First things first, who are you and how would you describe Beige Banquet?
Initially a weird solo project that no cared about. Now a five-piece band that no ones cares about.
You started releasing music during the pandemic – how did the band start and where was your first show?
On a more serious note Beige Banquet was my (Tom) lockdown baby. I wrote a bunch of songs back in January 2020 and I had full intention of putting a band together, playing them live and then eventually recording them in a studio. But then there was that bloody pandemic that got in the way. It got to about October and I had this horrible fear that I’d forget all about the songs and they’d just dissolve into the ether and be lost forever. So I had a crack of recording them myself, in my bedroom. The only stuff I’d ever recorded myself were demos so it was pretty daunting attempting to record something for human consumption and I didn’t think anyone apart from a handful of mates would ever listen.
We’ve come a long way from then and now we’re a proper band with 5 members: Joe Munsey plays guitar, Ian Crafter hits the drums, Blake Carlson-Joshua does percussion and a bit of synth and Danny Gillies plays bass, along with myself (Tom Brierley) playing guitar and attempting vocals. The live show is a real evolution from the records and everyone’s added their own personality to the parts and the result is something much more lively and dynamic.
So after recording the first album during the second UK lockdown I went on to start a record label (Just Step Sideways) and release and promote the record myself. It was mainly because I needed something to keep me sane throughout January 2021 but the response was really lovely and exceeded all of my expectations.
When things started to reopen again and I could see potential gigs on the horizon I put the live band together and things clicked pretty quickly. We’d had a few sessions and then a couple of gig offers came in so we worked really hard to get things ready for those. Sadly our first show at The Sebright arms ended up having to be socially distanced but it was a lot of fun, it was a showcase put on by the wonderful people at Hideous Mink Records so it was amazing to be part of that. Although I do like to think our first ‘proper’ full capacity show at The Victoria was when things really got started.
That Victoria show was wild and sweaty and you seem to have gathered a lot of fans already. Was this what you expected when starting the band?
To be honest I had no idea what to expect when we started to play the songs live. I hate telling people what to do so I just let them evolve, become their own thing and blossom into a pretty intense and sweaty set. I think the move away from drum machines and the addition Ian’s hard hitting drums made us all play louder and a little more intense, although I’ve only ever played in sweaty punk bands before so I’m not sure I could personally do it any differently.
The best thing is seeing people respond well to what we’re playing, they’re often more sweaty than we are and things can get quite rowdy.
What feels like the biggest milestone yet and what are your plans for the future?
We’re just having a really lovely time playing live at the moment. The boys are now my best mates and it’s amazing to have a bunch of people to share the experience with. We love playing in different cities around the UK and will hopefully make it to Europe early next year.
There might be a live album on the cards soon and we’re also working away on a second album. Can’t give too much away right now but all future releases will be definitely written together as a band.
The best beige food?
Chips definitely. Or maybe hummus if I’m feeling bougie. Chips dipped in hummus?
Can you tell us about your musical influences? Who inspired you to pick up an instrument?
Haha well as a geeky 14 year old kid, discovering Nirvana definitely made me beg my parents for a guitar. But I’ve been through many phases since then and even years where I barely even played.
I’ve been writing songs for as long as I can remember but I can definitely be considered a late bloomer and didn’t really put anything together with any real drive or conviction before I moved to Melbourne in 2017. I think just being involved in such an incredibly creative and diverse music scene really inspired me to write. And playing with so many brilliant bands like Vintage Crop, EXEK, The Shifters, Constant Mongrel, Gonzo and Ausmuteants pushed my song writing in a different direction and i started writing in a way that celebrates my eccentricities and technical limitations.
When I came back to London I was listening to a lot of bands like Crack Cloud and Lithics so there’s plenty of that in that first record. I wrote the S/T EP right after Beta was released and I was pretty obsessed with the DIY punk scenes in Berlin, Portland and Melbourne (of course) so the sound evolved a little as my LIIEK, Collate and Powerplant cassettes got some heavy play.