Beach is the fantastic, beautiful pop music project from the musician who calls herself Bitch. She first burst onto the scene with her band, Bitch and Animal, who toured the US and Europe with Ani Difranco and released two albums on Righteous Babe Records. Bitch debuted her solo material on the legendary Kill Rock Stars. She starred as herself in John Cameron Mitchell’s (Hedwig and the Angry Inch) Shortbus, and her songs were featured on Showtime’s The L Word.
Born Karen Mould, Bitch started studying classical violin at 4, and later expanded her musical horizons by studying fiddling with Andrew Bird. Bitch also plays bass, ukulele and keytar. She describes Beach as indie-electro rock fronted by her electric violin. On stage, an Alligator triggers beats on what they call “the machine.” Together, they make some really wonderful music.
Beach's In Us We Trust just came out in July on her own label: Short Story Records. It was a bit of a departure in sound and attitude from the earlier Bitch releases. She describes the change exceptionally well in a post on her blog. Despite all the preparations involved in getting ready to embark on a Fall tour, we were thankfully able to pull Karen away long enough to answer a few questions.
Q: You released your "In Us We Trust" video for National Coming Out Day! Tell us about your coming out experience.
Beach: I came out as an artist and as queer all in the same hailstorm of inspiration. I was about 19.
Q: Based on your touring experience, how strong is the indie and punk LGBT music scene?
Beach: I guess it's what I know, but I have managed to be a full time musician for 15 years and that is the community who has held me up through all my different phases and 9 albums of work! So yes I would say that it's strong.
Q: Did you seclude yourself in a shotgun shack in the woods to write your Pussy Manifesto?
Beach: Haha, no! Animal (my co-conspirator in Bitch and Animal) and I were spending the summer in Provincetown, MA. We were playing a free show every Sunday night at Bubala's. We hung posters all over town one week that we would release the Pussy Manifesto that upcoming week. I had not yet written the words! I love to write under pressure, and it had been brewing as an idea for a while, so I whipped it out in a similar hailstorm of inspiration.
Q: What's the funniest thing that has happened to you on tour?
Beach: Gosh. Tour is such a whirlwind--and I've been on the road so long it's hard to distill. It would involve a lot of interactions involving being questioned about my line of work, by border people and police officers, and watching their reactions to the word Bitch and my explanation of what I do. Or--it's the amazing lengths people will go to to connect, including having someone's phone number written in permanent marker right across the front of my RV.
Q: We love the new "Beach" sound. Now that some time has gone by, what is the biggest difference you've noticed since dropping the "Bitch?"
Beach: Thank you so much! While I haven't 'dropped' Bitch, she is currently happy behind the scenes, co-creating this performative pop that we call BEACH. I love the colors of BEACH. I love the metaphor of broken shells. I love the PG13 of it, while Bitch laughs knowingly, behind it all.
Visit Beach/Bitch Facebook page!
Better yet, catch Beach on Tour!
23--Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
24--Buffalo, NY @ Ninth Ward at Babeville
25--Rosendale, NY @ Rosendale Cafe
26--Maplewood, NJ @ Burgdorff Center for the Arts
27--Brooklyn, NY @ The Knitting Factory w/Our Lady J
28--Cambridge, MA @ Passim's w/Our Lady J
29--Vienna, VA @ Jammin Java w/Our Lady J
30--Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live w/Our Lady J
1--Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
2--Indianapolis, IN @ Metro Nightclub
3--Columbus, OH @ Woodlands Tavern
7--Minneapolis, MN @ Aster Cafe
**Top photo credit: Crayola England