Feature: The Ingredients of Beta with Beige Banquet

Monday, February 22, 2021

London-based post-punk and art-punk artist Beige Banquet recently released his debut 12 track offering Beta. Tom Brierley, who is behind Beige Banquet, was living in Melbourne and amongst our music scene here before returning home to London. To celebrate the release of Beta, he took some time out to dive into some of the records that inspired him when working on his own, as well as taking us through the process of working on his debut release.

Lithics - Tower of Age

Without a doubt this has been one of my favourite records of 2020, I was a fan of their first record but Tower of Age has been on repeat consistently for the majority of last year. The tight and interweaving guitar lines feel stretched and elasticated, at times tripping over each other as they tell a beautiful native throughout the record. The sparse vocal delivery and the syncopated rhythm section leaves so much space for the guitars to really drag the record forward. There's something quite amazing that happens when two relatively simple guitar parts, that are quite similar tonally, are played at the same time and this dynamic was a huge influence on how I approached the guitars for Beta. From a production point of view, I'm a huge fan of how it's mixed, it feels like you're standing in a small practise room with the 4 members and it really hits you how effective the combination of 2 guitars, bass and drums can be. You can hear the subtle intricacies between the instruments perfectly and to me that's what guitar music is all about.

Crack Cloud - s/t
When I first heard this record it completely blew my mind. Although it's actually two EPs put together into a full length, there was something about the linear nature of the final collection of tracks that really drew me in. It musters a real sense of forward momentum that never really looks back, each song similar yet different, and their now somewhat, icon sound warps and morphs between tracks. Crack Cloud's rhythmic approach to songwriting was something that instantly connected with my brain, there's a subtle blend throughout of understated brilliance and uncompromised artistic vision, while still managing to keep it effortlessly cool. Tonally the guitars are very exciting to me, drawing influence from bands such as Minutemen and Preoccupations, I don't think I had even finished listening to the record before I was trawling the internet for a chorus pedal. I don't even know where to start on the rhythmic and off-kilter vocal delivery. This record has been a huge influence on me and is definitely one of my most played albums over the last couple of years.

Marbled Eye - EP II

Although this actually came out back in 2017, it's been a big influence on me musically and definitely felt like a bridge between the heavier music I was making with NOUGHTS in Melbourne to essentially what became Beige Banquet. It was that combination of a nonchalant vocal delivery with driving and at times quite abrasive music. These 4 raw tracks still have the ability to inspire me to make music even after listening to it heavily for 3 years. I sometimes find that I can never make it through my favourite records without having to run off and grab my guitar, there's something in certain music that I find unbearably inspiring, whatever that is, this EP has it in abundance.

Constant Mongrel - Living in Excellence

I chose CM here when I really could have picked a number of records by bands such as Vintage Crop, Gonzo, The Shifters, EYESØRES, Dr Sure's Unusual Practice or any of the bands I saw and/or played within during my time in Melbourne. My time in the city's now-famous music scene was a massive influence on how I've approached music since being back in London. A few people here in the UK have expressed a bit of surprise that I released an album so soon and didn't follow the mould by releasing a string of singles and building a following over a number of years before sharing a debut full length. There's really nothing wrong with that approach and I totally understand why people do it, but I personally feel that it's at a detriment to the reason why I'm involved in music at all, to write, record, release and share my musical ideas with the world. If you have music why hold it back? It often feels like bands are so focussed on the success that they base their decisions on business rather than art. If there's one thing that Melbourne taught me, it's that success as an artist is not based on how much money you've made, or how many people turn up at your gigs, but it's that unfiltered ability to express your musical ideas with the world.

Liiek - s/t

I recently came across this little scene based out of Berlin, centring around Mangal records and including bands such as Liiek, Pigeon and Flennen. Their DIY approach was really refreshing and exactly what I'd been searching for since moving back to London, it reminded me of the Melbourne scene in a lot of ways. I actually found Liiek through the artist Robin Roche, who did the artwork for Beta, who I sought out on Instagram after seeing the work he'd done on the lastest Vintage Crop record, I think it's amazing how a visual aesthetic can tie music together so beautifully. I've had an amazing response from the record in places like Germany and France and it's made me feel very connected with my European neighbours, almost to a point where I feel more aligned with the music scenes in Berlin and Paris than London. These ties feel quite fragile at the moment, with the current world situation, but I think it makes it all the more important to remain close with Europe at a time when our government is trying their very hardest to isolate our island and move it further into the depths of the north sea. 

Check out Beta by Beige Banquet below.

Follow Beige Banquet: