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The Beaches

Aug 08/2018
INTERVIEW Lisa Szabo PHOTOGRAPHY Shalan and Paul

Named for the Toronto area they grew up in, The Beaches are a far cry from a placid day on the lake. Led by singer/bassist Jordan Miller—with her sister and guitarist Kylie Miller, guitarist/keyboardist Leandra Earl and drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel—the Canadian four-piece burst out of Toronto with their 2018 debut, Late Show, and have since built up an aura of dissident swagger. Taking home this year’s Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, the all-fem rock quartet is bringing grunge, gloss, and 70s glamour to a predominantly male genre. Georgie caught up with Leandra to talk about the band’s latest music video, taking charge of their music, and three simple ways to keep women in the industry.

G—Did you grow up together in Toronto?

LE—Yeah, I met the girls in high school. Jordan and Kylie are sisters, so they’ve known each other a bit longer, but they grew up with Eliza in Toronto’s Beaches area.

G—What kind of music were you listening to at that time?

LE—We grew up listening to all of the music our parents listened to. That definitely influenced us while writing our debut album since we drew from a lot of the 70’s music that our parents had shown us [like] Bowie, The Stones, and Pretenders.

G—While in high school, after the release of two EPs, you signed a development deal with Universal. Can you tell us a bit about your experience working with different producers during that time and the pressures you had to face?

LE—Yeah, we signed a development deal with Island Records in 2014 when we were still fresh-faced high school babies. The label flew us over to LA for a couple months at a time to work with a variation of up-and-coming writers as well as established producers. While we appreciated the whole experience, we kind of felt like we were being pushed around a bit and were lead down a path that in the end felt way too pop and manufactured for us. We were in with a different writer every day, who were more interested in recording something they had written, rather than one of our originals. We returned to Toronto as more experienced writers with this great feeling of wanting to write and take charge of our own album.

G—That later lead you to working with Emily Haines and James Shaw of Metric who produced your debut LP Late Show. How did this collaboration fit into your vision for the record?

LE—Emily and Jimmy were the kind of producers that we had been looking for the whole time. They really weren’t interested in any co-writes—they loved all of our songs that we had written and wanted to just solely produce those.

G—Now that the record is released and being toured, do you feel like it has lived up to your expectations?

LE—I think, for us, in some ways it has exceeded our expectations. There were a couple songs we weren’t sure about, as well as some songs we cut that we thought may have been the wrong choice. Since the album’s release though, we’ve received so much positive feedback, plus the songs we weren’t too sure about have turned out to be fan favourites. We’re definitely not through touring this album yet.

G—Can you tell us a bit about building the visuals for this record and the latest music video for “T-Shirt”?

LE—Jordan really takes the lead on the band’s aesthetic, so for this album she worked together with our creative director at Universal to create the visuals which our photographer, Maya Fuhr, then captured perfectly. As for our “T-Shirt” music video—our favourite bands from the 70’s performed on Top of the Pops, a British TV show of the same time, and since we were all fans of that we thought it would be cool to pay homage to those performances.

G—Can you talk a bit about the sisterhood bond within the band?

LE—I mean sometimes we feel more like single fathers and less like sisters. We’re all best friends, so we’re incredibly close—some might say too close.

G—How do you feel about your place as an all-female rock band in the music industry right now?

LE—We feel good. We feel like it’s finally (though very slowly) becoming less of a taboo to be a woman in the rock world. There are tons of female-fronted bands coming up now, especially within the Toronto music scene, and it feels very empowering to be a part of that.

G—Do you feel more could be done to make women feel more welcome in the music industry?

LE—Hire more women, don’t be creepy af towards women, support and treat women equally (as you would the dudes in this industry). You know, just basic things like that.

G—So, what’s next for The Beaches?

LE—We’ve played a couple of festivals this summer like Liquid Arts, Empire Rockfest, Osheaga, and then we’re just looking to get back over to the UK or the States in the fall! We also need to start writing new tunes ASAP! That’s definitely at the top of our to-do list.

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