We interviewed Liza Violet, one of the members of five-piece indie rock group from Leeds, Menace Beach.
Interview by Jane Howkins.
You’re heading out on quite an extensive tour of the U.K. from the end of January – is there anywhere you are particularly looking forward to playing?
Yeah, we’re playing a few places that we haven’t done before so I’m really looking forward to that, especially Cardiff because for some reason we haven’t made it to Wales yet. Also Sheffield and London as we get to catch up with lots of old pals.
Your second full release (called Lemon Memory) is being released this year. When is it out, and what can you tell us about it?
It’s out on the 20th January and its drenched in folk lore and magic that is loosely aimed at reversing a curse that Ryan believes was placed on our house via lemons. It isn’t considered by us to be grunge music.
Your début album Ratworld came out in 2015, to mostly positive reviews. You’ve released quite a few E.P.s over the years as well. How do you think your sound has changed?
We tried to strip everything back with this record and not have a wall of fuzz on every track so our writing process was different with this one. For most of our other records we wrote with a guitar in a more traditional way, but Lemon Memory was built around drum loops and chopped up synth lines. One of the main things was to explore using more space and not have everything so busy all the time. I knew exactly how I wanted parts of it to sound before we went into the studio this time rather than just waiting to see what came out.
Is there anything on Lemon Memory that might shock fans, or anything that is drastically different from before?
I don’t know about shocking, it’s got a lemon scented sleeve which smells a lot like toilet duck which is different to before.
You recently released a new single from the album, called Suck It Out. What can you tell us about that?
This is Ryan’s favourite song on the album, but I think that’s because he did the vocals in one take. The song’s about extracting bad energy from a situation and about how it’s easy to not realise how awful a time you are having until you make a change.
Your line up is one that seems to constantly revolve, apart from core members Ryan Needham and Liza Violet. Why is that, and are there any members who might consider staying on for longer?
Menace Beach started when Ryan and I moved to Leeds and we didn’t know anyone – so we built the band as something to keep us company. We begged Nestor and Matt (S) to come and play on the first E.P. and they’ve stayed since, but we wanted to make sure it was a stress free project and never a burden to anyone, so we kept it really open. I liked that it kept it much less official having a different line up all the time at the start too, and it made it feel more relaxed somehow. I think Nick is the fifth guitarist though so hopefully he’ll stick around.
Do you still play with any of the other bands you have been affiliated with, and if so, how do you manage to balance them with performing with Menace Beach?
Nick’s in Seize the Chair and Nestor’s just started a band called Magic Mountain with our friend Lins Wilson and Tom from Pulled Apart by Horses, but for Ryan and me it’s just Menace Beach for now. We should probably start a new side project.
Why do you think people should come and see Menace Beach perform live, and what can people expect from one of your shows?
We’re going to be playing a tonne of songs from the new record and some old ones too. We hardly got out last year so I can’t wait to play some shows.
Any last words for the fans?
Don’t put any more curses on us please.