The Dwarf In Conversation With... Menace Beach

The Dwarf In Conversation With... Menace Beach

In the lead up to their debut release Ratworld, we sat down with Ryan Needham from Menace Beach for a chat about the new record and which Australian acts he digs.

What are 24 hours in the life of Menace Beach like?
Really varied from week to week! At the moment we’re on tour and I’m trying to keep healthy so it’s; wake up, try and find a place to go swimming, eat lunch, soundcheck, eat dinner, watch bands, play show, go to a hotel. We’ve been doing lots of excursions on this tour like rock climbing and cycling rather than getting wasted all day. Geeks.

You have received plenty of attention by some of the bigger names in music media, do you feel that the spotlight will on Ratworld? Does it add an extra layer of pressure or do you just feel relieved that the process of making the record is over and touring can begin?
Well, all the songs for this record were written before we even had a label involved or any of the press stuff happened, so there was no pressure there at all. Even recording the album was super chilled, hanging out with friends and eating pizza. It’s really great that people have been writing about it, yeah because I guess then maybe there will be more people at shows and that makes touring 100 times more fun. I love playing shows.

You have had positive reviews of Ratworld across the board, do you pay much mind to reviews?
It’s the first big thing we’ve ever made and we put so much time into stuff like the artwork and videos, and we’re involved in every single part of this happening so it was hard not to read some. When the first few were really positive it was like, ‘ok that’s fine, I don’t need to read any more.’ I’m super relaxed about everything but there’s still an egotistical brat in there somewhere.
Tell us about the cover artwork for Ratworld?
So it’s a collage we made with Liza’s head and my mouth full of blood. Then there are some lightning bolts, a few eyes in each socket and some rats and a magic eye background. You’ve got to stare kind of through it to see it properly but there’s a message there. I think we got it to visually represent the record pretty closely.

There are touches of My Bloody Valentine, FIDLAR, Wavves, and Band Of Skulls dotted through the record- Do you think these are fair comparisons to make? What were you listening to during the making of Ratworld?
Yeah I guess the record fits in with that kind of noisy kinda lo-fi world, though I wasn’t really listening to any of that around the writing process. Weirdly I was listening to Sky Larkin’s second album when I started writing and then Nestor, the drummer on that record, ended up playing in Menace Beach. Aside from that I feel like I just tapped back into what got me mad into music as a kid, so lots of 90’s also-rans and stuff on the fringes of Britpop. Wannadies, Uresie Yatsura, Archers of Loaf, Elastica, Slowdive, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, Eels; I could go on forever really.
You’ve been touring the UK with The Cribs and have previously toured with Pulled Apart By Horses, what do you take away from touring with these artists?
I can honestly just watch both those bands over and over every night and never get bored, so I guess if any of that kind of ability to hold an audience by just being raucously awesome can seep into my brain then that would be great! It’s super cool and inspiring to see them just hanging out and still being proper pals after being in a band together for so long too.
Do you have any plans to visit Australia in 2015? Do you get into many Australian artists?
Australia was top in places that came up in a ‘you should totally go there’ discussion with the Pulled Apart By Horses guys, they had an amazing time over there, so hopefully we will. Australian bands, I’m really into Blank Realm at the moment and before that, Tame Impala, Pond and that whole crowd. Courtney Barnett is really, really great, can’t wait for her album.

Check out The Dwarf's review of Ratworld here

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