Get to Know... Menace Beach

Meet Menace Beach, Leeds' grunge-pop's finest, who'll be topping a bill of four fine northern bands at The Deaf Institute, Manchester this Friday (25 September)

Feature by Lauren Strain | 21 Sep 2015

Celebrating the release of their new EP on the very same day, Leeds' brilliant Menace Beach will be headlining a special gig at Manchester's Deaf Institute on 25 Sep.

Comprising feverish riffs and trippy lyrics, Super Transportteum arrives this month after a great reception to the quintet's blistering debut, Ratworld – and it won't be long before the band, led by Ryan Needham and Liza Violet, will be heading back into the studio with Hookworms' MJ to record the followup. 

As they get ready to play alongside False Advertising, Weirds and Fruit Bomb at The Deaf Institute this Friday, Liza took time out to answer a few of our burning questions... 

The Skinny: When and how (and why!) did Menace Beach begin?

Liza Violet: It started a few years ago when we moved to Leeds. We lived in this tiny damp flat where all our stuff turned green and we started writing these little wonky organ songs – they were a good soundtrack for the all the mould creeping up on us.

How would you describe your sound in one sentence? (Trick question: sentence can be as long or short as you like...)

Waspy pop.

What are some records/live experiences that have been really influential on you as a band?

All of the usual ones really, like Bowie, Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop... I really love anything that sounds warped and drifting out of tune and Ryan loves Prince, so we’ve tried to somehow shoehorn that all into a rock band with the help of everyone who’s played with us along the way.

Tell us something people would be surprised to learn about you.

I was on Robot Wars.

The scene in Leeds is known for having a really strong and supportive DIY community. Can you describe your experience of the Leeds music scene, and what it means for you?

It’s really collaborative, most people are in a few bands and Menace Beach totally wouldn’t exist as it is now if it wasn’t like that. Everyone helps out with each other’s projects whether it’s music or videos or art or whatever, which is really great.

Your new EP, Super Transporterreum, is going to be released on the same day as the 25 Sep gig. It's almost like we planned it! Can you tell us a bit about the record?

Yeah! It’s mostly based around this fever dream I had when I wasn’t very well on tour about a time-tunnel portal thing. I had a pet cat that you could pat on the head and it would cough up a ticket get you through. It’s all pretty sci-fi themed, on the inside and the outside.

And we hear you're about to record your second album, the followup to the very well-received Ratworld. Will you be going back into the studio with Hookworms' MJ for this? Can you tell us a bit about what the recording experience at his Suburban Home studio is like, and why you guys clicked?

We work really well together, I think it really helps that we’re close friends so we feel totally happy throwing ideas around and he’ll happily tell us if he thinks they’re too silly or just bad. We share a love of synth drones too, so I get to put those on everything we do.

How has life been since Ratworld? What are some of the best experiences that this record and touring around it have brought you?

We've had a really good summer. I always like playing festivals so getting to do some of those and watch loads of other bands has been great. We just got back from End of the Road festival and we saw so many good shows. We had the best time there. I saw someone at Secret Garden Party in a Maggie Simpson-style star costume that had gone all droopy in the rain, that was one of my highlights.

We're really looking forward to seeing you play on 25 Sep, and to have four of the most energetic bands in the North right now all on one bill. Which of the other acts are you most looking forward to seeing?

All of them. Our friends Bruising played with Fruit Bomb recently and said they were great. I've heard a couple of really cool False Advertising songs and we've played with Weirds before, maybe just at Beacons actually but they're super nice and huge live. I'm loving Manchester at the moment, I might move there soon.

And finally: What do you like to do outside of the band? Any projects we should know about?

Ryan’s working on a pop-punk garage side project that I’m totally banned from! I’m starting to work on a ghoulish clothing label and I’d like to get back into building some synth modules too, or maybe my perfect everything-I-love-in-one guitar pedal.

Catch Menace Beach with False Advertising, Fruit Bomb and Weirds at The Deaf Institute, Manchester on 25 Sep. Tickets are just £3 in advance via