After rising to prominence through the prominent folk scene in 2005 Beans on Toast has made a hugely successful career out of his love of music, people and drinking. “The drunk folk singer” prides himself on bringing people together through his music. Current events make up a large selection of the lyrics sung to pubs, venues and festivals across Europe and America.
After coming off the back of a UK tour earlier in the year the world was suddenly plunged into panic and confusion with the outbreak of Covid-19. I sat down with the man himself to discuss the recent pandemic and the effects it has had on not only his career but also the music industry in general. Here’s what he had to say;
“I’d just finished the tour so if you take away all the tragedy of the world, my life hasn’t really been ridden with personal tragedy. I’ve got a 2 year old daughter so trying to keep life as normal for her during the pandemic was my main priority. As much as people label me the drinking man’s folk singer you know, really I missed playgrounds more than the pubs. The day the pubs reopened and the playgrounds also opened, I wasn’t at the pub.”
With lockdown putting the breaks on normal life we discussed how the lockdown affected the plans for the year ahead.
“I had one tour towards the back end of the year cancelled, a European tour and also 30 odd festival dates cancelled too. What I do is my life more than it is my work so after I’d finished coughing and spluttering around the house the first thing I did was pick up my guitar and write a song”
With the UK on lockdown and everyone stuck at home Beans was very quick to write and record new music and release it out into the world.
“I’ve always written about current events, I’ve never really questioned it. However because I was ill and the world felt like it was collapsing, it was a drive to write it, record it and to get it out there. I was glad when it was out there and it made me want to write more. I felt like the first song was a little bit miserable so I thought should I write something more upbeat because everyone needs some positivity? The other story alongside this is the livestreams. I’ve tried so hard for all my life to not be the guy who just plays guitar in his bedroom, yet all of a sudden everyone is broadcasting themselves playing guitar from their bedrooms! To me a gig is a gig and that is not a real gig. As time went on I looked at the empty diary on the wall so I just went with it and played a live stream. Once I had decided to do it there was a real sense of excitement around the house, after the first one I very quickly got used to it and I loved it. I do believe live streams are a new platform and are here to stay, although they won’t replace a live gig, which they don’t really need to as they can be their own separate thing. I found it very interesting how exposed everyone seemed to be with a lack of crew. Watching superstars performing online and then the camera falling over mid song. This new platform being created throughout all this death, tragedy and economic hell is a welcomed piece of good news!”
As we slowly move out of lockdown and resume a sense of normality, shows are starting to resume, although social distancing and strict measures remain in place. We spoke about the resuming of shows and the return of real life gigs;
“I’ve done a few pub shows, a sheep farm in Devon and a campsite in Surrey. The bookings started to roll back in because a lot of gigs work with people sitting down, getting pissed and listening to music. I do fall into that category so I’ve had a few gigs and it’s been lovely to be back playing.”
With live shows returning and venues across the country starting to reopen more and more and a sense of normality slowly creeping back in we discussed what the future holds for the drinking man’s folk singer.
“Throughout the lock down I recorded and released 5 songs about the pandemic and I have another 5 that I didn’t release. So when the time comes that I usually release my albums there will be one solely about the pandemic including the 5 songs that are already out there and the 5 unreleased tracks. On the same day I will release another album that has nothing to do with the pandemic. So there will be 2 albums dropping on the same day. 1 recorded at home and another recorded in the studio. It’s been a weird year so double bubble album wise for you guys this time.”
Revealed during his ‘Back At Home With Beans On Toast’ livestream, the albums will be titled: ‘Knee Deep in Nostalgia’ & ‘The Unforeseeable Future’. During the one-off live performance, the cult folk singer was joined by a number of special guests including: FRANK TURNER, who confirmed he has both produced and plays on Beans’ upcoming ‘Knee Deep in Nostalgia’. Pre-Order here.
To keep up to date on the new music and upcoming tour dates check out www.beansontoastmusic.com for more information.