The return of The Beegles in 2021 has seen the group unleash their first new music in over four years. Singles Dog and Dope have showcased the project’s ambitious and bold new direction, signalling their departure from the dream-pop and psych roots they were known for, in favour of an entirely unique sound. Sly further pushes those ambitions and solidifies the project as a cerebral and uncompromising experimental act.
The album ranges from minimalist, spoken-word musings, to prolonged and challenging electronic instrumentals, each track its own unique composition. The music is introspective and pensive, but open and accessible, inviting the listener to jump in and embrace the experience. The Beegles as a group has taken many different forms in its nine-year existence but continues to live on today as the recording moniker of Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist Ash Briody. ‘Sly’ was written, performed, recorded, and mixed by Ash in his home studio, and mastered by the legendary Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control). Ash Briody answers some questions about Sly for Hi Fi Way.
Is the second album blues a thing and is there more pressure with a follow up?
Yeah, it probably is. I probably could have released a bunch of different music in the last few years, but I was growing and learning quickly that there’s a big difference in banging the last few songs you write together compared to finding a context, and expanding it to new meanings.
Sonically, how would you describe Sly?
Sly is super dark and extremely dissonant most of the time. However, it is juxtaposed with environmental recordings, and minimal, long arrangements.
What was the biggest challenge you faced creating Sly?
The tracks were written over a long period of time. I didn’t even know Sly existed until 2019 when I finished the opener Dog. After that I kept finding tracks that suited the vibe. The hardest part would have actually been naming the album.
Were there any learnings from your debut album that you were conscious of not repeating when making Sly?
In a way. I didn’t want many vocals on this album. I wanted to express myself without telling the listener how I feel with words.
Did COVID force you to work any differently?
No the album was actually finished before Covid. However I might have thought about playing it live more.
What did you think when you played the final mix back for the first time?
How is my manager going to sell this!
Is it hard to listen to your album like a fan would without thinking what you could tweak or change?
I have mixed a lot of records and have that feeling with them. Sly has an obscurity and ambiguity that begged for the improvisation and mistakes to be left exposed. I quickly mixed the tracks and didn’t make any changes.
Which artists/bands would you consider to be some of the biggest influences in shaping the album?
Swans, Broadcast and the social group, Leonard Bernstein, The Necks, Geoff Barrow.
How much are looking forward to getting the green light to be able to tour and play shows?
Not sure I’ll tour this one. Maybe the next album.
What’s next for The Beegles?
I have a few albums in the works. Not sure what I’ll release next!
Interview By Rob Lyon