Listen To This: Beans on Toast


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.

Listen To This… Raised By Owls

Raised By Owls

May I introduce you to Sam, Alex, Mark, Tobias and Lee, five guys, all come from the deepest depths of Derbyshire who together make Raised by Owls. Raised by Owls are among the latest rock greats who fuse rock, metal, thrash-energy, sharp vocals with full-on screamo backing. And a passion for Mary Berry and The Great British Bake-Off (I’m as confused as you). For further listening check out The Great British Grind Off, Off to The Pub, Rot Stewart and The Almighty Sunday Roast. Derby, you’ve done us proud with these metal greats.

“I have a lot of respect for bands that are willing to experiment and try something different”

Who are you guys?
Hi! Raised by Owls is:
Sam Fowler – Vocals.
Alex LeGrice – Guitar & backing vocals.
Mark Bainbridge – Guitar
Tobias Cope – Bass
Lee Deane – Drums

And how did you all get together?
Me (Sam) and Alex just started messing around in Alex’s old bedroom at his parents’ house. We started ripping off bands that we really liked, and I would put ridiculous lyrics over the top of the songs. Shortly after we got our good friend Lee involved and started making daft internet music videos.
Once the videos started to take off online, we wanted to start making live appearances. That’s when we inducted Mark and Tobias to complete the line-up.
The five of us all grew up in a rural town in Derbyshire called Ashbourne. It’s a bit like Royston Vasey off ‘The League of Gentlemen’ which probably explains why our music is so odd.

What are your music influences?
Mainly extreme metal. However, I have a lot of respect for bands that are willing to experiment and try something different.
Some of our favourite bands are Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Pig Destroyer, Napalm Death, At the Gates, The Black Dahlia Murder, Behemoth, Aborted, Revocation, Every Time I Die, Mastodon. The list goes on.

On a scale of 1-10 how rock would you say you are?
We’re probably minus 10. We’re not a very cool band.

Story behind band’s name?
We can’t remember, which is embarrassing. I think it was during recording in Alex’s bedroom, I vaguely remember that we wanted to take a name that would normally sound metal, like ‘Raised by Wolves’ and replace with a less brutal animal, like an owl.

You released an album, The Great British Grind Off, wouldn’t be a reference to a certain cookery show?

It’s a whooping 24 tracks long, how long did it take to work on the whole album?
It started as just a laugh. We never intended to release it to the public in the beginning. Then we started making daft videos for the songs and people online responded, so we decided to put it out.
We started recording it around September 2015 and finished around September 2016. We weren’t working solidly. We’d just mess around every few weekends and see what came out. The recording of the next release will probably be a lot more focused as we have a handful of people who actually care about our musical output now ha-ha.
Have you played in Nottingham before?
Yes sir, many times, It’s always a good laugh. it’s our home from home… as it’s only up the road, and we love Taco Bell.
Derby needs a Taco Bell!

And are you looking forward to Macmillan Fest this weekend?
Very much so. Our last show was Truck Festival back in July, so we’ve had a bit over a month off. I’ve been itching to get back on stage.
Looking forward to checking out some awesome bands and hanging with some cool dudes and dudettes that we haven’t seen in ages. It’s going to be good clean fun.

You’ve been together since 2015 and have an album as well as numerous gigs under you belt such as Bloodstock and Truck Festival, what can we expect from you next?
A few more gigs spotted about to see the year out. Then we’re planning to release another record in the first part of 2019. The last few months have been spent hiding away and writing, and now we’re just starting to record.
Next year there will be a new record, new daft videos, more gigs and hopefully some festival appearances! It’s all looking very exciting.

And finally, were can fans hear more of your music?
Go and download our debut EP ‘The Great British Grind Off’ for FREE on bandcamp here:
Like us on Facebook here:
And watch us here:

Listen To This… Thunderian Summer


Dave, Alex, Tim, Matt and Pablo, these five guys are from all over the East Midlands and form the newest band to get into the music scene. These guys produce much of their own material as well as the odd cover song but non-the-less are still worth checking out. If you like listening to melodic rock riffs and upbeat vocal check these guys next time they’re in town. Listen to Just A Soldier, The Man I Want To Be and Lion Bear Tiger Mama (live in Nottingham, you won’t be disappointed.

Who are you guys?
Singer – Dave Thomas (DT)
Guitar – Alex Lee (Big A)
Guitar – Tim Stone (The Juke)
Bass – Matt Morley (Pops)
Drums – Pablo Fernández de Dios (Pabs)

How did you get together?
I was in jamming with a couple of mates who had a covers band that was sort of on hiatus, that didn’t really lead to anything but in the mean time I’d recruited DT and Pops to join us. So a couple of adverts and we got Juke and Pabs in.

