Beat Union is one to watch
By Naughty Mickie
Birmingham, England is home to Beat
Union, a band who cites their influences as The Clash, Elvis Costello,
Squeeze, The Police, The Jam and Joe Jackson. Their sound is new wave,
upbeat rock that you can dance to-- yet still surprisingly diverse.
They have toured with the likes of Bedouin Soundclash, Hit The Lights,
Taking Back Sunday, Goldfinger, Gym Class Heroes and Alexisonfire and
got nods for their performance at SXSW in Texas in March 2008. Metal
Hammer and Kerrang! both recently named this group "Best New Act."
Beat Union is vocalist/guitarist Dave Warsop, guitarist Dean
Ashton, bassist Ade Preston and drummer Luke Johnson. In April 2008
they released "Disconnected" (Science) and are currently on the
nationwide Vans Warped Tour 2008. Who would have guessed all this
would come from a childhood friendship.
"Me and Dean always played guitar together from the age of 11 or 12
and we grew up writing songs together and playing in bands together,"
Warsop begins. "We jammed all through school and played our first
shows together. We met Luke when we were about 13 and he was playing
in a band. Then we were playing off and on in other bands. We met Ade
a few years later."
The guys all played in different groups, but eventually Beat Union
came to be.
"It was all about timing, I think everything came together at the
right time," Warsop said.
The band began withWarsop and Ashton as Shooter McGavin, which
broke up in 2002. They then formed Shortcut to Newark and that turned
into Beat Union.
"Dean and me started a band called Shortcut to Newark." Warsop
explains, "We were quite a different style and we had two other
people. Over time the songwriting style started to change and develop
into something different. By the time we got Luke on drums, the band
started changing and by the time we had Luke and Abe in the band,
that's two new band members, the songwriting was going in another
direction at the same time. We started working with John Feldmann
(producer, The Used, Good Charlotte, Story of the Year, The Matches).
We weren't fond of the old name."
I ask Warsop to tell me more about his childhood.
"Me and Dean were always playing guitar together. We both come from
not really musical families." Warsop says, "I think my granddad, he
died before I was born, he played a little bit of piano and organ and
my uncle played a little bit of organ as well. My parents were never
really influenced by them. My mum and dad were always fans of music,
there was always music in the house, but they never played anything.
"It came from a passion for music, a love of listening to music,"
Warsop goes on. "Seeing my favorite bands, I wanted to do the same
things that those bands were doing."
Warsop studied music and music technology at a speciality college
"We all had different jobs, none of us went to the university or
learned a trade." Warsop elaborates, "We just worked whatever job we
could get that would support us in between any gigs or tours. We've
all done factory work, we've all done warehouse work. Luke was working
in a scrap yard for a bit, Abe did some building, we all did various
things, anything to get what we needed. It's not particularly
interesting, it's been quite the opposite really, dull destroying
I wonder if he finds time for any hobbies or relaxation.
"When you're on tour so much, you're always writing or recording or
performing, sometimes it's nice to go home and not think about going
to band practice for a while and just go out with your friends,"
Warsop responds. "Just hang out, go see films and go out drinking,
just socialize. Music is what we're all really passionate about, so to
be honest, we're really always going out to see live music or going
We discuss the creation of Beat Union's music.
"I tend to write the foundation of the song and then take it to
rehearsal or take it to the studio where we can work on the arrangement," Warsop says. "I tend to write the lyrics and get the
basics there and take it to them to finish it up.
"I believe that for a songwriter or lyricist everything you write
has to come from the heart. If you're not singing from the heart, then
it's not really singing at all," Warsop continues. "You have to sing
about stuff that's personal to you, so it just comes from everyday
life. "Poetry is basically the same thing. You're writing about
relationships or your day job or that kind of stuff. There's no one
who hasn't suffered through the very same things, whether it's
suffering from a broken heart or working a shitty job or just feeling
the struggle of life."
Warsop does most of his composition on acoustic guitar.
"I work on chords, melody, lyrics, just the basics of the song. I'm
not really a piano player, but I have used the piano before just to
monkey about and get the basic chord patterns." Warsop adds, "If you
learn your instrument too well then you can become a little
mechanical. You know what chords you have to choose from for the key
you're playing in. Sometimes that works, but sometimes you have to
throw it away. That's what it's all about working on the piano I don't
really know what I'm doing and I may stumble across something really
Although Beat Union has barely performed in the States, they
already have a bead on the scene.
"The U.S. tends to be a little more enthusiastic, whether that's
because we're from overseas, but I think they're more receptive and
seem more excited," Warsop says. "I don't know that that can be
explained, we're just really pleased."
"I think one of the most important things these days is having good
songs, well-crafted songs, good songwriting because I think that's
what people are always going to want. I know that's what I want in the
music I listen to." Warsop continues, "I think regardless of the style
and the clothes you wear and things like that, if the song's good then
any band could play that song and I think if the song's strong enough
people can relate to it. I hope that's what people can relate to with
our music and I think people get that and understand the songs and
that's one of the biggest things we have going for us."
Beat Union got a great reception during their performance at the
first stop of the Vans Warped Tour in Pomona, California. Once they
finish this tour, they are planning to travel more through the United
States and perhaps Europe. They're also booked for Japan's Summer
Sonic Festival in August 2008.
"We're having a really good time out here," Warsop says of America.
"We're more concerned on where we're going to be in a year's time.
We're planning on staying out here and building it up, but we're
taking it one day at a time. Anyone taking any interest in our band,
to come to a show or review us or interview us like yourself is
really, really appreciated. Being out here is like a dream come true
for us. Thanks for taking the time out to speak with me."
Learn more about Beat Union at
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