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Interview with Beans on Toast

By Danielle Smith

With a pint of beer in his hand and a warm smile on his face, the folk singer Beans on Toast sits across from me as I chat to him about his new album ‘A Bird in the Hand’.

So what is the reason behind ‘A Bird in the Hand’?

“All of my albums have similar titles so it needed to have something that was of a similar structure. A lot of the album is about my daughter called Ren, and the saying ‘A Bird in the Hand worth two in a bush’, which is just about appreciating what you have basically”

When did you start thinking about writing for this album?

“Well… as soon as I finished writing about the last one…”

…Does that always happen after you finish one?

“Yeah well I release an album a year so I never really stop writing. I find that there is a long period between recording an album and releasing it, so that is quite a nice time for me to write. Most of this album was written after my daughter was born when we bought her home, she is this precious new life and you create a bubble around your home and that was where I started writing the majority of it. There was a time where it was going to be about parenting and that…”

…How comes you decided to change?

“At one point I thought I would just do it about parenting and it was like the minute I make rules I just automatically break them, so you don’t want an album that has a rule on it do you”

On your album do you have a favourite song?

“erm… not really I don’t really see it as that way. I don’t have favourite songs on albums and I don’t really have favourite albums. If anything, I’m generally most interested in whatever I’m working on at the moment which is like the next song where my head would be at that time”

How come you bring your albums out on your birthday? Is it just an easy date to remember?

“Aha I guess there is that, it just sort of happened…the first album I did an album launch birthday party and when you start making music the only people that are going to come to listen to you are your mates. So you rely on your mates to come, and then you need to get other people to come by the time your mates stop coming”

You’re just gonna sit with the same crowd otherwise?

“Yeah yeah and your mates are never gonna be that much into the music. They would come because they’re your mates, but they’re not gonna go to different cities to watch you and that. So after the album launch party, it didn’t mean to be a thing it was just like the next year was another album ready thought just put it out on the same day, because it worked last time. By the time you have done it three times then it becomes a thing”

What good things come from that?

“This means I’m constantly touring, I play the same festivals year in year out, which no bands ever get to do. Normally festivals are like you play one year, then can’t play for another couple of years for whatever reason. They go ‘yeah get beans he can play every year’, this is because they know they will get new songs because there is a new album”

Nothing really ever gets boring?

“Nah fucking hell no I used to work in factories I know what boring is. People say this a lot they say ‘oh you must get bored doing that MDMA song’ the song that everyone loves people say ‘you must get bored singing that’. I say why the fuck would that be boring, playing a song that people like is not boring”

In your songs I feel like you speak your mind and say what you want to say, have you ever been criticized for that at all?

“I have met people that don’t like it but that would happen whatever music really and rightly so. I think I sit in this bracket where you only really know my music if you like it, it’s never really pushed down anyone’s throat, like put on billboards on played on the radio. Basically meaning it is easy to ignore”

Anything odd happened at a festival?

“Playing at Bestival an odd thing happened this year. I was in the middle of a show in the crowd with my mic at quite a big gig was a nice sunny day, everyone was having a ball. Then this guy comes over all dead serious grabbing me and says mate this is fucking shit and you know it! I gave him the mic and knowing how to deal with crowds a little bit I didn’t think he would do anything and he screamed ‘THIS IS FUCKING SHIT!’ The way he came over, looked as if it was his duty to tell me what he thought”

I have noticed that every album has had a different colour, what happens when you run out of colours?

“You tell me I’ve already run out I think”

You have every colour that is known unless you go a different shade of a previous colour?

“Well can’t have that cause then everyone will get confused. This is the crisis that I am currently facing, I need something that I could times by 10. I could either do a patterned background like stripy or do textured, there are loads of options but it needs to change”

If you could change anything in the world what would it be?

“Probably greed, because all of the problems in the world come down people being greedy. If greed didn’t exist we would probably still be pagans screwing each other and climbing trees all day…in the nicest pagan way possible”

‘A Bird in the hand’ is OUT NOW and available to buy on CD, Vinyl and download on Spotify. 

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