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Exclusive: Billy Boyd Interview!

September 28, 2009 at 7:00 am by xoanon  - 

Beecake

To promote their upcoming East Coast tour, ‘Beecake’ front man and LOTR star Billy Boyd chatted with TORN last week. Billy gave us a little insight into the band, his musical tastes and influences, and his feelings about the upcoming tour.

Beecake US Tour Announcement Press Release

Tour Dates
OCTOBER 6 at 7PM, Iota Café, Arlington, VA. For tickets, visit www.iotaclubandcafe.com or call (703) 522-8340.
OCTOBER 7 at 8:30PM, Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA. For tickets, visit www.tinangel.com or call (215) 928-0770.
OCTOBER 8 & 10 at 10:30PM, Joe’s Pub, New York, NY. For tickets, visit www.joespub.com or call (212) 967-7555.
OCTOBER 11 at 9PM, Passim Center, Cambridge, MA. For tickets, visit www.clubpassim.org or call (617) 492-5300.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING – Howard Shore’s Complete Score Live to Film – with special appearance by Billy Boyd – plays at Radio City Music Hall on October 9 and 10 at 7:30PM. For tickets, visit theradiocitylotrconcert.com or call Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4111 or (800) 745-3000.

To promote their upcoming East Coast tour, ‘Beecake’ front man and LOTR star Billy Boyd chatted with TORN last week. Billy gave us a little insight into the band, his musical tastes and influences, and his feelings about the upcoming tour.

TORN: Tell me a little about ‘Beecake’, how it formed, and a little of your history.

Billy Boyd: Well, if you go back to the beginning, I’ve sort of always participated in bands, right from school, and one of the guys in the band who plays the piano, I went to school with him, a long time ago, and he and I put a band together when we were sort of 14, and the guy who played drums, we got a guy from nearby us called John Crawford, and he’s actually the drummer in ‘Beecake’ as well, so really we’ve been playing together since we were 14.

And back when we were like 18, 19 we were playing clubs throughout Scotland etc, there was another band called The Believers at that time, and their singer was Rick Martin, who now plays bass for us, so we’ve all known each other pretty much since we were, you know, sort of 14 to 18.

And the guys, when I went off to drama school, they kept playing in bands and you know, being involved in the music industry and stuff, and then I came off a job, I can’t remember when it was now, I’d been away from Scotland for quite a while, and when I got home, we all met up just for a pint and a catch-up, and one of the guys, I think John, said you know, we should get together, play some music again, and it sort of started like that.

We just kind of thought, yeah that’s right, it wasn’t … we didn’t go in there specifically thinking let’s get a band together and lets tour, because, you know, we’re mates, and the one thing we’ve always had with each other was music, you know, and it’s totally natural to say let’s get the guitars out and from that came ‘Beecake’.

TORN: And what’s the scene like in Scotland for underground bands?

BB: It’s sort of always been really good. Glasgow’s always got a great underground band scene, right way back, you know, Simple Minds etc.. And then lately bands like Franz Ferdinand, and Belle and Sebastian, it’s always been a sort of really sort of cool sort of alternative band scene going on.

We really had way back bands like Hit Sway and Love and Money, you know, there was a real Glasgow sound, and you sort of had that for cities all round the world, so you had the Manchester sound, or the New York punk sound, and then there’d always be something new to Glasgow underground music and I still feel like that’s the case. There are some great bands.

We recorded an album and an underground video and that was run by a guy who was in a band called the Gagles and there’s a real sort of people just want to make great music. It’s not about being commercial or people are buying this kind of music, we don’t want to make that sort of album. There’s no sort of download target, people downloading it a million times, it’s all about going and saying, you know, what do we do, what can we … what sound … if we get a Hammond organ or something, what can we do with this. And that can be really exciting.

TORN: How much of your Scottish heritage influences this? Are you guys trying to go back and get some old folk songs and reinvent them, stuff like that?

BB: No, not really. I suppose that’s sort of been an influence in the way that you know Scotland has this sort of folk song … not just folk, but people like to sing, people like to get involved in music, so there’s a lot of pubs in Glasgow that you can go to and somebody will dig out a guitar and somebody will come with a fiddle, and there’ll be a sing-song in there all night.

When we were growing up, when there was a party in the house, people would always go and sing, you know, go round the room, sort of thing. That was a Glasgow party … there were people creating their own music. So in some ways yes I think that had to influence us, growing up with that. But we don’t specifically link to Scottish music or anything, it doesn’t influence the song-writing.

TORN: How has your European tour experience prepped you for the US tour?

