A nomadic pop/punk logomaniac, Bec Sandridge has a guitar swagger reminiscent of St. Vincent, and the delivery of new wave icons like Deborah Harry and David Byrne. Recently she revealed her newest single, “You’re A Fucking Joke” on triple j’s 2016 show with Richard Kingsmill, and via Rolling Stone Australia and announced her new label home with Wollongong’s Farmer and the Owl, who are fast becoming one of Australia's most eclectic indie labels.
It was a bet by Bec’s family that started her singing career. As a guitarist in a folk 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 the bet and packed up and moved to Glasgow, Scotland. Glasgow feels like home to Bec, though she’s not sure 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.” She began busking her way through Europe. “I love busking. You can be spontaneous; people can walk past you, spit at you, or stop what they are doing and listen to you and buy your CD. You are giving the audience to the freedom
While busking, she stumbled across fellow buskers, Passenger and Stu Larsen, who asked her to join them on tour. On the advice of her mother, “I deferred University in Australia, and joined the tour.”
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 won Triple J Unearthed, played Yours & Owls Festival, Newtown Festival and toured with Little May and Half Moon Run.
She’s met 2016 with a new single, new label and a spontaneity and drive displayed in “You’re a Fucking Joke”. The track shows off Bec’s deep and commanding vocals, a defining feature of her sound; “it’s 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 be more direct lyrically and musically
And what does she think about signing to her hometown label, Farmer and the Owl? “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.