There is something familiar about Jeremy Lloyd-Styles. From his bearded greatness that generally stands at six months of growth, to the reassuring and friendly tone in his voice, he comes across like a long-lost buddy from high school. Considering this was the first interview I ever conducted over the phone, his demeanor certainly helped create the perfect atmosphere to get to know each other. I quickly learned that from that calm, comes a very talented, layered, and thoughtful individual.
The story of our latest Urban Beardsman began in the church and around the piano in the living room, singing with his mother and her sisters. It was there that he first learned about harmony, a lesson that he has put to incredible use over the last seven years. During that time he has been part of an amazing trio with Jocelyn Mackenzie and Emily Hope Price, collectively know as Pearl and the Beard, after meeting each other over the course of various open mic nights. “It’s definitely like a family unit at this point. We’ve been doing this for a while and have learned how to communicate and listen. I’ve learned a lot about life and all different types of relationships through this band.”
A powerful mix of cello, piano, guitar, and percussion (along with many other instruments that my amateur ear is unable to detect), combined with a beautiful and, at times, haunting sound have made Pearl and the Beard one of the more popular groups in the New York music scene. The difficulty in placing their sound into one specific category is certainly part of the joy in listening to their music, as they cross through so many genres. The band’s upcoming third full-length album will certainly further explore this versatility. “The third album is a natural progression for us. We focused on bridging the gap between our recorded work and our live performances. Before, we had a more folk centered group, with primarily acoustic instruments, but we are getting more electrified and shifting our focus to dynamics. We still have a lot of vocals and harmonies, but now we are just letting the instruments do a bit more.”
“I derive joy from many other things in my life like … the simple creation of music for no reason at all.”
Getting to his more personal feelings about music, Jeremy and I discussed numerous topics in relation to his past, present and future. While he was a big fan of bands like Weezer and Radiohead in high school, his tastes have changed to more instrumental groups. “I’ve never been into lyrics, but I enjoy hearing the instrumentation and how it is put together.” This sentiment of instrumentation being his primary focus in music was further echoed when he mentioned Sigur Ros and A Winged Victory for the Sullen as bands he would love to share the stage with because, “They make such beautiful and heartbreaking music.”
When we began to talk about what he originally hoped to achieve in his music career compared to his goals now, Jeremy said, “When I first started making music I wanted to be recognized, famous and on covers of magazines and to be on MTV. All of those things have disappeared and my priorities have shifted immensely. To me those things are no longer important. I derive joy from many other things in my life like being a better husband, starting a family, being a good son and the simple creation of music for no reason at all.”
Apart from music, the other real passion in Jeremy’s life is his marriage to wife Kaity. When I asked him a little about his marriage, I really saw his heart open up and his transformation into a Yoda-like source of relationship advice. “I’ve found that there is no winning or losing (in a relationship), just learning. You can never really know what your partner is thinking and neither will they with you so it’s just best to ask, be honest, and communicative.” The charm in his marriage reached mountain-like heights when I asked him to explain the story behind the hyphen between his two last names. “We wanted to feel like a unit. Taking a name implies ownership in many cases and this sort of psychological leap of giving and demolishing of a former identity. I didn’t think it was fair for just one of us to do it, nor did she, so we took each other’s names.” And this is how he came to be Jeremy Lloyd-Styles.
Look for Pearl and the Beard in concert as they hit the road for California in late May. Their third full-length album, Beast, is expected to be released on July 21st. Follow Jeremy and his bandmates, Jocelyn and Emily, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and on their Official Webpage.