Becca Hamel

The Beaches Just Wanna Have Fun

Talented friends of friends? That’s The Beaches to us, as they just connected with our pal TALK at the Juno Awards and was recently announced as the tour support to our local legend/pop star FLETCHER. It’s about time we go to chatting with them!

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, The Aquarian was fortunate enough to find time to sit down with frontwoman Jordan Miller of the all-female rock quartet The Beaches. The band consists of Jordan’s sister, Kylie Miller (guitar, backing vocals), Leandra Earl (keyboards, guitar, backing vocals), and Eliza Enman-McDaniel (drums). The women of The Beaches have had music in their lives since when they were young. “We started playing when we were 6 years old,” Jordan told us of her and her sister’s journey from musical sisters to bandmates. “Eliza joined in middle school and Leandra joined in high school.” The foursome – who hail from Canada – have officially been together for a decade.

If you’re a fan of the eighties, The Beaches are reminiscent of the Go-Go’s (with the addition of their own modern flair) in the pop rock style that they’ve honed in on. The similarities between the Rock & Roll Hall of Famers and these rising stars are evident, mentioned to the band frequently, and are not lost on Jordan Miller; nor is it a comparison that she takes lightly. “Kathy Valentine [bassist of the Go-Go’s] is a good friend of ours and really likes our music. It’s very cool to be in a long line of girl rock bands.”

Robert Frezza kept up this conversation with Jordan to further discuss the female rock scene, The Beaches’ new album, Blame My Ex, and what it’s like to perform alongside some of the greats.

Who are some of your inspirations?

It changes and evolves. Blame My Ex was our first fully independent album; it was a good time for us to reevaluate what kind of sound we wanted to emulate with our new record. I think for a long time we were put in the hard rock category. We were listening to The Pretenders, The Strokes, and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs back in the day. What we are now listening to is alternative and alternative pop music: FLETCHER, boygenius, Maggie Rogers, and Lana Del Ray. I really love new wave music, too – Tears for Fears, The Cure, and Depeche Mode. When we were putting together this record, we made a record that we wanted to listen to through drawing some of the influences that people were surprised what we really were inspired by. 

Do you think you have big shoes to fill being in an all-female Canadian rock band?

Being a musician in Canada has its disadvantages and advantages. The advantage is that if you are creating content for radio or television, everything must be 50% Canadian made. You can have a long-established successful career in Canada because of that. There are also tons of great programs like Factor where you can fund yourself with money from the Canadian government. A lot of the Canadian acts that do make it big here are not used to the hustle. They might do a full bus tour in Canada, but then have to do a van tour in other markets like the United States and UK. It can be hard on the ego and finances, so there are advantages and disadvantages internationally. Nowadays, you can find success on social media like TikTok, which we find very helpful because it has a global reach. 

Back when we started, there were no female rock bands. There were bands that had one or two token females. What’s very encouraging now, is unprecedented to see an all-female rock band especially in the alternative scene. I truly think that the tastemakers in alt music are females. I had to fight to prove to be in a rock band and in an all-female rock act. I think there will be more females and more binary people who are not going to fight to prove themselves like we did when tied to the gender they are and the music they want to play.

You sold out two shows in a row here at Music Hall of Williamsburg. What can fans who haven’t seen you live expect from your shows?

I don’t want to seem braggadocious, but we are very good live. We practiced relentlessly growing up. If you come to see us play, you really do see the 10 years of extreme hard work and extreme dedication to our art. It’s in our bones at this point. It comes from many years from playing those dive bars where you do have to fight to be taken seriously. 

What’s the meaning behind the new album Blame My Ex?

“Blame Brett” was the first song that ever went viral for us. The cool thing about TikTok is that it is a great democracy. Back in the day, it was the label who picked the singles. You can give that power to the fans now, and“Blame Brett” establishes the theme of what the album was going to be about. You get to see our personalities that drip with humor and irony. The song is really about picking yourself up after a heartbreak, but mostly, “Blame Brett” showcases who we are as a band and where I was as a songwriter. So with that said, I didn’t want to name the entire album after my ex, so we decided on Blame My Ex

You’ve played with some heavyweights, too, like the Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, and Alanis Morissette. What’s the best advice given to you from them – or others?

We’ve met Dave Grohl and the Rolling Stones! The heavyweight that I did meet and who resonated with me is Elton John. He has interviewed us before and played our song on his Apple Music show. We met him backstage at his show and I said to him, “You don’t have to be doing this, helping out younger artists.” He told me that whenever curating his playlist, he picks out the music he likes. He also said that when he got started, someone helped him out. He thinks it’s only right to help out new musicians, and then they can help the next generation. I try to promote up-and-coming bands now who deserve the spotlight, as well. That really resonated with me.

“What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Paranoid” is your new song. Can you tell me more about it?

I would go to parties, get drunk, and cry in front of strangers. The next day I’d crawled under the sheets and wonder if I was going to meet anyone again. I thought I was going to push everyone away with my sadness and developed a little bit of social anxiety. I was thinking, “Who am I without my partner?” I felt like I was never going to feel complete again. That song was about feeling completely not yourself, feeling vulnerable and feeling anxious because of that. I was nervous to put that song out because I’ve never been so candid with my experiences with anxiety and depression. I’m very proud of that song, and even the vocal performance; it had to sound raw and had to have intention behind it. 

As a unit, how does the songwriting come together?

We wrote everything in the studio with our producers and the band. I came into the studio one day and wanted to write a song about my future exes and one of the others said it was really funny. Then the other producers work with the other members of the band with a simple chord progression. It’s like a game of hot potato. The songs get written really fast. It’s stressful and chaotic, but it’s my favorite way to write music with the girls.