26 Nov Behind the Mic: The Beaches
Courtney Love once said, “I want every girl in the world to pick up a guitar and start screaming.”
A couple of the girls that took that to heart are Jordan Miller, Kylie Miller, Leandra Earl, and Eliza
Enman-McDaniel, the kick-ass Toronto based band, The Beaches. I got the chance to call Jordan
while she was on the road to talk to her about girls in rock n roll, making out with boys at summer
camp, and how much we love Toronto.
What is your current number one song on your playlist?
I’ve been listening to a lot of John Denver actually, I’ve been listening to a lot of it on the road. Annie’s Song , actually.
Country Roads too?
Oh yes, especially in Alberta.
Did you ever go to summer camp? That’s the most classic summer camp song ever.
I did go to summer camp, but we sang weird songs. We went to a sports summer camp, and I was more interested in making out with the boys there anyways, all the athletes.
Kingston is a student town, with a ton of student bands: what is your top piece of advice for student bands looking to go professional?
I think you have to put in your 10000 hours. If you want to be respected as a band, you can have great songs, but rock n roll is a live genre. You have to be able to represent yourself on stage as well. And that means practice everyday. That’s probably really generic advice.
That’s Malcolm Gladwell right? When he talks about The Beatles getting all their performance hours in Europe?
In Hamburg, yeah.
All of you are from Toronto, which is a city that’s been the inspiration for countless musicians, did the city inspire you in anyway when you were starting out?
I don’t know about when we were starting out, but it definitely inspired me for Late Show. For this album I really wanted to write about the last 5 years of my life and growing up and becoming a woman, becoming a young woman. I think Toronto influenced me in that way, I met a lot of my friends in that city, I was drinking and partying in the city, so I think that there’s a ton of spots I think about all the time as an inspiration to me. It’s a beautiful city, I miss it.
What do you miss most about it when you’re touring?
The people. All my friends. I’m really lucky because I have such a close relationship with my band and my crew, but if you ever get sick of each other there’s not much you can do. So I miss being with lots of people all the time.
The Beaches is also known for your incredible songwriting, which included receiving a nomination for the SOCAN Songwriting Prize, where do you find that most of your songwriting inspiration comes from?
I’ve been trying to write about my own personal experiences. I’m more of an ethereal writer, I write about dreams or thoughts, more nonsensical lyrics. But I’ve found that the personal experiences are the most universal. You can listen to someone telling a story and even if it didn’t happen to you, you can still connect with them on some level. That’s what I’ve been trying to do, I’ve been writing about like, boys I’ve met, my parent’s shitty friends, getting drunk in Toronto, that kind of thing.
Did you find it was easier to write about the nonsensical stuff as a younger writer? That the connection to personal writing came with experience?
That’s probably true actually. I never thought about it that way, that it came with maturity, but it’s definitely true. There’s definitely some songs on Late Show that are more ethereal, like Highway 6 is about a dream I had, but I’ve had more of a connection to the personal writing.
You guys also won a Juno award this past year for Breakthrough Group – what did winning that award feel like?
It was incredible. We’ve been a band for a long time, like five years, but last year was definitely a breakthrough year for us. We released our first album, went on our first American tour, our first headlining across Canada tour. It was so sweet to be recognized by such incredible Canadian musician and Canadian talent, we were just so honoured that people were happy for us and for the year that we had.
What are your future goals for the band?
Is it bad to say that I want all the awards? I want all the awards! I want us to take over! What can’t we do?
Do you believe that the future is female?
I think so. I mean, what’s exciting about us and rock music right now is that rock music has always been dominated by young white men. I think that what people find special about us is that we take rock n roll at its core, the griminess, the grittiness, the 70s rock n roll feel, and we apply a young female voice to it. And I think that it’s what’s going to save the genre. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but the future of rock n roll is definitely female.
Catch The Beaches playing at The Ale House, December 2nd. Listen to their newest album Late Show below!