Traversing the roads of Toronto in an all-black SUV is one of Canada’s newest and most exciting rock bands. While they are not yet a household name, the group did spend an entire day going from one interview to another. It’s no surprise that people cannot get enough of The Beaches, and yes, they’re named after the Toronto neighbourhood — The Beaches — which they call home.
The band, which consists of Jordan Miller’s vocals and bass, Kylie Miller’s lead guitar, Eliza Enman McDaniel’s drums, and Leandra Earl’s keyboard and guitar, officially started in 2013 with their first studio album released in 2017. Since then, the band has continued to grow their success through hit music and captivating live shows.
For one of their many interviews that day, The Beaches sat down with The Varsity to discuss their newest EP, opening for some of the biggest bands in the world, and snacking on tour.
The Varsity: Firstly I’d like to congratulate you on your new EP, The Professional. Can you tell me a bit about it and how it came together?
Jordan Miller: The Professional is really exciting. It came together really fast. We’ve had a few crazy years where a lot of things have changed for us, so we’ve been really inspired. Our last album, Late Show, was sort of a collection of four years worth of material. The Professional — excluding “Lame” — was essentially written in the last six months. We’re really excited about it.
TV: Having known each other for many years at this point and finally getting the recognition and accolades that you deserve, can you speak on the challenges individually or as a group that you’ve faced in the last couple years?
Kylie Miller: I think right now rock music hasn’t been as prevalent, which is disappointing. So being an all-female rock band in this time has been a little bit challenging, but it’s also been exciting because we’re starting to see younger people become interested in rock music and coming to live shows and supporting this whole movement. It’s kind of like a rose and a thorn.
JM: We’re definitely a unique band in that we play everything live. We’re dedicated to making sure that our performances are unique each time we play the songs. We’re creating an experience, not just pressing a button on a computer.
TV: Do you think it’s an untraditional or traditional way of doing it?
JM: Well, it used to be the traditional way, but it’s sort of become weird, you know?
KM: Yeah, it’s a dying breed.
Eliza Enman-McDaniel: We’re trying to bring it back. Women are the most rock ‘n’ roll thing right now because there aren’t enough women in rock ‘n’ roll. So, that in itself, being a woman in rock ‘n’ roll, is just the coolest.
TV: Toronto in recent years has pushed out a high-level of musical talent. How has this city helped to shape you, apart from just your band name?
KM: I think we are so lucky to be able to live in this city and to be able to go and experience shows here. We have a really great community of Toronto musicians and friends in bands, and we all support each other. It’s really kind of helped us grow individually, as friends, and as a band.
JM: There’s a totally collaborative and supportive music scene here. People go to each other’s shows… share each other’s music and offer advice, and help when it comes to making choices within your own career or even with your own songs.
KM: And this doesn’t really happen in a lot of other places. For instance, in Los Angeles, New York, even Montréal, everything is really competitive, and yet in Toronto, everyone is really supportive.
TV: Last year you won the JUNO Award for Breakout Group of the Year. Tell me about that experience, going up and accepting your award. It seems almost like you were surprised that you won.
JM: It was such an honour to be recognized by our community and peers. I think it was especially an important moment for us because we’ve been sort of a band for about four years, and a lot of our friends have graduated from university and are coming back to their families with degrees. And so we got to come back and sort of give our parents this sort of symbol of all the work that we’ve done.
TV: 2018 was a big year for the band. Apart from the JUNO Award, you also released a couple of hits. I’m also interested in hearing about your experience opening for the Foo Fighters and playing at the Rogers Centre.
EM: That show was crazy for so many reasons. When I walked out by myself as we opened our show, I walked out to 55,000 people. I sit down and this massive full pint of beer comes hurtling through the air, knocks one of my sticks out of my hand — and I’m playing at the time. I have to find a way to get my second stick. So, it was a mess.
KM: It really kind of was crazy because that’s never happened to us as a band before. It was eye-opening, and it proved that we can be put into really shitty circumstances. But somehow we’re that close and that connected as a band that we can just pull through and not let that affect our performance.
TV: What do you hope to achieve, learn, or experience when you open for other big bands, for instance, when you opened for The Rolling Stones in June?
JM: Something that’s very interesting between The Rolling Stones and The Glorious Sons is that I’ve heard that they both have… an improv-ish type of show; it’s not a very formulaic set. They don’t really pick a setlist until like 20 minutes before their show. Sometimes they’ll do super long jams in-between songs even though they won’t plan for it, but they’re like such tight performers that they’ll just sort of be able to look at each other and do stuff that’s very spontaneous like that. So, it’s interesting to see how our sort of theatrical, sort of prepared, cohesive set works with their more jamming sets.
EM: I think just being able to play rock music in front of a crowd that’s there for rock music, and to expose our music to people who haven’t heard our music before. Just keep trying to keep rock music alive. I think that’s what’ll be the best outcome.
TV: Do you have a goal in mind for the end of 2019?
EM: We’re planning on releasing another body of work, hopefully by the end of the year. I’d love to just tour, travel to more places, and play for more audiences that haven’t seen us before and just keep touring.
Leandra Earl: Canada has been very nice to us, but moving toward the UK and the US are a goal.
KM: We have a lot of support here — it’s amazing — but it’s also important to establish yourself in other places. So, going to Europe, going to the UK, maybe going to Australia at some point early next year, and then hitting the US again for a headlining run.
LE: Take The Beaches worldwide — ‘International Beaches.’
TV: Before you go, I have one final question. Following your Twitter, I’ve noticed your go-to fast food is Taco Bell. What is your go-to Taco Bell order?
EM: Crunchwrap Supreme and a side of a Soft Beef Taco.
JM: Crunchwrap Supreme with Ghost Pepper Sauce.
EM: Oh, Fire Sauce, always!
LE: The whole tour I’ve been having two crunchy beef tacos, but on the last day, I tried a Crunchwrap Supreme — and woah! That hit me. So next time, it’s that.
EM: We’ve been telling her all along it’s the best thing, but she had to try it for herself.
KM: Crunchwrap Supreme, and always Dr. Pepper. Always. That’s the best thing.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
The Professional was released on May 16, 2019.