…. And your musical influences?

Loads, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Gaslight Anthem, Kings Of Leon, Foo Fighters… the list goes on. All five of us like different stuff and we sort of meet in the middle.

How would you describe the band’s style?
Loads of Reverb!

What’s the story behind the band name?
It’s what happens when five guys who should be doing more important things have a Whatsapp chat and start geeking out about Thundercats.

On a scale of 1-10, how rock are you?
Dunno, 7 maybe… depends what 10 is really.

Best gig so far?
Probably the Sausage and Cider Festival, weather was great and in the daylight we could see the crowd singing along to our stuff, which was cool.

Your dream gig?
Sunday Night, Glastonbury.

How’s life in the band?
Normally it’s a lot of fun.

Have you played abroad yet?
Not yet, got some plans for 2019, but still some work to do here.

Have you had much airplay at all?
Some internet stuff, there’s a few stations who are really supportive of unsigned bands who’ve played us.

And lastly where can fans listen to your music?
Soundcloud for now…. There’s been much debate in the band about the merits of putting the songs up for sale at this stage.

Listen To This… The Village

Phil Matthews, a solo artist whom along with his buddy, Mr Hugh, are also known by their stage name; The Village, have been performing for many years and take influence from artist such as Led Zeppelin and The Beatles. The songs sound fresh and original, just listen to Lionel Strange and Land Called Far Away. Not bad at all bad.
First up, how long have you both been together?  
I’ve known Hugh for a long while; we actually played in a band together many years ago.  When my current band LaF went into a state of suspended animation I released a couple of albums “Welcome to the Village” and Voodoo Skull” under the name the Village and started performing solo. Hugh came along and joined me for a few of them providing harmony vocals along with harmonica, kazoo, and percussion. Nowadays I perform the occasional solo gig and Hugh performs alongside me at the majority of the shows.
How would you describe yourselves as a duo?
I’d describe us as hunky and good looking but most people who see us would say that I really should go to Specsavers. Seriously though, I hope that the majority of audiences find us entertaining. I’ve always hated serious faced acts that refuse to communicate with audiences between songs and banter with the audience and between the two of us is a very important part of what we do.  My own songs are best described as retro pop (whatever that is) and allows us to pepper our shows with pop classics from the past 60 years
….. also what music influences your music?
I’ve always been a Beatles fan, and many of the people who come to watch us remember that I used to be part of a group of friends who put Beatles Conventions on in the East Midlands. I love the classic bands from that period such as the Rolling Stones and the Who – all of which you can hear shades of in my music. My all time favourite band was an obscure West Country folk rock outfit called Stackridge who would think nothing of including self penned music hall tunes, reggae, blues rock, jazz and classical music in their stage shows, and I would like to think that I bring a little of that to what I do. I am, however, interested in the contemporary music scene. It just seems that what I write and record reflects my older influences.
As a duo, do you both find it easier when thinking about musical ideas?
You are absolutely spot on with that suggestion. The biggest frustration for me (and I suspect many other acts) is that anything you want to do has to be run past 3 or 4 other people. Purely on a logistical basis booking gigs can become a nightmare when you have to ask each member if they are available and they then have to ask their wives/girlfriends/cat etc if they are available. I’ve always loved the camaraderie of playing in bands but the number of great songs that have never made it onto set lists because one or other person has a problem with it is immense. Solo I only have me to deal with as I know if I am available or not, and I also choose songs that I personally enjoy playing. Having one other person involved brings a few of the above mentioned problems but it is easier to keep track of availability. Also having a second person to bounce musical ideas off helps to keep you focused. Also with the best will in the world it is hard to be your own critic and having one other person able to point things out solves a lot of that.
The Village, interesting name for your band, how did that come about?
I’m a huge fan of cult sixties show the Prisoner. In a nutshell the idea of the series was that people who the authorities felt to be dangerous were taken to a secret destination to be re-programmed. The place they were sent to was known simply as the Village. Knowing that the Prisoner was very much of its time and attracted a certain type of audience I thought that the name would give people something of a handle on the music. The Prisoner is a great series and I would recommend anyone who has not seen the original Patrick McGoohan show to check it out.
Out of all you gigs which has been your favourite so far?
I’ve enjoyed so many of them for different reasons and I’d hate to offend the various promoters that I have worked for but I would have to give mention to the Shed in Leicester and the bandstand in Nottingham Castle both of which I played solo and the Acoustic Rooms in Nottingham and the Rock and Blues Festival at Pentrich which we played as a duo.
….. and where would be your dream gig?
I would love to play Greenwich Village in New York as it had a bohemian atmosphere and attracted the best singer/songwriters of their era.  The Cavern in Liverpool for obvious reasons and finally the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury.
As a band, how’s life on the road going?
This has been a great year with over 100 gigs so far. There is no point as a writer having songs and not taking them out on the road and long may that continue.
Unless you’ve already done so would you ever play some gigs abroad?
I’d love to play abroad, not sure where although the USA does appeal. Not sure how my sense of humour would be accepted though.
Have you had much airplay at all?
With the ever increasing number of stations broadcasting via the internet I estimate my songs have been played on over 250 of them over the last couple of years. My songs have been streamed over 1,000 times, and I believe that at least one of my songs will be played somewhere in the world virtually every day.
And lastly where can fans listen to your music?
It would be great to see people who have read this article come and watch us live when we are next down your way, but for now they can either go to our Facebook page  to watch live performance videos and hear the music or listen to the album tracks at

