From High School Gigs to Viral Hits. Meet The Beaches

With their infectious blend of pop, rock, alternative rock, and new-wave, The Beaches, named after the laid-back Toronto town where some of the band members are from, have been playing together for over a decade. Sisters Jordan and Kylie Miller were passionate about music ever since they were little girls, having started to play professionally at an extremely young age. The Miller sisters were then joined by drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel and guitarist Leandra Earl, and spent their high school years playing midnight shows. Bonded through music, adolescent friendship, and sisterhood, The Beaches have developed a unique sound that not only is reminiscent of the revolutionary post-punk bands of the 1970s, but also is happy, sad, angry, and most of all funny, all at once. Their music, with all of its introspection and chaotic emotion, speaks to a wide array of music enthusiasts, and their journey reflects their unwavering dedication to pushing the boundaries of their artistry, making them a dynamic force in the contemporary music scene.

We spoke with Jordan Miller, lead singer of The Beaches on their recent breakthrough album, Blame My Ex, and the journey that led to it. 


What was music’s role for you growing up?

I think it was different for each of us, respectively. Me and my sister have a brother who’s on the spectrum. Our parents kind of had to focus a lot of attention on him growing up, obviously, so we kind of were thrown into a lot of different hobbies. And the one that we really connected with each other on was music. I started playing guitar when I was 6. And my sister started playing about a year after, when I was 7 and she was 6. And we really liked playing, writing songs together, singing with our Barbie dolls, that kind of stuff. And it kind of snowballed from there. 

What made you start doing it professionally? 

We started professionally playing when we were still kids, so we were still minors. We had a band previously called Done With Dolls. We were very lucky to have had our music featured on the Family Channel when we were really little, just through some unforeseen events. And then when we were in high school, we started The Beaches and Leandra joined and we wanted to be taken more seriously. So we started playing clubs, like we would play Kensington Market every midnight. We were all still in high school at the time, so we would be playing midnight shows, doing our homework. Before finishing our essays, going up, playing, having a couple beers, going to school every day, every Thursday, pretty hungover. But our parents let us do it as long as we had good grades and stayed on the honor roll, which we were able to do. We all got into university, but we also got the opportunity to sign with a major record label, and we figured, well, we can always go back to university, but we can’t always pursue this. So we got signed and we’ve been at it ever since.

How did your musical style change over the years? 

When we started The Beaches, that’s sort of when our music changed. I think as a band, your music changes from record to record. It can do that, especially when you’re so young because you’re absorbing so much music and you’re like, ‘I don’t really know what my sound is like.’ Each record sort of draws from the record before and then also explores new influences. I think where we really found our sound, though, is with Blame My Ex. And I think there’s a reason why that was the record that has done the best for us. And I think it’s partially due to the fact that we finally found what our sound is as a band.


Describe that sound. 

Well, the record is a lot about my breakup, so, when I was writing it, I intentionally wanted it to feel very happy-sad, because that’s what I was experiencing when I was going through my breakup. Just like deep, deep depression, sadness, anguish, but also a lot of levity, joy, and newly found freedom. And to me, the music that really evokes the happy, sad feeling is new wave music. The music that I listen to a lot with my dad. The Cure, Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears, New Order, all that stuff. I also really wanted to push myself vocally. I’ve always been a very confident singer. I hit my notes, but I don’t think I had ever really found what I’m capable of doing with my voice. I really wanted to be able to show some real dimension with my voice during this record. Again, because it was about such a personal thing for me. It was about heartbreak. 

What is the atmosphere like at a The Beaches concert?

I think for years people have always said that we’re an incredible live band, and that we just didn’t have the songs to really match our live performance until this record. I think Eliza’s maybe one of the best drummers in the country, let alone one of the best female drummers. Like you really feel the drums when you’re at a The Beaches show. We’ve been playing together for 12 years, and that really shows. There’s a lot of energy, a lot of dancing, high kicks, blocking, a little bit of choreography. We try to use as little tracks as possible, so it has a real live feel to it. We love to perform live. It’s our favorite thing to do as a band. 

How has knowing each other for so long influenced your dynamic as a band? 

It’s the best. I think we’ve had to go to band therapy at times to learn how to communicate with each other. But we don’t really fight anymore. If we have disagreements, it’s usually about petty stuff. Like, who stole whose underwear? We don’t ever fight anymore about serious band things because we really do share a hive mind when it comes to making really important decisions, and we really do respect each other as leaders and in each other’s fields. There’s a real mutual respect and mutual trust within our dynamic that comes from us being a band for so long, and also comes from us really loving and respecting the hell out of each other.

What is the songwriting process like? Is it a collaborative effort from everyone? 

It’s super collaborative. The last record we did, we had a couple of co-writers. Because I was going through such a sad, personal experience, I would come in with a lot of concepts. For Blame Brett, I had been on a date with this guy and after three days he told me that he loved me. And I was like, oh, I’m not ready for this. I’m really not in a good headspace to be. I kind of wanted to write a song where I was apologizing to him and to all of my future partners for how much of a piece of shit I was going to be because of my ex-boyfriend. So it’s all about me taking accountability. But then the joke is, don’t blame me. Blame my ex-boyfriend. 

How did it feel for that song to go viral?

It’s amazing. I think it was such a surreal experience because we had put out two records by that point and three EPs, so I had minimal expectations. But I knew that if we were going to make it big, it was going to be with this record because the songs kind of speak for themselves. But to actually have it happen is still a surreal experience. I think we all just feel incredibly grateful and proud of ourselves that we did it. But I think, in another way, the song really connected to a lot of people. A lot of people had gone through breakups after Covid. Basically, our entire band did after I went through my breakup. I think you can really feel the anguish in that song, the sadness in that song, but also like it feels happy too, because it seems like you’re kind of able to make fun of yourself. 

What can we expect from you in the future? 

We have gone into the studio. We are working. We are touring. We’re still on the Blame My Ex touring cycle. So we’re about to go to the States. I think all of our shows are sold out. So we’re doing that. We’re going down the coast from Seattle to Los Angeles, and we’re playing in Arizona. So we’re excited for that. And we are going to Australia for the first time in our careers, which we’re really pumped for. There are a bunch of festivals in the States, in Canada and in Europe, I believe, that have been booked. In between all of this, our crazy touring schedule, we’ve been writing new music.

Should we expect a similar sound to Blame My Ex

Definitely a similar sound. But I just recently fell in love again, and I’m moving in with my boyfriend in April, so the songs will have sort of a happier sound. Although, do expect a lot of tumultuous queer love songs because Leandra’s love life has been really up and down, so expect those for sure.

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