: We were watching Baywatch the other day at our friend’s house, and Pamela Anderson came on—what a babe. Summer comes along and I think of the red bathing suit, David Hasselhoff, and his chest hair.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? CR: Getting sunburnt and stepping on crabs. MR: Jellyfish. Stay away or someone’s going to have to pee on you. Bring the good vibes to the beach. Let it clear you and your head.
What song of yours fits the beach? CR: Dare I say “Classic”? It’s perfect for this setting right now. It’s about meeting someone in the summertime and the energy. MR: We were trying to create something timeless—you know, summer romance—everybody’s experienced it on some level.
Run The Jewels
Best beach read? Killer Mike: You read books on the beach? I look at ass. I don’t read books. I read tan lines. Books are banned from my beaches. Bros, brews, bitches are on the beach. EI-P: I’m dressed in all black and I’m in pants. I’m not your beach guru.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? KM: My wife. E: My ten-year-old babysitter. When I was ten—not her. Her walking out of the pool, not licking her lips, but making sure they’re not dry. KM: Shout-out to Deidre, my summer camp counselor.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? E: Sun. KM: Herpes.
What song of yours fits the beach? KM: “Love Again.” E: I’m gonna go ahead and say that Run The Jewels is a beach band. KM: We’re the new Beach Boys.
Pontus Winnberg of Miike Snow
Best beach read? The last book I read on a beach was Bicycle Diaries.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? It’s, uh, on the personal side.
What song of yours best fits the beach? I would say “My Trigger.”
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? The combination of sand and certain stuff—drinks, a camera. You have to learn the technique of keeping the things apart.
What is the best beach read? Yannis Philippakis: Something relatively classic and not too long, The Great Gatsby or The Catcher in the Rye. Very easygoing.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? YP: Gemma Arterton, the Bond girl. I quite like Adèle Exarchopoulos from Blue Is the Warmest Colour as well. She’s a babe. Jimmy Smith: Probably Sandy Cohen from The O.C. He’s the ultimate man. Amazing eyebrows.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? JS: British people. [Laughs] YP: To not have too many English people or sea urchins, yeah.
What song of yours fits the beach? YP: A lot of our songs are quite summery, but a song off of the new album would be “Birch Tree.” JS: “Night Swimmers.” And we have “Miami” off of the second record. YP: “My Number,” as well.
Best beach read? Keith Jeffery: Ah, shit. Best book to read at the beach? Michael Jeffery: The one I’m reading right now is really good. It’s called Moonwalking with Einstein. It’s about retraining the brain and how we don’t use our brain to the full potential.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? KJ: Pamela Anderson circa 1991. MJ: Dunno. Jessica Alba? She’ll do.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? KJ: Syringes would be the number one thing I’d avoid at the beach. And sharks. MJ: In Australia we have a blue-ringed octopus you’ve got to be careful of, under rocks. Avoid them.
What song of yours best fits the beach? KJ: I’ve heard people describe “Trojans” as a summery song. MJ: “Back Seat” maybe? It’s a cool jam.
What song of yours best fits the beach? Kallie North: We have a new single out that’s good for a summer jam. Jessy Wilson: It really is. It’s called “Brother, What Happened.” It’s got this Lauryn Hill, Staple Singers swag. It’s a socially conscious but very backyard-barbecue song about loving each other, being responsible and respectful to your neighbor.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? KN: Like a man? JW: How about a dog? KN: All five of my dogs are my never-ending crushes. Milly, Foxy, Rambo, Happy, and Jim. JW: I used to like Idris Elba, but I’m over him.
Best beach read? JW: I’m all deep. I’m reading W.E.B. Du Bois, I can take him anywhere. The Souls of Black Folk. KN: As goofy as we are, we’re really deep! I read Henry David Thoreau—the last book I finished was Walden. I read it three times because it took that many to soak up what he was saying.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? KN: The sun. If my dermatologist saw me right now, he’d be pissed. The last thing he said was, “Please don’t go into the sun when you’re at the beach.” Sorry to my doctor.
Matt Shultz of Cage the Elephant
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? Wherever they’ve got the whole muscle area set up. Avoid that area.
Best beach read? The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac wouldn’t be bad. I’m currently reading Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? This girl named D that was in my old neighborhood. All the boys had a crush on her, and I’m pretty sure we all kissed her, as well. [Laughs]
What song of yours best fits the beach? A nice juxtaposition would be the song "Cold Cold Cold."
Daniel Duque-Perez of The Griswolds
Best beach read? Probably some raunchy romance novel. Something like Fifty Shades of Grey.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? In Australia, budgie smugglers are really common. It’s a very small man bikini that older dudes and hot body builders wear. They don’t hide a lot. But also sharks. I don’t know... kids?
Who is your ultimate summer crush? Katy Perry. She’s beautiful. Call me.
What song of yours best fits the beach? “The Courtship of Summer Presley.”
Best beach read? Tiffany Lamson: I don’t read books on the beach ‘cause you’re at the beach. Some people like to, but I try to zone out, listen to the waves, and feel the wind. I’m jumping in the water. Taylor Guarisco: I’ll go with that. She’s more of a sand castle girl, I’m a sand angel boy.
Who is your ultimate summer crush? TG: Can we have a collective band crush on HAIM? ‘Tis the season. TL: Yeah, they’re good summer crushes. TG: We’ll just put that out there. Givers, we love HAIM. Hope that’s okay.
What's one thing you avoid at the beach? TG: Sharks would be the number one thing to avoid. Classic sunburn, the age-old white boy sunburn. TL: Avoid being afraid to let yourself go.
What song of yours best fits the beach? TG: A song called “Sure Thi.” It’s got bright beach ball vibes. TL: And it’s got a “guitharmony” solo—who doesn’t like that on the beach?