Mickey Beans [beans]
What do you do? What is your musical specialty?
I create my own music but I learnt my trade from the piano. I just love anything with lots of drums, strings and massive sounds.
Do you work alone or in a group? If in a group, who are the others you work with?
I work alone, with another (Tragic Toys) and a group (La Roux)
Is there a web address where one can listen, see, or read some of your work?
http://soundcloud.com/mickeybeans and http://www.myspace.com/ladyburdenmusic
Please list any awards, competitions, or other acknowledgments you would like to mention.
Well, La Roux won a grammy last year and Tragic Toys hasn't been revealed to the world yet. I did win a donkey derby when I was about 10.
Please list discography in which you have participated.
The Best of Mickey Beans (My Own)
Luther Van Dross
How did you begin making music? Who introduced you?
My mum took me to a house in London when I was 8 and said I was to go in there for half an hour and if I liked it I could do it again and if I didn't I didn't have to go back. She left me and I rang the doorbell and there was a 1940s looking lady who brought me into her front room and there was a piano. I haven't looked back since.
What was your musical education?
Secondary school and my own lessons. But my siblings were the biggest education.
When did you realise that making music could be a way of life for you?
When I was about 14 and I realised there was nothing I enjoyed better than making my own music.
What is your creative process?
I just sit at the piano and a song comes into my head, or I think of a drum beat, programme it in to my logic as I'm usually travelling and I build from there.
When do you have your most lucid moments, in the morning or night?
Any time, probably the most in the morning
Have you ever awoken with a melody created from your dreams?
Yes I have, can't remember which song it was though.
How do you know when a song is finished or needs no more changes?
I don't - I just think it sounds finished although it needs mixing and I don't find that as enjoyable as composing.
How did you discover your creative territory? How would you describe it?
My brothers and sister helped me discover. Two of my favourite films are The Wizard of Oz and Edward Scissorhands and they showed me these. The Winkie chart of the former and the opening credits of the latter made me interested in music. Then my siblings played me many many bands, such as Radiohead, Massive Attack, Tom Waits, The Cure and The Smiths. They introduced me to DJ Shadow and Ennio Morricone when I was 15 and I decided I wanted to create music that sounds like all the music I enjoy. I used to sit with my older brother in his bedroom and play Ennio Morricone songs - him on the guitar, me on the recorder. Also when I was little I used to dance to live traditional Irish Music - sometimes in pubs in Ireland and some in rough arse pubs in Tooting South London and I loved the live music. All these experiences have shaped me today.
What part of your job is your least favourite?
Working hard and not being paid enough for using my skills and the time put in!
How often do you practice?
Everyday when I am near a piano and that is for hours and hours
How do you feel right before going out on stage?
I love it. Sometimes I'm nervous and sometimes I'm relaxed. It all depends.
Which musicians or groups have been inspiring to your career?
Tom Waits, Scott Joplin, Radiohead, Portishead, Massive Attack, DJ Shadow, UNKLE and traditional music from all over the world.
List three songs that are key to your life.
That's really really hard, but Wise Enough by Lamb, Building Steam With A Grain of Salt by DJ Shadow and Road To Peace by Tom Waits.
What should be done to stop piracy?
That's hard because the internet has brought on so many great things and destroyed so many others. Better coding when buying music/film etc. Similar to when you have to access your online banking. Making it harder to share emails and files so that only the buyer can access the product.
What type of music do you detest?
Souless crap that has a simple, not thought about tinny drum loop and someones vocal's (usually a girls) blasting over the top. That and anything by Eddie Vedder; Soundgarden, Pearl Jam. Quit whining! Oh and American Rock (boy bands with tattoos). Mostly anything shown on the mainstream music channels really!
What time did you get up this morning?
How do you sell yourself? What has been your experience with record companies and representatives?
I don't know how to sell myself. Be sincere and true. I like some people in record companies and others I think are idiots. Too many people have positions of power who don't know what they are talking about. They wouldn't know one end of a guitar from the other if you presented it to them. Also, too many people who make decisions don't think outside the box and don't take risks and therefore we have a lot of shit in the mainstream today because of the safety in generics.
What other things have you done to make a living?
My first ever job was washing cars when I was about 13. I spent all my money on sweets and pigeon shit was too hard to get off. I worked in a vintage shop for years which was amazing and I loved my community there. It's still a big part of my life. I also worked in a soup kitchen in Lambeth when I was about 16 but I didn't get paid, but got loads of marriage offers from alcoholic Irish men.
Have you ever played on the street or in the subway? How much did you collect each day?
I've never played on the street or in the subway, I like hearing people do it though. I'm most impressed in New York when people get baby grand's down there.
Who would you play with, without a doubt?
Damon Albarn, Ian Brown or Tom Waits. I will even waiver my fee. That last bit was sarcastic.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?
Keep at it and don't be disheartened. If you are meant to be you are meant to be. But if loads of people especially close friends and family keep telling you you're shit, maybe have another think.