INTERVIEW: Beach Riot on their debut album, Subatomic Party Cool
Surfing through your speakers on a typhoon of fuzzy, distortion-heavy alt-rock, Beach Riot have just released their debut album, Subatomic Party Cool - and yes, the tracks are just as mind-blowing as the album title.
A celebration of the Brighton quartet's career so far, Subatomic Party Cool picks the best bits from Beach Riot's impressive catalogue of singles - from 2017's thunderous debut She's a Hurricane to more recent releases like Blush - and surprises us with some totally new tracks, too. We've been eagerly lapping up their singles this year, with Sofa Surfer and Wraith spinning on our Discovery playlist on repeat in anticipation for Beach Riot's debut record - and it was definitely worth the wait.
Bubbling with Beach Riot's distinctive blend of slacker-rock, heavy riffs, and in-your-face power-pop, Subatomic Party Cool comes out the gate running with high-octane heavy-hitters B.A.D. and Wrong Impression, giving you a perfect taste of what you're in for on this 12-track ride of scuzzy rock heaven.
Brand new cuts like dark and fiery Faze and Modern Dinosaur, with its urgent drumming and thumping bassline, are instant Beach Riot classics, while Unrequited Love offers something new: a softer, stripped back side of the fuzz-loving Brighton babes, with touches of vulnerability and haunting-yet-seductive harmonies. Older tracks like Medicate for Success and Serial Scruff, revisited with some light touch-ups for the album, remain fresh and energetic, completing the collection of both new and old tracks that showcase Beach Riot at their best.
If you're here at the Coven, then we know you love everything that Beach Riot have to offer: monster guitar riffs, droning basslines, and vigorous drum beats, all blended together and sieved through a technicoloured slacker-pop filter. And if you're here, you're gonna want to stick around for the interview, as we were blessed enough to sit down with Beach Riot guitarist Rory!
Hi Rory, thanks for chatting with us! We've been loving your songs for a while now. How does it feel to finally have a whole album out?
Heyyyy! It feels immense, thank you. We’ve had the album finished for a while now so it’s been a big old build up.
Of course, we have to ask about the album title - how did you come up with it?
So that’s a Jimmy Faulkner (our bassist) special! He just came into our chat one day with it and we all gave a resounding YES. It just sounds exactly like what our music is. It’s perfect.
Following on from that, we love that not only is the album brimming with the fuzzy riffs and energetic slacker-pop, but there's an edge of quirkiness within it. Like with Modern Dinosaur - can you tell us a bit about that song and how it came to be?
So that’s actually the first song I wrote when I was thinking about starting this band. It kind of just fell out of me. I sent it round to my pal just asking ‘hey I think this is cool and I wanna start a new band that sounds like this, what do you think!?’. He came back super enthusiastic which pushed me to actually do this thing. It’s a bit of a random one, very up-and-down dynamically. I remember struggling for a chorus melody for ages. We actually didn’t play it or use it for the first couple of years of the band (against our managers wishes), then decided to give it a try more recently and it’s gone down a storm!
The album is being released on Alcopop! Records, who have an amazing roster of artists. How did you end up signing to them?
We’ve known of them for a long time, namely for bands like DZ Deathrays and Tigercub, so it’s a real honour to be on Alcopop. You’ll hear this a lot but Jack really is the nicest and coolest dude you’ll meet in the entire music biz. I sent him a message online with a link to our stuff and couldn’t believe it when he said he’d give it a spin, and it just kinda went from there. Jack came to see us play a show and before I knew it we were signing a deal.
When it comes to having more than one vocalist, how do you delegate the singing duties?
It actually pretty much just decides itself. I don’t bother writing in certain keys or anything anymore... if I have a banging melody we just see who it suits the most and then fit the others around that. It’s crazy liberating.
A few of the tracks you've released before as singles - like She's A Hurricane and Serial Scruff, for example - how did you decide which songs made the cut for the album?
We were a little conscious about having them in, but we decided that they really did deserve the full studio / album treatment. Both of those had always been great live songs, especially She’s A Hurricane. In fact that was decided last minute, Jonny didn’t even have a guide track to play along to, he just jumped up and nailed it in one take to nothing but a click track and his incredible mind. I don’t think there was ever a world where Cami would not have that song in our debut album.
Which song on the album was the most difficult to write?
Hmmmm... I wouldn’t say there were any that were crazy hard to write. A few needed some good time thrown at them to really nail the mix. Blush/Good to Know/Faze spring to mind, but they were well worth that extra push. We also had another track that didn’t end up making the cut, (maybe one day it will appear), that just didn’t feel like it was working.
Like many of our favourites bands, you're based in Brighton. What is it about the city that inspires such a great music scene, and who are some of your favourite Brighton bands that we should be listening to?
We're super lucky down here. Brighton is an extremely liberal and welcoming town, which I think helps a lot. The scene is really wholesome, everyone knows everyone and we’re all very supportive of each other. Definitely check out Lambrini Girls, Clt Drp, Gnarlah, Cutting Ties, Arxx, Demob Happy, Tigercub, Gaffa Tape Sandy... fuck, there’s too many to name!
There are a few Coven favourites in there! And finally, you've got a whole tour planned for later this year. After the past 18 months, it must be exciting to have so many shows lined up! What tracks are you most looking forward to playing live?
This is gonna sound like a cop out but honestly every single one! Just to be out playing again is incredible. We have a couple of new ones, one in particular (currently named Soporific but I’ll probably change that) that we’re loving at the minute.
First album out and you've already got new tracks! Thanks so much for speaking with us, Beach Riot - we hope to catch one of your manic live shows soon!
Thank YOU xx
2021 UK Subatomic Party Cool Tour Dates:
24 - Milton Keynes - Craufurd Arms
25 - Newcastle - Head of Steam
26 - Inverness - Mad Hatters
27 - Glasgow - The Hug & Pint
30 - Edinburgh - Sneaky Pete’s
1 - Manchester - Gullivers
2 - Liverpool - Jimmy’s
3 - Leeds - Hyde Park Book Club
4 - Blackpool - Bootleg Social
7 - Sheffield - Record Junkee
8 - Leicester - The Cookie
9 - Birmingham - Dead Wax
10 - Bristol - The Lanes
11 - Guildford - The Boileroom
14 - Norwich - Voodoo Daddy’s
15 - London - The Lexington
16 - Brighton - The Prince Albert
Buy the album here on a strawberry cornetto-coloured vinyl
Review and interview by Chloe Robbins