BB: We’re quite weird the way we play live. We don’t actually set up tours too much, we think “oh, it’d be nice to play somewhere”, and then we just set up a gig maybe in two weeks’ time to try out a couple of new songs or because one of the people in the band want to perform live, and we just do it. We haven’t set up a tour business or anything like that for the band. It’s all been pretty organic. We haven’t actually played live for quite some time because we’ve been recording the album. So this is actually the first time that we’re going to be playing the album live.

TORN: Oh wow.

BB: There are songs on the album that we’ve never played for an audience, you know, they were written in the studio and then recorded in the studio and nobody’s actually ever heard them live. So we’re all quite excited about that.

TORN: What is your first tour date?

BB: The first is October the 6th … I’m going to be back in New York first and then we go to, the first night is in Cambridge, I think.

TORN: This US tour must have a more official feel to it then; what are your feelings about it, are you apprehensive – what’s the general feeling?

BB: I think we’re just like really excited. You know we’ve been talking about this and as I say we’ve known each other … we’ve been friends together for a way back, so it’s not like we’ve written some songs and then we’ll get a band together and then we’ll go and tour the East Coast, this is like four friends who are going to be touring round the East Coast of America and … it’s just really exciting, you know.

I think we’re very proud of what we did in the album and when we were rehearsing it, doing it live before I headed off, we loved doing it live, you know. So it is quite … I think exciting more than anything else. I think we’re really excited to see what people think of the music, and also seeing all these different cities. I think the first night isn’t in Cambridge, I think the first night is in Arlington.

TORN: Have you traveled up and down the East Coast often, in the States?

BB: No. I’ve been to New York a lot, but that’s about it.

TORN: Ah, well, you’re in for some fun. There’s a lot of Civil War stuff, there’s a lot of Civil War locations and places to go, it’s really pretty neat.

BB: Oh, absolutely, I think we’ll love having a look at that. The places that we’re playing in, you know, really nice places, so we’re excited about that. They’re all kind of hand-picked for being sort of interesting places and we’re excited about it.

TORN: You said you were recording a studio album. Have you ever recorded a studio album before, or was this your first one?

BB: No, this is the first one, and we’ve been … about a year ago or more than that now, we wrote the songs, but this is the first time we’ve ever made an album. You know, I think in some ways albums are going out of favour a little bit, people just download songs. There’s something a bit more of an art form of an album, that it has a feeling, it has … you know you can connect to a song, but in the long term I’m always much more excited about an album that I love.

TORN: With an album you’re trying to tell a story through every song, it’s definitely an art form that is dying out in the age of iPod random selection. Listeners can pick from thousands of songs one at a time instead of listening to an album.

BB: When I’m listening to an album … you can be spoilt by the amount of choice. I was saying to a friend, I was driving a new car and it included an iPod, and I think no! And I said I don’t mind that, but I’d rather listen to a CD. If I’ve got the iPod I’ll listen to a song and then I’ll flip on to another album and then flip on to another album, where if I’ve got a CD on then I’ll listen to the album. It becomes a totally different experience, I think.

TORN: Absolutely. So in recording the album, what did you find surprising about working in a studio, because I can see it’s not a very linear experience. Did that surprise you when working on an album, how technically challenging they can be?

BB: Yeah, yeah, that can be really interesting, going in and out of a song, you know you might just be good enough to improvise a little bit when you’re playing live when you haven’t recorded a song, but then you get a chord and you say, oh, that little bit that I’m playing there, that doesn’t fit quite right, you know, or there’s something missing in that chord. It’s like putting a microscope on the song, you know, and polishing it to the way that you wanted, that’s what I think. I think things like … there was one chord this time, and we’re using good guitars, but nothing sounded right. Slightly out of tune. As you move from the top of the neck to the bottom of the neck, you’d never have noticed it when you were playing live, but when you’re recording it it becomes so so intricate that I think it’s a great way to get into the song, actually. I think we had to rewrite it. If you haven’t gone and played it live for a while in a concert you find the actual song then, I think.

TORN: You like that process of working through it … so when you’ve got it down you can do what you want, you can record it.

BB: Yeah, sometimes when you record the song it’s not right, you’re putting all these things on it, and then you know, John’ll pick up a tambourine, and he goes “that’s what it needed, a tambourine,” and you think why don’t we use that, and you’ll try and work it out why it needed that … or you can’t get the right guitar thing going because sometimes all you need is a tambourine or an organ sound or, like I said earlier, it’s really exciting to sit there and try and work that stuff out.

