Part Leisure Coast, part Glasgow resident and musician, Bec Sandridge has started 2016 right. Revealing her newest single, “You’re A Fucking Joke” on triple j’s 2016 show with Richard Kingsmill, and via Rolling Stone Australia to announce her new home with Wollongong label Farmer and the Owl, who are fast becoming one of Australia’s most eclectic indie labels.
Although never one to condone gambling, it was a bet by Bec’s family that started her singing career. As a guitarist in a two piece folk singer/song writer band, the absence of the singer, an opportunity to support Andy Bull and Owls Eyes and a family bet saw Bec take the plunge to bring her voice onto the stage. Whipping together three songs, Bec performed the Wollongong show, won her family’s bet and took that money to unexpectedly, pack up and move to Glasgow, Scotland. Glasgow feels like home to Bec, despite not understanding fully why; “it’s pretty miserable there, but I think it’s partly because it’s where I first played my songs, and also the community and music scene there is amazing.” Once arriving, she began busking her way through Europe. Here, she perfected her musicianship and also supported herself. “I love busking. You can be spontaneous; people can walk past you, spit at your or stop their schedule and listen to you and buy your CD. You are giving the audience to the freedom to choose.” Her multiple residencies and nomadic nature has allowed her music to “reach people who have never heard my music before”.
While busking, she stumbled across fellow buskers, Passenger and Stu Larsen, who asked her to join them on tour; despite having only written three songs. On the advice of her mother over the phone, “I deferred University in Australia, and joined the tour throughout England.”
As an artist, her musical influences come from musicians with powerful words. “I was really interested in the sounds of words growing up. At University, I studied English Literature and I was obsessed with English and words at school. I guess language is quite musical. Leonard Cohen is an example-all his lyrics are very musical, so the beat of how the words fell was really interesting.” Her musical library also includes Aretha Franklin and Fleetwood Mac.
In 2015, Bec released the Tony Buchan (Andy Bull, The Preatures) produced single “In The Fog, In The Flame” to an insatiable response, Shortly after, she was the winner of Triple J Unearthed, played Yours & Owls Festival, opened the stage at Newtown Festival and has toured with Little May and Half Moon Run.
She’s met 2016 with a new single, new label and that insatiable spontaneity and drive displayed in “You’re a Fucking Joke”. The track shows off Bec’s deep and commanding vocals as she takes a departure from her folk roots and moves towards “more disco pop/punk. I thought it would be cool to create something with interesting lyrics and a cool emotive that people can boogie to. It’s good to have an emotional boogie”. Immersing herself in the likes of “Cyndi Lauper and The War on Drugs, there are hints of gritty synths and metronome-like drums.” The tongue in cheek track “is about a person in Glasgow but also, about how at the time, all my friends were going through similar situations. And we thought ‘what’s with these people dangling the carrot, saying they are interested and then changing their mind?” Not one to be confrontational normally, Bec wanted to change that and become more direct lyrically and musically.
The need to explore other musical avenues was the catalyst to change music genres. As a singer with a guitar, Bec’s desire to amplify her sound and most importantly, challenge herself, led her to expand from acoustic folk to the pop genre world, with a twist. Additionally, coming from a wordsmith background, “the lyrics were a focus but I thought it would be cool to create something with interesting lyrics and a cool emotive that people can boogie to. It’s good to have an emotional boogie”
Signing to her hometown label, Farmer and the Owl, Bec says, “”I’m over the moon to sign to Farmer & Owl and release this first single with them! I met up with Ben + Jeb (F&Owl) and their love for the local scene was infectious. As someone who has danced between Glasgow and Australia for the past few years, it’s nice to have such direct and overwhelming support from my hometown.”
With the alignment of her new musical flavour and team, Bec may be firmly planted in Australia for a little while longer. Glasgow will have to wait.