Julian Marszalek talks to Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock about their new album BE, designing gnomes for the Chelsea Flower Show and why the Gallaghers' mum prefers lemon meringue to the Noel/Liam kerfuffle.
Liam Gallagher is not best pleased with Nick Cave and the source of his displeasure is bananas.
Both Beady Eye and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are rehearsing for upcoming tours in a huge north London studio complex that has previously played host to anyone from The Rolling Stones through to One Direction. Situated on the first floor is a cafeteria serving all manner of nourishment for bands famished after a hard day of playing and refining material or whatever else it is they get up to behind closed doors. It’s also where the fruit bowl is located.
“Tell Nick to stop nicking all the bananas!” laughs Beady Eye guitarist Gem Archer as he recalls the tale of the missing fruit. “Liam goes, ‘I’m was going out to get a banana and there’s fucking none left, man. I thought you’d fucking been on them!’ and Nick’s walking out last night with his suit on and he’s got a banana sticking out of his jacket pocket! That’s not very Bad Seeds, is it?”
“Ah, but what’s he going to do with that banana, though?” asks drummer Chris Sharrock with a mischievous glint in his eye.
What indeed? But at least the lack of nuns and donkeys wandering around the studio calls for a sigh of relief. This much, though, is certain – Beady Eye are set to return with their second album, BE, a collection that has been helmed by the somewhat surprising choice of producer in the form of TV On The Radio’s Dave Sitek. Not that he was the first name on the list.
“Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys was interested,” reveals Archer. “We sent him some tunes and he really liked them. He said, ‘the only thing is, you’ll have to come to Nashville’ and we were like, ‘fucking great!’ Me and Andy went to meet him at the Reading Festival and we had a bit of a chat about how we do things and how to do things. We were meant to go in November  and we had things arranged and the crew were trying to organise shit and then, right in the middle of his tour, he had his own record to do. So that was that.”
So who else was in the frame?
“There was Nick Launey who was in the middle of a film,” continues Archer “and we kept waiting for him and then it was like, ‘can you guys wait until January?’ and we were, ‘no, man.’ And then Dave’s name came up.”
Beady Eye are in a fighting mood. Their debut album, Different Gear, Still Speeding, was commercially overshadowed by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and the band is here to open the first salvo of a campaign that hopes to elevate their current status of playing second fiddle to their erstwhile leader. BE is an interesting if not entirely even listen but it's one that finds them taking sonic chances as they add colour to their usual 60s-influenced modus operandi with Sitek’s experimental brush strokes of metronomic beats, samples, loops and channel-hopping riffage.
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