It was time to get on it with folk singer and all round legend ‘Beans on Toast’ as he dropped by Mello Mello for a chat and a gig (but mainly a gig). I encountered him on entering the venue, he was sat down having a pint with a few locals, but I quickly whisked him away for an interview.
We managed to find a nice abandoned stairwell and got chatting. I noticed he had a strange raspy voice that only comes across at some points in his songs, as well a friendly down-to-earth disposition of a man out to have a good time.
LSRadio: If I took a bite out of you, would you be as tasty as the student delicacy, beans on toast?
Beans: No probably not, humans taste a bit like chicken don’t they? But I’m gonna be honest, I’m not actually a massive fan of beans on toast, I’m more of a spaghetti hoops man.
LSRadio: Why the name then?
Beans: It summed up what I was trying to do basically, it’s simple, it’s cheap, it’s easy it’s English, and that’s a fair description of my music. It’s important because often band names are overlooked. I like to come up with band names for imaginary bands.
LSRadio: So what names have you come up with for imaginary bands?
Beans: I always wanted to start a heavy metal band called slush puppy headache.
LSRadio: You come from that London scene where Mumford and sons and that come from, what was that like?
Beans: yeah, well, obviously London is pretty big, and it has a vast array of bands, but certainly our paths cross, heavily, with the Mumford boys, but also with a lot of bands that went nowhere.
LSRadio: Do you think scene is a dirty word?
Beans: No, not at all, but the music scene is going to be big, completely across the board, scene is something a bit smaller and out of a town and not just a bunch of people who came to London to make their music and happened to get along. There were a lot of shows where people played the same things, but at the same time a lot else was going on.
LSRadio: In 2009 you thought you’d have a shot at changing your style slightly to hip hop, why?
Beans: Erm, I think that was just written down on the Wikipedia page! We never recorded anything. I’d written a few songs that I could play fast. I went back to a party once with an accordion player and I tried them out. I wish I’d mixed things up a bit with my music, and there was that one time I thought, yeah, I’m going to be a rapper, that’s when I bought this baseball cap.
I had a four piece band for last summer’s festival, I’m now touring with a banjo and harmonica player. It’s called a solo act but it’s always open for suggestions from others for bits and bobs.
LSRadio: Now for some generic questions, is this your first time gigging in liverpool?
Beans: no, not at all, I’ve been doing this for a long time and I have a lot of time for Liverpool and it’s changed a lot over the last ten years, it feels really exciting at the moment. I played Threshold Festival at the end of March last year down by the Baltic triangle and that was one of the most exciting events I’ve been to last year.
I think that festival summed up what Liverpool is really hoping to be, really open minded and artistic with a lot of heart and time for things.
LSRadio: If you could collaborate with any living artist, who would it be?
Beans: My favourite artist is a guy called Todd Snider, an American singer-songwriter, he’s from Portland, Oregon, sort of a hippie country music singer, yet he’s a bit of an idol of mine, I’ve already collaborated with a poet called Kate Tempest, one of the most important wordsmiths out there. I’m happy with what I’ve got.
LSRadio: Anything else you want to say to the students of Liverpool University and all the students of the world.
Beans: (He considered this for a moment, before giving his final words) Students of the world, yeah maybe learn, and don’t piss it all away
So, after this lovely encounter with a most fantastic gentleman, I watched several mediocre supporting artists, one of whom seemed to be a poor man’s 30-Seconds to Mars gone acoustic. Beans on toast finally graced the stage at about 10, only to step off it again and onto a table half way down Mello Mello, in order to be more intimate with fans. He was drunk, the crowd was drunk, we all were all drunk and singing along to such hits as ‘Angry Birds’ (about the mobile game), ‘Post-Bestival Blues’ and everybody’s favourite ‘Don’t Believe the Bullshit’. Sometimes he forgot his lyrics, sometimes he took swigs of the audience’s drinks and sometimes some drunken girl shouted mid-song BUT it had character. Intimate, friendly and down-to-earth, much like the man himself (I have never seen a man before who was so relaxed on stage) the gig fitted beautifully into Liverpool’s music scene, and Beans on Toast is definitely worth a watch next time he comes round our way.