In the late 60s, Sandstorm Retreat was one of Los Angeles' best kept secrets: a swingers club for the rich and famous - well hidden in the mountainous hinterland of Santa Monica, the so-called Topanga Canyon. Today, the property where "partner-swapping for the liberation of society" was once practiced is the home of Hello Forever, an artists' collective that celebrates the late sixties less with free love than with an authentic psychedelic sound. "Of course we are a band, but first and foremost we are a collective," says community spokesman Samuel Joseph. "We are an average of seven, and we use the term to honor the contribution of each individual. That includes those who don't play an instrument, but produce the songs with us, shoot the videos or take care of the photography and design. The stuff behind the scenes. It takes a lot of collaboration to create art."
Samuel Joseph is in his late twenties with a goatee beard and wildly sprawling curls. He sits barefoot on the terrace of the Sandstorm Retreat, which houses the Hello Forever community - and looks like a Warhol factory: he has converted the ranch buildings into a recording studio, rehearsal room, photo studio and office. A playground for one of the most interesting new bands on the American indie rock scene - with a "Do It Yourself" approach, an unusual sound and a socio-political mission: "Our debut 'Whatever It Is' is like an antipole to the spirit of the times and serves as a catharsis. That's why tracks like 'Everything Is So Hard' have a lot of depth and feeling. Simply because it can be healing to take a break from your sadness and frustration. This has a similar effect as dealing with it explicitly. We offer the possibility of both."