Matthew Beighley, an American producer and multi-instrumentalist, and his wife, Jacqueline Santillan Beighley, an Argentinean-born singer and pianist, are the creative minds behind Wait. Think. Fast. After forming in 2007, the LA-based duo quickly released two EPs: 2008’s Self Titled, and 2009’s Vuelve al Mar. Shortly afterwards came 2010’s Luces del Sur, their first LP, from which listeners may have heard song placements on shows like Quantico, Gossip Girl, and Grey’s Anatomy, to name a few.
After populating the college radio charts of KCRW and KROQ, two influential radio stations from Southern California, music critics quickly grew fond of them. The Los Angeles Times called Wait. Think. Fast. a “band that so comfortably executes West Coast traditions,” while NPR noted “the group sings in English & Spanish, and incorporates a lot of traditional Latin American instruments, such as the charango. Even WWD was impressed, writing “both the well-established East Side indie rock and growing Latino hipster scenes have embraced the band’s distinctive sound.”
“Life happens,” said the siren-voiced singer when asked about the seven-year gap between Luces del Sur and Dale Tiempo, their upcoming full-length record, which is scheduled to be released October 20th, 2017. But there’s an interesting twist: their mature, elegant, and exquisitely-crafted sophomore LP left behind their old band setup.
“When we moved to NY in 2011,” says Matthew, who worked on Dale Tiempo with producer and Emmy nominated music supervisor, Jonathan Leahy, “we lost our band — our drummer, our bassist — but we kept writing songs. We stopped writing music from a drum, guitar-based rock band perspective. Instead, we started writing with strings first, with the mellotron, or building entire pieces around choral arrangements.”
For Luces del Sur, their first LP, Wait. Think. Fast. traveled to Tucson, Arizona and quickly recorded what was essentially their live show at Wavelab Studio. But this time would be different, “We approached production on Dale Tiempo with patience,” continues Matthew. “By 2014, after moving back to Los Angeles, we built our own studio. That gave us the ability to meticulously record everything. It was very inspiring and liberating to work that way.”
The new approach pushed the couple to develop their skills in the studio, as noted by the singer: “Previously we’d rehearse songs with our band for months until we were ready to record, which was like recording a performance. I recorded in the control room, as if on stage, in front of everyone. With Dale Tiempo, it was the opposite: I would work on melodies, phrasing and lyrics for weeks or months and re-record vocal takes in my home studio, until I was happy with the results. The process took longer, but it pushed me to become a better singer, a better critic of myself.”
The effort paid off — not just in terms of quality, but in style. Songs like “Count No Count” and “Flowers In Rain” could be the work of Ennio Morricone if he had access to Hope Sandoval’s vocal chords (“Matthew’s a huge cinephile,” says his wife). Meanwhile, the Spanish-sung “Cuidado” and “Mándame Una Señal” are more likely to populate the dreampop playlist of a discriminating music fan than the world music bin.
Sure, Wait. Think. Fast. has evolved their technical recording process, but also their emotional, lyrical content. Jacqueline found inspiration in her personal loss: “This entire record is a journey from isolation and loss, to acceptance and gratitude — it’s about family. It’s about losing my spirit and purpose, then suddenly losing my father, who was a huge figure in my life.”
A proud immigrant, the singer’s father can be seen as a central influence on Dale Tiempo: “He risked everything, taking us away from a military coup in 1970’s Argentina to start a new life in Southern California. He knew that music could transcend and transport beyond corrupt governments, loneliness, and the minutia of life. He made sure I became a musician. He was our biggest supporter and I felt like I owed him this record. Along with Matthew, I grieved his loss in the writing of these songs.”
Julio, Jacqueline’s father, graces the album cover. The photo was taken in 1979 shortly after his arrival to Los Angeles, having just undergone an epic journey from Argentina. “He was 28 and quickly started working to send for us,” says the singer. “Looking at the photo, he looks like a young man with a lot on his mind. He’s on the precipice of something.”
Make no mistake: Dale Tiempo is anything but a bleak record. But, as the title suggests, Jacqueline underscores the power of healing through time, and also the circle of life: “Shortly after my father passed, our daughter was born. The last song on the record is named after her and, just like her, welcomes in the light, the hope, and tremendous love. The line ‘I want to be carried along’ first appears in the opening track ‘Count No Count’ as a longing for direction and peace. When it refrains as the closing lines in ‘Lucia,’ the final track, it’s no longer a plea, but an affirmation.”