A Chat With: The Beaches
Toronto female power rock band The Beaches, Jordan Miller, Kylie Miller, Eliza Enman McDaniel and Leandra Earl, joined Death From Above 1979 on tour this fall. I caught up with the girls at the start of tour before their Montreal show to talk about the making of, and some songs on Late Show. As well as their SXSW experience as teenagers and much more!
Your debut album is out, Late Show, how has the response been from everyone?
E: Its been good!
J: Its been positive!
E: It's interesting because there’s one song on the album that’s a slow song, like just one and a lot of people that we’ve talked too have been like ‘yeah that one’s my favourite’. It's interesting because we’re not really a slow song kind of band but its still cool that people are open to that
J: Its cool, its wonderful to hear everyone’s favourites and what everyone takes from the album, its always gonna be a little bit of a surprise but that’s what’s fun
You signed with Universal, how was it getting into the major label vibe?
K: Good! We signed to Island Records 2-3 years ago and now we’ve branched off and started working with Universal Canada for this record and its good. I mean, being an indie band is awesome because you can have the freedom to do whatever you want, but having the support from the label and the radio push is very beneficial for us as a band and they bring along new opportunities
And for the album you worked with Emily and Jimmy of Metric, how was that?
E: They were so fun!
J: They were wonderful! Well, its wonderful working with musicians as producers. It was also a first time experience for us to work with people who just wanted to produce the record rather then co-write. They really wanted the record to feel like us, like we were playing live. All the steps they took as producers sort of had that mentality in mind; whether it was recording a number of the tracks off the floor, adding in vocals later, to trying to highlight Leandra and Kylie’s harmonies by giving them specific parts in the songs. It was great
Why did you call the album Late Show?
K: We called it Late Show because it's actually one of the oldest songs we have as a band. We’ve had the song even before we named the band The Beaches, before Leandra was even in it, and we’ve always tried to record it but we could never get it right. We tried a bunch of different people and Emily and Jimmy took the song and they got something out of it that we really wanted. We end all of our sets with that song and it's a really live staple in our set so we thought it would be great to call the album the song. We’ve been waiting to put out the album for a really long time, we’re a little bit late to the party but we’re here now and ready to party!
Have you had most songs for that long also?
K: A lot of them we have yeah, and some of them are really new, each song is different and has a different story
E: They’ve all changed over the years, like some of them started off super different then what they turned into and obviously having Leandra in the band has added a lot of stuff, and we were able to change the songs and add more keys. So yeah, they’ve been around for a while
J: To add to Eliza’s point, a lot of the reason why we’ve had these songs for so long and why these songs have made the album is because we’ve had time to work them out live which is the best time to make changes to your music; when you have an audience to play to
Before making the record, you had said you want to make songs that are more accessible and more relatable and I think songs like T-Shirt and Keeper are like that, and there’s a lot more on the album also but tell me a bit about those two
E: I like that you got that out of the lyrics, its cool cause it's really true!
J: Yeah, they’re about real life stories! Keeper is about her (Leandra) failed love and T-Shirt is about an experience-Okay it wasn’t a fail but it was a different approach at casual sex, like a lot of people are so upset like ‘ugh he’s not gonna call me, I feel really bad now’ and like, why do we have to feel bad about those experiences, you should just embrace it. Anyways, I feel like a lot of girls will find that relatable
And the lyrics in T-Shirt are so clever and witty, how did you come up with that? (Itty Bitty Titty committee)
J: I have small tits ahaha, no but I don’t know the song is kind of tongue and cheek. There was a point where I was describing myself in a sexy way and then I was like i’m not sexy I have small boobs
E: You’re sexy in your own way!
J: Like a 13 year old boy with long hair
E: We all feel like a 13 year old boy at one point in our lives
L: I do, like right now
J: Once a day
How was it making those songs?
J: I think for those two songs Kylie and Leandra had came up with the guitar part before hand
K: We brought it to the studio and jammed with it with Eliza and then you (Jordan) started recording vocal melodies over it and then you wrote lyrics
J: For T-Shirt we had different lyrics over it before for a while, something about a guy with blue hair I had made up in my head. Then that was one of the first songs I started approaching songwriting more as a journal, where you write your personal experiences so I scrapped the fictional blue hair guy and decided to talk about something that had just happened to me. Some dude left his shirt and 60$ in my house and I was wearing it afterwards and I texted him ‘you want it back?’ and he said I could throw it out so-
E: We kept the 60$ and bought toilet paper for our studio
J: Ahah yeah so I wrote a song about that experience and for Keeper-
L: I was just miserable and then she (Jordan) did something about it
J: Did it help you at all?
L: It did because I love that song, screw that guy!
What are some artists that inspired you throughout the whole process?
K: I think we all had different influences but I think they all stemmed from a lot of guitar rock from the 70s like The Rolling Stones, Bowie, there was some glam elements in there too. We pulled a little bit from The Strokes and from those classic late 90s early 2000s guitar rock bands. St.Vincent is always one for guitar parts, Pretenders, Blondie, its kind of all over the place but it came together in a really nice way
And what are you listening to now?
J: I’ve been listening to The Lemon Twigs 'Do Hollywood a lot'. There’s also a Toronto band we all like a lot called Goodbye Honolulu
L: I’ve been making us listen to Miley Cyrus’ new album
E: Obviously Death From Above’s new album is amazing. I’ve also been listening to Jessie Reyez
K: I’ve been listening to the new White Reaper record a lot and Alvvays a lot!
Any tour story you can tell us?
L: We haven’t really done a tour yet
K: We played SXSW, oh man, we were like 15 and 16 and just so stupid. Doing double shots of tequila and Jack Daniels
E: So, we were in the states and we were 16 years old so the bar we played at basically was like ‘yeah if you stay it's okay’ so we just stayed there
K: Yeah, and in Austin, when you play SXSW what you don’t know is you can’t park anywhere! We had a trailer and theres all these hills and you have to carry all your stuff really far away. We were just down these hills rolling our amps with our stuff piled on top of the amps, so drunk trying to navigate
L: We were in the parking lot and we were like ‘lets just pee right here, no one can see us’ and there was everyone right there
K: All these famous people are walking by and we’re just gross 15 year olds. And we had a show at like 11am the next day and we were so dead
J: I think we recovered pretty fast, cause we were so young, when you’re that young you can drink whatever you want
L: We were just assholes about it. Remember we had to go to a meeting to meet tastemakers and me and someone else were just dead on the couch, like ‘goodbye world!Someone else try to meet these people’
J: Just give me my converse!
L: Oh yeah we got converse from Steve Aoki. We were so hungover though we were like ‘just give me any size that will fit my foot’
J: We’ve been underage for all the tours we’ve done so we haven’t done anything crazy yet, we’re saving it for this tour, talk to us in a year hahah
Fave song on your album?
K: Turn Me On
L: Highway 6
A band you wanna tour with
J: Oasis, if they ever get back together
K: Jack White
L: Queens of Stone Age
A song that needs to be played while on road trip
J: Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver
K: Park Life by Blur
E: A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton
L: La La Land by Demi Lovato
Check out The Beaches!!