Acoustic folk singer Beans on Toast wowed the crowd at Blissfields, with many singing along in the glorious sunshine. We we’re lucky enough to chat to him after his set about his songwriting, inspiration and Cheese and Pineapples. Here’s what he had to say…
You have a very singular and individual style to your songwriting. What comes first the lyrics or the music? (Question from spoken word artist King Stammers)
Jay – Well the music was written ages ago all the songs have exactly the same music so, yeah, I guess, the music’s always the same and I just put different words to it.[…] E A & G, do them 3 and then put new words on top of the track, mix it round a little bit.
If you hadn’t partaken in so many recreational drugs and festivals what would your inspiration have been? (question from comedian Bobbin Dixon))
Jay – Ummm probably, you know, still all the people that I’ve met, and things I’ve done, I wouldn’t pin my whole / inspiration in life around the drugs that i took, if anything i think they just accentuate the kinda good times that you do have. I don’t need them, they just expand what ever else is happening. All of the same inspiration, love art, & other people.
Am I right in thinking Grant Sharkey accompanied you on tour?
Jay – We’ve certainly done a lot of shows together, yeah I’m a big fan, every time I play in Southampton we try and play together.
Well.. when he played on the Isle of Wight they put on a buffet of cheese and pineapples just because he really likes them so my question is when you play together does he bring the cheese and pineapples?
J ay- Certainly not, I’ve never seen that
Chase him up on it!
J – Yeah its good, it’s quite an old school kind of buffet sort of thing as well. I think the minute you start asking for certain foods when you play…
Oh he doesn’t ask for it, it just gets done for him, we had it shaped like a hedgehog, was great fun.
J – Really? I should come do some gigs on the isle of wight by the sounds of it!!
A lot of your song touch on current world issues. I find personally when I follow the news intently I drive myself mad. Do you find the music is enough of a release for you?
Jay- I try and stay away from newspapers and all kind of like major news sources because they’re such a sort of baffled view of what’s actually going on. So um, I hear the news from my friends, my friends read and pay attention to the news and then you hear their version of events, some things you just can’t get away from. Its a bad way to be but if left to my own devices I just, I just wouldn’t know what goes on. Which is probably not the right answer.
It’s kind of necessary sometimes
Jay – Well it’s just boring i’nt it ‘coz it comes to the point where it’s like what can you actually do? If you can’t do anything to help is it better to live in kind of naive bliss, like if its on your doorstep and you can do something about it, but sometimes there’s a lot of tragedies which you can cry about them, but they would have happened anyway.
*Interview interrupted by a low flying hoverfly*
Jay – So many insects this weekend at Blissfields!
When you started did you ever think you’d get your message out to so many people?
Jay – No not at all, I still don’t think anybodies really listening! It was always just a bit of a joke and it still feels that, well it is to be honest you know, But it also feels quite natural at the same time. If you do something for long enough. I think that’s it, what makes it work is the fact that I’ve stuck to my guns and haven’t really changed at all. If you do anything for that long you’re going to find someone that gives a shit.
Any advice for new people starting out?
Jay – Yeah just be honest. Tell the truth, to yourself as well which is one of the hardest persons to tell the truth too.
Yeah, I agree with that, last question, anything you’d like to say to our readers / listeners?
Jay – If their readers maybe go read a Tom Robbins book, he’s my favourite [….] If they’re listeners go listen to Laurie Campbell who we’ve just missed, you should listen to her music, you should listen to devil makes free, and Todd Snyder but yeah you could read a Tom Robbins book as well even if you’re a listener at heart.