Beans On Toast is back at Gorilla to serenade all you lovers this Valentines day, with songs about our messed up country, the impending doom of humanity, and maybe a dash of MDMA if you’re lucky. Jay from Beans on Toast, has been extensively touring and promoting his new record ‘The Inevitable Train Wreck’. Our very own Ivan Holmes caught up with him ahead of the SOLD OUT show to talk about the new record, the upcoming show, and small independent venues.
Hey! What are you up to today?
Rehearsing, actually. Which is something being a solo musician is something I don’t have to do or worry about, I just sort of go on tour, but it’s a new band and a new tour. So we’re just in the studio where we made the album, in Kentish town, working out the new songs.
Tell us about the basics about Beans On Toast.
I’ve been doing this for a long time, we’re about to tour my new album which is my 11th album. I grew up in Essex, now I have a cool London home. At heart I’m a Folk singer songwriter, and over the years its sort of changed, working with different people and different producers, and this new album is about the collapse of civilization. The songs are so bleak, I decided to present them to the world in an upbeat fun fashion.
Tell more about the, album. It’s sounding a bit more Rock ‘n’ Roll, perhaps Glam Rock, than your last albums?
What Rock ‘n’ Roll influences did you take?
Chuck Berry, Little Richard, the originators of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I had no idea how to make music like that, so I took the folk songs I had written to Kitty and Lewis Dunham, from the band Kitty, Dairy & Lewis. They have this studio that I’m stood in as we speak, which has analogue gear and what not, and I knew they were a great rock ‘n’ roll band in their own right, so I was like look, there’s a sound I want to do, but I don’t know how to do it, and it was kind of like handing them the keys to the car, I did very little in the studio, I just kind of sat there while they performed my songs in their own way.
Is it more analogue would you say?
Everything’s recorded without a computer, it’s all old school equipment here. Lewis built half the studio with his bare hands, the mixing desk is an old piano desk that he’s wired and drilled holes through.
They basically re-created the music that was in these songs and I sang over the top of them, and it went exactly according to plan. When I started the record, I told the band not to worry about what we’re doing live, but a lot of the songs I couldn’t even play anymore because they’d gone down such a different path. Like you said fucking glam rock and funky tunes I was out of my comfort zone! Though we’ve just started the tour and we’ll end up in Manchester for the penultimate show of the tour and its Valentines’ day.
Yeah is there any reason you chose Valentines day and Manchester?
Gorilla, without even kissing arse, is one of my favourite venues in the country, I don’t just say that to other venues when I play there. This will be like my 5th time playing there I’ve always had such incredible shows and it’s a brilliant room to play and obviously Manchester crowds are very lovely.
Do you see a difference in playing to Northern audiences?
I think you do, there’s definitely a different personality to each place, but there’s not many cities I’ve got nice things to say about. As far as a place to gig Manchester is cream of the crop! And it’s down to the combination of the people and the place. It will also be one of the shows I sell the most tickets, so that makes me feel particularly welcome. I’ve always done as well in Manchester as I have in London. So that makes you feel welcome.
Your song ‘The Drum Kit’ shouts out small venues, what would you say is the key to saving small venues?
I think there’s a lot of concentration on the venues that are closing, which is obviously tragic. Amongst that, there’s not enough success stories on the venues doing really well. Yeah, this venues closing because noise complaints and all that shit is a nightmare. The venues that do, do well are the ones that have good food options available, a place that’s booked really well, with a great club night on afterwards that’s going to fill out. A music venue should be a successful business model. Shouldn’t just be filling out a calendar for the sake of it. You can tell when there’s love and attention put into it. A stronger way of doing this is celebrating the success of small venues. I can only imagine Gorilla is one, because every time I’ve played, the bar at the front is rammed, the restaurant is fully booked, there’s a good club night on.