Who are they?
Oxford indie-rock four piece White Beam have only been around with their current line-up for a few months after vocalist and guitarist Jeremy Leggett had the proverbial rug pulled out from under him. “The first lineup started last Christmas, and then everyone left except me,” he laughs. “I didn’t fancy playing Punt [a festival run by Oxford’s Nightshift magazine] with just me and a backing track, so I really had a turn the screw with recruitment.” Three kindred spirits were brought on board and since debuting at a rammed and sweaty Punt, the band has played in shows at Cowley Road Carnival, the Wheatsheaf (supporting local electro-pop heroes Sexy Breakfast) and the O2 Academy.
What do they sound like?
A lot of things. Debut EP Scattergun packs in the variety, with Ride, Queens of the Stone Age, Pixies and a gentle echo of I Was A Cub Scout all evident as influences. Soft ballad ‘Fortune’, arguably the EPs highlight, features some Edge-inspired delayed guitar effects, and is the band’s most controlled and melodic effort. “A lot of our faster songs were written with U2 and The Clash in mind,” says Leggett. “Songs like ‘Scythe’ [a much heavier effort] are influenced by Black Sabbath and Soundgarden.”
What inspires them?
Lyrically, pretty bleak stuff. “‘Scythe’ is about defending your homeland, and was partly influenced by genocide in Armenia,” says Leggett. Wow. It’s not all doom and gloom, though – relief comes in the form of ‘Watch The Game’, a light-hearted take on the trials and tribulations of slaving away as a football fan.
Career highlight so far:
“Cowley Road Carnival was one of the best gigs we’ve done, because it was so unpredictable. We were worried about the rain, and the PA, but we had a lot of people who wouldn’t normally watch us so it had a real festival kind of vibe. It was a really great party atmosphere and we played well, so that’s probably my favourite thing we’ve done so far.”
If they could keep only keep one album in the world, it would be:
“New Model Army were the band who changed my life, especially after I hitched around Europe with them when I was 17. I’ll have to go with Ghost of Cain. I loved that album’s punk rock, get-up-and-fucking-do-it spirit.”
Their favourite and least favourite thing about the Oxford music scene are:
“The fact there’s such an important one in such a small city. There’s loads of musicians, venues, studios and rehearsal rooms and even a music press. What more do you want? I suppose least favourite would be there’s so many bands which means loads of competition, but really that’s a good thing.”
White Beam are playing at Oxford’s Jericho Tavern this Friday 6th November, where you can buy their debut EP ‘Scattergun’ for £3 – tickets (£6) are available here: https://www.wegottickets.com/event/337476