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British Beef - Interview

  by Alex Halls

published: 23 / 7 / 2005

British Beef - Interview


Originally from Swindon but now based in London, pop punk band British Beef released their debut single earlier this year. Now at work on their first album, they talk to Alex Halls about developing their sound and London life

Originally from Swindon, British Beef play music that borders on a type of ska-punk, due to the speed of the guitaring, drumming and vocals, but without the ska, which, in effect, turns it into a more attractive form of pop-punk. The band’s ability to provide a mix of offbeat notes with some perfectly chosen tuned ones, really gives their music a lift, so much so that you never want the songs to end. Aside from the music, the quartet appears to have had a somewhat meteoric rise to where it is at present. Despite this, there is still a long way to go but fame may well beckon if the band can continue in an album, the first-class material that was seen on their debut record, the recent 'Without Me single. One gets the feeling that the band don’t philosophise, rather that they are more intent on enjoying things as they stand rather than reflecting on how they could be. The four-piece, whilst growing in popularity for their energetic live sets, aren’t afraid to cut the electricity and offer a dynamic acoustic set when band members are unfortunately absent, something that stands them in good stead for an ever demanding market. What is noticeable with this band is their laidback attitude, which may stand at odds with their present record deal in theory, yet is quite likely to prove effective in practice: after all, this relaxed approach doesn’t necessarily lack professionalism and may well be the key to the band’s appealing music. Catching three of the band (Felix, Foster, Jam Lindsay and Gaz Brookfield) on the phone, in a form of four-way speakerphone experience, which did little to help the sonority of the conversation, Pennyblackmusic was given the opportunity to explore a band which seems to be going in the right direction and, amongst a few jokes and witticisms, British Beef was unravelled bit by bit. The band name, British Beef, came as suggestion many years ago from someone in Swindon and the band adopted it as it sounded good and have decided there should be no significance attached to it other than “it’s just a band name”; a response that teaches this interviewer a lesson in not trying to attach meaning where it doesn’t exist. In constructing careers as musicians British Beef have one viewpoint: “it is always better to play what you enjoy playing.” Furthermore, on a motivational point, the band added: “We picked up instruments and were really bad at playing music. Now everything is more polished. Music is all we’re good at. What else is there to do anyway ?” With only one member actually from Swindon itself (Jam Lindsay, lead guitar), the band congregated there and this is where British Beef took off, later developing into local legends. I enquired whether there was much of a punk scene left in Swindon: “there certainly used to be, it’s calming down a bit as there is more emo stuff around.” It’s evident that this punk scene is what really drove the band to play what it does now, even if British Beef’s sound isn’t the punk of old but, rather, a more modern take that appears to serve other artists well. The band confirmed to me that they now operate out of London: “We’ve been in London just over a year now. It’s great, we love it. Even though it can be a struggle with the four of us living in a small flat, its cosy and London has a lot to offer as there’s so much going on”. I was intrigued to find out whether the move had added anything to British Beef’s inspiration: “Yes, it must do on some level. Everything around you contributes to how you write the material.” Even if Swindon seems behind them, British Beef make no mistake in revealing the admiration they have for the people they have left behind. It is understandable that anyone growing up in smaller towns, such as Swindon which has “a small-town mentality”, will inevitably “strive to get out”; decidedly fame and fortune are often sought that way. This double-F is unlikely to advance without more material being created yet no album date appeared to have been set. Eager to find out if the band could shed more light on this I posed the question, which unfortunately shed little light on the matter: “not a clue. We’re in the process of recording it and currently have enough songs for two to three albums, but that’s all we can say at the moment.” With plenty of songs to choose from I wondered what style they might take and whether they would follow that on the 'Without Me' single: “not necessarily. We like to play around with sounds. There’ll be songs that are down the road of the 'Without Me' single but also stuff that’ll be a lot harder or faster. Of course, it’ll sound somewhat similar as we’re limited to the instruments we play. However, if we like it, we’ll play it.” British Beef’s success began with the great reception they received in Swindon. Having won Radio One’s Best Unsigned Act category a couple of years ago, I asked the band how it all came about: “we put ourselves up for it, more for a laugh than anything else. It was cool to hear our stuff being played on radio. We gained lots of support from it.” Shortly afterwards British Beef signed to Sony BMG but it couldn’t have all been as easy as it sounds, the band explained: “We showcased a lot after the Radio One win and Sony were the ones who showed the most interest. We therefore felt it was right to sign to that label.” Sony weren’t the only label to offer the four-piece a record deal, although the other offer is now met with a laugh as the record label, Hellstar is no longer: perhaps they were counting on a certain signature… Over the past few years British Beef has been able to tour a lot, meeting a range of artists, some famous and some not so, and described as a great time. It is a characteristic feature of musicians that the backstage is a place to meet each other and share a drink or two, some stories and a general lark around. British Beef are no different: “we always meet up with the other bands backstage, whatever gig it is, and mess around with them, that’s just how it’s done.” With all these shows under their belt and much to look forward to, it seems the band is heading in the right direction. As a final question I enquired as to what British Beef were going to do now: “try and keep doing what we’ve been doing so far. It’s served us well so far. We’ll keep writing our own material, they way we want to write it, even if it isn’t the most popular style at the moment, that’s how we are and how we want to remain.”

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British Beef - Interview

British Beef - Interview

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