INTERVIEW WITH… ENGLISH FOLK ARTIST BEANS ON TOAST

English Folk Singer Beans On Toast talks new music and more!

Beans On Toast is the artistic alias of English Folk singer Jay McAllister. An artist known for his take on the contemporary Protest song. His honest, witty, and often sharp commentary of social and political issues has drawn the masses. On December 1st when the artist turns 40 he’ll continue with his yearly tradition of dropping a new album. Only this time he’s releasing not one but two albums, “Knee Deep in Nostalgia” & “The Unforeseeable Future“. You’ll also find him performing a special one-off social distancing live show in support too. 2020, it’s at the very least been a year of absolute change. I had a chat via email with Beans On Toast about 2020, his new music, and what Folk music means to him. You can read it all below…


THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Tell us about how you began as a musician and singer-songwriter? About how you became Beans On Toast?

BEANS ON TOAST: I became a musician before I could play an instrument or had written a
song, many moons ago in school me and my mates just told everyone we
were in a band. After that, we followed through. I wrote my first song when I was 16 and haven’t stopped since. That was 24 years ago. That process morphed into Beans on Toast about 15 years ago and since then I’ve been writing simple songs about complicated subjects and
traveling around singing them to people.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Being a musician someone who thrives in a live setting, particularly music festivals. How has adapting to quarantine life been for you?

BEANS ON TOAST: My whole life has changed, but then so has everyone else’s. I’ve adapted and I’m healthy and happy. I’ve still managed to write and connect with people in one way or another. That said, I’d climb a
mountain to go to a big fuck off party with loads of people, or play at a big festival right now.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Speaking of quarantine… You have two upcoming album releases, “Knee Deep in Nostalgia” and “The Unforeseeable Future“. How was it creating the later record during quarantine been like?

BEANS ON TOAST: Extremely therapeutic. I’ve always written about current events, over
the years they have sped up to an insane speed meaning you can write a song that effectively goes out of date 2 weeks later. At the same time
the means to record and release that song to the world has sped up
too, this is what happened for me during lockdown. I was doing what I
have always done, just quicker. I released 5 songs during lockdown and recorded another five, together they make this album. As an album, it
will have quite a short shelf life, but It captures my life this year.
It’s my reaction to what went down.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Continuing… The first release “Knee Deep in Nostalgia” carries the opposite feeling of the other release. It features production from fellow Folk artist Frank Turner. What is like to work with Frank Turner but also just have him in your corner?

BEANS ON TOAST: Frank is an old friend and the plan to make this album was in place pre all the pandemic bullshit. Making the album was easy, all the songs were written back in January and I just sat on them. Towards the end of lockdown, I went over to Franks for a day, recorded all the tunes, and left them with him. He worked his magic and we pulled in some beautiful musical favours from friends who could record remotely. I gave Frank the keys to the car and he took the songs in completely new directions, wonderful directions. I went back and sang over these new songs and bosh, the album was done.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: I love how each album completely digs into a different feeling and subject matter. So… Which one would you recommend people from the states listen to first?

BEANS ON TOAST: Depends what you’re after. If you want songs about this strange year, recorded solo at home during lockdown then I’ve got you covered. If you want songs about life, dancing, family, and smoking weed played with a band, then I’d still like to help.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Switching gears… What is one album that you could never tire of?

BEANS ON TOAST: Conor OberstSalutations

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s your earliest musical memory?

BEANS ON TOAST: The Smurfs. They had a song about pigeons that I loved.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What has been one of your most magical moments playing live?

BEANS ON TOAST: Glastonbury. Avalon stage. 2016. What a day!

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: You’re playing a one-off social distanced live show on December 1st at The Clapham Grand. How excited are you? And how have you prepped for it? What can we expect?

BEANS ON TOAST: It’s on my 40th birthday. I’m not sure how you’re supposed to prep for your 40th Birthday, but to be honest, it doesn’t take a huge amount of preparation, I’ll go out and do what I love, even in the strange new set up. The manager of The Clapham Grand is a very dear friend of mine, he saved the 120-year-old music hall from going
under this year and is leading the way for how to do a safe show that
follows the ever-changing rules and regulations. So I’m very lucky I
have a place to even put on a show, and fingers crossed we can. Who knows at the moment… What can you expect? Well, a good time. I’d hope.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What does Folk music mean to you?

BEANS ON TOAST: Telling the truth.

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: Who are some of your favorite artists coming up in that genre?

BEANS ON TOAST: Gabe Lee

Brent Cobb

Casper Allen

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: What’s your album of the year for 2020?

BEANS ON TOAST: Gabe LeeHonky Tonk Hell

THE RECLUSIVE BLOGGER: To end, Is there anything else you would like to add? 🙂

BEANS ON TOAST: No, I’m all good. Thanks for having me.

You can pre-order “Knee Deep in Nostalgia” & “The Unforeseeable Future” here. Both albums will be released via BOTMusic on December 1st.

To purchase tickets for his special one-off 40th Birthday show at The Clapham Grand go here.


The interview was edited some for clarity
Brittney Williams is a music, editorial & fine arts photographer and writer based in Los Angeles, California — She started The Reclusive Blogger with hopes of sharing her voice and opinions on her favorite thing in the world... music. It has grown and continues to grow bigger than she ever imagined. When Brittney is working on The Reclusive Blogger. You can find her doing her other favorite thing... taking photos. You'll find me at a concerts and other events, and active on social media. I also love to decompress by reading and spend time with my family.

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