This afternoon I caught up with Dane Lewis Etteridge, the frontman of Brighton-based pop-rock band Beautiful Boy to have a chat before the release of their new single ‘Bodies’, out exclusively on vinyl on November 10th on RAK Records, two weeks before the digital release. In between video shoot sessions for the new single, we met up to discuss musical aspirations, music videos and of course, the music itself.
I was fortunate enough to be given a preview listen of the two tracks of the new EP, ‘Bodies’ as the A-side with a cover version of ‘Kids In America’ by Kim Wilde. As part of RAK’s releases, they ask each band to record a cover version from their back-catalog and so Beautiful Boy chose this track to rewrite in their signature style. Check out the original track here. Bodies is a foot-stomping original track, carrying on from their double A-side Home/ Love Me More, Beautiful Boy’s track record for catchy hooks, strong melodies and singalong anthems continues unblemished. The track kind of sounds like a darker twist on The Feeling. The video will be up soon to accompany the vinyl release and will be the only place to hear it online until the digital release!
Tom: When you formed BB what were you hoping to achieve musically and how far have you succeeded in that so far?
Dane: When we started we just wanted to make music that meant something. We wanted to connect with people, write sentimental music that was relatable. We wanted our music to be shared with as many people as possible. And be fucking massive as well! We try not to be pigeon-holed, using a wide colour palette for our songs. Like a playground o songwriting.
T: How do you get the BB signature sound and what would you define it as?
D: Big drums and strong melodies. I think our music covers quite a wide breadth of styles but the voice is the constant in all of the tracks, keeping it all together.
T: What has been your favourite gig so far?
D: We played a gig at The Haunt about 6 months ago and it was rammed for us. We were 2nd on the bill and it was only our fourth gig or something, but it was empty before and the place filled up when we went on stage. That was a great feeling.
Also, our EP launch at The Hope. We had a 4-piece choir that sang with us for 3 of the tracks and that was really special.
T: Which local bands influence you the most?
D: We tend not to focus too much on other bands in Brighton. There is so much great music going on it can be easy to turn into a competition and not an art form. We just like to keep our heads down and do our own thing. Brighton is spoiled for great live music and we have a lot of friends in bands but we try to keep focused on our own music.
T: Is there a debut album on the horizon?
D: Definitely. We’ve got a lot of material that we’re sitting on at the moment, waiting for the right time to bring it out. We don’t have any dates fixed yet but we’re hopefully going to have an EP out in the new year, then followed by a single, and then the debut album out in the summer 2015. We’ll probably have about three album’s worth by then! We’ve got about 8 or 9 new tracks that are ready to perform live, but we just need to the right time to play them so the audiences still get to hear the tracks they are familiar with. Hopefully after the release of the new track we will start to play some more new songs.
T: If you could support anybody live, who would it be?
D: Arcade Fire or Ryan Adams. It’s got to be your heroes from songwriting. We played a great show with Catfish and The Bottlemen a couple of months ago, and it would be great to do more shows with them. And if he were still alive, John Lennon.
T: Where in the world would you like to perform (not necessarily a venue)?
D: (takes a long sip of his coffee) I like the idea of somewhere romantic and old-fashioned, like a Coliseum or amphitheater outside somewhere in Greece or Italy. Either that or recreating something like The Beatles on Saville Row. My friend and I were in London when they were working on the Apple building, the site of The Beatles last gig, and we bribed one of the builders to show us up to the roof. It was great to see a piece of history and take some photos to remember it by.
T: Who has been the most influential person in your musical career?
D: My parents have always been really supportive of my music and never made me feel bad for doing what I want to do. I had a great music teacher too called Dafydd Hughes. He was mad but amazing. I’ve got lots of friends who have helped out too, creating the infrastructure that everybody needs for playing music in their city.
T: Next month you have a gig at The Elgar Room in Royal Albert Hall with Amazing Radio. How did you get involved with them?
D: We first got involved by uploading our tracks to their online player and they just really got behind us. They’ve been great supporters, featuring us as track of the day, gig of the day , featuring us in their website header and even in their social media sites. They got in touch with out manager about playing the show and we were happy to play for them.
T: The ‘Love Me More’ video. Where was it shot? Was it a tip of the hat to Arctic Monkey’s ‘A view from the afternoon”?
D: The video was shot in a park in Thakeham, near Worthing. We made a last minute decision to make the debut single a double A-side and were told that we needed a video for the track the next day. Our manager pointed out that the track was all about the drums and so suggested that we focus on that for the video. So we went to the park at 6am on a Saturday morning to shoot the video with some Go Pro cameras with the editor Cliff T. We had a lot of noise complaints but were done within an hour. It was edited within a day and we had the video in time for the release. It wasn’t a reference to The Arctic Monkeys, although it’s kind of hard to look too different in a video when you focus on the drums.
T: You are filming music video later today for the new single ‘bodies’. What is the track about and what can we expect from the video?
D: The track is about coming to terms with a loss, the mortality of life and how we don’t have that much time and the revelations that can bring. The video for the track will definitely be a surprise. It’s the most risqué video we have done. We’re definitely sailing close to the wind to it being X-rated. We still want people to share it though so it’s going to be a fine line. I think the concept for the video is really good though, so hopefully that will come through.
T: Finally, if you could name one track to listen to for new listeners, which would it be?
D: Probably ‘Home’. That’s where it all started for us. It was the first song that we put online, the first video and what generated our first fans. If people like singalongs then maybe ‘Love Me More’. There’s a few tracks online that are only there if you look hard for them, like a song called ‘Begging The Moon’ which is only available as an acoustic video track. I think any of the tracks really. They’re so broad that it’s hard to pick just one. But I am a little biased as I wrote them.
Check out Beautiful Boy’s new single Bodies, out 10th November on vinyl and late November for download.