British folk/indie singer-songwriter Beans on Toast, aka Jay McAllister, has unveiled a new music video for the song “Magic” in advance of his self-released 10th studio LP ‘A Bird In The Hand,’ which, like his previous nine albums, was released on December 1st. Have a listen to the track embedded below.
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SunCity Paradise: Kicking it off with the United Kingdom, your home, what really stands out and makes it special to you? Where would you send a first-time visitor to get a real sense of the land?
Beans on Toast: I’d suggest they do a whistle stop tour, taking in the city beat from London, Manchester and Bristol where they could get knee deep into the music, the art and the party. In-between each city I’d suggest, Stone Henge in Wiltshire for some ancient mystical hullabaloo, a beautiful town in Yorkshire called Hebden Bridge where if you follow the right path at the right time of year you’ll find a secret waterfall hidden in the hills. If you can time it right then go to Glastonbury Festival, the greatest party in the world (in my opinion) and you could wrap the whole trip up with a pint of John Smiths at one of the counties many Wetherspoon pubs for a reality check and an honest real life 2019 English pub experience.
SCP: What was your first real exposure to music? How did you get inspired to create your own and eventually pursue it as a career?
BoT: Mum played me the Beatles and Dad played me cheesy 80’s country music. I fell in love with both (still very much in love too). Music has been important since day one. I was in my teens when I started my first band, couldn’t play a note but didn’t let that stop me graffitiing the bands name all over my school. Once I’d told the world about the band, I figured I should find out how to play guitar. I couldn’t play other people’s songs so I just made up my own. Haven’t stopped since.
SCP: To create music, and traveling to promote it, must be such a feeling. What’s the most impactful and meaningful part you cherish about it? Does the travel help inspirationally?
BoT: 100 percent. Songwriting has a circular way about it. I find that I write a song, that song the takes me to a new place or leads me to a new experience, which in turn inspires me to write a song. And round and round we go. Considering how simple my songs are, it’s incredible the distances they’ve taken me and the adventures they’ve lead to.
SCP: What’s one stark difference between traveling as an artist versus personal travel?
BoT: On tour you have a friend in every city. Chances are you haven’t met them. They might be the promoter, the sound engineer or some folks who cane along to the show, but someone will be up for showing you around their town, this means you get instant local knowledge. Which is priceless.
SCP: Your 10th studio album, ‘A Bird In The Hand,’ dropped early December. What was your thought process around the release? Describe how special it is to have the longevity to release double-digit records.
BoT: I’ve been putting out an album a year since my debut album, this is a format that works for me for many reasons, and by always releasing it means I’m constantly touring. Which is how I like it. Album 10 always needed to be a proper milestone album and I rose to the occasion by blagging one of the worlds best studios. Most things in life get better with practice, making albums included. Personally I think it’s one of my best albums. So, I’m happy. That said, I spend my days thinking about album 11 now.
SCP: When searching for a personal getaway, are you looking for a serene beach or after a more active, adventurous getaway? Why?
BoT: I’d take either, but generally left to my own devices I’d end up on a beach. Why? I love the beach!
SCP: Everyone has a list of places that they still have to hit. What are three destinations, either work or pleasure, that you need to see? Why?
BoT:New Zealand. I’ve never been, but I have a school pal who lives in Queenstown. It looks and sounds like a very special part of them world. Good news is this is in the diary, I’m going out in April. I’m proper excited, but also terrified as part of the pact of the trip is that I do a bungee jump into some giant canyon!
Peru. I visited South America for the first time a couple of years ago with a trip to Brazil and it made me want to see more of the continent. Peru would be next on the list. I reckon there’s some magic there.
Timbuktu. I’ve had an interest in Timbuktu since reading the fantastic ‘Half asleep in Frog Pyjamas’ by Tom Robbins. It was the birth place of learning. Not an easy place to visit these days, but I’d like to try one day. I never been to Africa.
SCP: One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling, not only to influence people to see and appreciate our beautiful world, but to also minimize cross-cultural divides. What effect does traveling, specifically surrounding music, have on humans in this regard? How has it broadened your perspective of the world?
BoT:Music, and gigs especially, bring people together. There’s something about being at a show that means people drop their guard, open up and embrace the night, each other, the world and what not. I would say that traveling has a similar effect. When away from home and outside of your usual day to day people open up to the idea of different cultures and different ways of life. In short I think traveling is good for the soul. As is music. So getting to combine the two is a real honor.
SCP: When you’re relaxing on a beach or just have some downtime are you listening to music? Do you like to switch up the genre you listen to? If so, to what?
BoT: Like most people these days I can quite easily bounce between many genres of music, even in an afternoon. It’s the blessing of having all recorded music a few clicks away. Outside of the folk and country vibe, I can get stuck into some New Orleans jazz, some UK hip-hop or some 80’s power ballad. A good song, is a good song regardless of the style.
SCP: What are some travel essentials you need to help through long transit?
BoT: Patience. If you can master that (and it’s not easy) then everything else will fall into place. Oh, and google maps! I’d be lost without it. It’s a wonder the world ever got anywhere before its existence.
SCP: Lastly, what else do the next couple of months have in store for you?
BoT: UK tour starts in Feb, then mainland Europe, then onto the bungee jump. All the while I’ll be writing songs.