Liza Violet and Ryan Needham, better known as Leeds-based indie outfit Menace Beach, are back in Manchester to take to the Deaf Institute’s stage once more. Familiar with the venue having played a storming show here back in September 2015, the DIY duo are now returning on a UK tour supporting their new album, Lemon Memory.
Menace Beach made their mark in 2015 with acclaimed debut LP Ratworld, the dreamy and crunching tones of which are now being followed up on with Lemon Memory’s cocktail of psychedelia, lo-fi indie, shoegaze and 90s college rock. Written in Ibiza and recorded in Sheffield with Ross Orton (Artic Monkeys, The Fall, M.I.A.) behind the mixing desk, tracks such as Give Blood, Maybe We’ll Drown and Suck It Out show them at their catchy and crunching best, where Ryan and Liza’s vocals are complimented perfectly with scuzzy guitars and lo-fi organs.
We spoke to bandleader Liza ahead of their return to the Deaf Institute…
Firstly, can you tell us about the genesis of the band?
“It started when Ryan and I moved to Leeds, we didn’t know anyone so we just stayed in all the time recording funny little organ songs. We never really gave much thought about what we’d do with it at the time, but we met MJ (Hookworms’ Matthew “MJ” Johnson) one night at the Brudenell and he said he’d record us so we pestered various people into helping us out. It was always like that at the start, we had a constantly changing line up and it kept it pretty loose and relaxed.”.
The new record, Lemon Memory, sounds like the product of some very meticulous rehearsal sessions. Is there any truth in that?
“Not really, Ryan and I spent about a year locked away on our own writing before we brought these songs to the rest of the band. So I guess you could say some meticulous demoing. Everything happened really quickly for us at the start, without us expecting it, so it was good to have a bit more time to think this time around”.
How did the writing and recording process of the album differ to that of your debut, Ratworld? I believe it was written in Ibiza?
“Yeah we went to Formentera to get away for a bit, we borrowed a couple of guitars and started messing around with some song ideas. It’s so laid back, it was part of the hippie trail in the 60s and apparently Bob Dylan lived in a windmill for a while so it seemed like a good place to start! Most of it was written in our flat Leeds though, and the writing process was upside down compared to Ratworld. Most of the songs were created around synth lines and drum loops, there’s more focus on texture and I wanted to have more space on this record too”.
What are your favourite tracks to play live?
“I love playing Maybe We’ll Drown because I get to do the spiky solo in the middle, and Can’t Get a Haircut is good to drift off to”.
Where does the Deaf Institute – and Manchester in general – sit on your list of favourite places to play?
“Really high! It’s such a beautiful looking venue and I always love playing I Manchester”.
What new music are you listening to right now?
“Van music on tour so far has included new Traams stuff, new Cate Le Bon album, the new Flaming Lips record which is really great, the new Ty Segall record and we’ve also picked up a great service station 90s pop hits compilation”.
You’ll obviously be busy promoting the album and heading out on this winter tour, but what else can we expect from Menace Beach in 2017?
“We’re off to texas for SXSW in March and then I really want to get back into the studio ’cause I’ve written about fifty new songs this year so far and want to make a start on those. Lots of festivals too”.