INTERVIEW: Beans on Toast

Self-proclaimed ‘drunk folksinger’ Beans on Toast is currently on a 7 week tour of America, ahead of his UK dates. Sophie Ahmed took to the phones to ask him a few questions.

NUSU
27th October 2015

Where are you in America currently?

Haha, try not to hate me but I’m currently on a beach in LA! We’re playing LA tonight and I’ve been staying at a friend of a friends so I can be close to the beach- staying at a friend’s, randomly having one of those days where there isn’t much to do so decided I’d have some time down here rather than sitting in the van

Ahh nice! When will you be back in the UK?

This current tour finishes at the end of the month and I’m planning to head home and spend some time with family for a week before we kick of the UK tour in Aberdeenshire

Well, I know you’re back in Newcastle playing ‘The Cluny’ on the 15th   - are you looking forward to the show?

Yeah, yeah back at The Cluny, which is a venue I love, it’s a similar size to a lot of the venues on the tour this time round, but overall they just do it really well at The Cluny, as much as it sounds simple making a music venue really nice, some people get it really wrong!

I know the first time I saw you play was at ‘The Cockpit’ in Leeds, which has unfortunately closed down now. How do you feel about the closing down of venues such as this?

It has closed down, which is a shame and I don’t know the ins and outs but a lot of venues do get shut down due to noise complaints or they’ve simply just run their course! However, there are still plenty of nice venues in Leeds and new ones are bound to open up. I think nowadays it’s just up to the younger ones to go out and find new, interesting spaces for their own sound and parties opposed to living in the shadows of someone else’s name.

I know as tradition on your birthday every year, December 1st, you release a new album and I was curious if we can expect the same again this year?

Yes of course! This will be the 7th album, titled ‘Rolling up the Hill’ which we recorded in Kansas with a husband and wife country duo that I met at ‘Larmer Tree Festival’ called ‘Truckstop Honeymoon’- I’d seen them at the festival and really enjoyed what they were doing so wrote to them and turns out they’d seen my gig and so we went to their studio in the states and the four of us made the record together. They’ll also be flying over here and supporting me onstage as my backing band for the tour!

Are there any new influences on this album when set apart from previous albums?

I’ve wrote a song about a street artist which was set around my wife’s birthday, I wanted to get her a present that didn’t cost any money and so I called up a friend of mine who’s a street artist in Brazil and I swapped him a song for a painting, which was a large heart on stretch canvas and so I gave that to my wife for her 30th birthday.

I know a lot of your songs are based around political issues, do your songs reflect your personal views or do you have any?

Well yeah, I’m a Jeremy Corbyn fan currently if that’s where you’re going, he’s definitely onto something and seems to be talking a lot of sense in world where not a lot has been spoken for years- but I’m big into the Greens and what they’re doing currently, they’re talking a lot of sense so I definitely wore my green party t-shirt hard and I played quite a few events.

So, the name ‘Beans on Toast’ is there a story behind that? Are you one half of a duo, did Toast get lost along the way?

Hahaha, no, I do sometimes tour with another guy but we’re not like ‘Salt and Pepper’ or anything. The first batch of songs I wrote I intended to be in a band and that was the name I had picked out but when I emerged without one I just kept it. I’m a big fan of band names, and I feel this one is pretty descriptive of what I do, it’s cheap, it’s relatable however, it doesn’t translate very well in America, they have beans and they have toast but they don’t seem to put them together, they just think I’m trying to be whacky.

Is there any artists around at the moment that you’re ‘digging’?

I’m currently touring with Frank Turner who is a really great guy and I’d say we’re pretty ‘tight’ now so maybe we can expect a few collaborations on the horizon, but also ‘Truckstop Honeymoon’, I’ll always give them a shout out. Also, Ezra Furman, his new album is a good one too!

And finally we were intrigued to know, do you still fancy Laura Marling?

Aha, well of course I’m married now but I still think she’s an amazing woman!

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