Toronto’s The Beaches are ready to give rock n’ roll a shot in the arm – and look good while doing so. Formed in 2012 after Jordan Miller (bass/vocals), Kylie Miller (guitars), Eliza Enman McDaniel (drums) rebranded their teen pop band (Done with Dolls), added Leandra Earl (keys) and started incorporating influences ranging from alt-rock to punk, The Beaches just released their long-awaited debut full length, Late Show, produced by Emily Haines and Jimmy Shaw of Metric.
The Beaches are currently on their first U.S. tour, serving as opening act for Death from Above, and will make their Columbus debut on Thursday night at the Newport Music Hall. Before jumping back on the tour bus and heading to Columbus, Jordan checked in from the road feeling just a tad bit hungover after a long and crazy night in Nashville.
I hear lots of stories about bands who record something in their basement, throw it on Soundcloud and … bam … score a record deal. Lately though I’ve talked to a few bands that have spent time developing their sound and taking time. Sounds like you were in that boat – I’m not going to ask if it was worth it but are you glad you didn’t rush things?
I’m glad, it’s our first record that we’re releasing and it’s the first time people are going to really recognize and understand our music and we don’t want to make mistakes. So, I’m happy that we took the time that we did to put it out and to really focus on how we wanted to present ourselves. We’re very careful that our music is consistent with who we are and what we’re going through right now. I’m happy that we took the time to develop our music and put it out the way that we did because we’re all really, really proud of this album.
I watched the behind-the-scenes video for the making of “Money” and Kylie said you met some interesting characters after your band broke down in Georgia. Can you tell me a story about those characters? I had my own interesting experience after breaking down in Georgia.
It was me and Leandra who got stranded in Townsend, Georgia. Me and my family were on a road trip, we also brought Leandra and Kylie’s boyfriend at the time and our car broke down and my mom was freaking out. She had to go to the airport to get a new car. The cab that came to get us only had room for 3 and our bags so my mom, my sister, and my sister’s boyfriend at the time all went and me and Leandra were just left in this … I don’t even want to call it a town … I don’t think you can call a street with one abandoned hotel and a gas station a town. It was just really funny. You know those times where you’re stuck in those situations that isn’t necessarily the most pleasant but it’s super memorable? It was just one of those experiences. The people that helped us out and kept us entertained were really lovely and really nice. We just thought it would make a good story for a video even though you elaborate a little bit and change things up.
The craziest thing we came across was one of the people at the gas station, we told them we were musicians and she said, “Oh, I’m a musician too. I beat box.” So, Leandra was like, “Want to show us what you can do?” And she was like, “Well, I don’t have my equipment with me.” We just kind of giggled.
I watched one of your A Music Blog Yea interviews with Alicia where she asked your bandmates to come up with your dating profile and your bandmates said you love movies. You’ve made a number of videos which, in their own way, are little movies. Are you a fan of watching or do you have dreams of acting some day?
I’m a terrible actress as you can see in some of the videos. But, I love watching movies. Maybe one day I’d like to direct one of our music videos. That could be something that would be fun to do, but, no, for the most part, I just like watching and talking about movies. One of my favorite things to do is go see a movie with a friend and then go get pie afterwards and talk about it.
You’ve made a lot of videos so, in a sense, you’ve made a lot of mini-movies.
Yeah, we do. That’s super fun and I think it’s important we make those videos because it gives the people who are our fans a little sense of who we are and it’s really us doing them and it’s really us acting in them. Big production videos are super cool and awesome but they don’t give you a sense of the band like the smaller ones do.
No doubt that image – videos/fashion – are part of The Beaches package. Is that something you decided as a band that you wanted to focus on or were you influenced by somebody outside the band to be fashion conscious?
No one suggested it, we’ve just always felt as a band that every aspect of the band’s identity should be consistent. The music should marry our image and what we wear in our videos. Everything that you put out should be consistent with the band’s sound and identity. That was just something we all agreed on early on and it was lucky that we’re all into 70s rock and roll and 90s grunge music so our style is also influenced by those periods. We all love wearing bell bottoms and ripped jeans.
Seems like you’re festival regulars. Do you have the same experience as paying attendees where you get to watch a bunch of bands or do you stick to hanging out in artist area and either catching up with friends or meeting other bands? Any unexpected discoveries that come to mind?
