Exclusive Interview with London Four-Piece Rockers: Beach Riot

Beach Riot are a brand new rock quartet from London, which formed due to its members’ mutual love for a band called Demob Happy and their shared goal to make music that “people can lose their shit to.”

The band’s sound can be described as fuzzy, noisey, grungey rock, filled with hooks and sprinkled with a DIY ethos and energy. The group takes influence from bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana, Cable, Sleater-Kinney, and Pavement, and Beach Riot are ready to bring back the moshpit-inducing, full-on sound of bands like these.

After releasing their debut single, “B.A.D”, the band just released their second track, “Mr. Fixer.” The new track is characterized by male-female lead vocals that were just made for each other and the heavy, hazy guitars and crashing, head-banging drums will send you into another dimension.

The band’s lead singer, Rory O’Connor said of their new track, “The song is more about channeling a certain feeling and vibe then saying something in particular, like a mid-argument expression of emotion.”

Beach Riot consists of Rory O’Connor (guitar/vocals), Cami Menditeguy (guitar/vocals), Jimmi Suza (bass/vocals), and Jonny Ross (drums). I had the chance to talk to Rory about the band’s history, influences, favorite new bands, future plans, and more and you can read the full interview below.

How long has the band been playing together and how did you guys form?

Rory: We actually only formed proper in January or February this year! I had a load of songs I’d written, so I got my pals and bassist/drummer legends, Jim and Jonny, together in Brighton to record a couple of the tracks. They sounded so good that it was a no brainer to get a band going. A friend up here in London sent me the way of Cami, our guitarist, and hey presto, we had a band.

You guys take inspiration from bands like Demob Happy, Queens of The Stone Age, Nirvana, Pavement, and others. What do you love about those bands and their shared ethos?

Rory: Nirvana was the first proper band I got obsessed with as a kid, so I can’t shake that influence. Me and probably a million other kids. Something about that energy that comes through the songs just gets you. Then I discovered Queens [Of The Stone Age] and that blew my mind. They have all these wonky discordant riffs, coupled with driving, pumping drums and bass. Demob Happy is like the best lovechild of those two bands so it’s only natural that we love them, plus they are from Brighton. Jim actually got me into Pavement way back when and again, straight away I knew it’d be a band I’d love. Slacker rock to the extreme, kinda lazy but packed full of not taking itself so seriously yet genius songwriting at the same time. All these bands have a vibe of not needing to be slick and polished and something you have to see live. I want us to be that.

Most of the bands that come to mind when I listen to your music are American alternative bands. Apart from those bands, do you have a pretty eclectic mix of musical influences?

Rory: Definitely. I recently got super into The Police. I can’t believe it took me so long. And Elvis Costello, The Stranglers, plus a big one for us is a 90’s band from Derby called Cable. Then, of course, you can’t ignore all the Britpop bands we grew up with.

Your new single, “Mr. Fixer”, is nothing short of a fuzzy, otherworldly, melodic explosion of sound. It’s packed with so much energy that it’s hard to imagine an anthemic song like that being played to anybody but big crowds. When you write songs are you always trying to imagine how they’ll go down live and is the goal to make the sound as big as possible, so you can play to huge crowds?

Rory: Why thank you. And yeah for sure, we really want this band to be one that thrives on playing live. I wanna be that band that everyone says you have to go see play. So we definitely have an eye on how it will sound at a gig when writing. “Mr. Fixer” especially, that middle break down bit just sort of fell out of me when I was writing it. I was jumping around imagining it at a show, so hopefully it translates well when we actually do gig it.

Do all of you collaborate when it comes to writing your music and lyrics?

Rory: We’ve got a good little system going where I’ll hash out a demo at home, send it round for everyone to learn, then we’ll get in a rehearsal room and smash it out into an actual song. Seems to be working well so far.

“Mr. Fixer” sounds slightly less intense, more melodic, and a bit more approachable than your first track, “B.A.D”. Do you see your new single as a progression from the first one or do you still love the more forceful, noisy, droning rock sound of your first track?

Rory: It’s weird. I keep going back and fourth between the two as to which I prefer. I think “Mr. Fixer” wins in the end, it’s just got more going on. But I’m not gonna lie, songs like “B.A.D” do get me up in the morning, even if they are less song-like and more of an onslaught. We really want to get people jumping around and moshing again at gigs, so we’ll have lots of those songs thrown in there. Our next single is possibly a good mix of the two, so keep an ear out for that!

How would you define success for the band?

Rory: If we could spend our days touring with cool bands we love, playing sweaty, packed out shows in clubs all over Europe, play some cool festival tents, and maybe even be lucky enough to put a few records out, that would be success. Fuck making any money. That wouldn’t happen for a band like us and if that’s your goal, then you’re in the wrong business. On a personal level, I just want people to be like, “Hey, have you seen that band Beach Riot? Go see them live.”

Are there any new bands that you think people need to check out?

Rory: I literally only this week stumbled across another new London band called Calva Louise. They are fuzzy, hooky, catchy, and girl-fronted. Hopefully we can play shows with them as I think we’d share the same sort of fans. People should also definitely check out Dancehall and Yassassin.

It’s been a pretty great year for music despite being a pretty scary year for politics. Do any of you guys have a favorite album that came out this year?

Rory: Jim is currently obsessed with an Icelandic, droney, electronic kinda thing (I think) whose name escapes me. But he says she is the best thing he’s heard in a long time!

Does the current political climate provide any inspiration for your lyrics?

Rory: It might pop up every now and then, but I’m not blessed with a Dylan knack for storytelling, so it would be more a throwaway one-liner than a political song. Maybe in the feeling of the songs for sure, but not so much lyrically.

Have you guys played any shows yet and if so, how has the response been?

Rory: We actually played our first show just last week at The Social. It was pretty busy and seemed to go down well! Apparently we are very loud, the way it should be!

About many songs are you sitting on right now and when can fans expect to hear new music?

Rory: There’s a good ten or so in the bag, so we’ve got a good number to crack on and record. I want to keep up the momentum, putting songs out pretty often, all in a very DIY kinda way. The next one will be up in a few weeks hopefully, so they are coming thick and fast.

Where can fans come see you live this year?

Rory: Our next show is at the Lock Tavern on May 25th, and it’s free, so get along. We’re also playing our first Brighton show on June 9th. That will be a messy, sweaty affair. I’d love to get touring after summer if possible. That’s the aim.


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