Bearfoot Beware - ABC Stands for Albums, Brothels and CHUNK

Posted by vibrations on 30-04-15

“They accused us of running a brothel!” Not many bands can lay claim to this accusation but as Tom Bradley - lead singer and guitarist of Bearfoot Beware - states, this happened. Detailing their escape from their previous rehearsal space/so-called red light boudoir, bassist Mike Osborne elaborates, “That space was the first iteration of CHUNK and we were just meeting up with the owners to try and smooth things over”.

Giving his best impersonation, Bradley repeats the owner’s logical words; “I’ve seen ya with your mattresses, your alcohol and your women [mattresses were being used as cheap sound proofing, alcohol was on sale for their club night and the women were, well in fact, women] I know what ya are doing, ya’re sexing”. Obviously not the band’s prerogative, they have gladly changed location and are able to run their new events/rehearsal space 24/7, minus any (unintended) seedy activity.

CHUNK, not just a building, is a co-operative of artists and musicians. Bearfoot Bewarehave used it as a basis to form their own record label, Voice of Chunk, which they have just released their debut album World Owes You Nowt on. After asking them how they find manning the business helm, bassist Ric Vowden jokes “it’s painful”. Explaining further, Osborne says “we did approach labels to work with, and said what we had and the majority of responses were that, seeing as we had already payed for the recording, the artwork and production of physical copies, they were unsure where they could really help”. “It only made sense to make our own label” adds Bradley.

This album in some ways has been a long time in the making with Bearfoot Beware having released several EPs over the years but never going the complete distance. “I thought I’d never be happy with enough songs to make up an album” pipes up Vowden, “Sometimes we get to the stage where we have say 6 songs and then everything else doesn't seem as good as the first batch. When we went to Europe, for the last EP [Bruises and Business], some people told us that we were CRAZY coming to Europe, not having done an album. Bradley interjects “someone was telling me the other day - ‘you guys have been around for ages, it’s hard for me to even believe that you don’t have an album out yet’”, protecting the time it has taken he declares “you’ve got to take your time on it. It’s an album. It’s the real thing”.

“Before this album we didn’t really know what we were doing or what we wanted to do. We’ve written this music a lot quicker than usual because now we know what we want to sound like. We know what we are like within a song. It feels more together now” says Bradley. “We didn't set out to sound like anyone in particular. We all cross over in what we listen to at different points and it all emerges from that.” Going further Osborne says “We've just evolved and changed over the years and now we’ve finally taken the stuff we liked from our earlier EPs and figured out what we wanted to do with it. Now, we are writing stuff we are standing behind and feeling really happy about.”

“We are not a band that will write like 40 songs” declares Bradley, “we tend to just concentrate on the songs individually.” Osborne starts saying how “it takes us a long time of sitting in a room - hitting and bashing and strumming things then eventually someone will do something and…”, with Vowden finishing “we’ll connect onto that”. It’s almost like being in a band practice with a band that just work well together; their conversation is always in complete agreement. “With lyrics sometimes I just start yelping or listen to the songs a couple of times before I come up with something catchy enough” says Bradley, “these guys decide if it’s good or fine and they are right a lot of the time.” In disbelief, Vowden blurts out “it’s the first time you’ve ever said that.”

When asked what the songs are about Bradley says “Some of my lyrics are opinions. I get really mad about a lot of stuff. It’s easier to vent my frustrations through the songs. It’s a nice way of saying something I really want to say as there is no point in me going out, shouting and screaming all the time in public. ‘Mumzee’ is a little abstract tale of my first year of University, where I met someone who had been to a public school and he was really rude to me because I hadn't been to a school that he’d heard off. He seemed to try and patronise me ‘cause I was eating a Pot Noodle. I’ve found inspiration from little situations like that. Lyrically the songs are quite angry actually, though I’m not really an angry person… well I don’t think I am.” In support of this anger, Osborne says “it’s an easy place to kind of vent angry opinions, in a loud rocky band.”

“With ‘tRad Rr BarRfight’ I was tired of venting so created a kind of dystopian future set on Mars, in a wild west environment” confesses Bradley, “It’s a tale of two guys whose skin colours are really odd (one pink, one yellow). They are both bounty hunters and they are in a bar and they get attacked but one of them is psychic. This story just appeared in my head one day and I decided that the story was going to be a song.” Encouraging his creativity, Osborne and Vowden reveal that Bradley would like to write a space opera. He doesn’t deny it and who wouldn’t be up for listening to it?

Currently touring in support of World Owes You Nowt, available to buy here, Bearfoot Beware will be playing Leeds on Tuesday 5th May at Brudenell Social Club.

Words by George Paris, Photos by Danny Payne, Artwork by Crow Versus Crow


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