The English singer/song writer “Beans on toast”, famed for his down to earth take on British culture, covers various taboos as well as reflecting on the finer things in life, creating a kind of social commentary which many find too blunt but most can almost guiltily relate too. He released his latest album in 2012, Called “Fishing for a thank you” which he has followed on a countless live shows across the UK. He was kind enough to do an interview with us after bumping into him at a festival this summer, which have become almost like a home from home to this grizzled veteran.
JAKE: So let’s begin by saying it’s safe to say you have been doing this for a fair while now, were did it all start exactly?
BOT: Yep, its been a while. I've been writing and singing since I was proper young, but the ‘Beans on Toast’ thing has been going for about 7 or 8 years now. I wrote a bunch of songs with the loose idea of putting a band together, I got up at an open mic type tent at Glasto, it worked and I decided just to go it alone.
JAKE: What made you want to sing about sex, drugs, and politics? Because in my opinion, as topics, its like the gift that keeps on giving, there’s always new material that can be drawn from when singing about controversial matters such as these, would you agree?
BOT: Yeah for sure, it covers a lot of bases. I also like to claim I sing about Love, Art and Life. Which in many ways are one and the same.
JAKE: Ever gotten any stick for the material you sing about?
BOT: Not really stick no, but its put me in some interesting situations.
JAKE: Glastonbury seems to be from what I can gather a sort of mecca for you, although it may be somewhat obvious, but for those have not been, what exactly draws you there?
BOT: The humanity. To be honest I Love a lot of Festivals and see them as a central part of English culture right now. I think its important for people to gather, to integrate with each other, to talk, learn, think, dance and be entertained. Or it could just be I like getting wasted outside with my friends.
JAKE: I’ve heard you do two festivals per weekend; it must be pretty knackering? Are you scrapping the bottom of the barrel for serotonin by the end of the weekend or do you pace yourself? Has the novelty ever worn off for you?
BOT: I Love it, I know a lot of people who work a hell of a lot harder than me. I can't claim I'm knackered. I'd say I'm very lucky.
JAKE: Did you ever get the chance to meet Laura Marling? If so was it a bit awkward?
BOT: I was friends with Laura before writing the song, its an old song and Laura was just starting off (as with the song she was 16 years old). We did a few shows together. I played her the song before anyone else to kind of get permission. It's light hearted fun and she understands that. So no its not awkward at all.
JAKE: Are there any artists in particular you draw influence from and have you got a favourite genre?
BOT: Nope. My favourite songwriter of all time is an American chap called Todd Snider. He's my main man. I also Love the poet Kate Tempest an extraordinary amount. But influence comes more from what I get up to than what I listen to.
JAKE: Have you ever taken your act abroad? If not, ever thought of doing so?
BOT: Yeah for sure. I toured the USA earlier this year which was amazing. I've also done small but fun shows in Italy, Latvia, Belgium etc. One of the best things about what I do is getting to travel and meet new people so I always take opportunities that offer themselves.
JAKE: And finally what exactly do you have in store for the future?
BOT: Keep on, keeping on.
Interview by Jake al - Hilali