The EDGE Get Intimate with Beatitudes

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Following an impressive set at the Soul Cellar on Friday 15th October I got a chance to catch up with Beatitudes, an emerging local band who really gave an energetic and entertaining performance and are well worth checking out. I spoke to their guitarist and vocalist Jack Birks on the music and band themselves, here’s what he told The EDGE:

Firstly, could you introduce your band.

Liam O’Toole – Vocals/Harmonica

Jack Birks – Vocals and Guitar

Scott Kellaway – Guitar/Backing Vocals

Taz Ghalem – Bass/Backing Vocals

Christian Astridge – Drums

Is there any significance for the band name?

The name Beatitudes is actually taken from the bible, we aren’t religious people, but we just liked the sound of the name. It means blessings.

How long have you guys been playing together?

We have been playing together as a band since March of 2010, but we are kind of formed from the remnants of two different bands. Taz, Christian and I were in another band prior to Beatitudes, as were Liam and Scott. But Liam and I are cousins so we have always played guitar and sung together. We just finally decided it was the right time to form a band and write songs together.

Who would you say are your influences? Is there a direction that you guys as a band would like to take?

We have many influences as a band, we’re heavily influenced by soul music, such as The Temptations, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and just Motown in general. We are also big fans of The Beatles, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Paul Weller. We do also take influence from slightly more recent bands and artists such as The Stone Roses, Paolo Nutini, The Smiths and The Strokes. We do not have a particular direction we want to take, we would just like to see where the music takes us.

I noticed a really cool early Rock’n’Roll vibe to your music which worked really well – was that a conscious move?

Not particularly, we have just written music that contains elements from all of our influences. And thats just how it ended up sounding. We never decided that we wanted to sound like a particular genre.

How do you enjoy playing in Southampton? How do you find the music scene here?

Its always nice to play in your home town, and there is lots of decent venues around Southampton. Soul Cellar, Talking Heads, the Joiners, the Brook, they are all great venues to play, and in a way we’re lucky they are all on our doorstep.

You guys certainly have a lot of energy and confidence while playing, do you consider your performances as actual shows or are you all about the music?

Yeah we all really enjoy any gig we do, whether there are 10 people watching or hundreds. We are confident because we like the music we make and believe that given the chance other people will like it too. We also like to give the people watching a visual experience by looking like a professional band, and hopefully playing like one as well!!

Finally, do you guys have any up-coming dates that Southampton students can check out?

We have the launch of our debut E.P ‘Switchback to Simplicity’ at the Southampton Joiners on Friday 12th November. And we are being supported by Birds in Flight and The Sharps, two great bands. We really hope to make it a great night of live music for all who attend, and we would greatly welcome some new faces to the Beatitudes fan base!

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