Michael Beach: “No rules ever. Keep it wild and free.”

Original photo by Sarah Gilsenan. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

Naarm/Melbourne-based musician and songwriter Michael Beach is back with new song ‘Out In A Burning Alley’ from his forthcoming self-titled EP. Beach is intensely cool and has become a master of writing and harnessing beautiful melodies, creating a spontaneous feel in his songs, wrapped up in a lively, elegant squall of garage rock n roll and swirls of distortion. Beach’s work is always engaging and vulnerable. ‘Out In A Burning Alley’ reminds us of what makes him an excellent songwriter. 

How are you? What’s life been like lately for you? You’re currently in the US spending time with family.

MICHAEL BEACH: I’m well, thanks! It’s been real nice to get back to California after too long away.  We came over to visit my parents but my mom got COVID the day before we got here, so we’ve had to improvise a bit. Life was pretty busy before I left…a ton of work to do with the new record coming out, but Goner and Poison City have helped so much, so I feel pretty lucky. Off to Big Sur today, plus a visit to Robinson Jeffers house in Carmel. Stoked!

We’re premiering your new song ‘Out In A Burning Alley’ the first single from your up coming 12” EP that will be out in September; were there any specific influences for this song?

MB: Thanks! I recall wanted to cross a Saints-style guitar tone with a Peter Laughner rambling narrative—not sure why but I think those were my compass points for this one.

  

What’s one of the biggest things you’ve learnt about while songwriting for your new EP? Do you have any rules for yourself?

MB: No rules ever. Keep it wild and free. Ha!  The old ‘serve the song’ maxim is a good one. Otherwise I’d say the more time goes on, the less I know.  ’m gradually unlearning everything. My brain is decaying nicely by this point.

What was the experience like of recording ‘Out In A Burning Alley’?

MB: It was a grand old time. Andy/Poison City offered up his family’s country house for us to record in. I moved my 8-track up there and we spent a couple winter days recording, eating, and drinking. Excellent memories with excellent friends—it was a totally enjoyable recording experience. 

Video Directed by Alexandra Millen.

You’ve been making music for some time now; who or what helps you trust your instincts in relation to your creativity?

MB: As far as trusting myself, I think friends help a lot, and I’m lucky to have such excellently creative friends. Time and experience have helped. I enjoy the process of creation so that’s enough most of the time.  

You’ll be touring the US in September/October and play this year’s Goner Fest; what is something that you have to do before a performance?

MB: Yeah, can’t wait to be back in Memphis! Before a show…stay connected to the band, connected to the audience, connected to spirit of the thing I’m trying to get across. Keep it connected!! 

What’s something that’s been bringing you a lot of joy of late?

MB: Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain. Anybody out there wanna book me some shows in Scotland?!

Michael Beach will launch the new EP in Naarm on October 29 at The Curtin. MB’s music via Poison City Records and in the US on Goner Records.

More Michael Beach: michaelbeach.org + @michaelbeach__ + facebook.com/MBandtheartists + michaelbeach.bandcamp.com.

Read our previous chat with Michael: “Good Things In My Life Have Happened Because Of Music.”

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