Chat: Beady Eye

In 2009, the world saw the death of Oasis after Noel Gallagher exited the band (apparently, for good this time). Not long after the ugly fallout, remaining members Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer and Andy Bell soldiered on with a new band name and with Chris Sharrock on drums. Now that their debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding has just been released, Beady Eye seems to be re-writing the brit rock history books with sold out concerts and a deal to score the music for the longest cocktail party. JUICE picks up the receiver and speaks to bassist-cum-guitarist Andy Bell…

Let’s talk about the new album, you guys have already been nominated by NME as a best new band even before the album is fully released – are you guys excited?
It’s cool isn’t it? It’s funny though, being a new band, we’re all so familiar.

How’s the reaction so far with Beady Eye – have you guys started touring?
We haven’t started touring yet. We’re just finishing rehearsals now, we’ve got one week left and then we’re going to start on the tour on the 3 March. The reviews have been pretty good and that’s all we have to go on right now and the word on the street’s been pretty ok. So we’re looking forward to it.

Why the name Beady Eye?
The name is something that Liam thought of. I don’t think the name has a big meaning, I mean we have an English saying, like “I’ve got my beady eye on you” or something. It just kinda means to keep a watch over something. We like to keep a close watch on our music, everything from the music, videos, photos, record sleeve and production. So it’s our way of saying that we care about what we’re doing.

In Beady Eye, there are 3 of you involved in the songwriting process. How does that work, is it collaborative or do you each write individually?
A bit of both really. We do write individually. What happened was, we came back to London after the Oasis split, and we started to meet up to record these demos. We had to start somewhere so we started with one Liam wrote called ‘The Beatles and Stones’. We made that version then. Liam, Gem and I were always open to other people’s suggestions even if it were our own songs. There was a lot of freedom. Like for example, if I’d written a song and Liam found it hard to sing a certain line, he could sort of suggest a change to make the line easier or that sort of thing. We were able to collaborate on songs we had written individually.

So I heard that you guys recorded the album in just 7 weeks? How was that compared to other records you made that took longer?
7 weeks to record, 6 to mix it. It was a fast one. You can never really be sure about how an album is going to go. Sometimes with the best intentions you end up having to scrap it and go back and start again. That happened to Oasis a couple of times. There was one time where we had to make the same album 3 times. So I think a lot of that is luck, I don’t think it’s always the skill of deciding which producer, which studio, which songs – I think it’s a lot of luck that comes into play so I would say that we were very lucky this time because we had one shot recording it and we did it.

Do you think there are any other factors that made making this album so easy for you guys?
Definitely. We definitely carried on a wave of positivity from recording the demos. We really believed in the songs. We worked hard on them together so there was a bond there. There were things like I was trying to play as much guitar as possible because I was back on guitar from playing bass for 10 years. Chris had the chance to come in the record himself, playing drums with us as a band. And we got to play with him because in Oasis, we never got to record together.

The new album has a lot of 60’s Brit rock influences. Where did that come from?
It’s just music we’ve always loved. Oasis had that kind of influence. We love The Beatles, The Stones, The Kinks, The Who, Small Faces… It’s just an era that we love. But we also love a lot of other music like ’70s Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. And ’80s Stone Roses and The Smiths. A lot of stuff from different eras, but it centres around the ’60s.

On your new record, there’s a song called, ‘The Beatles and Stones’. If you had to pick, who would you choose, The Beatles or The Rolling Stones?
It’s difficult, but I would have to say The Beatles in the end because they did so much, they created the universe of music we live in. The Stones were a fantastic rock n roll band and had great moments, y’know like ‘Gimme Shelter’ is probably a greater record than anything the Beatles made, but for consistency, it’s The Beatles.

So who’s your favourite Beatle then?
George Harrison. Cause he’s the one I feel closest to and I’m definitely the quite one.

Hey that’s our cat’s name! You were quoted saying “Hearing the Beady Eye album blasted on stereo made you feel God-like and makes you wanna smash things up,” can you go further into this?
I guess, I mean it’s true. I love listening to the record. It’s a very energising thing to hear. It’s very rock and roll but it’s kinda poppy and instant and uplifting in a way I really like. It’s what I want music to be like so I love putting it on loud. I just feel like ‘C’mon world…!’

You have lyrics saying “I’m gonna stand the test of time like the Beatles and the Stones” – what do you think it is about certain bands and music that resonates through generations?
I think it comes down to songwriting. There’s a certain kind of songwriting which has a universal quality. I think Oasis has it. I think a lot of the bands that I’m into all have that feeling and I hope Beady Eye turns into that kind of group and band. It’s when a song becomes more than the time that’s it’s in. It lasts and keeps on meaning things to people even when the band is gone, when that era is gone. Also the record has to sound great as well, so it’s a bit of production. A bit of everything really. Magic, really.

You guys recorded this album live, instead of each instrument separately, do you think that helps give it a more natural and vintage feel?
We’re not so much going for a vintage feel as trying to make the songs come alive, to make a song leak out of a CD and into your mind, and when you play live that comes across more instantly. Because you’re in sync with the other players.

Is it true that Beady Eye is providing music for the film The Longest Cocktail Party which is about the legendary Apple Records?
Yes it’s true. We’re gonna provide whatever they need and make the results into an album.

Has anything started on that yet?
Not yet, we do have a lot of ideas for it. We have a lot of music snippets, ideas and demo things that we’re gonna push towards that project and soundtrack. We’re looking forward to doing something different. It won’t be a regular Beady Eye album, it’ll be quite different.

Will it be Beatles covers or original music?
It’s not going to be covers. I have a feeling they might be trying to use the original Apple Records music in the film. The music we provide will be all original music, it will be instrumental. We’re trying to provide the mood music for the film. The car chase music, the love scene music or the drug trip music, we’re gonna provide some kinda background for those things.

Finish the following sentence: Guitarists make the worst…..
Drivers. Definitely. I’m not safe in a car. Never get a lift from me.

We’ll be sure to tell Top Gear that…

Image: Sony Music

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