​Don’t call them a supergroup: Menace Beach

Interview Don’t call them a supergroup: Menace Beach

Leeds collective Menace Beach have admirable goals for the year ahead: primarily, to “not do anything shit.”

Have you ever wondered what would happen if the great musical minds of Yorkshire joined forces? Maybe you’ve wasted entire afternoons just fantasising about the ultimate Leeds-based super group, only to cry silently when you realise that all those dreams may never actually come true? Don’t worry – we’ve all been there. Thankfully though, it looks like 2015 could mark the end of all that heartache. Enter Menace Beach – a raucous scuzz-rock five-piece that includes (or has included) band members from Komakino, Sky Larkin, You Animals, Pulled Apart By Horses and Hookworms. “We’re not really a super group,” drummer Nestor Matthews stresses. “We don’t want to make the best band in the world. It’s just because we’re all friends already, so that’s who you call on to play music with.”

Named after an early 90s video game, Menace Beach are tied to the grunge era in more ways than one. With their enthusiasm for fuzz pedals, woozy melodies and lurching guitars, the comparisons in sound are inevitable – though not necessarily welcomed. “I don’t know. I grew up listening to music in 96, 97 – the back end of Britpop – that’s when I first got into music,” lead singer Ryan Needham says with a shrug. “But it’s just weird, innit? It’s just a guitar song.” Nestor nods in agreement – “it’s very innocent and organic… there’s so many of us that you can never point a finger at any particular [era].” The songs are written mostly by Ryan, and often during the very early hours of the morning. It’s a process that rapid and relentless; with Ryan taking full advantage of the creative daze that comes with the chronic exhaustion. “I’ll go to work, finish work, stay up all night until 6 or 7 in the morning and just write,” he says nonchalantly, before being cut off by bassist Matt Spalding. “Ryan is fucking magic at writing songs. There are just so many… I’ve never known anybody to write as ridiculously.”

With their excellent debut album ‘Ratworld’ due for release in January, the results of all that late night binge-writing have obviously paid off. However, their ultimate goal for the year ahead is a surprisingly straightforward one. “Not do anything shit,” says Matt, with an air of pure pragmatism. “It was good to pick and craft this album out of a load of madness. We’ll see how it goes – it’s going to be a very interesting year, I think.”

Taken from the December 14 / January 15 issue of DIY, out now. Photos: Emma Swann.

Tags: Menace Beach, Class of 2015, Class of…, Features, Interviews

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