This month, Beans on Toast will be heading across the UK for his “Sitting on a Chair” Tour, celebrating his 9-year anniversary since his debut album, ‘Standing on a chair’. Alongside the tour, he is releasing his first book comprising of ten short stories from his colourful life, ‘Drunk folk stories’ and the re-release of his debut album on vinyl. Rhiannon Banks got to catch up with Jay ( Beans on Toast) before the tour begins.
It’s 9 years since your debut album. It must feel like a huge milestone, but what made you release it now rather than at the 10-year mark?
To be honest, I thought it was 10 years – it was a big balls up. Since that album, I have brought an album out each year. This year is my tenth album and without thinking much about it, I kind of presumed it was ten years, but actually, since you start at zero it’s actually 9. But I’d already pressed the button. I arranged the tour and decided I’d do the vinyl release, then I suddenly realised: “hold on, it came out in 2009 – oh fuck!”
I guess it makes it more interesting being 9 years instead of 10?
This is it! I worried for about a second then started laughing at the hilarity of it all. Then everybody else I told and everyone I worked with on this, their instant reaction was just to laugh. So we rolled with it because the button had been pressed. So it’s the seminal 9-year anniversary of the first album.
I’ve loved reading your book, ‘Drunk Folk Stories’. It reads as if you’re having a conversation with you over a pint or two…
Ah, that’s great – you’re saying all the right things here, haha.
So, what made you decide to put the stories together?
I’ve been keeping it quite close to my chest – the only person I’ve shown it to was my mum and she loved it; I always give her stuff because I know she will give me a good review. I never thought I’d ever write a book. I don’t even really write outside of songwriting – I struggle to write a bloody Facebook post. These stories, I’ve been telling them over and over either on stage or down the pub…I knew them like the back of my hand. This time last year I was on tour in Germany. I was travelling by myself on a train for 3 or 4 hours. I needed a project. I started ( I didn’t tell anyone, I wasn’t going to be like “hey I’m writing a book”) jotting the stories down. Reminiscing and thinking “oh fucking hell. There was that and this as well”…and it sort of led me through. Putting them in a book might finally shut me up – I can be like a broken record. Now that I’ve written them down I can’t just pull them out and start telling because everyone will know them…it means I can kind of move on from them now.
The new tour is going to be in seated venues…is that because of the debut album’s name?
It seemed to just tie everything in: it linked with the album through the name and it linked with the book because it will be a little more storytelling than at the usual gigs. It’s something a bit different to a regular Beans on Toast gig. The whole thing worked as one package.
Since this set of shows is a celebration of the debut album, is there anything new on the horizon after the tour?
Oh god, yeah. There will be an album out in December – it’s almost written as we speak now. And even though it’s the seminal 9 years, I’ll still be playing a mixture of songs from my whole back and future catalogue.
Catch Beans on Toast at the Bonded Warehouse in Sunderland on Wednesday 9th May. Tickets, priced at £16.50, are available from seetickets.com.