I am not in the best of moods as I walk the back streets of Glasgow to make my way to interview The Beaches. I have been working all day, I’m tired, I’m alone and it’s raining. I have no umbrella. And I have no idea where I am. As Apple Maps directs me along the aptly named Balaclava Street, my mood darkens. I hope against hope that this will all be worth it. The millionth raindrop splashes menacingly against me and I know one thing’s for sure- it’ll take something special to pull me out of this stupor.
Luckily, Canadian band The Beaches look well placed to be the next something special. Four friends, two of whom happen to be sisters, conjoin to create what I’m assured is the most “achingly hip” band to have made it out of Toronto since Crystal Castles. Sisters Jordan and Kylie have been playing together since they were pre-teens; throw school friends Eliza and Leandra into the mix and you have the perfect foundations for a kickass girl band. The catch? They may wish to portray themselves as hardcore rockers rolling the high life but in actual fact you’ll rarely find them propping up the bar or knocking back whisky shots for breakfast. Why? Aged between 17 and 19 they’re not even legal to stand at the bar.
In spite of their tender years, The Beaches are keen to make it known they mean business. This year has already seen them play SXSW for the first time and we meet as they are in town for Stag and Dagger, Glasgow’s annual “up and coming” festival. By all accounts, the event has been a great success. Despite a slight hitch with a too-small-stage, it would appear the band had an utter blast with the Northern crowds. A previous show in London may have been the biggest they’ve ever played but the girls are quick to make clear that the Glasgow crowd was something else- the larger cities may offer sell out venues but it would seem the Scots bring a certain charm (read: intoxication) to proceedings that goes down a storm. As we chat through the main sets of the festival, it soon becomes inherently clear just why The Beaches went down so well- adorable, fun loving and friendly, the girls are instantly likeable.
From Sheryl Crow to Queens of the Stone Age
Their PR front may be of a hardcore rock group but in truth, the girls are pussy cats. As we natter on about boys in bands, clothes and shopping, it’s easy to forget I’m here to interview and not hang out. So- why such a facade? Broaching the topic of musical inspirations offers up a little evidence: I had previously read that Sheryl Crow was an early influence upon the girls (when aged 6), yet to suggest such to them now is instantly laughable. Clearly, the girls are keen to shake off any associations to their previous incarnations.
Originally churning out the kind of pop rock soft enough to feature across Stateside TV channels, the early three piece had an undeniably cutesy teeny bopper vibe. Now? The list of musical icons they aspire to draw similarities with reads like a who’s who of rock through the ages- Queens of the Stone Age, Band of Skulls, The Strypes, Jack White. The new sound may be slightly spunkier but there’s no denying The Beaches are still heavily pop orientated- think tap-along tracks with a sassy edge you’ll be unable to shake long after you hit pause.
In terms of influential artists, David Bowie pops up a score of times- and not just for his musical stylings. Often cited as a fashion icon, it’s clear to see how Jordan in particular takes reference from his iconic looks. And so we move to the juiciest, sparkiest part of our chat- the girls’ adoration of fashion. I say adoration as clothing instantly seems to be more than just an interest of the girl’s. As such a strong indicator of status, age and importance, I can’t help but wonder if there’s more than meets the eye to the girl’s love of fashion. Boyer said that “real style is never right or wrong, it’s a matter of being yourself on purpose”. For four teens desperately trying to carve a fitting path for themselves through the hard hitting music industry, it’s no wonder fashion’s a biggie.
And what of The Beaches look? Undeniably, each quarter of the group has a strongly evident style. From Kylie’s classic/punk mash-up to Jordan’s eccentricity, Eliza’s comfortable class and Leandra’s band girl grunge, there’s no disputing these girls have a look to suit all. Lover of a floral print dress with bashed up old leather jacket and thrift store boots? Kylie’s your gal. If it’s crazy printed leggings that touch your soul, you’ll be firmly in the Leandra camp. With a scope of fashion favourites ranging from Alison Mosshart to Demi Lavato, The Beaches have a uniquely eclectic style fangirls will surely lap up- whether they’ll stay true to their current looks for any length of time is an altogether different question. The girls are at pivotal ages where one day’s style is the next day’s fashion disaster; to be blunt, if you like their style best snap them up while you can.
British fashion is a major favourite of The Beaches, an influence which is easy to spot. To look at them together, you’d be forgiven for thinking they’d stepped straight out of Shoreditch, with an individuality and perfect mix of casual cool that wouldn’t be out of place in the coolest streets of the city. A hook-up with a major fashion hitter this side of the pond already under their belt, the girls are clearly looking forward to more of the same. High street favourite French Connection selected the girls track “Loner” to feature as the soundtrack to their “from sketch to store” campaign, securing a neat new wardrobe for each along the way.
The looks were put to good use in a following video, one of the girls biggest hits to date. The track in question? Absolutely Nothing, a pretty blatant parody of Blurred Lines which sees the girls flounce around in tailoring whilst doing some rather unquestionable actions to unsuspecting menfolk- think ice cream down pants, heavy petting and the like. I’m told the whole thing was the director’s idea, yet as we chat behind the scenes gossip the twinkle in the girls eye tells me they were far from adverse to the concept. Indeed, they’re all in agreement that a second parody video could be a good shout.
Just when they’ll have time to fit such an endeavour in, however, is anyone’s guess. They may have had a blast in the UK, but such a trip comes with a hefty price- to the tune of week’s worth of homework to catch up on. Festivals, music videos and live gigs aside, the girls also have a real life to stay up to date with- and with a heavily packed school diary, it’s a hectic one. Let’s just hope they have the time to find themselves, and their style, along the way.