The Canadian band talks newfound success before their upcoming show at Pearl Street Warehouse.
Toronto’s very own The Beaches are taking the alternative indie-rock scene by a storm. Garnering viral attention, their hit single “Blame Brett,” became a TikTok sensation practically overnight. From flooding the for-you pages to Demi Lovato listing the band on her summer playlist in a Rolling Stone interview, the last couple months have been a wild ride for The Beaches. Yet, this success has been a long time in the making.
In their early teens, sisters Jordan and Kylie Miller, along with their friend and current bandmate, Eliza Enman-McDaniel were in a Disney Channel band called Done With Dolls. Deciding not to become child stars after all, they broke it off with Disney right as they met guitarist Leandra Earl. Over a decade later, the foursome The Beaches — named in honor of their hometown — have released their angsty sophomore album “Blame My Ex” with more confidence than ever.
Ahead of making a stop at D.C.’s Pearl Street Warehouse on their North American tour, we sat down with The Beaches’ guitarist, Kylie Miller, the day after the release of “Blame My Ex.” In anticipation of the tour, the guitarist talked about everything from rising to internet fame and using songwriting as group therapy to meeting musical inspirations and working alongside them.
District Fray: How do you feel about the release of your sophomore record, “Blame My Ex”?
Kylie Miller: We’ve been waiting to put this album out for two years now. The response feels incredibly overwhelming. I think doing anything independently is always kind of scary, which we did for this record. It’s our first independent release in like 12 years, and then to have it go so well — we’re all over the moon.
What was your reaction to “Blame Brett” going viral on platforms like TikTok? Did you anticipate that it would take off the way it did?
No, never. We’ve had a following in Canada for quite some time, but we didn’t feel we were translating over to the States and into other markets. So that viral moment really helped push our band in markets that we were not known. I think TikTok and those things are really weird, because you never know if anything’s going to take off.
This record is a raw, emotional break up album. In your songwriting process, does your closeness and friendship become a tool?
Oh, absolutely. Our lead singer, who’s my sister, Jordan — she went through a really, really painful breakup before we started writing this record and came to us and said, “I want this album to be a breakup album, but I want it to be different than other breakup albums — something that doesn’t only talk about all the bad things that this person did.” We were all on board. It was kind of like doing therapy every day, just trying to figure out what emotions she was feeling and how to coach her through it. We all had to be very in touch with one another and on the same page going through it.
You all have been writing music together since 2013. How did you all come together and decide to start The Beaches?
Jordan, Eliza and I were in a teenage Disney Channel band in Canada. It was called Done With Dolls and I would love for you to look it up because it is some really funny stuff. We met Leandra because she was our super fan. We had become close with Leandra from seeing her at shows and stuff and we were also going to high school together at that time, so we asked her to join. While she joined, we decided to switch our direction and break off with Disney. We decided not to do a TV show after all, thank God. So we’ve been developing the band for like, 10 years, which a lot of people don’t know, because obviously the viral moment really introduced our band.
Demi Lovato said she’s been listening to your band in a Rolling Stone article recently. How did you all feel about that shout out?
That was crazy. We’ve had the privilege of being recognized by a lot of older rock icons, like Elton John. But to have an artist that we listened to in our formative years that we were all obsessed with? Also, Leandra is the biggest Demi Lovato fan — like she would wait outside of her hotel room in Toronto. She’s probably not gonna be happy I told you that, but she did it — and then to have [Lovato] listening to the music? It’s so mind blowing.
This past May, The Beaches and The Aces released the remix of “Everything is Boring.” I think both bands have a lot in common stylistically. Tell me a little bit about your relationship with them and working on this remix together.
We’re really good friends with The Aces. We met them at Austin City Limits three or four years ago. Since then, we completely hit it off. It’s also very rare to meet like an all women, four-piece band that gets everything that we’ve gone through and vice versa. On their tour two years ago, they took us out as the opener and it was the best tour I’ve ever been on in my life. I still rave about it to everybody. We sent them our new record and we just like threw out the idea of like, “Oh, do you guys want to do a remix?” And immediately they hopped on and they killed it. I actually like that version better than the other one.
The “Blame My Ex” tour is one show away from being sold out. What are you excited for on this tour?
I’m really excited to see all the new fans in America. I think [the record] has connected with a lot of younger people and I’m really excited to meet all of them. Also, every night, I’m not going to be nervous. I won’t feel like I have to win them over. That is an incredible feeling.
In the spirit of gearing up to play in D.C. at Pearl Street Warehouse on Oct. 15, do you have a favorite memory from playing in D.C. in the past?
With The Aces, we played the 930 Club and they’re extremely hospitable. All the bands get their cupcake and they get sweaters. And it was amazing because I had run out of clean sweaters, so I literally just wore 9:30 merch for like, a couple days on the rest of the tour. We’ve had some good times in Washington, but we need to go out and hit the town for sure. This time we’re doing it.
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