The Beaches – The Girls Behind Canada’s Rising Rock Phenom

The BeachesThe Beaches are one hot Toronto rock band. 2019 saw them open for The Rolling Stones on their only Canadian date and they kicked off the 107th Grey Cup festivities, among other amazing highlights.

This year, the band heads out on their first country-wide headlining tour with support from HUNNY, Valley, Goodbye Honolulu and Fade Awaays, with stops in Guelph on Feb. 22, London of Feb.23 and Kitchener on Feb. 26.

Vocalist and bassist Jordan Miller took some time out of rehearsals to chat about the successes in 2019, the upcoming tour and what lies ahead this year.

Last year was such an exciting time for you guys. It’s been a constant rise with more and more excitement and things that are happening all the time. Can you sum up what 2019 meant to you?
It’s hard to epitomize the feeling of the year, but I feel if I had to say one word, it was about experimenting and pushing ourselves with new directions for the music and continuing to work hard and have fun.  This year’s been so crazy, all of the great opportunities and people we’ve been able to meet and great shows we’ve been able to play. It’s hard to find the words to describe it.

I wanted to get your insight on a couple big shows that you played. What did it feel like with the big crowds and the overall experience? First, Burl’s Creek and the Rolling Stones.
Yeah. That was insane, kind of like being in a dream. Again, it’s so crazy. That whole day went by so fast. I think I was nervous as soon as I got up until I got on stage. Then as soon as I was on stage, I just felt this overwhelming sense of calm and reassurance and I had so much fun. I got to go on Mick’s catwalk and wear a sparkly dress and then I got to meet them afterwards and the show went amazing. It was crazy.

Rogers Centre with the Foo Fighters.
Dave Grohl’s a super nice guy. He smells amazing. He smells kind of like leather and American tobacco and he was really nice and he met my mom, too, afterwards.  Again, it’s hard meeting these bigger than life figures and being able to play music with some of your heroes. It’s so weird, but it’s cool.

Is there anything that you learned or took away from playing those big shows like that?
I actually find bigger shows are easier than playing very small, intimate shows. They’re much more exciting and fun. They’re less scary for me because you’d think that it would be the other way around, but when I have to play in front of one person, I’m much more nervous because it’s so much more intimate. With the bigger shows, I think what I’ve learned from this year is not to be so nervous and just to enjoy them because it’s just this rush of energy that you experience playing for so many people.  You have to treat it like any other show, just do your best and have fun.

Now for many, like you said, just meeting the Foo Fighters or the Rolling Stones would be a thrill of a lifetime, but you got to share the stage with them. Was there ever a fan moment with those shows at any point? Who would turn you into an excited fan?
Like a star struck moment? I guess the closest one for me was Elton John, when we met him. I’ve been a fan of his music for so many years and having him not only promote the band on his radio show but want to meet us in Toronto when he was in town was really kind of a big moment for me and for my family. I think my mom’s first concert was Elton John, so I’ve just been listening to him for so many years. So for him to be a fan of ours was really exciting, but we didn’t play with him. Maybe one day though. I’ll cross my fingers.

With giant crowds, like the ones you played with, there’s still some faith in rock music because it hasn’t been as prevalent in years. What are some of the challenges that you face as a newer band?
Good question. I think the fact that we’re young and we’re girls is helpful, as well as the fact that we’re playing rock music cause we’re adding a new face and a new sound and a new perspective to a genre that’s been dominated by older men for so many years. So I think the fact that we’re a bit more niche and experimental with using keyboards and cool samples, like drum samples, in our music, especially with this new record, rejuvenates rock and roll. I definitely think that being young, you still have to get the respect of older rock bands that might be a little wary of you at the beginning. But we all love rock music and you can tell that we are respectful of the genre and we love it so much when you listen to our music. Sorry, I’m sort of rambling right now.

That’s okay.
I would say that when we were first started out, we were  12 or 13 and a lot of people that were coming to our shows were saying, “Wow, what do these guys know about rock music? How are they going to be able to take a genre that we like and actually do it right?” But I think when people came and saw us play live, we didn’t really have to worry about that anymore, because you can hear it in our music that we know our stuff. There we go. That’s what I was trying to say.

You did mention that you felt that being an all-female band helped with the rock. Do you think that it helps or hurts the band or is it irrelevant to your career?
I think it’s helpful in bringing new people into it because they hear a young female rock band and they’re like, “Oh wow, there hasn’t really been a lot of that going on in a while. I wonder what this is going to sound like.” So I think it actually attracts new people to listen to rock music. I think that’s where it’s helpful.

Speaking of females, it must’ve been a thrill working with Emily from Metric on the album. Do you think you guys would ever work together again?

