Magdalena Bay is the synth pop duo of Mica Tenenbaum and Matt Lewin. The childhood friends turned bandmates make slinky earworms that’ll keep people out on the dance floor.
It’s no surprise the pair recently played Coachella and lit up the Sonora tent. We caught up with them to talk about their favorite moment at the festival, where they like to hang out in LA and their craziest travel story.
What was the best Coachella moment from weekend one?
Mica Tenenbaum (MT): Oh, man. What do you think?
Mike Lewin (ML): My favorite moment was watching Sunset Rollercoaster.
MT: Oh, agreed!
ML: They were just super great. Great live band, super tight and sound was great. It was a nice change to some of the more, heavy music we’d been listening to all day.
MT: Totally. We had been trying to meet up with our friends and family and we finally did right before their set, so we went to see them together. It was a beautiful moment.
You guys are from Miami, but live in LA. What’s your perfect day in LA.
MT: We’d pick up some coffee beans at Verve. That’s our favorite.
ML: Right next door to Verve is a great breakfast place called Uncle Polly’s. Get some breakfast bowls. We live around there. It’s kind of by the Beverly Center. And then maybe we just go to the beach, walk around Venice.
ML: Well, I feel like we’re not going to go in the water during the day usually. We’d go during the sunset and walk down Venice. When the sun’s down, it’s really nice. There are dogs running around and stuff. During the day we would probably just be in our apartment, working on music.
Got any hot spots at night?
ML: We’re not big nightlife kind of people.
MT: We like Button Mash!
ML: Yeah, we’ll go to Button Mash in Silver Lake for some arcade games and a beer.
What was the inspiration behind mini mix vol. 3?
MT: I mean, mini mix vol. 1 + 2 were kind of created with a really spontaneous, fun ethos. They’re more off the cuff songs and videos and this one’s the same thing.
ML: It’s something a little light between records to fill in the gaps.
MT: Less concept heavy.
Have you guys embraced TikTok Trends this year or doing anything on social media?
ML: We’ve sort of fallen off TikTok a little bit, as the kids say.
MT: We’ve never really kept up with the trends, but I think we’re good about making videos with our own sort of weird concepts.
ML: Before we started touring heavily, we would focus on making a lot of TikTok videos. But now that we’ve been on the road, we just haven’t had time.
MT: We might get back to it when we have more time. We were just busy getting ready for Coachella and making the mini mix.
Any hidden gems you guys have found as you’ve traveled and toured around the world?
ML: Madison, Wisconsin.
MT: It’s so pretty there.
ML: I wish we had had more time there, we were just in and out. I think it was also one of the few sunny days on that tour, so you got out on the town with a sunny day and good weather. It just left a good impression.
MT: Yeah, I agree.
What do you do to keep busy in the van?
ML: I’m driving usually.
MT: Matt likes to drive. I’m usually designing our shirts or counting our merch inventory. Working on something.
Do you have any favorite record stores of vinyl albums you guys like?
MT: Amoeba in LA is always a fun time.
Anything you like to listen to on vinyl?
MT: You just got your first classical album on vinyl. Rachmaninoff.
ML: Yeah, Piano Concerto No.2. I think we might start getting into collecting some classical vinyl.
MT: In the past it was mostly prog rock because any record store is gonna have prog rock.
Are you guys Rush fans?
MT: Yeah, we are.
ML: We have all the Emerson, Lake and Palmer, the Genesis records.
There you go! We have a list. What are your must-pack travel items?
MT: Nick, our drummer, got us into these beef sticks. They’re kind of like, beef jerky but probably better?
MT: I always have one in my bag because you never know when you’ll be dying of hunger. And ibuprofen and some tinted chapstick.
What’s your craziest travel story?
ML: We were just going through all of them; which one should we tell? Should we do the Paris one?
MT: Yeah. It’s a little long, but it’s a good one.
ML: We get on the Eurostar from London to Paris. We get into Paris in the 13th arrondissement around like 10 PM. We get to the hotel and we’re hungry because we haven’t eaten. There’s this one cafe on the busy street outside of the train station. We sit down and you know how in Paris everyone sits down facing the street while they eat? We’re eating, we have a really funny waiter.
MT: He sat down at our table with us and we were like, who’s this? We thought we were getting scammed. He just starts chatting.
ML: We’re sitting there and eating and then there’s like a car accident. A car right on the street hits into a concrete median. And then this woman runs out of the taxi and starts yelling, there’s a big commotion.
Our waiter comes over and he’s like, ‘another night in the 13th arrondissement’. He started explaining what happened. Basically, this taxi driver was apparently drunk, crashed into a median. The woman who was the passenger got out and started yelling, ‘He’s drunk, don’t let him go. Call the police.’ A big mob of people come to stop the taxi driver from escaping. As this commotion is going on, this poor woman from the taxi gets pickpocketed. Her wallet gets stolen.
MT: The only reason we know this is because our waiter kept coming over to give us the play by play.
ML: It was our first hour in Paris.
What’s in store for 2023?
ML: We’re going to write some music and hopefully release it. We’re playing with Caroline Polachek and Rina Sawayama.
MT: We’re doing Lollapalooza, too, and some other sick festivals. We’re looking forward to it. We like Chicago a lot, especially in the summer.