Listen To This…. Vektrill


This new trio, hailing all the way from Worthing, are probably going to be one of the biggest and amazing band’s you have ever heard of yet. For anyone who likes their progressive rock and electronic sounds with an almost tenor like range you won’t be disappointed. With fresh new songs, such as The Grey, I’ll Never Die and Cyborg these guys are practically rejuvenating the rock genre.

So, how you guys first get together as a band?
Well I (Scott) had a couple acoustic tracks that I wanted to record with some percussion.
I found out about Jordan through a friend and haven’t regretted playing with him since. This was back in, like, January 2014. After plowing through Worthing’s back catalogue of bassists, we ended up landing Carlos who was in another band at the time but loved the energy we portrayed… or something like that lol. We’ve been with him 1 and a half years now. I think we’ve settled ha-ha!
How would you describe yourselves as a band?
Erm… weird? Ha-ha. Well we love to put on a performance and wish we had all the time in the world to just write and play music. When we write we become hermits but when it’s time to play we like to play loud and proud. We like to have a lot of fun but also stay focused and true to the end game.
….. How did you style of music come about?
Through a need to reject and revolt against the puppets of corruption and their handlers, perhaps the overwhelming hidden forces that make everything rotten in life? Ha-ha jk… maybe, but we’re influenced by Several sounds that we try to combine. Crescendos from classical music, the sounds of rock from the 60’s/70’s like Hendrix and his fuzz face, all the way up to the modern, more electronic, stuff. Dust that off with a heavier sort of ‘doom metal’ edge and I think that’s what we’ve got lol
In terms of song-writing it easy putting different ideas out there?
Sometimes, I mean it’s great fun when you write something that has a fresh tone to it and people say ‘ hey I really like that new track, it’s got something I’ve not heard before and I like it!’ But with the good there’s always the bad. We’ve written and re-written many songs time and time again to get them right. Sometimes an idea can just be too whacky, or a meld of two different sounds just becomes painful to listen to.
Now the name VeKtrill, how did that come about?
Ha-ha through a rigorous process of elimination! We’ve been through an arm’s length of band names. With each name came a slightly different image and sound. This one came through a need of something completely original and different so we were like ‘shall we invent a word?’ We started with Vektrillian and figured this to be too long and a bit ‘lizard people’. So, we shortened it to VEKTRILL and came up with a meaning, which is ‘a scale in which to measure a beings understanding of the control imposed upon them’.
How was your last gig?
Our last gig was a little winter warmer in our home town of Worthing which was a nice conclusion to our two mini uk tours for our singles this year. We played our local music venue ‘Bar 42’. It’s always a great night at bar 42! The sound is top notch and we had some top bands down!
….. and where would be your dream gig?
Like on a gigantic space station with the artificial gravity turned off! Imagine the way the sound would move and reverberate in that!
Failing that there’s always Headlining the pyramid stage of Glastonbury!
How would you describe life on tour?
It’s life we wanna live ha-ha, literally no better feeling than playing a show every night in a different place!
Unless you’ve already done so would you ever play some gigs abroad?
Again, that’s the dream! Just hit the interstellar highway and play some music!
Describe your dream tour
Hmm 72 and 1/4 years long, just circling the globe, perhaps hitting up the moon or mars a couple of times, just writing new stuff, experimenting with sounds and playing the classics of course!
Have you had any songs played on the radio yet?
We have indeed! Worldwide in fact! All of our recorded tracks bar one have been played. The most popular track is ‘I’ll never die’, our first single of this year but the one that was played worldwide simultaneously was ‘the grey’ which was the second single of this year.
Final question now, where would fans be able to find more of your music?
Well you can hit up our website which details of upcoming gigs, current and old videos, bio, social media links and everything Vektrill! You can also interact with us on twitter – @vektrill or Facebook – and even Instagram! Or even head to a gig we’re playing and have a chat after the show!