Midwestern transplants Ben Schwab and Jacob Loeb have settled into the rhythm of Los Angeles life, despite being musical outsiders to a scene dominated by surf and garage rock. Raised on '60s psychedelia and folk, the two have hand-sculpted a sound that resonates hypnagogic warmth and narcotic nods - a mixture of eras, elements and emotions as idiosyncratic as Fever the Ghost, Deep Fields or Mild High Club.

After a handful of years navigating congested freeways and loading zones, Golden Daze are ready to do what any sensible musician does: tour. Now, the duo are celebrating their album's February 19th release via Autumn Tone Records. But before the shows with Mikal Cronin and Jacco Gardner, before finding their dreamy lo-fi aesthetic, Ben Schwab and Jacob Loeb started at CalArts.

"That is a fact," Jacob says after we sit down in the patio of Stories Café in Echo Park. Ben slides his elbow as he rests his chin on his hands, revealing a pack of Marlboro Golds in the pocket of his tattersall shirt. Shaded by his Bernie Sanders baseball cap, Jacob chews on a toothpick as he flips through his memories. "My first memory of it was, I walked into a room where Ben was playing—I don't know, it had something to do with Jon Brion."

Ben confirms. "Yeah it was; you liked Jon Brion."

He turns to me. "The people who like Jon Brion tend to like other people who like Jon Brion, because there's not many people who like Jon Brion.

It was a start. But not the official start of Golden Daze. Back then, Jacob was studying theater; Ben, music. "We were just friends; we lived together. I moved to Portland for like a year and a half. And then," he points to Jacob.

"You came up on a trip to write, to just hang out - Golden Daze [still] didn't exist at this point, we were just writing songs." Jacob smiles as he peels a sliver of the toothpick, placing it neatly on the red plank of a table.

"Yeah, on that trip I took up to Portland - mostly just to visit Ben - we kinda unexpectedly wrote a lot, and it was like, really fun basically. And we're like, 'Damn we should keep doing this, too bad we live on other sides of the country.' But we ended up sending each other material over the next half year, year or so, until Ben moved back to LA and then it was kinda time." He straightens his back. His fingers fidget as he looks for an opening in that worn down piece of wood.

"To me, that trip to Portland was kinda like the birth of what Golden Daze would become." We timeskip to their fateful Craigslist selling experience, where the two inevitably met their lo-fi acid house producer and friend Palmbomen (née Kai Hugo), whose recent release Palmbomen II was inspired in part by a lengthy X-Files binge.

"I mean, it's exactly what it sounds like. Ben was selling his TEAC on Craigslist, and Kai walks in. The joke of the whole thing was Ben was selling his TEAC, but it was actually an ad on Craigslist searching for a producer." Ben interjects. "It wasn't actually that— we weren't looking for a producer."

"No, but that's the joke of it, though," Jacob reasoned. "We was just trying to sell a Reel-to-Reel but we ended up meeting one of our best friends now, the guy who helped us to produce our record-"

"-who we would have never met otherwise because he's in a whole different scene of electronic music. He was originally from the Netherlands. There would have been no other way to meet someone like that. But I think it had a weird positive influence on us."

Ben was right. Palmbomen rolled extensively in Europe’s late-2000's electronic scene, briefly as the filthy bloghaus duo Ganz Nackische before his induction to French electronic label Maison Kitsuné. In contrast, Ben was pulling backslides for Xsjado and writing folk music. Jacob was working under James Franco in the Bukowski biopic, weaving bedroom pop under the imagined persona BABY BLUE.

"The cherry on top was that the TEAC that Ben ended up selling to Kai was used throughout that record. So in a way, the thing that we sold to Kai, that brought us together, is also what gave our record whatever character it has." That je ne sais quoi has been evident in previously released singles 'Low,' 'Salt' and 'Never Comin' Down.' But weighing equally with Palmbomen's magic touch were the influences spanning decades. Initially taking inspiration from The Beatles, Todd Rundgren and Simon & Garfunkel, the duo eventually moved on to washed melodies of dream pop and scuzzy textures of shoegaze.

Meager finances played an equally significant role. Jacob's fingernails peeled off yet another chewed-out splinter of wood. Ben quietly nibbled on the corner of his thumb. Running up several thousand dollars' worth of studio time was not their prerogative. "I think a lot of bands try to go beyond their means to get this professional sound, but we just didn't have those resources so we didn't want to pretend like we had. We kept it pretty minimal. But Kai is also experienced with DIY home recording too, so we just tried to make it sound as good as we could for what we had."

The sun was all but settled, and we wrapped up acknowledging the donkey in the room - Jacob's public, however apprehensive, display of support for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. "I've never, in my life, felt compelled to be outwardly supportive of any political figure. Even as I wear this hat, I have some hesitation to wear it."

Ben wasn’t vocal about his political allegiances, but didn't see anything wrong with it. Many prominent musicians, from Lil B to Thurston Moore, have repped the Vermont senator. To Ben, it was merely a repeat of history, a throwback to the countercultural revolution. "That used to be a big thing, like in the '60s to early '70s. It just doesn't exist anymore. I think the younger generation wants that, in a way. I've talked to friends from different bands who've said that. There's this feeling like, it would be nice for kids and musicians to be politically active, but there hasn't been a right person to support."

"It's just been out of fashion or something, out of style," Jacob observes. "I think it's a thing now, a little bit."

Ben shrugs. Jacob turns to me. "Politics aside, who would you rather hang with? Who would you rather have a beer with?"

He drops the last toothpick splinter, curled like a golden blade of grass, in with the rest.