The Beverleys are here to fuck up your day but, like, in a cool and chill kind of way. They’re a junk punk band from Toronto who formed after just hanging out and deciding to write some music, and that attitude comes through in their new single “Visions,” the first single off their debut LP Brutal, out November 6th from Buzz Records.
We talked to Susan Burke, the guitarist and vocalist for the Beverleys about the new record, junk punk, the power of female friendships and exactly where the name ‘The Beverleys’ came from.
Noisey: How are you doing today? How is it going?
Susan Burke: Pretty good, yeah. Just back from the weekend, so you know, I'm a little chilled out.
Did you have a good weekend? You guys had a long weekend too, right?
Burke: Oh yeah. It was great.
So tell me a little about this new record you guys have coming out. Or, I should say, you ladies have coming out.
Burke: Oh, no, you guys is great. Yeah, so it's songs that we worked on over the last couple of years, maybe some of them we wrote about four years ago. And they're just kind of coming to light now. I guess we just kind of took our time, so, eventually, here we are. We're ready to get a new album out. We worked with Josh Korody and Shehzaad Jiwani. They were fantastic. We did it at his Candle Studio here in Toronto.
Burke: Yeah, they have the right kind of ear for what we're going for, what kind of guitar tone, and yeah. If we could have had more time, we would have. But we did it, and a couple, just maybe, like, two weeks or so with them, over different days and whatever. Anyway, yeah, we're super excited about it. We finally have these songs on one little gathering. It's interesting to see them all because it's all part of one giant story that you have over the years, and then you finally kind of see them all together; it's like a collection of short stories in one little book, you know?
How is it revisiting songs from four years ago? Do they feel different?
Burke: A little bit, yeah. I mean, they have the same aesthetic now as the other songs, so it's kind of interesting to hear them there. On the other hand, when you play the same songs over and over again for a couple years, they start feeling a bit more automated. But no, we're super happy about them. Pretty proud.
So you mentioned that you have a better idea of what sound you want, and I know you describe yourself as junk punk. What is that exactly?
Burke: That's a good question. It's a hard question to answer because it's really just a term that came out of us hanging out all the time. We refer to ourselves as "a buncha junks." You know, the kinds of kids who just sort of drink wine at a Tetra Pak in the parking lot at night. Semi not caring about stuff, but in some other ways caring a lot. Then that kind of just extended into how certainly I play guitar, just feeling a bit thrashy, and just kinda loose, almost like I don't care. (Laughs.) Which is funny, because I do. It's just more of the feeling we have of hanging out together, really being bare and open and honest with one another, and that's all it was just about hanging out. It's kinda hard to say because it was just sorta like a feeling or something that's less about music and more about how you feel. I don't know, I can't say that very well because it's hard to explain.
Just hanging out with your friends and kind of bonding as a group and not taking yourselves seriously?
Burke: I guess so, but less in a Rainbow Brite kind of way. It's a time where you just spend hours with a handful of friends and with spending no money at all and having no money, and having some pretty good bonding sessions is a way to put it. It's like living on the cheap. I don't know, it kind of encompasses a whole lot of things. I could probably write you an essay about it.
I'd read that. Were you friends before?
Burke: Yeah, we were friends before, but that's kind of what made it stronger and what made it last—this kind of shared feeling of you can be yourself. We were in relationships at the time and it was a really good way to bond with one another and talk about those things, so yeah, just kind of identify who you are deeper down. And we complimented one another really well; we're all really different, but we're really similar too. And that kind of shared aesthetic. But anyway, they are sisters. Stephanie and Joanna are sisters. And I kind of wanted to make music I'd made—I kind of grew up with music as a pretty big center of my life, and so I became friends with them, and we talked about making music too. And we did, and we just kind of called out what we wanted to do, and that was it. So, yeah, you get together, and you just, you know, kind of grow, or find out some more things about your own instrument that interest you and push your own development in weird ways, discover new tones or whatever. And even kind of like creepier playing. I don't know, does that answer your question?
Totally. I know you were originally called Dreams, but I didn't know how you got the new name Beverleys.
Burke: I think to me that's a good kind of example of the junk mentality. We didn't like the original band name because it wasn't really a band name. We weren't really a band, you know. We just wanted to play, and we were like, oh, whatever. And we had written a song called "Dreams." As we started working out some songs and it became a bit more concrete and we started getting a bit more serious, we were like, I guess we should have a band name. But we didn't have a single idea of what to do, so we just went to Google Maps and dropped a pin somewhere and added "the" and pluralized it. And there was a town in England called Beverley. (Laughs.) And we were like, sure. Whatever.
What if you had landed on something and you'd hated the name?
Burke: We would have just stuck with it. We would have just hated it forever. The Torontos. (Laughs.)
I can see that.
Burke: I'm sure one day it'll happen. There's a typo that keeps coming up sometimes when we're typing the Beverleys and it's the Neverlys. Like with an n, like never ever. And I just thought, aw, man. That's way better! Neverelys is way cooler! (Laughs.)
Annalise Domenighini is Noisey's social producer. Follow her on Twitter.