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Try and imagine, if you will, the future. It’s 2008, the world is at war with itself, the government is on its knees and the economy is in free-fall.
If you were born in the 70’s this scenario would seem like we were covering old ground.
But you weren’t born in 1970…you were born in 1980 for most twenty-somethings; life has been pretty good of late. And that’s where Beat Six come in. It’s going to get grimy again. The streets are about to erupt in retaliation to the burgeoning unemployment problems, immigration, bad jobs and bad drugs. Beat Six don’t sing about geezers in town centres in tracksuits….they are the men in tracksuits!!! The new chav-antegarde.
It’s 2008, and the location is Staines, West London. A small outpost in this low-rise wasteland of industrial units, reservoirs and aircraft hangars has finally been noticed by meejahland through the patronage of its most famous resident Ali G and the post-clash soul sensation that is known as Hard-Fi. Richard Archer and the boys constantly reference the town they grew up in as it’s all they have. Pimped up Peugeots, drum n’ bass rude boys and the incessant whistling of dump valves and jet engines from beyond the reservoir at Terminal 4.
This is Beat Six country. And boy do Beat Six know it well. They know it really well. And why do you ask, do they know it so well? Well, the answer is, that in the 25 years of existence, the five members of Beat Six, have never left the place.
Beat Six are: Rob Williams (vocals), Paul Andrews (guitar), Ben Hopper (guitar) James Godman (bass) and Jamie Williams (drums).
Frontman Rob has just that, FRONT! He has the offstage charm of Terry Hall in 1979 when fronting the Specials, the ability to eyeball the front row, without taking them on, but making sure that when he is on stage, they know he is the boss. JD sports hoodies and Lacoste trainers are the order of the day. No skinny ties, no haircuts, no ridiculous wordplay, just powerful and passionate. The words may be uncomplicated, but they mean a lot to Rob, not just written down because of the rhyme. Like an un-manufactured Killers, with streetsmarts! These boys are on the edge of something special.
These boys have been together for 10 years and known each other since infant school. At 15 or 16, when other youngsters were dreaming about which University they would get into, and how they would spend their student loans, these boys were stacking shelves to pay for studio time in order to work on their latest bedroom ballad.
Through different incarnations, and the odd member malfunction, Beat Six were formed in 2005. It was the Myspace era. Long gone now…but remember that old thing, about as popular now as Chlamydia amongst the generation that helped build it into the billion dollar organisation it now is. But boy did it inspire Beat Six. They knew they could reach out and they did!
But what about the important bit. The sound. The sound! The sound is completely unique. White-boy Rock n Soul. And it’s organic. And it evolved. Not the result of band meetings and a super slick management team conflab, it just happened that way.
One cannot directly compare the sound to anything. Think, very early Duran, mid-era Echo and the Bunnymen, a touch of David Sylvian/Japan with a potent stabs of art-rock guitar stings over a chocolaty bass and drums groove. The band was brought up on their Dads’ Genesis concept albums and their big brothers’ These Animal Men 45’s. The output is New Art Riot ‘Manics inspired by school disco last-dance Spandau Ballet, a rare groove treat. Rock ‘N’ Soul.