Hometowns can be weird. On one hand, they can serve as hurdles; obstacles to overcome that separate your childhood from your adulthood. But they’re also, well, home, and for better or worse, always will be. For Blackbear, who grew up in the northeastern city of Palm Coast Florida, it’s complicated.

“It just reminds me of kind of the place that was holding me back from my dreams… There were a lot of people that didn’t believe that I was actually going to do something with my life. But Florida in general is a great place for community and great people come from there. Some of my best friends have come from there and I still have friends that live there and my mom still lives there. So it’s cool to go back and visit for the holidays,” Blackbear tells me over Zoom.

Daniel Rojas

Blackbear’s feelings about Palm Coast might be conflicted, but the more I talked with him about his hometown, I picked up on a lot of nostalgic affection for the city that helped shape him. The music scene in particular had been an important stepping stone that lead Blackbear to where he is today,

“There was a really sweet music scene. My babysitter, he was actually my guitar teacher, and I was probably in the second or third grade when he was babysitting me. He taught me riffs from New Found Glory and Blink-182. There was a good music scene and it kind of shaped me to be an artist for sure. I saw him in a band and I used to go to the garage shows or the teen center shows or the ones at Thrills Arcade. Then I found myself starting a band.”

For Blackbear’s latest (and greatest) album, In Loving Memory, the artist put together a deeply personal piece of work that examines the complicated feelings he has about the death of his absent father, but together with producer Travis Barker, the pair have put something together that sounds warm, inviting, and pulls inspiration from the sort of pop-punk and emo music Blackbear was listening to while growing up in Palm Coast as a teen, and the results are comfortingly nostalgic while still sounding fresh.

“When I was in the fourth grade, I was wearing MxPx t-shirts with Good Charlotte patches on my plaid pants and NOFX patches. So I was a full punk rock girl for sure.”

Be sure to catch Blackbear this fall on his headlining Nothing Matters Tour. But first, let’s learn a little bit more about him by checking in on his favorite local Palm Coast hangouts.

What Is Palm Coast Best Known For? What Is One Thing People Visiting Have To Experience?

Flagler Beach

Palm Coast is best known for some of the music people who have come out of there. We’re known for our beach too. Flagler Beach is a great beach and the sand is like ground-up shells, so it’s really tough not like California. It’s very rough so I spent a lot of nights smoking DMT and hanging out.

We would drive, all pile like 10 of us into one Honda Accord, and go to the beach. The beach is really all there is to do besides going to the Walmart parking lot and hanging out… At night it’s a vibe and it was just cool to go there and kind of make up ideas for songs with people and just hang out and get high really.

What’s The Best Palm Coast Breakfast Spot And What’s The Go-To Order?

Cracker Barrel

We would go to Perkins before it shut down and we would go to Cracker Barrel. Definitely get some cheesy grits and eggs and bacon!

Is There A Good Place To Dig For Records?


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by blackbear (@bear)

I was a broke angry teenager, so I would just steal CDs from Walmart. I got caught one time and I never did it again. Still to this day, I’m not allowed back in Walmart. I don’t know if they would recognize me today.

What’s The Best Local Venue For Discovering Music In Palm Coast?

SeaBreeze Coffee Connection/Thrills Arcade (Closed Down)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by blackbear (@bear)

The closest place you could go was the Coffee Connection in Daytona Beach, Florida. That was this little coffee shop that would hold like 40 people tops. There were shows there and that was about 30 minutes away. You would drive to Daytona… other than that we had an arcade called Thrills Arcade, and that was where I got my first shine for sure…

It’s really hard to say because everything that I grew up doing is torn down now. Thrills Arcade, that’s what we did. We went to the Thrills Arcade and there were awesome shows there. And it was so much fun, but everything’s torn down now and new things are there. I think a Chick-fil-A’s there now.

If You’re Looking For Something Adventurous To Do In Palm Coast, What’s The Play?

Kayak The Intercoastal Waterway

You can go kayaking. Me and my brother usually kayak on the intercoastal. So it’s like the beach before the beach, usually, people live on the intercoastal and you can just go for hours, it’s really nice.

What’s Best Thing To Do On A Night Out?

Go Clubbing

Orlando’s fun. That’s where we used to go clubbing and we would have so much fun in Orlando. Miami’s super fun, but Miami… we never considered it Florida because it’s like its own country.

What’s The Best Fancy Dinner Spot… Does Palm Coast Have One?

Fancy Sushi & Grill

Palm Coast
Fancy Sushi/Yelp

The fanciest place is called Fancy Sushi. You get a free miso soup and a free Holiday Roll.

What’s The Best Late Night Guilty Pleasure Food Spot?

Steak and Shake

Dude, Steak and Shake, hands down, is the best place to go late at night when you’re too drunk and whatever. You get a DD and you all go to Steak and Shake. The food just tastes 10 times better than it normally would when it’s 2 in the morning. I think Underoath stopped in there one time, we were all starstruck.

What’s The Best Time Of The Year To Visit Palm Coast?


I like to go during Christmas because the weather is great. It’s not going to snow, it’s a great Christmas vacation. If you’re there in weather it’s really fun and the weather is perfect.

Source: https://uproxx.com/pop/blackbear-interview-palm-coast-florida/