Arts Desk

The Long Wait for New Music From Long Walks on the Beach

Last summer, D.C. resident Fritz Kramer released a wonderfully sunny piece of lo-fi bedroom-pop under the name Long Walks on the Beach, sparking some buzz for the project with the song "Literally Crazy For You." The tune was to be included on a forthcoming EP titled Singles. And then, nothing happened.

Then, last week, a charming new tune called "We're Growing Up" popped up on the blog Yvynl, and with it a lengthy explanation from Kramer about his absence, his creative process, and his reactions to the unexpected interest in his Long Walks on the Beach.

Kramer has been recording as Long Walks for a few years, but he's been playing music for most of his life. The 29-year-old took piano lessons as a child in Asheville, N.C. "I was trained classically," he says. "I think around the age of 8 it was discovered that I wasn't going to be a concert pianist." Kramer wasn't exactly crazy for practicing and he stopped taking lessons at 15, though he continued to mess around on the piano at his house from time to time.

It wasn't until Kramer went to study public policy and political science at the University of North Carolina that he missed having a piano in close proximity. One of his suite-mates had a guitar, however, and Kramer taught himself how to play the instrument. "I would write these little songs for my friends," he says. Kramer even made a tune for a friend's film thesis, using a studio in the school's library to put things together.

Kramer came to D.C. in 2005 to work as a TV news producer, a position that inspired Long Walks on the Beach. At the time, Kramer had been working the overnight shift at ABC News. "I would work from 11 p.m. to 8 in the morning, and it was just totally screwing with my body," he says. The shift had what Kramer calls "profound effects on my body and mood." So he made the decision to try and change his emotional environment by channeling his extracurricular energies into a new musical project. The idea became to focus on making love songs—not romantic ones, but songs about love in general, "capital 'L' love songs," as Kramer says—and on higher ideals in general. The personal-ad cliche he took for his project's name squared with the concept, he says: One might hope to improve oneself by listing an interest a prospective partner could enjoy.

Kramer has released only a handful of songs under the Long Walks banner, partially because he doesn't always have time to focus on the project. Kramer also tends to futz around with his music quite a bit, he says, which one reason the Singles EP isn't out yet—he isn't happy with the songs' final forms yet. Mostly, hetends to make a lot of demos. "I'll sit down and I'll just play a guitar part, I'll play the bass part, I'll play the high frequency sounds, I'll put a vocal in, and I'll just stop, and put it away," he says. "I've got dozens and dozens and dozens of demos, and I've got five songs that are finished."

Kramer says a handful of firms, cable TV channels, and film producers have gotten in touch with him since "Literally Crazy For You" hit the Internet last year, but he appears intent on keeping Long Walks a personal project for now, rather than turning it into a full-time band. "My intention with a lot of this is to put something out as purely as I can," he says.

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