TORN: On the other hand I read that the Beatles recorded one of their first albums almost in a 24-hour period, they had played them so often that they just went into the studio and just recorded it and then that was it, it was done.

BB: Those guys were playing in Hamburg for 24 hours a day, they knew it cold (laughs).

TORN: Who are you and your band’s influences, do you have people you look up to, artists or bands or songwriters that you really like?

BB: I think from what we were talking about, it’s kind of coming to the band and looking at what they’re doing now are the bands who still enjoy the album, making the album, you know. Thinking of bands like Radiohead, you know, bands who are still working on albums.

Even though we’ve started to get away from that, you see, like in Elbow’s album, and I think that’s even more interesting now, and looking back there’ll be such a mix of what we like, like Rick really loves Crowded House, he brings a lot of what we have to the music because of that. Bands that at the time nobody was really into, but you know now when you look back on them you think wow, what they were doing, bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, is influence a lot of what Radiohead and Elbow and stuff are doing now.

TORN: I have a Gary Newman album from 1978 that sounds like it could have been recorded last year. It’s so innovative and ahead of its time that it is great. You know. I have to tell you about some Canadian bands that you should pick up.

BB: I’m grabbing a pen!

TORN: You might have heard them, I don’t know, but you should definitely pick up ‘Simple Plan’, ‘The Tragically Hip’ …

BB: I’ve heard of ‘The Tragically Hip’.

TORN: And ‘The Tea Party’. Those are the three I’d say to get, enjoy, and just get into the music. Especially ‘The Hip’. Best Canadian band I’ve ever heard. They’re just awesome. So I have to recommend that to you, now that you’re in Halifax, to definitely pick them up.

BB: I often pick up music from the place that I’m in, so thanks for that.

TORN: No problem. I think I’m going to be at your concert in New York, that coincides with the Lord of the Rings concert.

BB: We’ve just had the artwork done for the album, a friend was kind enough to do the artwork, which we just love, and so it’s actually just got printed, it’s just finished yesterday, and the album’s being shipped off to New York just now. So I’ll definitely get you a copy, tell me what you think.

TORN: Awesome, awesome, cool.

BB: I hope you like it. And Lord of the Rings, that concert’s going to be incredible, isn’t it?

TORN: It should be. I’m hoping that we get two sell-out shows, if they have a third one that would be incredible and it’d be great to actually tour it around the United States and North America and try to get it out to as many people as possible, so it should be awesome.

BB: It’d be amazing to see the films … I haven’t seen the films for such a long time.

TORN: Do you watch your own work? Do you just take an opportunity to catch something you’ve done?

BB: No, I would never put it in, sometimes you’re flipping though and something comes on, a movie that you’re in, and you look at it for a little bit and think “oh, that was cool, I remember that.” I’m really looking forward to seeing this … it’s nice having guys in the band who are big fans of the movies, Lord of the Rings, in fact they all are.

TORN: Now you’re in Halifax filming, is acting ‘the’ career, and the music just for fun? How do you foresee that working in the future?

BB: I’m quite bad at doing this sort of planning around that kind of thing. I really am. I’m just not very good at planning that. I’d love to do that, whether that’s possible or not, we’ll soon find out. At the moment, I’m doing what I can do and doing the work for Moby Dick, and then going to New York and seeing my friends and playing some music. And then this incredible Lord of the Rings thing that’s going to be happening … that’s a great couple of weeks. I think if I can keep doing that I’ll be happy.

TORN: Thanks so much for the interview Billy

BB: Cheers, thanks for having me, see you soon!

Beecake US Tour Announcement Press Release

Tour Dates
OCTOBER 6 at 7PM, Iota Café, Arlington, VA. For tickets, visit www.iotaclubandcafe.com or call (703) 522-8340.
OCTOBER 7 at 8:30PM, Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA. For tickets, visit www.tinangel.com or call (215) 928-0770.
OCTOBER 8 & 10 at 10:30PM, Joe’s Pub, New York, NY. For tickets, visit www.joespub.com or call (212) 967-7555.
OCTOBER 11 at 9PM, Passim Center, Cambridge, MA. For tickets, visit www.clubpassim.org or call (617) 492-5300.

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING – Howard Shore’s Complete Score Live to Film – with special appearance by Billy Boyd – plays at Radio City Music Hall on October 9 and 10 at 7:30PM. For tickets, visit theradiocitylotrconcert.com or call Ticketmaster at (212) 307-4111 or (800) 745-3000.

Posted in Billy Boyd, Concerts, Events, Howard Shore, LotR Movies, Movie Fellowship of the Ring on September 28, 2009 by

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