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.
When asked to describe herself in three words, Nina Nesbitt didn’t hesitate. “Introverted, creative, and driven”. While you wouldn’t guess the former from her edgy, empowering tracks—her latest single “Loyal To Me” is a girl-power anthem, rallying women to ditch their unfaithful partners—the latter two can’t be questioned. In the six years since she was discovered in an unplanned encounter with Ed Sheeran, Nesbitt has released three EPs and one full length album; toured with Sheeran, Justin Bieber, and U.K rapper Example; and carved her way into the alt-pop scene with a harmonious blend of groove and grit. Earlier this year, the Edinborough-native was one of three emerging female artists chosen to partake in Spotify’s “Louder Together” initiative, recording the first collaborative Spotify single (“Psychopath”) with Sasha Sloan and Charlotte Lawrence, and showcasing her signature style of thoughtful messages pulsating atop hook-driven melodies. With her sophomore album ready to drop, Georgie spoke with Nesbitt about her experience being thrust into the spotlight and maintaining her creative independence throughout it all. G—You’ve been touring a lot this year, specifically in North America. How have your North American audiences been receiving your shows? Is it different than performing for UK audiences?
Tyler Shaw is going through a renaissance. After exploding onto the scene and the charts in 2012 with his hit single “Kiss Goodnight” and a wildly successful debut album that followed, it’s hard to imagine what the Canadian pop singer could possibly need to reinvent. But after two years of writing and exploring, Shaw has taken the reigns on developing a new album and a new sound that’s better in tune with his growth as an artist. Just before the release of his new single “With You”, Georgie caught up with Shaw over the phone to talk about his upcoming album, mental health, and the feelings he’s harnessed into a musical renewal. G— What were some of the biggest differences for you between making the upcoming album and making Yesterday? TS—Yesterday was more so “I’m a new artist, I don’t really know what I want to do. This sounds cool on my voice, so does this.” With this album on the other hand, I know what I want. I know what melodies I want to go to and what I want to talk about. [Yesterday] came out in 2015, and ever since then, I mean, you go through life experiences
A few years ago, Danielle McTaggart was ready to throw in the towel on her music career. Now she and her husband, Drew, make up the powerhouse duo known as Dear Rouge and have two full-length albums and a Juno to their name. Known for their hook-driven tracks—and being “the nicest couple in Canadian music”—Dear Rouge just dropped their sophomore LP, Phases. The record recounts a season of emotional extremes for the couple, including winning the 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year, and losing a loved one. We caught up with Danielle over the phone to talk about finding joy in music again, and the personal and public significance of Phases. G—On your website, you describe your style as “sinewy, hook-driven indie rock”. Where did that particular style evolve from? DM—I was always very into hook-y music with beautiful melodies. I grew up listening to The Carpenters and they have beautiful melodic parts, but I also always loved harder music and really rock-driven music. Bands like Metric or Yeah Yeah Yeahs or St. Vincent were hugely motivating for me, and I loved that these frontwomen were powerhouses. They’re very confident and trying to push the boundaries while