I do a little bit of everything. It depends on who’s playing. If it’s … like, I think it was at the Osheaga Festival the first time I ever saw Nick Cave live. I was backstage for the first part of it and then I saw how excellent of a performer he was so I just jumped into the mosh pit with everyone else. For the most part, I do do a lot of hanging out and talking with musicians. But, if there’s a really cool performance, the best way to see it is with a crowd.
Scrolling through Instagram photos, looks like you’re as much on vacation as you are on tour which is pretty refreshing for me to see. I talk to bands occasionally and ask “Did you have time to hang out and do anything cool?” and I’m surprised at how often bands will say either “I didn’t have time to do anything” or “Just hung out at the venue”. Do plan things to do in advance or just sort of take advantage of what there is to offer when you roll into town?
It’s a little bit of everything, we don’t post pictures of ourselves on the bus every day even though that’s a majority of what we’re doing – we’re just driving to a place, playing, loading out and then moving on. We do have breaks and we like to go hang out what’s around because every city has a cool, weird thing. We were playing a show in Philadelphia, for example, and I needed to go get some tights at a Rexall and we came across Edgar Allen Poe’s house and it was super cool. So we posted about that. This is our first tour so I think as we do more and more, we might do less traveling around, we might be more tired.
Talk to me about the role your parents have played in your career. I know you started young and I’m guessing your parents acted early on as publicists, management, booking agents, tour van drivers, etc.
My parents have been incredibly supportive – all of our parents have been. When we were kids, me and my sister started playing guitar together and then my dad didn’t want to pay for two lessons separately so he made us practice together. That’s how we started writing songs. He’s just always been incredibly supportive and it’s really nice. We had the opportunity to go to school after we graduated high school and then we also got our first developmental deal around that time. We had the choice of perusing this more intensely or going to school and both of our parents were very supportive of what we wanted to do. And they let us live with them too while we do this so we don’t have to worry about rent or food while we’re being musicians which is really nice.
My dad did that [served as manager] at the early stages of our career and then as things got more intense he was like “Wow, I’m not a music manager. You should actually get one of those. I’m in advertising, I do not know what I’m doing.” He still helps us out like he does me keep track of my finances. I think my mom’s happy she has less to do, she can take the back seat and go to festivals and meet Canadian celebrities. My dad is a little less eager to let things go but he knows we’re working with excellent people and he has just as much faith in our team as we do.
(Done with Dolls formed in 2008 and their song “Story of My Life” was the theme for the Canadian teen series Really Me)
I saw the big news on your Instagram account last night that Paris Hilton liked and commented on Kylie’s photo. Have there been other instances like that, where other musicians or celebrities have liked or commented on your photos?
No, but I might be missing one. I delegate a lot of the social media stuff to the other two girls. The Paris Hilton one was pretty exciting, I don’t think anyone else super, super big has reached out via social media but we will keep trying to harass A-list celebrities into re-tweeting us.
You mentioned that one of your favorite shows in 2016 was Sunflower Bean and the Lemon Twigs. I saw Sunflower Bean as well and they were one of my favorites but I haven’t seen the Lemon Twigs live yet.
I saw them play in Toronto, they were incredible. I didn’t even know about the Lemon Twigs, I went to see Sunflower Bean because I love Julia Cumming, another female bass player/singer and she’s very beautiful. Me and my sister were in the audience and we were going to go outside and hang out with some friends and just miss the opening band. I was like, “They have really cool 70s outfits. We should watch them.” We were blown away, they were incredible. One of them played drums for half the set and then the other one played lead guitar and was the singer and then they just switched halfway through. And they are younger than us. We used to be the “young band” and they are like 19 and 17 years old, I think. It’s funny that I’m 21 and already feeling old.
They were on CBS Sunday Morning show, that’s how I heard about them.
You watch Sunday Morning? I love Sunday Morning. I didn’t see them.
They were on this summer. When they started playing I was like, “Wow, these kids sound like ELO and The Beatles, how is that possible?”
To answer that, I think there’s a lot of people our age that feel a real connection to 60s and 70s guitar music because there isn’t really music available to us right now that sounds like that. Everything is very hollow and spacey and dark. So I think you’re going to find a lot of bands like us and like the Lemon Twigs coming out of this time that create music that isn’t really there right now.