An interview with veteran rocker, well I say that but he’s been active since 2005, Jay McAllister, and the next addition in the Listen To This series, also he’s playing at the Rescue Rooms tonight in Nottingham. Enjoy
Meet Jay McAllister, a one-man-band music veteran who’s been making music since 2005, or since Indie music got a breath of new air. Better known by his stage-name Beans on Toast, Jay McAllister is a home-grown solo musician with a soothing voice who sings about many aspects of life such as drugs, politics and love. Beans on Toast is an extraordinary musician in his own right who sings to you in a way that only a small handful can. A beautiful mixture of folk, rock and acoustic with a bit of heartfelt soul. He has ten albums under his belt, his most recent being A Bird in the Hand and countless tours and look forward to hearing much more from him in the near future. For your further listening check out Another Year, Magic, Here at Homerton Hospital, Bamboo Toothbrush and Miss You Like Crazy and let’s see what you think.
“I wrote my first song was I was 15 and I’ve been writing them ever since”
Who are you?
For all intents and purposes, my name is Beans on Toast. I’m a folk singer from Essex currently travelling around the country singing simple songs about life and Love.
What made you want a life in music?
It made more sense to me than pretty much everything else, it’s just how it’s always been. I wrote my first song was I was 15 and I’ve been writing them ever since.
Now you’ve been making music since 2005, about 15 years now, do you feel like a music veteran?
I feel like I’ve been around the block a few times yeah. Still enjoy it as ever as ever though.
Do you feel you’re at the stage where you feel like a pro or would you view yourself as someone who’s still learning?
I’m not sure the plan was ever to be a pro and you should always continue to learn, that said I’m pretty settled in what I do these days and feel like I know what I’m doing.
When you first began as a musician what music influenced you?
I played in a grunge band a school, so Nirvana, Placebo and the like were a massive inspiration. Around the same time, I also discovered The Doors and Jim Morrison and fell in Live with his attitude and magic.
Describe Beans on Toast in five words
Drunk Folk Singer
On a scale of 1-10, how rock are you?
Beans on Toast, how did that go from being an edible dish to your stage-name?
I think it’s a pretty fair description of the music I make. It’s English, cheap, easy and it does what it says on the tin.
Describe a Beans on Toast gig to the MusicNotts readers
A gathering of friends with some singing, drinking, dancing, thinking and forgetting.
As a musician describe to me how life on the road is as you’ve been both around the UK and Europe. What can you tell me?
That good people are everywhere and if you’re polite the world will open its arms to you.
Where are you top 5 music venues both in Nottingham, the UK and abroad?
I’ve played many, many times in Nottingham and 90% of the shows have been in the same building, just different rooms. So my top Notts venues would be Rock City, Rock City Basement, Rescue Rooms and stealth. UK venues I like include Gorilla in Manchester. Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. The Trades in Hebden Bridge. Omeara in London and The Phoenix in Exeter. Worldwide. Amnesia in San Francisco. Rockwood music hall in NYC. De Roma in Antwerp. Die Wohngemeinschaft in Cologne. The Bank Rooftop in Cape town and Smiles Saloon in Bolinas.
What reactions do you get from your music compared to both here and abroad cos I imagine the musical tastes are a bit different.
I’m generally surprised how well it goes down outside of English
speaking countries, turns out it was my ignorance I was worried about.
Now you’ve got a gig later this week at the Rescue Rooms, what can we expect from it?
Same as above: A gathering of friends with some singing, drinking, dancing, thinking and forgetting.
And will you be performing songs from your recent release ‘A Bird in the Hand’?
Yep, and a bunch from the back catalogue too. This is my first tour with a new band, we’ve reworked a bunch of old tunes into a full band affair. Which is fun.
The last time you performed in town you played at Rock City, how did it go and are you excited to be coming back?
Yep, I Love Nottingham. Can’t wait to get a Mocky D’s before the show too.
Something that people might not know is that your last album was produced by Ben Lovett, would you be open to collaborating with him in the future, either as a musician or producer?
Ben produced my first album and I was lucky enough that he found the time in his mental schedule to produce my 10th. Maybe in ten years, he’ll do the 20th.
Has your music been played on The Beat or any other radio station yet?
I have no idea. 6music plays the odd song here and there as does Radio X.
Lastly where can fans listen to your music?
Wherever they normally listen to music. I’ll be there. Or Google Beans on Toast. It took me a while to get above the food on the search results. But I did it.