James Artherton has a cheeky chinwag with singer-songwriter Beans on Toast.
Beans on Toast! Welcome to Exeter!
Thank you very much!
Are you excited to be back in Exeter?
I am yeah! I really enjoyed the show here last year and it’s good to be back.
How’s the tour going so far, you’re nearing the end now?
It is yeah, I’m getting really sad already cause it’s gonna end. I mean, it’s been phenomenal. I don’t really know what to say, each city has had its amazing, special point about it, there’s been no low points at all, we’ve just been flying through.
You played Bristol last night, did Big Jeff go? He did! He’s been to every gig since I wrote that song, so the song is true to its word. Never underestimate the power of a song because it worked. Last night he came up on stage and we made a big deal about it as well because the first time I played it he was there but I hadn’t actually met him so I didn’t wanna make a big song and dance about it if he was then gonna [be awkward] But since then we’ve actually become pretty good friends so I knew he’d be up for it so we got him up for it. He really is a legend; I’ve never met anyone like him. He’s straight from the heart and he really knows what it’s about and how to enjoy himself.
You’re nearing the end of your UK tour now, what’s your most favourite and least favourite thing about touring?
Urrrrrmmmmmm… My favourite thing… I really like every aspect of touring to be honest. When you’re just visiting a city, it’s hard to find a reason to move around so much and you have to find your own way around because you’re a tourist. Whereas when you do a gig, people wanna show you around, it’s like you’ve instantly got friends in every city that you go to. It’s a really beautiful amazing opportunity to be able to see behind the scenes of every city that you go to.
If there was something that I didn’t like, then it’s got to be three guys in a hotel room every night… That can get a little… It can stink. Basically. Hahaha. And there’s a couple of times when we go to really cheap hotel rooms and you get the ones where there’s no windows and no natural light and, especially after a big night on the piss… They’re dark times… Waking up with no natural light…
The songs on your new album take inspiration from a wide range of sources, how do you behind the writing process?
I just, I smoke weed.
That’s the short answer, the longer answer would be that I find writing really easy, it comes really naturally and I think that stems from the fact that I’m not a great guitar player and I don’t know any songs on the guitar, so if I pick up a guitar I’m not gonna play songs that I’ve already written, so naturally when I pick up a guitar I will write another tune. And then I just write about whatever I’m thinking about.
The vinyl release of your new album is exclusively through urban outfitters, where did this collaboration come from?
*Giggles* My girlfriend works there! I got a lot of stick for it as well. I didn’t realise people were against it. It’s like everyone was moaning about Urban Outfitters but no one moans about Amazon?! I don’t understand it. If I said “oh I’m selling it through Amazon” everyone would be like “oh great!”, but then everyone was like “uh frikkin Urban Outfitters.”
As someone who epitomises the lack of a barrier between artist and audience, what is your opinion on bands of offer VIP ‘meet and greets’ packages for cash?
I don’t think you can knock [the bands] for it, if anything knock the person who’s paying up for it. It’s such an awful, stupid idea, but if people are willing to pay then I think the problem’s with them. So yeah, it’s foolish but then who ever expected pop stars to act anything but foolish?
It’s interesting listening to the old Frank Turner song ‘I Knew Prufrock before He Got Famous’ that the three musicians mentioned, yourself, Frank himself and Justin Young (The Vaccines) have all been hugely successful. At the point at which that song was written, did you imagine that the one of you, let alone all three of you would have the success that you have had?
I’m not sure I consider myself hugely successful hahaha. I know what you mean though. You know when he wrote that song, I guess he meant it because it was just all three of us singing songs down the pub. But it doesn’t feel a hell of a lot different to that now even with Frank, as big as he’s got he’s still 100% grounded and he still knows what’s going on. So it doesn’t feel like much has changed. It’s just how it is.
Your song ‘All I See is Wagamama’ talks of both your adoration of London and also what you…
Hate about it. Yeah I mean, I moved there when I was 18/19 and I felt like, without blowing my own trumpet, I feel like I’ve put my bit into the city, like I’ve worked really hard there. And I love it, and not just through Beans on Toast stuff, I mean I’ve worked in pubs and clubs there and I know the city really well. Both me and my girlfriend have worked hard there, and yet the idea of us living there and getting a house, it’s not even slightly possible; it’s never gonna happen… So we’re in this weird thing where it’s like do we go somewhere that’s more affordable, but then that takes us away from where our lives are? I mean… It’s just like f**k you London! That’s not fair. And it’s only going one way as well. It’s getting worse and worse. I get worried about all the young kids that wanna move there you know? It’s SO unwelcoming and it will ruin the city. They’re taking away all the good bits. If I could find work elsewhere, I would.
Do you foresee a future living outside of London?
I dunno… I mean at the moment, we’re renting and it’s cool and the flat’s nice, I like it. But I’m almost like b******s. There are a million more places that are more reasonably priced but, I dunno, it’s freaking annoying. The whole thing, it’s a big one. Hence why the song is so long.
What’s coming next for Beans on Toast in 2015?
Loads, looking like an even busier year, going out to the States in March. I’ve also just confirmed that I’m going to Africa Burn which is South Africa’s Burning Man festival, that sounds epic. Doing a UK tour in May palying non-major UK cities, and then new album I guess. More of the same.
Thank you Beans on Toast
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