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  • Kaleb Collings

Q&A With Beddy Rays: On Their New Album & More

The most loved Redland Bay locals have just released their wholeheartedly independent debut self-titled album. Beddy Rays is honest, raw and what Beddy’s are all about - mateship, Reddy Bay, good times, beers, and the importance of looking after yourself and checking in with your mates.


To mark the release of their debut album, the four-piece have dropped their melodic yet mosh ready new single Handful, alongside the official video.


“When we started a band many years ago as young whipper snappers in Reddy Bay all we wanted to do was play gigs, sink tins and chat to all the legends we’d meet along the way. Now we have our very own album firmly in our grip, and to say we’re excited is a major understatement. We decided to go with a self-titled album for our debut because we believe this album IS Beddy Rays through-and-through. It's made up of our recent singles and a bunch of brand newies we’ve been cooking up for you legends. A nice mixed bag of lollies! We hope you love it as much as we do!”


Produced by Brock Weston and Beddy Rays, and recorded at Brock’s Place in Brisbane, Beddy Rays features the aforementioned Handful, the thrasher Sort It Out, the chaotic Week On Repeat, the explosive Wait A While, a rowdy dose of Milk, the mosh ready beast On My Own and the anthem that started it all, Sobercoaster.


Beddy Rays, composed of vocalist, guitarist and Woppaburra descendent Jacko Van Issum, lead guitarist Lewy McKenna, bassist Brad O’Connor and drummer Benny Wade, have been on the rise for the past couple of years. Their breakthrough anthem Sobercoaster landed at #54 on the triple j hottest 100, racked up over 3.5 million streams and has seen the band continue on a ballistic trajectory ever since.


The four-piece have gained multiple nominations at both the Queensland Music Awards and National Indigenous Music Awards, were announced as winners of the Levi’s Music Prize in 2021 and rocked their cover of Thelma Plum’s Better in Blak for triple Like A Version.


Photo by Luke Dunning


Starving Kids staff writer, Kaleb Collings sat down with Jacko and Lewy.


How did you guys come together to be in the band?


“Yeah well we've been best mates since about grade one, we all just grew up through school, just like we all played guitar and then basically as soon as we finished high school, we were just sort of mucking around a bit. Then he jumped on the drum kit and Brad was always a good-as-bass-player so we just bloody jammed outside on Jacko 's parents patio at the back and had a house party not long after that. That's basically where the band started.”


I actually spoke to you guys just before the release of your single 'Better Weather' back in 2020 for my 4ZZZ radio show and since then it's been really amazing to see how much the band has grown and evolved all the way back then since then.


I was looking at an old press release this morning and it was boasting about how ‘Sobercoaster’ just ticked over two hundred and fifty thousand streams which now sixteen times that number at four million, is pretty crazy… So what's been something that you really enjoyed in that time?


“Yeah just like seeing everything unfold and yeah like Jacko said, going around and travelling around the country. I've never been to half these places we've been to and, you know, what better excuse than to do it with your mates and do it whilst playing your music. It's really great.”


Something that I'm really really excited about is this DIY gig that's happening at the Redland Bay Community Hall. It just really makes me excited to see this. That's a fresh idea. How did you come up with it?


Basically we've been getting hit up for so long to play the Reddy Bay pub, like every single tour we announce people are like ‘“Where's the Reddy Bay show, where's the Reddy Bay show?” It's something that we wanted to do, regardless of what people were saying, something we wanted to do for a long time. We sort of just wanted to bring it back to the core of how we started because we started out doing DIY gigs at Jacko’s parents backyard and other mates backyards - we sort of just want to bring it full circle and do it DIY again but in our hometown.”


So the Triple J Like-A-Version which you did a while back… I love that you stayed local, Southeast Queensland, choosing Thelma Plum, who actually happens to be a graduate of MIC (Music Industry College), the school I’m at now, which is really cool. What made you choose Thelma Plum and that song?


Well we wanted to do a song that had a good meaning behind it. That was the main reason why we chose that song and it's just got such a great structure to it. It's well put together so we thought, you know, don't change it too much. Just make it a bit louder and a bit dirtier. Just roll with it… I think it turned out pretty good, and people seem to love singing it at the shows now, so I'm glad we chose that song.”


That's awesome to hear that! The song is reaching an even wider audience and it's not like some world famous American band. It's really cool that you're sticking to the Brisbane roots as well.


Just spreading the message of the song to a wider audience is probably one of the main things as well for sure. Just hit the nail on the head there, yeah. It was really important to us that we chose a local Australian artist as well because we wanted to keep it in-house - just makes it really special.”


So Beddy Rays have been playing a huge amount of gigs and festivals, and some big-name festivals as well. What would be the most recent favourite that you guys have done?


Super Fun Day, that was a big highlight for sure. That was massive, it was good having a nice breezy one and the audience was just insane. This is probably the biggest crowd we've played, it was definitely the biggest crowd in the place too. People just do all this crazy shit - like they're doing the old row the boat thing, like people sat down and rowed the boat. I saw this guy in a wheelchair get lifted up, he's like crowd surfing in a wheelchair. It was just incredible. Everyone was just having a great time and we're not used to seeing that sort of stuff at our shows. That's a very European festival thing - the whole “rowing boat” thing. I never thought we'd see that at one of our shows, it was like wow that's so cool.”


