With album number 10 released to acclaim on December 1st – the same date every year to coincide with his birthday – Essex troubadour, Beans On Toast admitted eyebrows were raised when he revealed where he wanted the launch party.
The location in question was Queen’s Hall in Nuneaton – and Beans picked it for a very specific reason.
“The venue was not picked for any reason other than it was in the centre of the country,” Beans said.
“It was a special evening. I went with the idea, wrongly, that I would have to make it my own, but it was an incredible venue and it really goes to show that these places exist. A really high stage, a lovely sound system and a really good size. People came. There was a commitment to people travelling that made the crowd the easiest and nicest crowd to play to.”
Despite now reaching double figures for records, Beans – aka Jay McAllister – admitted he felt relief when the hard work over the last few months paid off handsomely.
He said: “It really felt the stars aligned. It also came with a huge sense of relief; getting an album out is always a beautiful but stressful time. There are a lot of things you have to keep your eye on. The record rolled out nicely and the gig went well, so it was a huge weight off the shoulders.
“Everybody really raised an eyebrow when I said I would do it. The people who thought it was the strangest were the people who lived in Nuneaton.
“I realised I had only ever done an album launch party in London and that is just a bit wank. I’ve always been proud that when I announce a tour, the ticket sales are spread evenly across the country. It is not centric to the north or the south. There is a nice spread of people that want to come.”
Having welcomed his first child into the world in January, his daughter was always going to feature heavily. And although she takes centre stage on four of the ten tracks, Beans claimed it could have been much more.
He said: “Most of the album was written in the initial period of her coming home. You come back with this super-precious, beautiful, life-changing thing. You create this bubble where you live inside it. I was inside this bubble for the three-month period where I wrote the album.
“I could have just stayed in that bubble, but then you start stepping out into the world. The bubble turned to reality and I like the idea that it has a theme, but I don’t like rules so I had to change that straightaway. I don’t want her whole life to be diarised by my albums. For me it’s fine, but it’s not on for someone else to have her life diarised like that. I’ve said what I needed to say and I’ll give it a rest now.”
One things Beans doesn’t plan on shutting up about any time soon is Brexit. On the date of the UK’s formal departure from the European Union, Beans will be travelling from Germany to Poland.
“He said: “Tragic as it is, it is also quite fascinating. At least I will know what the deal is straightaway. I will find out whatever is going on when I try and cross the German border with a UK passport.
“When I was in Europe before, I thought that’s all anyone would want to talk about. But we talked about it every night because I brought it up.
“No-one else ever brought it up. I was at a family barbecue with a promoter, and I was with his family and his dad brought it up and I didn’t know what to say – sorry? Generally then the chat was, ‘oh yeah that – that was stupid.’ It just doesn’t affect them. There definitely wasn’t any negativity pointed to towards me.”
This latest record was recorded at the world-famous Church Studios in Crouch End, with Mumford and Sons’ Ben Lovett on producing duties.
Lovett was also in charge of Beans’ first record a decade ago, and the singer had noting but praise for his friend.
He said: “You hear stories about people when their bands get big that they turn into assholes, but I’ve never seen that. I’ve known a lot of friends who have done well in music, and to put all his efforts into my album is just incredible.
“The whole thing was so special. To go to one of the world’s best studios and do it. The reaction has been incredible too.”