I’d love to. I loved working with Emily. She was incredible. Emily and Denis, recording Late Show with them was one of the most amazing experiences ever. They just really wanted to capture what our sound was live, so they came to see a bunch of our shows and essentially what Late Show is, it’s just a compilation of songs that we’ve had for about six or seven years that we played live a bunch of times. So when we were recording the album, they just wanted us to do most of it live off the floor so that it really captured that live, raw energy that we have on stage. So they were really just so awesome. And to have someone like her and him who are so important in the Canadian music industry just want to capture who you are in a record, is really awesome.

The Runaways really set a pace for female rockers when the world least expected it and the movie was one hell of a trip. I was wondering, what would The Beaches movie look like if it was put out at this point?
Right now? Well, I think it’d be pretty goofy. We’re actually just kind of goofy nerds, if you really hang out with us. We have fun and we drink and party every once in a while, but really just hanging out with us is like hanging out with four girls. It looks more like an episode of Girls, like the HBO show, than a drug-infused, crazy rock show. It’s probably most often us playing board games on the bus, talking about our relationships and shit, or playing together.  I don’t really remember a lot about the Runaways. I think that they were kind of put together, but our band, we started a band because we were all friends and wanted to make music. So it’d probably be a little less dramatic and interesting than their crazy times.

Being in a band with your sister, I can’t imagine spending all that time with my sister.
No, I know. It’s weird to imagine, because we live together, we share a profession and we also share friends. We’re constantly in each other’s lives. But I think that we’ve always been that close. So I mean, thinking about it from an outsider’s perspective, I totally see how it would be seen, like, “How do you do this?” But yeah, we’ve always been super close. I think we’re only 14 months apart, so we’ve always been in each other’s lives and when we started playing music we started together. So I’ve never actually done a solo project. It’d be hard for me to imagine not doing anything with Kylie.

I want to talk about the song T-Shirt. You sing that you don’t think you’re sexy and that you’re part of the itty bitty titty committee. Is that something for the song or is that how you feel?
Well, I think the song is about a one-night stand that I had that I wanted to turn into something more and the guy just wanted to keep it a one-night stand and I just was thinking about it afterwards that there hasn’t really been a song that talks about being okay just to have a silly one night stand and to not feel ashamed or embarrassed about it. And then it became the song about accepting all of you, what you contrive in your mind to be your faults. So for me, I’ve always been insecure about my boobs. So I just thought it would be funny to embrace the fact that I have small boobs in the song.

It’s about self-empowerment, so it’s not saying it’s great that I have small boobs or big boobs. It’s just  owning what you have and being cool with it, if that makes sense.

You guys have 3 EPs and 1 album. Do you consider yourself more of an album band or an EP band?
Well, I think the reason why this next album, we’ve put it out as two EPs, we’re releasing a second Professional EP that will turn it into an album. But I think what we were trying to do is get music out as fast as possible for people, which is the current model in the industry now. Not to say that’s good or bad, albums are awesome, but they have a short shelf life.  People have such short attention spans now with the way streaming works. And so if you space out an album this way it can be very beneficial just to keep people thinking about you and keep people listening. And it’s also great for fans who just want new music right away. That’s the advantage of the EP. I personally love albums, I like listening to vinyl and having a complete body of work, but I think you can get away with that with an EP as well, just if it’s consistent and punchy enough.

Compare the writing and recording experience of The Professional with your first EP from 2013 – you guys have grown a lot since that first EP.
The first EP we did with Brain in Los Angeles when we were really young and it was some of the first songs that we’d written together. Just comparing that experience where we were just very insecure and nervous and trying new things versus this new EP where I think we definitely are more confident as songwriters but wanted to experiment and push ourselves with the sounds that we were using and not necessarily only draw from rock bands, try to draw from R&B and Soul and David Bowie and Disco. I think having the three EPs and the album behind us, knowing that we were good songwriters and that it was going to work out was integral for this one, where we were definitely trying to experiment a bit more.

Is there a new goal for the band for this year, 2020?
I don’t know. I actually like to set goals unless it sounds dumb, but for me it’s always just been about playing with my best friends and whatever comes our way or doesn’t come our way, to me what’s really important is just about making music and having fun. I know that sounds corny, but I think it allows for those crazy experiences that come your way just to surprise you and take your breath away, and if you’re always chasing that stuff then it takes away the fun in my mind.

Last question for you. You’re off on a new tour and this is your biggest headlining tour and it’s a big undertaking for you guys. This is your biggest headlining tour, isn’t it?
Yes. It’s our first big bus tour as I like to call them when you have a full crew and are traveling on a bus and not driving all night to get to a show. It’s really exciting and I’m so excited to play Canada again, and we haven’t really done a headlining tour in a few years. So I’m really looking forward to this, and I hope people really like what they hear.

Will we get to hear some new music in 2020 or even at these shows?
You absolutely will. Even at the new shows, you will hear some of the new stuff that we’ve been working on.

 

Photo: Felice Trinidad
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