Album artwork - Credit to Struthless


Now, the Beddy Rays debut self-titled album - can you tell us a little bit about that?


“Yeah we got fourteen tracks on it. It's basically a collection of what we've got - some of the older songs, like quite a few of our singles that we've already released and basically 50 percent of the album is brand new, which is really good.


It's got a nice song on there that's dedicated to my sister, and there's also a lot of two minute, quick songs. Your trashy, sort of punky stuff. Then you get a wider range, I guess you could say indie style. A bit more “riffy” sort of music in there, a lot more drawn out choruses. So it's a big bit of a range of different music on there. It's like when you go to Maccas and you know, you got small, medium and large, you know we've got good selection there. Extra salt, no salt, whatever you want.”


As you said, the album does have singles all the way back to ‘Sobercoaster’. When you recorded and released that song did you think it was going to be a part of an album?


“Well all those songs were going to be a part of an EP sort of thing that we were going to put out, but then we were sort of like… “Let's just make it like twice as long.” Basically every single, yeah, there's one song missing, that’s ‘Better Weather’. That's still my favourite song to this day but we had to include some of the other old songs. It just felt like ‘Sobercoaster’ was the main reason why a lot of people started listening to us. We thought we better pay some respect to it on the album, so it was sort of the strategy.


We tried to think of it from our fans point of view and I think we've got a lot of our audience from that song. So definitely pay homage to the song and do it for the people. We've even got it as track one on side B so if you just want to listen to ‘Sobercoaster’ you just go plonk side B and off you go!”


Is it true you've recorded everything with Brock Weston?


“Yeah everything from ‘Sobercoaster’ onwards. The whole album as well - we did the whole album with him. We just did the EP with Chris Brownbilll, a Brisbane producer. He's awesome as well. This whole album was with Brocky. He's a legend - so good at what he does.”


You have a huge tour coming up nationwide - thirteen shows, and you're taking Towns and Bakers Eddie along with you. What made you choose these bands to support you?


“We just want to have a tour where people are like “look at that lineup” or “I wanna buy tickets to that show” you know?


Towns, we've known for a little while now and they're absolutely beautiful people and we really wanted to have them on, and Bakers Eddie, we didn't even know before we asked them to come on tour - but the word around the industry is that they are nice blokes. We just really love their music, they make some really good songs, they're right up our alley. We ended up meeting them a couple weeks ago at a backyard gig-party-thing and yeah, they are all legends.”


If you guys are at a backyard-party-gig it's just another thing on the list that confirms you guys are very community minded, and you're on the same level as everyone who listens to your music. That's a really special thing, I believe. Why do you choose to stay connected to the community and the people that support you?


“I guess we're just normal blokes, we love going to gigs, we always have. Just because we're in a band we don't want that to change. We want to be able to go out and enjoy shows and stuff. When we go out, we meet our fans and they always wanna come and get photos, and it's just the sickest thing ever.


This gig at the community hall, it's going to be so much family that gets to come together, but it's going to be good just catching up with everyone. Everybody's going to wander off to the pub after so that's gonna be a pretty good night after that, have a few beers.”


Do you have any advice for young musicians that are thinking about starting a band, or are in the first stages of the band?


“Practice heaps, rehearse heaps, just go play as many gigs as you can. That's what matters - playing in front of people as much as you can. Get better and better and be honest with the music. If you can't be honest with each other in the band about how the music sounds then it's just it's never going to work.”


“I think it's important to invest in good equipment from the get go as well, because if you've got a good gig, you’ve gotta sound good, and that's very important. Also, make sure you love doing it as well because you're wasting your time if you're not enjoying it. Just be a part of your local scene. If you're not playing a gig, go and see your local bands, just network with people. Just make sure that everyone in the scene knows what you look like and who you are.”



NATIONAL ALBUM TOUR


With special guests TOWNS and Bakers Eddy

Presented by Select Music and Artists Only

Tickets on sale now via www.beddyrays.com


Saturday 13 August | Solbar, Maroochydore QLD*

Friday 26 August | Freo Social, Perth WA*

Saturday 27 August | The Gov, Adelaide SA

Thursday 1 September | Burleigh Bazaar, Gold Coast QLD

Friday 02 September | Princess Theatre, Brisbane QLD

Saturday 03 September | Beach Hotel, Byron Bay NSW

Friday 9 September | UC Hub, Canberra ACT

Saturday 10 September | Altar Bar, Hobart TAS

Thursday 15 September | La La Las, Wollongong NSW

Friday 16 September | Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW

Saturday 17 September | The Factory Theatre, Sydney NSW

Thursday 22 September | 170 Russell, Melbourne VIC

Friday 23 September | Torquay Hotel, Torquay VIC

*Bakers Eddy not appearing



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