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Beirut's Zach Condon on discovering his worldly sound

Beirut's Zach Condon on finding his sound
Beirut's Zach Condon on discovering the worldly sounds that have come to define his music 03:40

The genre-bending sounds of Beirut were born out of a New Mexico teenager's bedroom. The band's frontman and mastermind, Zach Condon, was inspired by the sounds of the world and frustrated that he wasn't hearing more of it, which is why Beirut's music sometimes reads like a travel atlas with songs like, "Bratislava," "Brandenburg," and "Postcards from Italy."

"You know sometimes I catch some flak for that," Condon told "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Anthony Mason.

"It's hard to title songs. And I used to have this map sitting over the computer that I was recording on at the time and I would just kind of point."

In fact, Condon grew up in Santa Fe and rarely traveled. But as a teenager, a job in a movie theater allowed him to escape.

"It was kind of like an after school job, $5.25 an hour. Sweep up the popcorn … I hated it, but I loved the cinema," he said, speaking to Mason the week that the band's fifth album, "Gallipoli," came out. 

The theater showed foreign films, and the foreign sounds got under his skin.

"I just kind of remember having this thought around the age of 15, which was essentially there is this entire world of sound out there that we just seem to be skipping right over and it kind of drove me nuts," Condon said. 

Condon began to collect exotic instruments and record at home. He wrote his first album in his bedroom in Santa Fe but was too shy to put it out there.

"Essentially someone heard it, sent it to a label and then it kind of ended up online and people really liked it. And I was shocked," Condon said. "I mean that's incredibly gratifying and it's also nice because then you know that you're not crazy."

Condon then had to take his music out of his studio and onto the road. It wasn't always easy.

"There were periods when it got really hard for me. I've had kind of – I've had some crash and burn moments," he said. "Not listening to your body or mind and agreeing to do more than you know you can do. It's the situation where people want to see you in Brazil and Australia and Japan. And you just can't believe that they do and so you want to give everything all the time."

Now Condon has become a citizen of the world, moving to New York then Istanbul and now Berlin.

"It has become reality. Absolutely. Which I stop to think about from time to time. I'm like, sometimes I wish I could go back and tell my 15-year-old self that you know, these things, these big ambitions, these big dreams, they're going to work out, you know?"

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