In California when you mention the beaches, you conjure images of surf and sand. Yet a whole new kind of wave is headed our way. The Beaches is a four girl alternative rock band out of Toronto, Ontario embracing authenticity and making a splash.
Just before their last 1AM SXSW* appearance at Friends on 6th Street, I grabbed fifteen minutes of this hot band’s time on a phone conference call interview. I was expecting some overly tired and worn out girls to answer the line but instead it felt more like I was calling into a sleepover party. Their friendship and laughter made me want to join the band—or at least the road trip home.
The Beaches are Jordan Miller (lead singer), Kylie Miller (guitarist), Eliza Enman McDaniel (drums), Leandra Earl (keyboards), and yes Jordan and Kylie are sisters. Making music together from a very young age, the evolution of The Beaches was inevitable. Finding themselves at SXSW is just the beginning for this band ready to take on the music world and they’re not pretending they are “an easy riddle.” [“The Loner” by The Beaches lyrics]
The Beaches “Loner” Official YouTube Music Video
With it being their first time in Austin, I asked them what they thought of it. Eliza took the lead on the call and answered, “It’s been crazy, it’s been really cool though. We got free shoes yesterday which was pretty cool! It’s the first festival where that’s happened. …We’re really grateful to be playing the festival.”
“Has it been all work and no play?” I ask Eliza. “It’s definitely a good balance. We’ve been going to some events and parties and doing a lot of networking which is a lot of fun to meet a lot of people in the business. We’ve been having a great time.”
“What is the mood like there since the accident happened?” I ask, referring to the SUV that drove down the blocked off street into pedestrians allegedly drunk driving and trying to outrun police killing two people and injuring dozens. “Oh, well a lot of people I think are taking a lot of precautions and the police have been cracking down a lot more. We’re obviously very upset about what happened, it was a tragedy and I just hope everyone for the rest of the festival is taking precautions and being safe—especially no drinking and driving. I’m sure the cops are going to crack down a lot more this weekend,” says Eliza sharing the message of staying safe.
“What is the biggest difference between Toronto and Texas?” I ask with a bit of laughter in my voice knowing the two places couldn’t be more opposite. The girls see the humor as well and laugh. “The accents. We don’t say y’all but down here they do which is cool,” Leandra replies. She adds, “I’ve been trying to use it.” I giggle imagining the Canadian trying to casually insert a y’all in her conversation.
Because their image is so authentic, I ask the girls about the movement in the music industry today amongst emerging female indie artists (e.g. Lorde and Haim) to resist the pressure to be overly made up or sexualized. I share with them what I see as a trend towards girls just attacking the music and leading the industry in a new direction. “I see your image as authentic and sort of quirky cool. I love the instagram video you posted of playing mini golf. Is this intentional and if so can you talk about why it’s important to you?” Jordan replies, “I think all of what you are saying is true. I think that when we go on stage we don’t really think of ourselves as girls going on stage we think of ourselves as musicians. We just try to have fun with everything that we do and be ourselves with everything that we do. I think that’s something girls and guys should aim for, you know?”
“Absolutely,” I agree. Adding, “You’re music stands behind you. You’ve got the talent, you’re writing some really cool songs. Who is writing and what is your writing process?” Kylie responds, “It’s a collaborative process and we’re all contributing to the songwriting itself. Jordan mainly takes care of the lyrics and Eliza does the drums. We write basically our individual parts but then we edit together.”
“’Loner’ and ‘Little Pieces’ are pretty vastly different lyric-wise. So Jordan, I need to ask you about that because ‘Loner’ is very simplistic with a big punch and meaning behind it and ‘Little Pieces’ could stand alone poetically. What inspired them?” I inquire. “I wrote ‘Loner’ after feeling a little bit frustrated with high school and how I—I think everyone—is sort of forced to adhere to a specific social group and how I didn’t really want that to frame my personality. And then, ‘Little Pieces’ is sort of…I guess it’s a little similar. It’s more of someone who is dealing with internal issues and trying to figure out how to deal with it in a normal way I guess,” Jordan says ending the sentence with an uncomfortable laugh. Then she says something that makes me smile from ear to ear hearing her self-esteem escaped high school unscathed. “I’m really proud of how the lyrics are going on these songs. I’m really excited to put out the new songs for the EP.”
While they may or may not ride actual waves, The Beaches are sure to hit the radio waves with their bold sound. So y’all be sure to check out their song “Little Pieces” below on SoundCloud and watch for the announcement of The Beaches new EP coming soon.
* The Beaches were an official SXSW 2014 Showcase Artist Presented by Canadian Music Week.
WE ASKED THE BEACHES
Q: Given the lyrics of “The Loner” being “maybe I’m a stoner, maybe I’m a loner, maybe I’m cross, maybe I’m lost, maybe I’m a loser, maybe I’m a keener, maybe I’m gone,” can each of you say what you “maybe” are?
A: Jordan: “Maybe I’m David Bowie.”
A: Kylie: “Maybe I’m awkward.”
A: Eliza: “Maybe I’m a question mark?”
A: Leandra: “Maybe I’m lanky.”
Q: If you had to choose one song title to describe your personality what would it be?
A: Jordan: “Evil Woman” by Electric Lights Orchestra
A: Kylie: “Shots” by LMFAO
A: Eliza: “Fergalicious” by Fergie
A: Leandra says, “Frootloops” and promises she is going to write the song next week.
Q: What’s coming for The Beaches?
A: The Beaches will be on tour this May in the UK this spring and are in the lineup playing Osheaga Festival Musicque Et Arts in Montréal, Quebec [see more info at http://www.osheaga.com/] with Outkast, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, Foster The People, and Haim in an all star lineup on August 1, 2, 3. The Beaches new EP (title to be announced) will be released April 28, 2014.
ON THE WEB
By Nicole Hanratty
March 24, 2014