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Interview: Beans On Toast

Touring on the back of his milestone tenth album, Beans on Toast and a full live band will be performing tracks from the warmly received new record, ‘A Bird In The Hand’ at The Wedgewood Rooms on January 31st.

Could you tell me about how you initially got involved with music and who influenced you most?
Me and my two best mates from school decided we were in a band, we told everyone about it and graffitied the bands’ name all over the school, after that we figured we needed to get some instruments and learn how to play, so it was a bit of a backwards start. Hard to think what influenced me back then, but music and bands made a more sense to me than maths, science or any of the other things I was being taught at school. Once I got my head around a few chords on the guitar I immediately started writing songs, I’ve not stopped since.

Can you describe how you felt whilst after you’d released your very first single?
I was always an album person. I didn’t really release any singles until my third album. It was a song called ‘Blowjob for the Blues’ and was only really a single because I made a video for it. The video was a kind of piss-take of RnB / Hip Hop videos. My girlfriend invited 6 female friends around and we all got semi-naked and danced around my bedroom drinking wine and singing the song. I have to say, It felt great.

For those who are new to your music which three tracks would you encourage them to check out first and why?
I’d suggest ‘The Price of Rice,’ ‘The War on War’ and ‘Another Year.’ The first is from my first album, the second from my fifth album and the third from my tenth and latest album, so it’s spread across the back catalogue. I’d also suggest they come to a gig tho, you get more than three songs and more of an understanding about what it is I do.

Over the years has your approach to performing live changed and if so how?
Not really, I still enjoy it as much as I always have and I find that having a good time makes for the best show. I don’t get anywhere near as hammered these days as I once did, but apart from the odd show here and there I don’t think that ever affected the gig too much.

How do you feel when you share your music for the first time? Do you prefer to share new music live where you can see the crowd’s reaction first hand or online perhaps?
I’ll always gig songs before recording or releasing them, more because I get excited when I finish a song and end up playing it at the very next gig I play, even when I tell myself not to. That said the feeling of putting new music out into the world, a new album, for example, has a whole different set of emotions, it’s exciting for different more patient reasons.

What bands and artists are you currently listening to and how are they inspiring you to explore and implement new ideas with your music?
One of my biggest influences as a songwriter is the legend John Prine, so it was an absolute treat for him to put out new music this year. I also caught a tiny show at Rough Trade Record shop in the Summer. One of the all-time greats.

What can those fortunate enough to have tickets expect from your live show?
Singing, drinking, laughing, thinking and dancing.

While on tour do you get very much time to explore the towns and cities that you are playing?
Very much so, this tour I’m playing with a band so we will have a tighter schedule and sound checks etc etc. Normally I play solo and that means I have all day to do as I please and I do my best to seek out special spots around town.

I know Pie and Vinyl well (would suggest the veggy donner kebab pie, much better than it sounds). I’ve also been up the Spinnaker Tower, caught a kite festival on the beach and been for some mid-winter dips in the Solent.

What can we expect from you over the next twelve months?
More of the same. Writing, recording, touring and singing my songs.

You can buy tickets for the show at https://beansontoast.lnk.to/ABITHshop.

Beans on Toast sat on a chair.

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